Monday, January 30, 2023

UNISON Labour LInk Motion on Cost of Living Crisis: London Labour Regional Conference 2023

(My speech yesterday) 

"Chair. Conference. John Gray, proposing this motion on Cost of living crisis on behalf of UNISON Labour Link, the political wing of the largest and of course best trade union in London.

Conference, yesterday, we heard from an expert panel on the cost of living crisis. This including a UNISON organiser who supports members in London NHS hospitals, who have to rely on food banks to feed themselves and their families.

But Conference there are other experts on the cost of living crisis and these experts are you all in this room, a room filled with grass root labour activists, Cllrs, Affiliates, MPs and Assembly members, and workers trying to pay our bills, who day in day out, see first-hand the misery that the Cost of Living crisis has been inflicted on so many Londoners. Don’t forget Conference that this fresh attack on living standards is taken place after a decade of cruel austerity.

And who has suffered the most misery in London? It is of course our Black community, who even before this current crisis had tended to experience the lowest wages, the highest unemployment, the worse housing, and most insecure jobs with shoddy terms and conditions. It is Black Workers who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, who were dying from Covid whilst carrying out vital frontline roles and who keep the public sector running in London.

Conference, this motion tells it as it is but also what will a future Labour Government will actually do to solve the crisis. As a front line housing worker in North London and as an elected unison London activist, who represents members who work in social care & the wider voluntary sector. Let me paint you a picture.

Workers, who have already suffered years of austerity, while trying to survive in London on an inadequate national minimum wage, have either insecure zero hour contracts or face the slash and burn of their terms and conditions by fire and rehire.

A future Labour Government will give all workers greater employment rights and protections from day one. End zero hour contracts and fire and rehire. A Labour Government will deliver Fair Wage Agreements that will bring employers and unions together in my sector & in social care, to negotiate binding pay and conditions.

Conference, check out the “New deal for working people launched last year by my UNISON friend & colleague, Labour Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner. This is how we will end the Cost of Living crisis.

But Conference, let me be clear. First and foremost, we must get a Labour Government elected. We must get Keir Starmer elected as our Prime Minister.

Conference, despite my youthful looks, I have been able vote in elections for 42 years. But in those 42 years there has only been 2 Labour Prime Ministers and only 1 of them had ever been elected.

While I have never agreed 100% with any Labour Prime minister or Leader, I am a firm believer that the worse day in any Labour Government is far, far better than the very best day of any Tory Government.

Conference please support this motion. Let’s not just talk about the Cost of living crisis but get a Labour Government elected to end it.

(hat tip photo Liz B)

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