I'm speaking at the annual general meeting of the Eastern branch of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS (1)) on Thursday December 4th. I will be addressing the event in Peterborough (at the John Clare Theatre, on Broadway, at 1.30pm) as a plenary speaker.
I've been a Trades Union activist for 20 years including (most recently) in the University and College Union at the University of East Anglia. If elected as an MEP for the Eastern Region in the European elections in June I will be a firm defender of workers' interests.
The Green Party, as a staunch defender of social justice, recognises the important role unions play and strongly supports the right of UK workers to receive fair and equal representation in their negotiations with employers and their organisations, and to take industrial action when their rights are threatened. We are at present working with Unions in trying to ensure the right of unions to have workplace environmental representatives.(2) We believe that the close relationship between New Labour and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), a lobbying group representing commercial interests, undermines New Labour's commitment to workers' rights. And we recognise that the UK lags behind all other EU countries in protecting workers' rights. No other major party in England & Wales offers policies as attractive to unions and union members as the Green Party.
What workers need right now is good sustainable jobs. The government ought to be investing massively in creating green jobs, right now. The pre-budget report was a huge disappointment. The Green Party will keep working hard for green jobs: If elected next June I will work with Green Colleagues in the European Parliament to press for investment to generate millions of them!
(1) The PCS is the fifth largest trade union in the UK, with over 300,000 members. It represents civil servants and others employed by government agencies as well as private sector workers, mostly in industries that have been privatised.