CWU Conferences

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Emergency Motion - 2017 General Election

27 April 2017

CWU General Conference this week unanimously carried Emergency Motion (E8), setting out the unionís support for the Labour Party in the forthcoming general election. As put forward in the motion, the union will be making the case for a Labour government to our members and the wider public, supporting CWU members and trade unionists as candidates and campaigning in key target seats.

The motion below sets out the reasons for this action.


This Conference agrees that the announcement by Theresa May on 18th April of her intention to hold a General Election on 8th June presents our members and the people of the country with a stark choice.

That is a choice between the continuation of the governmentís austerity programme of spending cuts that have starved public services that our members rely on of funding. A programme that gives tax breaks to the very wealthiest whilst school children go hungry. A programme that asks parents to pay teachersí wages and where hospital beds canít be found for patients left waiting in corridors. A programme that denies an entire generation access to a decent home while council house-building has been abandoned.Or a choice for the alternative, a Labour Government, led by Jeremy Corbyn that delivers a new deal for workers and their families. An alternative that will launch a programme of council house building; introduce a £10 minimum wage; invest in infrastructure such as broadband; repeal the Trade Union Act; provide free school meals for primary school children; properly fund the NHS and social care; and overhaul employment rights to end exploitation at work.

This conference agrees that it is time to end the attacks by the Conservatives and put an end to austerity in this country by agreeing to support the Labour Party to deliver a better and fairer society for all.

This conference agrees that the CWU will immediately launch an all embracing campaign amongst our members to bring an end to the worst squeeze in living standards on record, to end the explosion of insecure employment and growing levels of in-work poverty and to campaign for the party that will ensure no one and no community is left behind.

We need to campaign for the party that will ensure that a Brexit settlement delivers for everyone and is not the race to the bottom that the Tories will deliver.

It is time for us to take back control, of our National Health Service, of care for our elderly, of an education for our children and for jobs and wages that allow people to live with dignity.

The pressure our members face in their workplaces, insecure employment, attacks on pensions, excessive workload or performance management demands that we need a new political settlement in this country.

This Conference agrees that the CWU will support only the Labour Party to deliver this fundamental change for all our futures.

Accordingly this Conference instructs the NEC to support CWU members and other trade unionists as candidates; co-ordinate Branches and Regions to campaign in target seats; work with other affiliated unions; and use all of our communications channels to make the case to CWU members and the public to vote for a Labour government.

The urgency of the situation determines that this campaign begins immediately following the close of CWU General Conference 2017.

In this election we face a stark choice Ė between the continuation of the Tory governmentís agenda that has left public services in crisis and working people facing a race to the bottom in the workplace; or a Labour government that will stand up for our members on employment, housing, the NHS and education.

The candidate selection process is currently ongoing and we are working to help a number of our members through this. We have also met with the CWU Regional Secretaries to co-ordinate campaigning and support in a number of constituencies and we are in the process of agreeing a communications plan for the coming weeks. Further details will be provided in due course.

In relation to the manifesto, the union is engaging with the Labour Party on our key priorities for this. As an affiliated union the CWU has a formal role in the development of the manifesto under the Labour Party rule book, the National Policy Forum and through Labourís NEC on which Andy Kerr (Deputy General Secretary T&FS) represents the CWU. This engagement is being managed by the union nationally within the General Secretaryís department and the primary issues we are looking to move forward reflect our major campaigns and policies on our industries.

Finally, we would urge all branches to engage with local Constituency Labour Parties, MPs and candidates as a matter of urgency. The election is just six weeks away and it is extremely important that Labour is able to get its message and policies across. The only way it will do so is if party members and trade unions get behind this.