Dave Chivers representing young members at Retired Members' Conference 2013
Youth Committee Vice Chair Dave Chivers today addressed the CWU Retired Members' Conference in Birmingham. His full speech can be found here:
It's a real privilege and an honour to be invited and speak on behalf of our 22000 younger members today. The knowledge to gain here and take back to our younger members will be so beneficial I'm sure.
From looking around me, I bet there are many interesting stories of good and bad times in the struggle for this great and strong trade union movement of ours.
The incredible trade union values of fairness and togetherness is something we in the youth section are trying to spread successfully to my generation, and long may that tradition continue, because quite frankly it has too and always will do.
The fights for better employment conditions, decent pensions, healthcare and living standards is fought by ordinary people like us. We owe so much gratitude for this as we live out our lives in Tory Britain 2013. I'm sure we all share the same passion when we say that fighting for a state that enables all these opportunities, in the name of equality and justice for all people regardless of there sexuality , age, race, nationality, abled bodied or challenged or wealth background.
But unfortunately we are now being attacked, 3 years into a five year sentence by the same types that came before us during previous Tory administrations. Back again on their mission to desperately dismantle all the rights we fought so desperately hard to gain. In my view, the reason for this sentence can only be pointed at the 13 years of New Labour's betrayal of its core values that opened up the door to this assault. I truly hope that we can work hard to fight that back in the years to come.
So where are we? Well, fighting as hard as ever. Right now the Tories are using every old trick in the book to divide us as they chip away the state piece by piece. From yesterday's announcement of Europe to the awful attack on benefits, employment rights, education and pensions etc.
As we all know from times past they've used colonialism, racism, sexism and homophobia to divide us and play us all off. Not much has changed really? The words have just changed to 'Chavs' ,'skivers ', 'scroungers and plebs' that demonise us and the people we fight for in our workplaces and communities. All designed clearly to push though the ideological brutal agenda in the name of the worst word of all "austerity"
So what we doing about it? Well Bevan once said that welfare state would be around as long as the people where there to fight for it. We are doing just that! And in our section CWU Youth we are being highly successful. The numbers of people under 30 involved with union activity is increasing year by year. with big turnouts at our NYEE, conference and events. We have had much participation in recent TUC demonstrations and rallies to KTPP, pension strikes, anti fascist mobilisations and many more.
At our events we have dealt with complex issues like, fascism, international injustices like Palestine, middle east and the euro zone, housing, the brutal police treatment of students and trade unionists at demonstrations, the crisis of homelessness, workplace organising, and campaigning for more women representation in our union. We are putting youth representation as high priority at every level of the CWU, sitting in advisory roles throughout the structures. It was with great satisfaction to see Kye Dudd of the South West become recently elected to the NEC. But we still all know to sustain a free and prosperous interdependent union that speaks for all of our diverse membership, much more still needs to be done.
Yes we've rocked the boat a lot, lol, put people's backs up in our branches and punched above our weight. With all due respect we truly believe that this has been absolutely necessary in order to ensure the youth section is vibrant and relevant to the people we represent. As the world changes with new ideas and technology we also need to move with that. Our website and social media has been a great platform to organise. Please visit. www.cwuyouth.org
So I thank you once again for the invite. If there is one agenda I had today, that was to learn some of the vast knowledge assembled in this room . So I would ask if we could stay in touch and even if we could conduct some kind of material in forms of interviews or videos, and continue sharing that knowledge going forward.
As George Orwell once said:" in the days of universal descent telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Lets keep telling it together? Thank you
Address by Dave Chivers, Youth Committee National Vice Chair to the Retired Members' Conference 2013