TUC Congress 2021
NUJ delegates join colleagues from across the trade union movement to agree the priorities for the next year.
TUC Congress take place online this year and all the open sessions will be shown live on the TUC website. Congress gives all trade unionist a chance to get involved, connect with one another and showcase the importance of trade unionism.
The NUJ has tabled two motions this year - one on public sector broadcasting and a second on the safety of journalists.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet will be on the panel for two Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (TUCG) fringe meetings - fair pay for key workers on Monday 13 September at 12.30, and stop fire and rehire on Monday 13 September starting at 17.30.
Watch the TUC key workers film.
Watch Frances O'Grady's speech.
On Monday morning, congress agreed a motion on support for the cultural sector. Before the pandemic the creative industries accounted for more than two million jobs across the UK and contributed around £112bn to the economy. Despite its success, the sector remains host to a disproportionate level of precarious employment, long working hours, low pay, harassment and discrimination.
The pandemic has exposed the fragile nature of the sector in Britain and the sums made available by the government to “rescue” the sector do not address its underlying structural problems. The sector’s workforce is overwhelmingly freelance and many have been ineligible for the government schemes to assist the self-employed.
Congress agreed it is time to campaign for fundamental reform in the creative industries in order to redistribute wealth, income, power and decision-making and congress called on the TUC to campaign to ensure that public funding for arts and culture meets minimum agreed standards of pay and employment, renew lobbying efforts for an extension to employment tribunal claim time limits and promote democratic accountability across the creative and cultural sector.
Linda Rooke from Equity moved the motion by saying the creative industries played a vital role during the pandemic and also contribute billions to the economy. Steve Turner from Unite seconded the motion and concentrated on the inequities in remuneration for music streaming. Music labels can make up to 6 times more from a recording when compared to the earnings of the performer. Steve also highlighted Kevin Brennan MP’s private members’ bill which seeks to ensure that performers are properly rewarded.
Congress also agreed policy about online abuse. Congress calls on the TUC to fight to eradicate online abuse and tackle racist and discriminatory abuse. The motion said: " It is not enough to rely on the social media platforms to police themselves as time after time they have failed to stop the abuse or indeed demonstrated sincerely that they have a genuine will to do so. Social media sites enable, empower and embolden racists to spew their abuse, safe in the knowledge there will be little or no recourse for their indefensible actions."
Congress agreed the legislation going through parliament is a step in the right direction but should be stronger, and robust regulation without fear or favour is needed. Congress deplored the online abuse directed at Black football players, trade union reps, officials and leaders for simply representing their members. The abuse and threats to NHS staff, public servants and their unions, whether online or onsite must stop. The pandemic has seen a major increase in this.
Congress agreed that bullying and harassment in any form, online or in person, is wholly unacceptable and called upon the regulatory authorities to improve enforcement and increase sanctions against those who abuse others online.
Nick Cusak from the PFA proposed the motion and highlighted the experiences of Black footballers, and Hannah Barbour from the CSP supported the motion and said that other workers faced the same problems. Pauline Twigg representing the RCM added a call to protect health staff from racism and other attacks, particularly from anti-vaxxers.
Disabled workers put forward a motion about the economic impact of covid and disabled people as they have been particularly affected by the pandemic, and the government’s measures in response to it. The coronavirus has had and continues to have a disproportionate impact on the employment prospects of disabled workers and statistics show that two out of three who have died from Covid-19 are disabled. If you are disabled and male, you are 6.5 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than a man who is not disabled; the rate of death for disabled women is 11.3 times greater than women who are not disabled, and workers having to shield are facing particular issues, especially if they cannot work from home. Additionally, the re-introduction of the minimum income floor for self-employed workers applying for universal credit will ensure the maintenance of a punishing economic environment for disabled self-employed workers. Employers should ensure they continue to meet their legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. Congress agreed to campaign for rights for disabled people at work including a legal duty for employers to consider all disabled workers suitability for working from home, including ensuring that employers must rewrite jobs descriptions so that jobs can be performed from home; reforming the Access to Work fund to make it easier for disabled workers to work from home; giving disabled workers a new status of employment protection; an extension of the furlough scheme, or a creation of a scheme for shielding people who cannot work from home. Congress also agreed for the TUC to campaign to have long covid recognised as a disability under the Equality Act 2010.
TUC Congress condemned the tactics of fire and rehire as a means to drive down people’s pay and working conditions. One in 10 workers have experienced fire and rehire, with BME workers hit hardest. And a quarter of all workers have experienced a worsening of their terms and conditions – including a pay cut – since the pandemic began. Congress agreed the TUC need to urgently campaign for the immediate implementation of the following provisions to assist workers: an end fire and rehire, support disputes and expose the government for failing to end this practice and the employers who use it. Congress also agreed to call for a 90-day statutory period of redundancy consultation where more than 100 individuals are at risk of redundancy; a personal retraining budget for all workers given notice of redundancy to ensure the best chance of re-entering the workplace as soon as possible; a significant increase in statutory redundancy pay and closing the loophole where, in locations with less than 20 employees, employees are not entitled to redundancy consultation, even where the decision affects more than 20 people.
At lunch time the NUJ's general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, chaired a fringe meeting on fair pay for key workers. The event was organised by the Trade Union Coordinating Group. Key workers have been lauded as heroes for their contribution during the Covid-19 crisis but applause won't pay the bills.
Michelle Stanistreet opened the meeting and said one of the "most fundamental priorities" for trade unions is member's pay. She highlighted the critical work carried out by public and private sector workers during the global health crisis and said key workers and trade union members, including journalists, have "stepped up to go above and beyond" to respond but the government's gratitude quickly moved to hollow rhetoric. She said: "We must forge a better deal especially when it comes to pay. It should truly reflect the contribution our members make."
Sarah Woolley, BFAWU general secretary, said that too many food workers are struggling to be able to afford the food they produce. Many food workers have run out of food or have not had enough food for themselves or their families during the pandemic. BFAWU members have seen their living costs increase while their pay has been cut. Sarah highlighted that one of the legacies of the pandemic has been to show the importance of key workers and their impact on our collective wellbeing but being classed as a key worker doesn't pay the bills or keep families fed. BFAWU are campaigning for an end to zero hours contracts, 100% sick pay and for £15 an hour. She said trade unions need to come together and stand in solidarity together.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, outlined his union's intention to try and unify pay and pensions into one campaign focused on improving living standards for public and private sector workers. He acknowledged that parliamentary campaigns and community campaigns are not going to get the government to change and these efforts need to be accompanied by coordinated industrial action.
Graham Revie, chair of the trade union committee at RCN, said some of his members have had to help people say goodbye to their relatives in ICU via an ipdad, and that the death toll and pandemic has had a huge impact on nurses and carers all around the UK. He said RCN members have not had a decent pay rise since 2010, pay has fallen in the NHS and the public sector as a whole. He said the health crisis and pandemic is not over, and he emphasised that people are the glue that holds the NHS together. The demands on the NHS and on nurses are increasing, yet the workforce is getting smaller yet the government expect more for less. Graham agreed with other speakers that there is a need to come together to explore commonalities between unions with the aim of achieving common goals and outcomes.
Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said that trade unions and the movement as a whole should be driven forward by union members and the rank and file. He emphasised that it has been the poorest who have lost the most and worked the most during the pandemic and workers are now facing pay freezes, attacks on conditions and workplace agreements that have been in place for decades. Mick said that trade unions have to be ready to talk and negotiate with employers but need to also motivate members to fight and campaign as well as get every trade union into the one campaign for a better deal for every worker in the UK.
On Monday afternoon TUC Congress agreed a range of campaigns and policy on equality issues and democratic rights.
Black workers proposed a motion on tackling the widespread epidemic of structural and systematic racism. Congress agreed to call on the trade union and labour movement to seriously engage in reshaping the changes Black people have been demanding for decades. Conference called on the TUC to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of Black workers is taken seriously and supported as a collective issue and not individualised; organise a campaign to change the national education curriculum to include Black history, the slave trade and the colonial empire and its impact; press for under-representation of black people in political life including parliament, councils, assemblies and public office to be addressed; demand all employers are required to conduct regular mandatory equality impact assessments with monitoring and firm enforcement and redress, and work on improving international trade negotiations to help to secure fair and ethical agreements that provide “economically developing countries” a level playing field to trade with post-Brexit UK.
Women trade unionists put forward a motion to TUC Congress focused on equality impact assessments that highlighted the Covid-19 crisis has impacted women in terms of job losses, maternity and pregnancy discrimination, unsafe working practices, working from home issues including domestic abuse, being undervalued as key workers, and serious problems for migrant women workers. The motion also stressed that self-employed and freelance women are also vulnerable. TUC Congress agreed that equality impact assessments are essential for negotiating changes to working practices, particularly home-working policies, risk assessment, redundancies, working hours, fair pay and conditions. Congress agreed to call on the TUC and trade unions to prioritise protecting everyone’s safety, jobs and income; encourage women to become health and safety and/or union equality reps; train reps to carry out equality impact assessments; campaign for mandatory workplace assessments and to extend the equality duty to the private sector.
LGBT+ workers put forward a motion focused on fighting the far right's anti-LGBT agenda. The motion recognised that while the global pandemic took hold, far-right governments have continued to pursue their anti-LGBT+ agendas, including countries within Europe such as Hungary and Poland. TUC Congress agreed to continue to work with sister trade unions within the ETUC to promote LGBT+ equality across Europe at work and in wider society. The motion agreed called for the launch of a new campaign to help improve international LGBT+ solidarity and equality.
TUC Congress agreed a motion focused on breastfeeding and work. Mothers have reported having to express milk in staff toilets and not being allowed paid breaks in which to do so and having nowhere appropriate to store their milk during the working day. The World Health Organisation recommends that babies are breastfed exclusively for a minimum of six months and continue for up to two years, supplementary to other food. For mothers, breastfeeding is protective against some cancers, obesity, diabetes and postnatal depression. For babies, it reduces the risk of certain infections, diabetes and has many other health benefits. The UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world and although 81 per cent of mothers start by breastfeeding, this declines to around 17 per cent by three months. According to national statistical infant feeding surveys, mothers have cited returning to work as one of the reasons for not their fulfilling breastfeeding intentions. TUC Congress agreed that breastfeeding employees must be accommodated fully in the workplace. There should be a review and strengthening of the Acas guidance, including the provisions bring placed on a statutory footing.
Congress agreed the government are introducing increasingly authoritarian legislation that poses a threat to democratic, civil and human rights. The police, crime, sentencing and courts bill represents attack on the right to protest and the covert human intelligence sources (criminal conduct) bill enables undercover state operatives to commit criminal offences. The trade union movement has a proud history of protesting – and advancing the right to protest – as part of the struggle for worker and democratic rights. From the Suffragettes and Tolpuddle Martyrs to the poll tax revolt and Black Lives Matter. TUC Congress agreed to campaign against draconian legislation including any attempts to scrap or curb the human rights act and to campaign for the repeal of all anti-trade union laws.
TUC Congress backed calls to defend public service broadcasting and to save Channel 4 from privatisation. The NUJ was the seconder of the motion and it was proposed by Paul Flemming from Equity who said that Channel 4's model of broadcasting had "triumphed" and it was a "bastion of creativity". He also asked for all trade unions to join in the campaign. Channel 4 is a publicly owned but self-funding broadcaster that has been integral to the success of the British television industry in the nearly 40 years since it was launched. While state-owned, Channel 4 is 90 per cent funded by advertisements, at no cost to the taxpayer, with a remit to be innovative, producing content ranging from Channel 4 News, Dispatches and Unreported World to It’s a Sin, Gogglebox and the Paralympics. Despite the pandemic, C4 reported a record surplus; opened new Leeds headquarters; established creative hubs in Glasgow and Bristol; spent half its money outside London; supported 10,600 jobs and contributed almost £1bn to the UK economy. TUC Congress agreed the privatisation proposal makes no economic sense and is driven by ideology. Privatisation would remove Channel 4’s role in nurturing new talent, reflecting cultural diversity and showing alternative viewpoints. TUC Congress fears C4’s award-winning, hour-long C4 News would not survive. TUC Congress agreed to oppose the privatisation of Channel 4; campaign in support of public service broadcasting and against any sale or merger of C4, and for full transparency on the activities of the government’s PSB panel.
The NUJ submitted a motion about the safety of journalists that was agreed by TUC Congress. The motion condemned the increasing rate of journalists being harassed, abused and physically attacked in the course of their work. The motion highlighted that women and Black journalists face disproportionate abuse and that such harassment risks silencing journalists and censoring debate. It disturbing that incidents have continued to rise, with a proliferation during lockdowns, particularly at demonstrations where reporters and photographers have been harassed and physically attacked, accused of being “collaborators”, “government agents” and purveyors of “fake news”. TUC Congress reaffirmed the vital role journalism plays in a democratic society and welcomed the action plan from the government. TUC Congress agreed to support the action plan and campaign for improvements in public discourse, particularly amongst those in public office, and their responsibility to ensure media access and refrain from denigrating journalistic work; action from the tech giants to stamp out disinformation and fake news, and better awareness of the role of journalism in society and the need for greater diversity and plurality.
TUC Congress welcomed the benefits of agile working and technological developments but expressed concerned that many workers now feel pressurised to be available and online outside of their contracted hours – effectively working for nothing. The pressure to respond to emails, other electronic communications and calls outside of normal working hours is detrimental to hard-fought improvements in work/life balance, can have an adverse effect on family life, mental health and wellbeing and ultimately only benefits the employer. TUC Congress welcomed the advances in establishing the right to disconnect in Ireland and called on the UK government to introduce similar legislation to protect working people in the UK. Congress agreed to call for legislation so that workers have the right to not routinely perform work outside normal working hours; not be penalised for refusing to attend to work matters out of hours; and a duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect.
The TUC Congress fringe meeting on Monday night was focused on the campaign to stop fire and rehire schemes. The event was chaired by Tony Burke, assistant general secretary of Unite and the TUC General Council’s lead on employment rights. Tony welcomed everyone to the meeting and said that fire and rehire schemes have been called "abhorrent" and there have been many trade union disputes in response.
Jo Grady, UCU general secretary, was the first speaker and she highlighted that the existing UK trade union laws are "draconian" and tipped the balance of power in favour of employers. There has been a rise of insecure work, including in the higher education and post-16 education sectors and there has been an epidemic of casualisation and insecurity. Jo said the UCU have already taken strike action on these issues and the union is now embarking on new campaigns. She stressed the importance of different trade unions in the same workplaces working together to force employers to climb down from threats and attacks. Jo said: "it doesn't matter how professional you get, for people working in our sector, many of them will have studied for seven+ years in higher education and are still on the receiving ends of these types of contracts of attempts by management to undermine terms and conditions, we see this everywhere." Jo also used the example of her former employer, the University of Sheffield. The university was looking to cut expenditure on staff and the management came up with a number of proposals that would see staff pay and conditions downgraded. The pay conditions were aimed at specific staff, cancelling promotion and pausing incremental pay progression for 4,000 staff. In response there was a cross-union effort - UCU, Unite, Unison and GMB all worked together. They did not give ground after redundancy notices were issues and the university had to cancel its plans.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, talked about the different campaigns organised by the NUJ ranging from the Daily Mail to Newsquest's local newspaper title in Oxford, she said:
"At the risk of going all Jackanory, I want to tell you about a man called Henry Faure Walker. Henry is the chief executive of Newsquest, which publishes around 120 local newspapers in this country, including famous titles like the Herald in Glasgow, The Telegraph and Argus in Bradford, the Argus in Brighton, and the Oxford Mail.
Henry does very well for himself, as you might expect. In recent years he has been paid over half a million pounds a year, and this summer the Queen awarded him an MBE for “services to regional journalism and charity”.
The murky world of awarding honours and gongs is not one I am familiar with. In light of Henry’s award, though, I find myself thinking that Buckingham Palace might benefit from the services of an investigative journalist helping with its due diligence.
It’s true that the company that Henry leads generates significant profits for its American owners, the equally rapacious Gannett Inc. But as he’s presided over years of cost-cutting, job losses and title closures, it’s hard to see what tangible beneficial service to journalism and local news in the UK has warranted his elevation.
Take the Oxford Mail. A typical journalist on that paper will have a degree in journalism, likely a post-graduate qualification as well as years of experience and skill. They will almost certainly work upwards of 45 hours a week and they will earn around £25,000 a year.
Conditions are tough, workloads are too high because staffing levels have been cut to the bone and pay has suffered from years of freezes and stagnation. Regular weekend shifts and work on public holidays are expected – otherwise there would be no editions on Mondays or the days after Easter, Christmas and the rest. They are motivated by their passion about journalism, about local news in particular, about serving the community.
In the Spring this year, just as lockdown restrictions were easing, Henry signed off on a plan to change the contracts of journalists on the Oxford Mail. Up to then, if they were required to work on public holidays, they would be paid time-and-a-half. If you are on a modest wage, in a job where overtime is expected but generally unpaid, it is a token acknowledgement that it matters when you miss family time.
Henry’s instructions were that staff should be sent termination notices, and re-employed on changed conditions scrapping the bank holiday payments. This from a man paid around £2,262 a day – to his hardworking staff who earn just £115 a day.
The enhanced payment he wanted to remove allowed staff the potential to earn an extra £60 up to eight times a year. Where were his charitable instincts, you might well wonder, when he took time out of being the industry’s poster boy for local news and gave the go ahead for staff to be told, in the middle of a pandemic, to accept it, sign a new contract, or consider themselves out of a job?
This is emblematic of employment practices in much of the media. Arrogant, greedy, and shabby employment practices have wrought terrible damage to a sector which exists to inform the public, scrutinise power and reflect back to us all news about the communities in which we live.
When it comes to poor practice, and prioritising profits over resources and investment, Newsquest is the gift that keeps giving. In 2003, the company bought The Glasgow Herald and the Glasgow Evening Times. At that time, 351 journalist worked on those papers. Today that figure is fewer than 70 – and they are producing an additional national daily paper. That means radically fewer reporters in courts, in council chambers, and chasing up leads.
So what can we do?
Inevitably the answer is that we need to take on these greedy, unprincipled employers by every means available.
In Oxford, our very brave members threatened strike action and a stand-off ensued. Eventually we arrived at a negotiated settlement that retained enhanced payments for some public holidays but not all. It was not everything that we hoped for, but it showed that resistance is possible, and it prompted renewed organising and vigour at our NUJ chapel.
As employment markets in many sectors tighten, we must empower workers to take this kind of action when they are threatened. And our members in Oxford did a brilliant job of engaging local politicians and the wider community that they work within, who were loud and vocal in telling the company that it expects better from their local paper.
We need to call employers out in the public arena. Newspaper editorials are full of condemnation for shoddy, unprincipled employment practices. But they don’t like it up ‘em. All the more reason to call out hypocrisy, when the moment demands. It is no less true in any other industries where corporations try to build cosy brand images that are at odds with how they treat their workers.
We must also be bold with the law. In 1989, the Daily Mail ripped up its collective agreement with the NUJ and announced that journalists who insisted on their existing contracts of employment would be henceforth denied the pay increases offered to other staff. The NUJ took the Daily Mail to the High Court. We took them to the Appeal Court. We took them to the European Court of Human Rights. Candidly, we came close to betting the farm on the case. When we won, however, it established beyond all doubt that discriminating against workers because of their trades union membership was unlawful.
So in my industry, there is nothing new about fire and rehire. We long ago learned that relying on the charitable conscience of people like Henry Faure Walker was a fools game.
But the public reaction to fire and rehire is new. There is a fresh sense of collective outrage at this practice. It is on this that we must build, stepping up our work building alliances across communities, trumpeting our successes across the whole movement, to inspire others and to give workers’ confidence to have that collective voice at work
At its essence, fire and rehire is a bully’s strategy that takes advantage of people’s understandable fear that they will lose their jobs. Its prevalence today is the result of unscrupulous employers hoping to exploit the ‘anything goes’ atmosphere created by the pandemic, a cynical power play inspired by a 'never waste a crisis' approach to running a business.
But we all know there is only one way to deal with bullies, and that is to stand up to them. And never wasting a crisis is an approach that works both ways – our job as trades unionists is to show our members that with support, resistance is possible.
Many of our members have made extraordinary sacrifices over the past two years to keep society functioning. They deserve better pay and enhanced rights, not the shameful, shabby raid on their terms and conditions that fire and rehire represents.
If we work together, if we share experiences, if we harness public anger at fire and rehire, it can be beaten. We don’t need charity.
Collective power is the cure for shabby employment practices. As Frances O'Grady made clear in her speech today, we need to come together and make the fight to outlaw this practice a collective priority."
Barry Gardiner MP was the last speaker of the night and he focused on the parliamentary aspects of the campaign as he is leading on a private members' bill in parliament to stop fire and rehire schemes. He said he launched the parliamentary campaign because of what happened in Banbury when 291 workers were fired and were told they could only get their jobs back if they accepted a £12,000 pay cut. The company had made record profits in the same year. Barry said that no manager should have the power to go in and tell somebody they are fired unless they sign up to a new contract with worse terms and conditions, a lower salary and no pension rights. Employers should not be able to rip up contracts, and if they fail to consult, negotiate, and do that transparently, then they should be subjected to penalties and appeals on the grounds of unfair dismissal. Barry added that he was organising various events to spread the campaign and asks unions and trade unionists to get involved.
On Tuesday the conference agreed policy on a three-day weekend and recognised that working hours in the UK are now amongst the highest in Europe, and during the pandemic they increased further, with people working from home putting in an average of six hours unpaid overtime per week. Long working hours and lack of work/life balance are associated with worsening mental and physical health. TUC Congress agreed that working people must be able to exercise more freedom over their time, and reduced hours can increase overall employment and protect jobs. Conference agreed that the labour movement should now launch a campaign for a shorter working week, with no loss of pay.
TUC Congress also agreed policy on a new deal for self-employed workers. Conference recognised that freelance workers are critical to the economy and society and that these workers deserve proper rights and protections at work, yet estimates show that a fifth of the self-employed population are in debt because of the pandemic. All workers deserve dignity and the right to operate free from bullying and harassment, yet self-employed and freelances are often exposed to negative and unsupportive cultures at work. TUC Congress agreed to call for a full inquiry into the treatment of self-employed and freelance workers during the pandemic, including the issue of exclusions from government support. Congress also agreed to campaign for a new deal for freelance workers that includes stronger health and safety protections, the extension of statutory sick pay and paid parental leave to self-employed workers, and widened access to universal credit.
The motion on flexible working was also agreed by Congress and noted that more than eight in 10 workers want to work more flexibly in the future. As a recent TUC report argues, genuine two-way flexibility can be a win-win arrangement for both workers and employers, allowing people to balance their work and home lives, promote equality at work and boost morale and motivation. Too often so-called flexibility can be a one-way street. Zero-hours and casual contracts and other forms of precarious employment dominate parts of our labour market – leaving many workers unsure how much they will earn, or what shifts they are expected to work. Over the course of the pandemic many office-based workers have worked effectively from home or in a hybrid way, but Congress recognised that enforced working from home has the potential to entrench existing inequalities. Flexible working needs to be negotiated and agreed with workers, not imposed in a top-down manner. Conference agreed that the TUC will continue to campaign for flexible working that benefits workers, and for the TUC to co-ordinate union efforts to ensure that every worker – including those working flexibly – has effective access to and support from a union.
Universal credit was highlighted in a motion to TUC Congress. Congress raised concerns about the five week wait, the ‘two-child rule’, monthly assessments which are out of touch with the pay schedules for most low-paid workers and the payment to a single recipient – reducing financial independence for vulnerable women. In addition to these fundamental flaws in the design of universal credit, the government is looking to reduce payments by £20 per week, taking away a much-needed lifeline from claimants. TUC Congress called on the TUC to continue to mount a high-profile campaign for fundamental reform, including the permanent retention of the £20 uplift introduced during the coronavirus crisis, immediate reform of the fundamental flaws in the system and for universal credit to be replaced by a social security system that supports low-paid workers and the self-employed.
Congress put forward a policy response to the recent announcement by the government to increase national insurance contributions. In response to the new tax hike on working people announced by Boris Johnson on 7 September, breaking his own manifesto, Congress believes that the financial burden of rebuilding the economy, and addressing the underfunding crisis in health and social care that pre-dated the pandemic, should not be borne by working people who are being hit by a double whammy of tax rises and real-terms pay cuts. Additional funding should not be raised through the further attack on those in low-paid and insecure work that the tax hike represents, and which will have severe equality impacts. Funding should be prioritised for and received by frontline services and all workers who help deliver them, and safeguarding jobs under threat, not the wholesale cronyism that has seen highly lucrative contracts and consultancy opportunities awarded to well-connected profiteers, exemplified by the Greensill scandal, who have accumulated wealth to the cost of our communities. Congress agreed that the TUC should campaign against the rise in national insurance, call on the government to present a transparent report on all public spending since March 2020 and fully costed alternative proposals for raising revenue for debate by parliament.