Delegates back motions on Ukraine, public services and local government

Katie Neame

Labour conference has passed motions expressing support for an increase in funding for defence manufacturing to ensure that the UK can better aid Ukraine and backing pay rises for local government workers at least in line with inflation.

Ukraine, composite motion 13, was carried on a show of hands. The motion – put forward by the GMB – calls on Labour to support a “free, united Ukraine” and a peaceful end to the conflict that secures the territorial integrity of the country.

The motion demands that the party support the provision of military, economic, diplomatic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and back calls for ICC investigations into potential war crimes committed by Russian forces.

It calls on Labour to support a long-term strategy to “tackle Putin and dictators around the world” and for the party to back an increase in funding for UK defence manufacturing “so that the UK can rebuild lost industrial capacity and jobs, better aid Ukraine and ensure its forces are equipped to keep Britain and our allies safe”.

The motion also calls for Labour to support the Ukrainian decision to apply for EU membership and the decision of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

Public services and local government funding, composite motion 14, was also passed on a show of hands. The motion, proposed by UNISON, calls on Labour to commit to “proper long-term funding” for local government services and ensuring local government workers receive a pay rise each year at least in line with RPI.

The motion urges the party to “combat” further privatisation, academisation and outsourcing and work to bring public services back in-house.

It states that conference opposes the Home Office white paper Reforming Our Fire and Rescue Service and commits the Labour Party to “vigorously campaigning” alongside the FBU in defence of firefighters and their service.

The motion also calls on Labour to commit to significant investment in public services to protect retail workers, including delivering nationwide initiatives that support the complete rehabilitation of offenders and investing in community-led policing initiatives.

Below is the full text of the composite motions considered this evening.

Ukraine – composite motion 13

Conference endorses the Labour Party’s unreserved condemnation of the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine and expresses solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their courageous resistance to Russian aggression.

Conference notes:

The illegal invasion of Ukraine has led to tens of thousands of deaths; nine million fleeing Ukraine and ten million internally displaced; horrendous war crimes and human rights abuses by Russian forces.

That human rights are systematically repressed under Putin and Lukashenko’s authoritarian regimes, including trade unionists’ rights; and that labour rights have been supressed in the occupied territories of Ukraine since 2014.

The appeals from Ukrainian trade unions and the democratically elected Ukrainian government for practical and financial aid, including to protect workers and support refugees.

Conference affirms:

To stand with NATO allies in providing military, economic, diplomatic and humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people.

Its support for civil rights in Russia and Belarus, including labour rights and the freedom of speech, that are currently denied.

Its solidarity with the Ukrainian people and their labour movement, including Ukrainian refugees whose sanctuary has been delayed or denied by the government’s dysfunctional approach to settlement schemes.

To work closely with other European governments and other international allies to provide assistance and give refuge to Ukrainians fleeing conflict.

Conference resolves its support for:

A free united Ukraine and a peaceful end to the conflict that respects and secures the territorial integrity of Ukraine with the support of the Ukrainian people.

The provision of military, economic, diplomatic and humanitarian assistance to enable Ukrainians to free their country

ICC investigations into potential war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine and justice for victims of war crimes.

A long-term strategy to tackle Putin and dictators around the world to ensure security for British people and our partners and allies around the world.

The Ukrainian decision to apply for EU membership [and] the decision of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

An increase in funding for UK defence manufacturing so that the UK can rebuild lost industrial capacity and jobs, better aid Ukraine and ensure its forces are equipped to keep Britain and our allies safe in an increasingly insecure world.

Ukrainian trade union fundraising appeals for aid and a socially progressive reconstruction in which trade unions and civil society are properly recognised and can democratically participate.

Mover: GMB
Seconder: Holborn and St Pancras CLP

Public services and local government funding – composite motion 14

Conference notes the UK is currently in a cost-of-living crisis with the highest levels of inflation for more than 40 years. Alongside the general rates of inflation, certain sectors such as fuel and energy costs have increased far beyond inflation, and still seem to be spiralling out of control with no end or reassurance in sight.

Conference condemns the Westminster government’s long-standing policy of tight constraints on public sector pay in the UK, with decades of central funding cuts, pay caps, imposed pay review bodies and other limits designed to hold down the pay of all workers.

Conference applauds the local government workers who kept vital services running through Covid-19 despite the huge risks they faced at work. In the absence of leadership from this Tory government, it was these workers alongside Labour councillors who led the way, whether delivering food parcels to shielding residents, keeping schools open or looking after the elderly and vulnerable.

Conference recognises support that Labour in local government has put in place to attempt to mitigate the mismanagement of the economy by the Conservative UK government. This is despite cuts of more than 60p in the pound to council funding
since 2010.

Conference recognises the key role of the voluntary and community sector in helping our communities in this most challenging of times.

Conference notes that local government is critical to tackling the big issues facing society. It’s Labour councils leading the way in declaring the climate emergency and it’s Labour councils on the frontline helping people survive this cost-of-living crisis.

Conference is appalled by the 12% real-terms cut in average full-time firefighters’ pay (measured by CPI) since 2010.

Conference condemns the 2% pay offer made by fire employers to firefighters in June this year, the largest real-terms pay cut on firefighters in living memory.

Local government workers have endured over a decade of real-terms pay cuts and many cannot now afford the essentials.

Workers deserve protection through properly funded public services. Conference stands appalled at the recent increase in threats abuse and violence towards retail workers and reaffirms its belief that abuse should never be part of the job.

Usdaw’s research has shown that since 2017, the proportion of retail workers being abused at work has increased from around half to 90%. The number of retail workers being physically assaulted has trebled over the same period.

Conference condemns the impact of Tory austerity cuts on the safety of workers. Cuts to probation, rehabilitation and other programmes that support offenders and reduce incidents, as well as a significant reduction in resources for both community policing initiatives and the justice system, have all had a serious impact on the safety of retail workers.

Conference also notes that outsourcing and privatisation is eroding pay and conditions, and damaging public services while big companies profit.

Conference condemns the Home Office white paper, Reforming Our Fire and Rescue Service, launched in May 2022.

Conference is appalled that the white paper contains no plans or resources to improve the fire and rescue service, nor will it solve the building safety crisis exposed by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Conference believes firefighting is a humanitarian service, not about policing.

Conference believes that the white paper:

  • threatens the legal rights of firefighters to collectively bargain with employers over pay, conditions, safety and other contractual matters.
  • threatens the right of firefighters to take lawful industrial action.
  • seeks to give chief fire officers powers to dictate cuts to public services.
  • if implemented, would cut firefighters’ pay, increase hours, roles and intensity, introduce unsafe practices and stretch the service to breaking point.

Conference opposes the white paper, which is an attack on the workforce and the Fire Brigades Union. Conference commits the Labour Party to vigorously campaigning alongside the FBU in defence of firefighters and their service.

Conference resolves that Labour will:

  • Commit to proper long-term funding for local government services so that councils can do what they do best: develop innovative ways to support their communities, reduce inequalities, address the climate emergency, grow fairer local economies and tackle the cost-of-living crisis
  • Ensure local government workers receive a pay rise each year at least in line with RPI
  • Support Labour councillors and trade unions to campaign together against Conservative cuts and commits to the establishment of robust structures to ensure that Labour’s front bench works closely with Labour local government on all issues to do with helping our citizens manage this crisis.
  • Combat further privatisation, academisation and outsourcing and work to bring public services back in-house.

Conference calls upon the Labour Party to commit to significant investment in public services to protect retail workers; this investment should include:

  • Delivering nationwide initiatives that support the complete rehabilitation of offenders.
  • To invest in community-led policing initiatives, which recognise the invaluable role that retail workers play in our communities and delivers locally led programmes to guarantee worker safety.
  • A properly funded justice system to tackle the backlog and deliver victims of violence and abuse the justice they deserve.

Mover: UNISON
Seconder: FBU

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