When the dust settles and the movement takes a look back at the important business at 2014 TUC, it may well be an uncontroversial motion, carried unanimously, which takes on the mantle of being the most important. It’s passing didn’t merit a TUC press release, but the Bakers’ Union’s call for a £10 an hour minimum wage in the year we are all campaigning under the slogan Britain Needs A Pay Rise should not be underestimated.
Inspired by the fantastic $15 Now campaign in the US, British trade unions have now tied their banner to a significant rise in the minimum wage, which would start the process of dragging millions out of poverty pay. It may not yet have caused any tremors in union head offices and some will hope the demand will politely go away but the NSSN, along with all those progressive unions who understand its importance won’t let it. As Ronnie Draper, BFAWU general secretary, said in moving “We need a bold TUC to achieve this. We’re not asking for the moon, we’re asking for the means to transport our members there!”
NSSN supporters can now use the demand we raised at our 2014 conference on the streets and in workplaces with the backing of the official trade union movement. Indeed, we should be encouraging individual union branches to organise campaigning activity which includes the £10 Now demand. Can you get your trade union branch to put on a stall in the town centre one Saturday morning? Or call a public meeting about low pay, zero hour contracts and fighting back? Such events can even double up as opportunities to recruit new workers to your union.
Now is the time to be more visible! Not just on strike days but every day. Workers are sick of austerity; we want some of the recovery we’re told is happening. It’s the role of active trade unionists to help harness this discontent into a movement for change. NSSN supporters will be to the fore in this struggle.
We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with the Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis, but we will echo his rallying cry to TUC14:-
“Enough is enough. It’s going to be tough. We know that. But this is our time. Time to make a stand. Time to lead the fight. All of us together. Strong. United.”
“NHS workers vote yes to strike action and action short of strike action” http://www.unison.org.uk/nhs-workers-vote-yes-to-strike-action-and-action-short-of-strike-action