"Common agenda" for unions and Government


The outgoing president of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has told the Labour Party conference that, despite media speculation to the contrary, there is a common agenda between the unions and the Labour leadership.

Roger Lyons told delegates this morning that the media's coverage was too often "exaggerating the negative and ignoring the positive" in the relationship, and that recent meetings showed they were "constructing a unity of purpose".

His comments come after the union block vote played a major part in defeating the Labour leadership over the re-nationalisation of the railways.

The trade union movement, Mr Lyons said, is all about improving the lives of working people and their families. He cited Labour's introduction of the national minimum wage, progress on union representation and investment in public services as evidence that Labour is delivering.

However, along with the positive words, Mr Lyons said there is still "unfinished business", notably on the equal pay and the two tier workforce, and said he welcomed a "progressive blue print" for the third term to tackle some of these issues.

He said these pledges of action must be delivered on.

In an apparent answer to those who have been questioning the benefits of a Labour government, Mr Lyons likened the question to "what ever did the Romans do for us?" and called on his members to undertake a "big communications job" to trumpet Labour policies.

This will be Mr Lyons last speech as TUC president, as he is standing down after 38 years in the trade union movement with Amicus, and 15 years on the TUC general council.