Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 45 Number 28, October 3, 2015 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Build the Movement against the Anti-Social Offensive

Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index :

Build the Movement against the Anti-Social Offensive

TUC Congress 2015: The Time Is Now!
Campaign against Trade Union Bill far from over
Birmingham Public Rally against the Trade Union Bill

Stop the War Coalition AGM Targets Cameron's Warmongering
Stand against the Interference and Aggression of the US and its Allies on the Korean Peninsula

Massive Demonstration Declares: Refugees Welcome Here

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Build the Movement against the Anti-Social Offensive

The week of action against the Conservative anti-social offensive, with the October 4 demonstration as its centrepiece, is evidence that the scale and intensity of the movement against the neo-liberal austerity agenda is increasing.

Indeed, the watchword has become that there is an alternative. By occupying this space for change, pushing forward the movement for a new direction for the economy and society, and affirming that a different world, a new society, is possible, working people in action will deal a powerful blow against this fraudulent agenda of “austerity”.

This movement, this new optimism, has not come out of nowhere. The ground has been laid for it by working people themselves organising to resist the anti-social offensive, taking a stand for justice and the rights of every human being, building the anti-war movement and refusing to accept that there is no alternative. Those that have united in action to demand an end to the class privilege of the rich, and the safeguarding of the future for public services and social programmes, have come to the fore.

The injustices of an economy which puts paying the rich in the first place and not the prospering of society and its members have been at the root of all the injustices heaped on working people. This fact underlines how necessary it is to fight for a new direction for the economy. In addition, it is the case that aggression and intervention by Britain abroad is rooted in reaction at home.

Building the movement against the anti-social offensive means building resistance and organisation on the one hand, and taking social responsibility for the fate of the socialised economy on the other. This is one reason that it is so crucial for the workers' movement and the social movements to get behind the path which the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader represents. This is not simply an issue of showing support and solidarity for the new Labour leader. It is a question of making a reality of the “new politics”, which is to say actively participating in building the movement against austerity and for a new direction, a different world. It is a question of refusing to be diverted or split by all the cynics of the establishment whose only interest is to sow doubt on the alternative and to try and convince and fool working people that those who are to blame for the economic and social crisis are the ones who now are resolving this crisis.

Ultimately it is a question of renewing the political process and institutions, with the aim of vesting decision-making power in the people. This has been and is and will remain an inspiring and challenging task. But already the definition of “mainstream” is changing. The old division of “left” and “right” is being left behind. The “new politics” demands working together, acting as part of a collective in sorting out problems and resolving them, both for the public good and for the benefit and flowering of individuals and their claims on society.

It is crucial at this stage to aim the blow against the Conservative government who are wreaking such havoc on the economy and on society, attacking the vulnerable and working people as a whole, and ensuring that the economy is run, if that is the word, only for the rich. The aim is to put an end to all aspects of the fraudulent “austerity” programme and to use the coming period to ensure that the neo-liberal Conservatives have no credibility left and are defeated.

The times are calling for a new direction for society in which the working class and people are empowered to make the decisions. The opportunity has opened up for the working class and people to make headway in turning things around, with unbounded potential to challenge and defeat the austerity agenda. The opportunity is there to build the movement against the anti-social offensive and for a real alternative, to build the movement for a pro-social economy and a society that guarantees the rights of all to a livelihood, to a bright future, and to an international order where problems are sorted out humanely and without recourse the use of force.

For an End to Austerity!
Build the Movement against the Anti-Social Offensive!
For a Pro-social Economy and the Empowerment of the Working Class and People!

Article Index


Workers' Movement

TUC Congress 2015: The Time Is Now!

The TUC held its 147th Congress from September 13-16 in Brighton. Many important issues were discussed: problems facing society, the organised workers' movement, health and education, the direction of the economy, pensions, culture, and so on.

It seemed clear that a time-lag exists overall between the motions and General Council's report on the one hand, and the mood of the workers' movement on the other, particularly in the light of the path opened up with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.

However, the motions and the composites were dealing with substantive issues. Many were dealing with actual issues at the work place, including in public services. The organised workers' movement was searching for the way forward in the present circumstances. This was evident, for example, in the debate over the General Council's statement on the EU, when delegates expressed scepticism over the Europe of the monopolies and its supposed guaranteeing of workers' rights, and refused to give carte blanche to a Yes campaign in the projected referendum.

It was when the austerity agenda of the Cameron government was being confronted head-on, and the issue of fighting for the alternative was itself placed on the agenda, as it had been a number of years ago, and was again with Jeremy Corbyn's stand, that Congress lit up with the fighting spirit and determination of the working class.

This was so, for example, in the debates on campaigning for public services and against the pay cap, and on the Trade Union Bill and building a campaign to stop government attacks.

Let us take the contribution of Unison general secretary Dave Prentis as an example. Speaking in the debate on public services, he said that “this is our time to smash the consensus”, voicing the new language of opposition, the voice of the delegates at Congress.

He said: “I’m representing Unison’s 1.3 million members who are keeping our public services going. One million women leading the way – nurses, dinner ladies, teaching assistants, social workers and so many more.

“Our people didn’t cause the recession, but they are now paying the price, decimated by the Tories’ austerity agenda. Our public services have been cut, closed down and privatised. Thousands are fearful for their jobs, and even more fearful for the essential services they provide. Looking after the sick and the vulnerable, caring for our children, and the elderly.”

Referring to Corbyn's victory, Dave Prentis said: “But on Saturday our people, for the first time in a decade, heard a message of hope, a clarion call that there is another way. An alternative message that it doesn’t need to be like this. For the first time in a decade there is a new language about opposition, of challenge, of holding this vicious government to account as they slash and burn all we hold dear.”

Explaining that there have been £160bn of cuts across the board and local government and social care are teetering on the brink, Dave Prentis pointed out that the NHS is under siege, and there is in place a pay cap for another four years, on top of the five that it has already been imposed.

Dave Prentis concluded: “This is our time to smash the consensus that austerity is here to stay. It’s our time to create a new path that offers hope and opportunity for those already left behind. To set out an alternative to the cuts agenda, the privatising agenda, and to the pay freeze destroying lives.

“There’s now a clear message that there is another way. A society for fair pay for all, a society that cares, and an NHS Bevan would be proud of.

“Now is our time, with our movement leading the way strong and visible, with demonstrations, protests, lobbies, and co-ordinated action.

“The vicious Trade Union Bill will not stop us organising. It will not stop us striking, standing up for the lives of millions and protecting the vulnerable. We will make our union stronger and united we will build coalitions, and we will resist.

“We will be strong and we will defy, and if that takes us outside of the most draconian legislation in the western world so be it. Our union will remain true to our members.”

This sentiment of the way forward to achieve success, that something is different now, that now is the time of the working class, was echoed by many delegates, including those from PCS, the POA and the GMB.

That may be the lasting legacy of the 2015 TUC Congress – that the working class is on the move, that this is our time!

Article Index


Campaign against Trade Union Bill Far from Over

Leading figures in the TUC have pointed out that the record books will show that the Conservative government’s first major act in office has been to attack the right to strike. The vote in the House of Commons on the second reading of the Trade Union Bill was conveniently timed with TUC Congress, they point out. However, while the Bill will now receive a third reading in November, the campaign against this bill is far from over. The TUC will continue to oppose it at each stage through Parliament. This is the sentiment of working people as a whole.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) also has concerns. There has been a ban on using agency workers in strike action since the 1970s, but the government is consulting on changing those regulations. The REC are not convinced that putting agencies and temporary workers into the middle of difficult industrial relations situations is a good idea for agencies, workers or their clients. The big recruitment agencies work in countries around the world. Most have signed up to the International Labour Organisation's convention on private employment agencies. It states that “private employment agencies should not make workers available to a user enterprise to replace workers of that enterprise who are on strike”.

The Trade Union Bill has also been attacked by civil liberties organisations. Liberty, Amnesty International and the British Institute of Human Rights said the bill represented a “major attack on civil liberties”.

The proposals have also been criticised by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the trade group for the human resources sector, which said the bill was an “outdated response” to today’s challenges.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said that legislation being put forward by the Conservatives is an “attack on civil liberties” and measures in the Trade Union Bill have been branded “ludicrous” and a potential “waste of police time”. Vera Baird has said that she does not want police officers out on the streets of Northumbria arresting someone because unions have not given two weeks’ notice if they intend to use a loudspeaker or carry a banner during a strike.

She said that restricting social media was an attack on free speech, adding: “The world of Twitter, Facebook and blogs is to allow people to express their opinions freely, as long as the comments are not defamatory”.

The TUC says that it will be exploring every avenue to stop the bill.

Article Index


Birmingham Public Rally against the Trade Union Bill

Two hundred people from across the Midlands attended a public rally against the government's Trade Union Bill at Carr's Lane Church in Birmingham on September 21.

The billed speakers included Professor Keith Ewing, President of the Institute of Employment Rights, Candy Udwin, PCS Representative from the National Gallery, Gerard Coyne, Unite Regional Secretary, Ravi Subramanian, UNISON Regional Secretary, and Lee Barron, TUC Midlands Regional Secretary.

Lee Barron said: “The government's Trade Union Bill is the biggest attack in thirty years. Not just against trade unions, but against our best chance of raising productivity, pay and demand. Because here is a simple truth: you can't create wealth without the workforce. And you can't spread that wealth around fairly without trade unions. If an employer believed we couldn’t strike, they wouldn’t bother to bargain. We wouldn’t have safe workplaces, we wouldn’t have paid holidays and we wouldn’t have equal pay. Nobody would deny that strikes can be inconvenient. But when it comes to a threat to the fundamental right to strike, the public are with us. Because that's exactly what this government is doing. Attacking the very principle of the right to strike.”

(TUC Midlands Region)

Article Index


Anti-War Movement

Stop the War Coalition AGM Targets Cameron's Warmongering

The Stop the War Coalition's AGM and National Conference, taking place on September 19, aimed its whole thrust at the Cameron government's warmongering and responsibility for humanitarian crises. Its immediate focus was to defeat Cameron on the government's proposal to intervene militarily in Syria, particularly its push to bomb targets in that country with the aim of effecting regime change and causing chaos.

The conference came in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn's victory as Leader of the Labour Party. It reflected the optimistic mood of the people to step up the movements to defeat austerity and war. The more-than-200 delegates took part in lively discussion. They deliberated on the crucial importance of going all out to oppose Cameron's attempts to use the refugee crisis to justify openly bombing Syria, not to mention Iraq. This aim of the Stop the War Coalition will also provide crucial backup to Corbyn's opposition in Parliament to the use of force.

The conference also pledged to fight to oppose the government's renewal of Trident and to demand that Britain withdraw from NATO.

We post below the report of the event which appeared on the Stop the War Coalition's website on September 24.

Stop the War Coalition Report

Saturday, September 19, saw Stop the War Coalition’s Annual National Conference at the University of London Union (ULU). Attended by over two hundred members and delegates from across Britain, the lively conference was notable for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition means that he can no longer serve as the Chair of Stop the War. Unfortunately, Jeremy could not attend the conference due to his busy schedule but he did send a message of solidarity to the conference in which he made his commitment to organisation clear and stated that Stop the War “represents the very best in British political campaigning”.

He continued by saying that his “amazing campaign over this summer owes something to the spirit and struggles of Stop the War since 2001”. Finally, he concluded by wishing his successor, and predecessor, Andrew Murray, well in his position as Chair.

Andrew opened the conference with a short introduction informing the hall that he was proud to take over from Jeremy and reaffirming the fact that Jeremy’s success is a massive boost for the anti-war movement – not just in Britain but across the globe.

Lindsey German backed up his statement by calling for Stop the War to harness the exhilarating energy of the current political climate to advance the aims of the movement and attract a new generation of people. Vice-chair, Chris Nineham, then delivered a rousing call to arms in which he stressed the need for an increase in activity of the back of Corbyn’s victory.

Contributions from the floor pointed to a surge in both interest and support for Stop the War across the country. Local groups such as Lewisham and Birmingham reported renewed interest from former members as well as a large number of new enquiries. Following the huge rise in Labour Party membership in the past few weeks the possibility of utilising local Labour meetings to promote Stop the War events and membership was raised a number of times.

It was also widely felt that building the campaign against the bombing of Syria was an ideal opportunity to expand the movement. It was made clear that widespread public pressure and a strong campaign will not only be effective at preventing military intervention but would also provide a massive boost to Jeremy’s leadership.

The Conservative government’s disturbing Prevent strategy featured heavily throughout the day. Alex Kenny from the NUT spoke in our Student and Young People’s meeting to inform the conference of the intense pressure teachers and their students are under as a result of Prevent. He also emphasised the fact that this was not just the cast in inner city areas like Tower Hamlets, where he teaches, but right across the UK.

Shelly Asquith (NUS Vice President), Shadia Edwards-Dhasti (STW Student Rep) and Jonathan Maunders (Oxford Brookes STW) also voiced strong concerns over an increase in Islamophobia at universities and amongst young people generally. A lively meeting was concluded with a resolution to establish a Young People’s Assembly and will be set up in due course.

Overall, a feeling of optimism and renewed energy characterised a successful conference. Now onto the many campaigns that await.

Article Index


Stand against the Interference and Aggression
of the US and its Allies on the Korean Peninsula

In moving a motion “Stand against the interference, aggression of the US and its allies on the Korean Peninsula” at the Stop the War AGM, Roger Nettleship, on behalf of South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition, said: “The Cameron government is at the centre of the militarisation of the Ukraine as part of NATO. It is interfering in Ukraine as part of it efforts to militarise the whole of eastern Europe and move NATO towards Russia. The government is aiming for regime change in Syria. Our movement is aiming to step up its opposition to armed intervention in Syria and Iraq.”

Roger Nettleship said that it is in this context that the anti-war movement also needs to challenge Britain's supporting role to the US in encircling China through Asia. A sovereign and independent Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a major block to these plans.

He continued: “The decisive stand of the Stop the War against the interference and aggression of the US and its allies, including our own government, has always been in the interests not only of the people of this country but of the people of the world in the fight against the big powers. It is these powers that are behind the terrible ongoing wars with their direct and indirect interventions.”

The mover of the motion pointed out that the DPRK is determined to defend itself against the rehearsals by the US military for the invasion of the DPRK and the direct threats to wipe it out. He said: “The continued stand of the DPRK in opposing the US military presence in the south of Korea and countering the US threats and hostility is a crucial factor for peace in east Asia and globally. Its demands that these military rehearsals for war on the Korean peninsula must cease and that the US must sign a peace treaty are just and should be supported by all peace loving people.”

The speaker concluded: “I think it is vital to pass this motion is because it highlights the interference of the US and its allies on the Korean peninsula. The US and its allies have been at war with the DPRK for 62 years and the anti-war movement must call on the British government to support the signing of a peace treaty with the DPRK and finally ensure an end the the Korean war of 1953.”

In contributions supporting the motion, it was pointed out that the Japanese situation is also very concerning and in fact has a direct bearing on the motion. The Americans are trying very hard to get the Japanese to fight wars outside their country. There are many hundreds of thousands of people who are demonstrating in Japan against the change in the law which allows Japan to do just this.

Motion from South Tyneside Stop the War carried at Stop the War Coalition AGM

Stand against the interference, aggression of the US and its allies on the Korean Peninsula

• It is a fact that the Stop the War Coalition has taken a stand against Britain's warmongering activities as part of NATO in the world. As an integral part of this stand, the anti-war movement opposes the hostile actions of the US and its allies on and around the Korean Peninsula. The criminal US embargo against the DPRK has been in place since 1951. The US has committed innumerable acts of espionage and aggression, including the stationing of nuclear weapons in south Korea. The military presence of the US in south Korea includes close to 30,000 troops. The United States' and south Korea's joint military exercises titled "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" have been conducted against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea annually, most recently during August. These aggressive exercises have taken place under the fig-leaf of the UN, which has not endorsed them.

• The conclusion must be drawn that the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula, as it is in other parts of the world, is the interference, intervention, aggression and the fostering of proxies by the US and its NATO allies, including Britain.

• The Stop the War Coalition takes a decisive stand against this interference, aggression of the US and its allies on the Korean Peninsula. It demands that the US sign a peace treaty with the DPRK as mandated by the Armistice Agreement of 1953. It is a monstrous injustice that this has not already been done. Regardless of different political systems no country should be subject to the threat of war.

Article Index


Fighting For the Rights Of All

Massive Demonstration Declares: Refugees Welcome Here

More than 100,000 people took part in a national march and rally in central London on Saturday, September 12, the focus of a national day of action to declare “Refugees Welcome Here”. The demonstration in London and wider day of action, which included events in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Newcastle and many other cities, was called by Stop the War Coalition, Solidarity With Refugees, Stand up to Racism, Barac, Migrant Rights Network, People's Assembly, War on Want, Movement Against Xenophobia, Love Music Hate Racism and Black Out London.

It was a huge, diverse and youthful energetic march and rally organised to send a loud and clear message that “Refugees are Welcome in Britain” and to protest against the Cameron government’s inhuman stance.

The organisers called the event “in response to various reports of refugees fleeing war, persecution, torture and poverty losing their lives or struggling to find a safe haven” and to protest against the “disgraceful” government response to the crisis.

Starting in Marble Arch at midday headed by a number of refugees, amongst the banners on the demonstration were: Refugees welcome here; Be human – Solidarity with refugees; Human rights are not conditional; No one is illegal; Jews welcome refugees; Don’t forget the Afghans, Iraqis and Eritreans; Don’t accept any narratives against human rights; Let them in; Refugees are human beings; Gays support refugees of terror; 20,000, are you joking? Solidarity with refugees; Our silence kills them; Refugees in, Tories out; Refugees' lives matter; Don’t bomb Syria; End the drowning; EU let them through; We are all equal; No life is illegal; No human is illegal; Take the wealth of the 1%, fight for 100s of homes and services for all; Reject politics of fear.

The demonstration passed Downing Street to a rally in Parliament Square, at which the new Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gave his first public speech after being elected.

“Recognise your obligations in law, that would be good,” he told the government. “Recognise your obligations to help people which you're required to do by law, that would be good. But above all, open your hearts and open your minds and open your attitude towards supporting people who are desperate, who need somewhere safe to live, want to contribute to our society, and are human beings just like all of us. Together in peace, together in justice, together in humanity, that surely must be our way forward.”

The action was also aimed in opposition to the manipulation of the crisis as a pretext for further military intervention in Syria.

“Surely our objective ought to be to find peaceful solutions to the problems of this world, to spend our resources on helping people, not hindering people and to try and bring about that world of decency, human rights and justice,” Jeremy Corbyn said.

Human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger said: “My heart goes out to those seeking refuge in Europe. We should never forget that our Government's misguided policies and illegal military interventions have played a critical role in causing this humanitarian crisis.”

Other speakers included director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti, musician Billy Bragg, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.

General Council of TUC Issues Statement on Refugees

The General Council of the TUC issued a statement on refugees which was endorsed by the TUC Congress on September 16.

The statement said: “Congress is appalled at the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding across Europe and the death toll among people fleeing war, persecution, sexual violence and destitution. In total, more than 2,300 people – many of them children – have died already this year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe by boat, compared with 3,279 during the whole of last year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

“People are fleeing from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other war zones in numbers not seen since the end of the Second World War. Conflicts in the Middle East North Africa have created the largest refugee crisis in generations. There are more than 4 million Syrian refugees alone, the overwhelming majority of whom are housed in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Although the UN has resettlement programmes, with precious few places on offer, the continuing war in Syria and increasing unrest in Turkey make many refugees feel that waiting for resettlement is hopeless.

“Congress also notes the continuing plight of refugees trapped in Calais, unable to reach the UK through any safe or legal route. Congress further notes the extreme pressure being placed on customs staff, train and lorry drivers many of whom are trade union members, confronted as they are by the desperation of the refugees and economic migrants in Calais.

“The lack of safe and legal routes to claim asylum means that people will continue to risk their lives to escape. Congress expresses sorrow at the lives needlessly lost so far. In the spirit of dignity, respect and solidarity, the trade union movement welcomes refugees.

“Congress believes that all people have the right to safety, economic security, religious and political freedom with access to health and education facilities within a society which protects those freedoms.

“No one chooses to become a refugee. Congress is horrified that it took shocking images of people, particularly a drowned child, to force some governments to act. Across Europe, people showed acts of humanity which hastened governments into action. We applaud their solidarity.”

The statement said: “Congress applauds the merchant seafarers who have upheld the principle of responding to persons in distress at sea by rescuing thousands – often putting their own health and safety at risk in the process. Congress also commends the efforts of those participating in rescue operations, including navies, coast guards and private vessels. Congress demands greater resources for humanitarian and maritime search and rescue services on major migration routes and also calls for stronger action by governments and the international community to prevent the undertaking of dangerous sea passages.”

The statement went on: “Congress condemns the UK Government for criminalising rather than helping people desperately fleeing persecution. Around half of all asylum seekers find themselves detained at some point during the process, despite the 2010 pledge to end child detention for immigration purposes, 155 children were imprisoned during the last year. Congress rejects the disgraceful notion that children admitted as refugees should be deported when aged 18. This must be dropped immediately.

“Congress regrets that the UK and EU’s focus and resources remain heavily weighted towards defending borders, instead of offering a humanitarian response to refugees who inevitably continue to attempt the crossing. The barriers used up to now, such as raising fences, have proved to be ineffective and have the sole effect of diverting flows from one route to another. Their use must be deplored. Pushing back asylum-seekers at EU borders often results in dramatic casualties. Long queues at asylum offices, overcrowded reception centres and improvised migrant camps in many corners of the European Union show how badly prepared the EU has been to cope with this crisis. Austerity has contributed to this situation, and made it especially difficult for the countries where refugees first arrive.”

The statement stressed: “Congress wants a response from the Government which matches our international obligations. Successive governments' British foreign policy has been instrumental in the expanding conflict in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Libya, giving the UK an even greater responsibility towards refugees fleeing to Europe.

“The UK should provide a safe haven for refugees from war and conflict. There is an unarguable and immediate need for the UK to show compassion and humanity and accept as many refugees as is needed. Britain has a duty under the UN Geneva Convention on Refugees to provide proper protection. Congress believes the UK must welcome its fair share of refugees, and calls upon the UK Government to work with other EU member states to establish a Europe-wide humanitarian evacuation and resettlement programme – giving the most vulnerable refugees the chance to live in safety and rebuild their lives.

“Congress commends those who participated in the ‘Refugees are Welcome Here’ Day of Action on 12 September.”

Further on the statement says: “Congress calls for an end to the bombing of Syria and condemns the calls from many in the Conservative Party for a Commons vote to increase air strikes on Syria, which would only increase misery, prolong conflict and increase the number of refugees.

“Congress believes that trade unions are best placed to speak directly to their memberships to ensure that anti-migrant rhetoric is challenged and further ensure that the pressures on the Government to deal with this crisis do not go away. Uniting people and collectively assisting those in urgent need are part of our founding principles. Unions should spread these messages through communications with members and through articulating in society at large the case that this human catastrophe needs a profound and immediate response.”

The statement calls for investment in decent public services, housing and social infrastructure. “It is essential that third country nationals be dealt with according to the principle of equal treatment. Increased mobility without guarantees covering working conditions and equal treatment leads to more undeclared work and unfair competition on the labour market that will exacerbate wage and social dumping, and therefore social tensions,” it says.

“Trade unions can play an important role in upholding the respect and protection of life, delivering significant assistance and support to refugees, and promoting their smooth integration into society and the labour market. Where refugees are able to work, unions will recruit and represent them, and work with partners to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees who are not in work.

“Congress undertakes to work with unions in the countries from which refugees are fleeing to offer practical assistance, and continue to support trade union, civil society and campaigning organisations working for peace and justice in the Middle East in line with TUC policy. Congress agrees to work closely with the Refugee Council and other appropriate bodies to develop this assistance, and urges unions to offer logistical and financial help to aid agencies, including those offering housing to refugees.

“Congress commits the General Council to campaign for Government policy to:

i. recognise that the UK must play a full role in supporting refugees and fulfil its moral and legal obligations to significantly upscale its resettlement programme

ii. participate fully in a continent-wide response to the refugee crisis

iii. make welcome tens of thousands of refugees whether from camps in the Middle East or already in Europe

iv. fully fund refugee resettlement, avoiding the exploitation of refugees and avoiding extra pressure on poorer inner-city communities, whilst ensuring that the international development budget is only used in line with OECD guidelines on official development assistance.”

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