TUC president Paul Kenny says unions work for a better, more equal society

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TUC president Paul Kenny today said trade unionists should be proud of what they have achieved in the fight for social justice and equality.

Addressing Congress 2012 in Brighton, he said: “This year’s Congress badge is a simple message – “Union and Proud” – because we should be. What working people have created by way of trade unions is truly remarkable and deserves celebration.

“As trade unionists we are a particular type of human being, it is our values for fighting injustice, campaigning for others, and our vision of a society based on equality of opportunity, which drives our agenda.

“That is why so many in government, the CBI or the IoD do not understand what makes us tick. Their values are based on individual wealth gathering and free market exploitation with some lip service to the deserving poor.

“Every essential requirement of a modern democracy is seen as a business opportunity to be exploited and ransacked, irrespective of the long-term costs to the economy or its citizens.

“The destruction of social housing, energy policy, rail and transport infrastructure were all carried through for reasons of commercial exploitation, and those basic tenets of a planned economy which require long-term planning and investment swept away in favour of the quick buck.”

He continued: “Trade unions are the largest collective body for good and social justice in the world and, if the movement we do not stand for social justice, then we stand for nothing.

“Our challenge is to grow, to organise those industries and workers which in some cases we have avoided, perhaps because of the difficulty of the task.

“In the run-up to the Pensions Day of Action, some unions discovered what some others had forgotten, people joined the trade union movement in their tens of thousands because we spoke up for their interests and organised on a scale not seen for quite a while.”

Praising the appointment of the TUC’s first woman general secretary, Frances O’Grady, he said: “I hope that one day soon the election of a women to leadership will create no more interest, comment or surprise, because it will have become far more frequent in all walks of life.”

He ended his speech by saying: “Our trade union has much to be proud about. We do not need to hide or apologise for who we are or what we seek. Are trade unions a vested interest? You had better believe it. We are. But for a better, more equal society.”

 


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