Motions to London Labour conference (2): Free our unions to tackle low pay and precariousness

The following motion, modelled in part on a motion promoted by The Clarion, has been submitted to London Labour Party conference (2-3 March) by the London region of the Communication Workers’ Union. (Update: the composite motion containing the key parts of this text was passed – for the text see comment below the article.)

Unionisation to prevent low pay and precarious employment in London

As well as being home to some of the richest corporations and individuals in the country (and the world), London is also home to some of the worst poverty and deprivation, and much of this is ‘in work poverty’. Many workers in London are on low pay, zero hour contracts or in bogus ‘self employment’.

Recently, in sectors including cleaning and security, courier and delivery services, catering and fast food, and entertainment, workers have organised and taken collective action to defend jobs and achieve better terms and conditions. These include cinema workers at London Picturehouses, workers at McDonalds in central London, couriers at City Sprint, Uber Eats and Deliveroo and cleaners at SOAS, LSE, and Goldsmith colleges.

We note the current #endgame campaign by the CWU against outsourcing of the BT Facilities Management jobs and the franchising of Post Offices in London. We welcome the Labour leadership support for workers in dispute and the commitment in the 2017 Manifesto for rights for employees from day one, whether they have permanent or temporary contracts, work for agencies or are in the ‘gig’ economy. We call on the London Labour Party to support the abolition of all the anti-union laws introduced by the Thatcher, Major and Cameron Governments that stop workers in London taking strike action and solidarity action to win recognition and collective bargaining rights to improve their working lives.

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  1. Final motion passed by the conference

    Topic: Workers’ Rights

    Precarious Work

    Conference notes:
    – The growth of precarious work in London is both greater than other regions of the UK and greater than the national average.
    – According to the TUC 83% of jobs growth in London since 2011 have been precarious jobs, compared to a national average of 71%. The Trust for London says that 10% of working age employees in London were at risk of insecure employment, compared with 9% in the rest of England.
    – As well as being home to some of the richest corporations and individuals in the country (and the world), London is also home to some of the worst poverty and deprivation, and much of this is ‘in work poverty’. Many workers in London are on low pay, zero hour contracts or in bogus ‘self-employment’.
    – The growth of this work is most publicly visible on the streets with such companies, claiming to be just digital platforms, as Uber and Deliveroo but it also extends to such sectors as adult social care.
    – Congratulation to affiliates – Unite, the Bakers’ Union and the GMB – for their campaigning work, particularly in the casual dining and minicab sectors, aimed at limiting the worst excesses of precariousness and giving workers some security at work. These include cinema workers at London PictureHouses, workers at McDonalds in central London, couriers at City Sprint, Uber Eats and Deliveroo and cleaners at SOAS, LSE, and Goldsmith colleges.
    – The current #endgame campaign by the CWU against outsourcing of the BT Facilities Management jobs and the franchising of Post Offices in London.

    Conference commends the commitments – Fair Deal at Work – in our Manifesto making clear how Labour will deal with these inequities at work and the commitment from day one rights for employees, whether they have permanent or temporary contracts, work for agencies or are in the ‘gig’ economy

    Conference believes:
    – The deregulation of the labour market and the corresponding long term decline in salaries and wages brought about by the collapse of the coverage of union negotiated collective agreements are the intended outcomes of neo-liberal economic policies followed by government since 1980.

    Conference resolves to:
    – Call on GLA family and Labour councils to cease awarding contracts and licences to companies or “platforms” that operate precarious employment practices and congratulates those public authorities that have already taken such action.
    – Support the abolition of all the anti -union laws introduced by the Thatcher, Major and Cameron Governments that stop workers in London taking strike action and solidarity action to win recognition and collective bargaining rights to improve their working lives.

    Proposer: London CWU
    Seconder: Wimbledon CLP

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