Conference backs TUC unemployed workers’ centres

27 May 2016

Unemployed workers’ centres are unique because no other trade union-based network gives a voice to the unemployed, Mike Aistrop (Sellafield) told conference.

The centres, which are in ever-increasing demand, offer practical help with education, skills, job searches, writing CVs, welfare, benefits, housing, debt and representation at tribunals.

Their greatest strength is that they respond to local needs. They are staffed by volunteers who come from, and work in, their communities, he said.

“These centres put unions in touch with the community and it is a tribute to their resilience, skill, hard work and effective grassroots support that the centres have survived and are again proving a necessity in these current turbulent times.

“Job insecurity is a key feature of modern work and underemployment is the greatest source of poverty.

“Their services are in greater demand, but they are struggling with funding,” said Aistrop.

David Luxton, speaking on behalf of the national executive, asked delegates to remit the motion because trade unions alone can’t keep these centres running.

He said the landscape now was very different to the 1980s when the centres were set up. At that time, 10 per cent of the workforce was unemployed.

He also pointed out that the centres were funded by local authorities.

In his right of reply, Aistrop urged delegates to get involved with their local centres and consider making a donation.

Delegates agreed and backed the call for the executive to support TUC unemployed workers’ centres as part of its national policy.