Category: TSSA Democracy

Comms Team

TUC Young Workers Conference 2024 Report

10 young delegates from different rail unions at the TUC Young Workers conference

TSSA delegate Harry Gibb reports from the 2024 TUC Young Workers’ Conference:

The weekend of 23rd/24th March saw the TUC Young Members conference held in Congress House, London. Myself and Matthew Smith were the TSSA delegates.

Saturday morning kicked off with speeches from the Chair of the TUC Young Workers forum. It then moved to a speech from Kate Bell, the Assistant General Secretary of the TUC. It struck me that many are relying on the apparently imminent Labour government to carry out their promises to bring in an Employment Rights Bill in its first 100 days. Whilst I join the movement in looking forward to improvements in the rights of working people, we need to make sure that Labour is held to account on this, as it could easily slip away.

We heard from young trade unionists from Norway who organise a Summer Patrol which visits businesses across the country to speak to workers and find out what issues they have, whilst promoting Union membership. It’s been running since 1985 and last year reached 8,783 businesses with 390 trade unionists. It would be great to be able to implement some of their tactics in our own recruiting – the reason why most people aren’t in a Union is because they’ve never been asked to join.

An international panel was then held with trade unionists from Columbia, Brazil, Turkey and Palestine joining online to discuss their experiences. It was interesting to see what struggles we have in common, and to understand the different issues workers face worldwide.

We attended a workshop regarding sexual harassment which got us thinking about different scenarios in the workplace to understand how cultures can easily become toxic if ignored for too long. The TUC is looking to roll this training out further, particularly to union leadership.

At lunchtime on Saturday, we attended the Fringe held by the NEU on the impact of new Minimum Service Levels legislation. This included speakers from RMT, ASLEF and PCS. The big takeaway from the fringe for me was that our members need to know about the impacts of this legislation. All of our members need to understand the current and potential future impact of this dangerous policy.

Sunday was mainly used to deal with the motions. There was a range of motions dealing with issues from the Palestine Conflict, to rights for precarious workers, and Minimum Service Levels legislation, all of which passed with no major contention.

I think that this conference suffers from having a limited impact in that from around 30 motions, two are chosen as priority campaigns for the year, and one is taken to the TUC Congress. This limits the impact of the great work that is being done by all the Unions in attendance.

The conference, however, remains a great training ground for young activists, giving opportunities to hone conference skills, and to make great connections across all of our unions. I felt a great unity across the rail unions throughout, and hope to build on these connections to win for all of our members.

Thanks to the branches which nominated me for this conference.

TSSA members attending a rally

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