GMB plays central role at Labour Conference 2018

03 Oct 2018
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Labour Conference has come and gone again and this year GMB delegates did the union proud.

The main focus of the Conference was developing Labour’s position on Brexit and GMB played a central role. General Secretary Tim Roache moved the Brexit motion with a powerful speech that received a standing ovation from the whole Conference.

The motion itself, which took 6 gruelling hours to agree on Sunday night, means that Labour will seek a General Election if the government can’t bring back a deal from the EU which protects jobs, workers’ rights and other protections. If no General Election is called then Labour will keep options on the table including campaigning to give the people a say on the final deal.

GMB delegates made some of the best speeches at the Conference. Mark Sykes from Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region spoke from the heart as a Leeds City Council worker about the need to reverse austerity and the privatisation of services in local government; our national president Barbara Plant from Southern region called out the government’s shame of increasing in-work poverty; Taranjit Chana spoke passionately about immigration policy, the government’s hostile environment and the continuing need to tackle racism and discrimination; Jawad Khan from the national young members forum raised the threat of a hard-line Tory Brexit on workers’ rights for young people; and Jo Pitchford from North West and Irish region spoke about the need to keep fighting to protect our most treasured national institution – the NHS.

Delegates were treated to excellent speeches by Labour shadow cabinet members in particular Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell.

Jeremy Corbyn closed the conference, speaking on Wednesday. In his speech he laid out a vision for the country building on Labour’s manifesto last year that will make a real change to GMB members’ lives – guaranteeing worker participation on company boards so that decisions are taken in the interests of the workforce, not just shareholders; distributing a portion of share to workers; support for young families with free childcare for 2, 3 and 4 year olds; a commitment to maintaining pension increases; and much more besides.

There was a real buzz around the Conference, with lively fringe events and a sense that Labour is close to power. But talking to ourselves won’t get us very far. Let’s get out into the workplace and community so that when the time comes, we get the Labour government we need.

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