Me & Mr Miliband

TUC 1I had a great opportunity yesterday to meet two very high profile people. Labour’s Ed Miliband and the TUC’s General Secretary Francis O’Grady. It was in Bournemouth and this was Francis O’Grady’s first conference as the general secretary.

Upon entering the conference hall it was quite different from our conference layout. The delegates were sat in rows with tables in front of them. It was quite futuristic, complete with lighting effects and big screens. It was also a lot less intimidating for people getting up to speak or oppose onTUC 2motions, as on the top table there was only a maximum of 6 people at one time, making everything a lot more relaxed. As a Youth Committee it should be a format we look at.

It was good to see youth delegates there from different unions getting up and speaking on motions. There were many 1st time speakers and the motions were very good. One was about zero hour contracts and exploiting workers, something Ed Miliband said if he would legislate against if he was the prime minister.

It was a really good experience. I got to meet other delegates from other unions who were attending too. I felt really privileged to represent our union. I got to ask Ed Miliband a question and my question was:

TUC 3“What will the next labour government do to encourage young people to understand and join trade unions?”

I asked this because this is something that not only will affect the unions in the future but will also affect the Labour Party because young people are not educated enough on politics and don’t have a general understanding (and that includes me – everything I now know is what I have learnt over the last 4 years through the CWU educating me.) It’s quite important the likes of you and I fill these positions and make the difference.

Ed Miliband’s reply to my question was we will be going into communities and organising. This is a massive step in the right direction for me I think.

I always try to put a motion into our own youth conference for unions to get into schools and educate the next generation and maybe look at getting into youth clubs and capture the interest of the next generation. So when they do get their first job they know they have help, experience and protection at hand. A lot of the younger generation will be now entering a workplace knowing nothing about a union not even knowing our existence – this is a fact.

TUC 4I really enjoyed this experience and spent time with some really positive and influential people. Seeing all the delegation of all other unions represented and networking together is a good thing. Unions coming together like this will only make us stronger and spread the word wider.