From education to employment

TUC leader – The Conservatives have “broken Britain”

Paul Nowak, Deputy General Secretary, TUC

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak will accuse the Conservatives today (Monday) of having “broken Britain”.

In his first speech to TUC Congress as head of the union federation, Paul Nowak will highlight that “nothing works in this country anymore and no-one in government cares.”

Addressing union delegates in his home city of Liverpool, Paul will say: 

“Nothing works in this country anymore and no-one in government cares. The Conservatives have broken Britain.

“They’ve had 13 years to sort out crumbling concrete in our schools. But five days before the new term they tell schools they can’t open

“Because – and I quote the education secretary – everyone “sat on their arses.”

“Could you think of a more perfect metaphor for this government? A crisis of their making, but someone else gets the blame.

“Yet, this government that can’t keep our rivers clean, or run trains on time, or run a functioning NHS can find time to attack the right to strike.”

Attacking the government’s Strikes Act, Paul will say:

“The right to strike is fundamental. Without the right to withdraw our labour workers become disposable, replaceable and exploitable.

“This new law isn’t about preserving services for the public.

“It’s about telling us to get back in our place and to not demand better.

“Well, that’s not going to happen – not on our watch.

“We fought their attack on the right to strike in parliament and we’ll fight it at the ILO* and in the courts.

“And, when the first worker is sacked for refusing to work on a strike day, we’ll fight it in workplaces and on the picket lines.

“Congress – this movement will fight it every single day until it is repealed.”

Accusing the Conservatives of ripping up the social contract, Paul will say:

“Families expected that life would be better for their kids than it was for them. That’s all we ask for now.

“Wages that go up, waiting lists that come down, kids that aren’t hungry.

“Working people deserve to be treated with respect, able to go on holiday every summer, able to take the kids out and treat them at Christmas.

“It shouldn’t be too much to ask for. But it’s a long way from where we are.

“And I know who’s to blame – this cabinet of millionaires.”

Calling for urgent political change, Paul will say:

“A fairer Britain won’t be delivered by this government.

“So, if like me you’re tired of this country where nothing works, tired of rampant inequality – vote them out.

“When the time comes I will tell anyone who ask: vote for working people, vote for change, vote for the party we named for our movement.

“Vote Labour.”

*The TUC announced yesterday that it is reporting the government to the UN workers’ rights watchdog, the ILO, over the Strikes Act. 

The TUC believes the Strikes Act falls breaches ILO labour standards and has submitted a case to the ILO over the government’s new laws. 

Unions defeated the government in the High Court over the unlawful use of agency workers during strikes. The union body says it is “determined to win again”.

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