Young trade unionsts - We are here - TUC Young Workers Conference
I'd not attended a TUC Young Workers Conference before, nor had I attended the forums. I absolutely loved the energy, the buzz and comradeship in the room. It's great meeting activists from other trade unions, sharing experiences and best practice.
The conference opened with a Tribute to the late Bob Crow and Tony Benn, with a minutes silence whilst a film was played - then ended by a minute's applause. The song played on the video montage was Joe Hill, by Paul Robeson, singing the famous Labor Ballad - it was a very moving tribute. Everybody was moved by it, the friendship and love and commitment in the room for each other was extraordinary. I'd never felt more proud to be a union activist than at that moment.
The GMB had produced a book of condolences to present to the RMT Delegation, signed by all the delegates at the Young Workers Conference. A message to the GMB was left on behalf of the CWU Youth in the book, which paid tribute to the loss of quite possibly the strongest and most feared trade union leader in modern times.
And onto the nomination for Vice Chair;
Femi gave a very passionate speech, his commitment to the TUC Young Workers forum was very clear. Femi spoke about how unions and the TUC should no longer be shy - they need to tackle the issues at hand against a government that does not want to play by the rules. Conference couldn't agree more.
Anthony is a strong and knowledgeable trade unionist. I've met him before at Young Labour conference and thought very highly of him. Anthony was a great candidate, spoke of accountability of the position and his plans for the vice-chairmanship. It was a fantastic, impassioned address to conference.
Sadly, the vote for my good friend Femi did not go in his favour - but I commend him on a fantastic address and some creative plans for the position. Congratulations for Anthony - a very deserving candidate - I'm sure he'll do well. Perhaps next yet though, Femi?
15 Motions were heard on a range of subjects from rights of young carers, pensions and organising strategy. Femi moved the CWU delegations motion on pensions and talked to conference about the poor access and provision to pensions young workers have. It's an issue that is going to stalk an entire generation unless successive government do something about it fast. As ever, Femi's speech was from the heart but very hard hitting. Conference took to twitter to agree;
TUC Young Workers conference chose to select a motion to go to general congress to formulate a young workers organising strategy, which aims to recruit and organise young members - especially unrecognised workplaces. Considering that only 10% of young workers are trade union members, we need to address this urgently. With that in mind, however, the comradely, commitment and friendship at the TUC Young Workers shows that the trade union movement is growing strongly and is very much alive.
I would recommend to any member to get involved with TUC Young Workers Forums and the Conference, it is one of the most infuriating and enlightening experiences on the calendar.