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Centre Left Grassroots Alliance backs Sam Tarry for Young Labour Chair Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 April 2009 08:46

Young Labour Conference 2009

Why I’m Backing Sam Tarry
By Luke Pearce – Battersea CLP Youth & Student Officer, London Young Labour Executive

The choice won’t be a difficult one when it comes to electing the National Chair of Young Labour at the conference on 18 April. Sam Tarry has captured the enthusiasm of a broad swathe of young people in the Labour Party clamouring for change. It is this ability to build a popular coalition of supporters which is the surest proof of his suitability to lead our movement: Sam ‘gets it’ when it comes to youth politics and we should have every faith in him as a leader.
 
The reasons for Sam’s success to date are not just his policies, but his character. Sam understands the frustrations felt by many young people within and outside the Labour Party: that they don’t seem to have an organisation that will mobilise them for more than door-knocking and use its influence to campaign for real social change, whether on student debt, the climate crisis or fair wages for young workers.

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NEC meeting 24 March 2009 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 April 2009 07:30

It was the day of the Leader’s speech to the European parliament in Strasbourg so Gordon Brown wasn’t present. Ann Black, vice chair of the NEC as well as a CLGA CLP representative, chaired the meeting.

Europe

Glenis Willmott, MEP and Labour's Leader in Europe, presented the draft Euro manifesto. The working time directive has been a divisive issue in the Labour and Socialist Groups (where a majority of Labour MEPs oppose the British opt out as demanded by Minister Pat McFadden) and, although the issue would not be in the manifesto, she hoped an agreement outside the manifesto could be reached.

Glenis Willmott also talked about Tory MEPs leaving the European People’s Party (an alliance of Christian democrats) in favour of a far-right alliance with Polish & Czech MEPs who pursue homophobic policies, deny global warming, and one of whom described the election of Barack Obama as marking the “end of white man’s civilisation”.  She also reported her call for one of the three top posts of the EU to be filled by a woman.

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The Government is wrong on Royal Mail Print E-mail
Friday, 13 March 2009 16:15
By Billy Hayes

The publication of the document "The Future of the Universal Postal Service in the UK" by Lord Mandelson represents a serious mistake by the Government.

Not only does it represent a mis-step for the postal industry. It is a terrible blow to the credibility of Labour as a distinct party of Government. Both the Tories and Lib-Dems support the privatisation of Royal Mail,

We must lend every effort to changing the Government's mind before it pulls the trigger on its own head.

The Bill proposes to privatise Royal Mail by an initial instalment of 30%. Along with this minority share will come the effective management of the company by the "partner." Lord Mandelson has already suggested that the "gene pool" of British management talent does not include the ability to manage Royal Mail successfully. With the Bill it is clear, for example in Clause 4.16, that the partner will run the company on a day to day basis.

What is deeply damaging to the Government is to link this issue to the future pensions of postal workers. The employer (ie Conservative and Labour Governments) had a holiday from pension contributions for 13 years. This was undertaken on the understanding that there would be sufficient funding from the scheme without these contributions. Postal workers, of course, continued to contribute throughout this period. The scheme now has a substantial deficit, despite those long forgotten assurances. Instead of the Government simply honouring its contract with postal workers, it has engaged in an exercise of potential extortion. Submit to the Government breaking its commitment on privatisation, or face the loss of half of your pension. Some choice - some policy - fat chance.
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Report of the National Policy Forum held on 28 February 2009 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 March 2009 12:09
Leader’s Presentation

Gordon Brown outlined the Government’s strategy for confronting the economic crises.  He said he was determined that the London Conference in early April of the leaders of the major industrial countries would agree a united response that involved much tighter international regulation.  He emphasised that there was no contradiction between economic growth on the one hand, and protecting the environment on the other.  The creation of ‘green’ jobs could help us get out of the recession through a low-carbon recovery.  In relation to Royal Mail, Gordon argued that private investment was needed to maintain a six-day service, at a single price.  In response NPF reps made several important points.  It was highlighted that the Post Office closures are massively unpopular and that the amount of financial support required by Royal Mail was peanuts compared to the shed loads of money the Government is shovelling out to the failed banks.  The Royal Mail pension deficit has arisen because the Government allowed the employers to take many years ‘holiday’ in relation to making contributions into the pension fund.

NPF reps from the Unions called for urgent action to protect temporary/agency workers.  NPF reps, who are local councillors reported rising repossessions and stressed the important role of councils in building homes and creating jobs.

Before the Leader’s speech the CWU circulated a document to all NPF reps setting out the reasons for their opposition to Peter Mandelson’s latest proposals in relation to Royal Mail.  The CWU pointed out that the Minister is breaking the Warwick II agreement, signed with the Unions only last July.  This agreement stated – “we have set out a vision of a wholly publicly – owned, integrated Royal Mail Group in good health, providing customers with an excellent service and its employees with rewarding employment.”  In response to the CWU Ministers circulated a Briefing setting out their argument in support of the par privatisation of Royal Mail.
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NEC meeting 27 January 2009 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 13:43
NATIONAL POLICY

The meeting opened with a discussion about the National Policy Forum (NPF).   Pat McFadden reported that it would meet on 28 February and would review both the most recent Partnership in Power (PiP) cycle and contemporary issues as well as considering the contemporary issues referred by conference this year.   The NEC has previously endorsed the role of CLPs in submitting amendments, new in this PiP cycle, but the NPF could take a different view in its review. The review of contemporary issues (referred by conference to the NPF without a vote) was promised when this procedure replaced contemporary resolutions two years ago.  

Ann Black suggested there was a lack of clarity about what happened to contemporary issues not selected by conference: Pat McFadden suggested at first that they were simply dumped, whilst Diana Holland of Unite (TGWU) argued that they should be taken into the process, albeit without any special working parties like those that had been selected.  Peter Willsman noted that some policy commissioned involved all CLPs submitting those contemporary issues selected by conference to participate – surely an example of ‘best practice’ – whereas others merely invited movers and seconders.

The discussion quickly warmed up when Andy Kerr of the CWU expressed a lack of confidence in the NPF, and in particular in Pat McFadden’s handling, as Chair, of the Royal Mail issue on which he has a conflict of interest being also the Minister for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs.  The Warwick 2 policy statement, endorsed by Annual Conference had specifically stated: “We have set out a vision of a wholly publicly-owned, integrated Royal Mail Group in good health, providing customers with an excellent service and its employees with rewarding employment.” However, the twice-sacked and unelected Lord Mandelson, following the Hooper review, had announced a partial sell-off in violation of this policy and without any consultation.  Pat McFadden replied that the government would retain a majority stake, so it was not privatisation!  And Hooper took precedence over the ‘vision’, which simply described the current Royal Mail set-up and did not imply any commitment for the future!
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