Friday 19 April 2024

Trade union councils centre stage at STUC Congress 2024

Mike Arnott
#STUC24 Congress 2024 in Dundee had a pleasing focus on Trades Union Councils, perhaps because it was ably chaired by this year’s president, Mike Arnott, who sits on a Trade Union Council seat on the STUC General Council. 

Mike gave an inspiring address to conference, in which he slammed cuts to councils. He also had a warning for our movement. "When it comes to equalities, unions must walk the walk as well as talk the talk and take a zero tolerance approach to all forms of discrimination and bullying, including where it takes place in our own movement." This theme was later picked up in our own motion to Congress.

In her speech to Congress STUC General Secretary, Roz Foyer spoke of the key importance of the work of trade union councils, to co-ordinate grassroots trade unionists and community activism at local level. She urged affiliated unions to ensure their branches affiliate to their local TUCs.

A film was shown at conference showcasing the role of TUCs. Aberdeen TUC was represented through Kate Ramsden, who spoke of the excellent work of ATUC and called for more trade union activists to get involved as delegates from their union, especially young workers.

Aberdeen TUC was represented at Congress by Kathleen Kennedy, (delegation leader) Scott Sutherland and Kate Ramsden.

All three of our original ATUC motions were debated and approved and we were also delighted to second motions from UCU and Moray TUC. Kate also spoke on the Social Care composite from UNISON. Reports of our involvement are detailed below. Unfortunately, both our emergency motions were ruled out of order for different reasons.

Lessons from International Brigades recognised:  Scott Sutherland highlighted that the fight against fascism from the 1930s has the lessons for us today.

Risk assessments must take account of climate change: Kate Ramsden reminded delegates that Scotland’s climate is changing and last June was the hottest on record.

Time to get our house in order:  Kathleen Kennedy told delegates that saying we are doing equalities isn’t good enough.

ScotWind Debacle – cock-up or conspiracy? Kate Ramsden condemned this sale of public assets, which has put money in the hands of big business to make their profits with, as it stands, no benefit to Scotland or local communities.

Reverse cuts to modern language teaching atAberdeen UniversityKathleen Kennedy said that these cuts were bad for the university, bad for the staff, bad for students but also bad for our communities in the North East of Scotland.

 National Care Service bill – still not fit for purpose: Kate Ramsden called for the bill to be scrapped but added that if it progresses, the STUC and affiliates must monitor the progress of the bill closely to make sure that it’s fit for purpose.

Solidarity brings hope amidst the war crimes and genocide inGaza and West Bank: Tuesday saw an extremely powerful session on Gaza and Palestine. We heard from Husam Zomlot, Palestinian ambassador to the UK and Shaher Saed, General Secretary of the PGFTU.