With a general election approximately 18 months away, Jane Carolan told the TUC Congress today that unions had “a duty to stop talking to each other in conference halls – nice as that may be – and start talking to the people who will make a change: the voters”.
“The slogan we are the 99% is the right one,” she said. “We are the people who pay our taxes every month through paye, not the 1% of evaders and avoiders recently given another generous handout by their good friend Gideon.”
She said that union members were “the real Taxpayers’ Alliance, and we are the service users and, as citizens of the world’s sixth largest economy, we are fed up being treated as an underclass.”
Ms Carolan stressed the need for a “simple agenda with a clear messages of hope”, adding that “we need to keep repeating our message at every opportunity, in our speeches, in the leaflets we produce, on our websites, on social media and in every action we take, whether it’s demos or days of action or where we as unions find ourselves taking strike action to defend our members.”
Noting that, “at the moment, it is only the trade union movement that offers that agenda of hope,” she stressed tha`that we need to tell the Labour Party that we are the only game in town, we are the 99%, we are the coalition of the majority, we operate democratically” and “we need a commitment to boost real wages, equal pay and a living wage – not the continuance of a draconian pay freeze – if we are to generate real demand in our economy.”
She called for a commitment to a massive social house building programme, to “real quality employment” and real apprenticeships, “not zero-hours contracts or unpaid internships or dependence on in work benefits”.
Adding that “we need a commitment to reversing inequality – not politicians who divide us into strivers and skivers,” she urged delegates not to forget the motion after leaving the hall. “Winning our agenda”, she reminded them, “will be 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”.