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On Tuesday (19 January) the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (TUCG) held a parliamentary reception to launch its campaign for the general election and beyond. The TUGC currently comprises 8 unions, Bakers, Fire Brigades, Probation Officers, Prison Officers, PCS, RMT, United Road Transport and ourselves (NUJ). It was launched in 2008 with the aim of helping achieve more effective campaigning on issues of common interest within parliament and beyond.

Among the papers we picked up on arrival was a copy of the latest group bulletin, an important briefing on the effects of government cuts in the partner unions and a briefing note on the Fiscal Responsibility Bill prepared by Leap, the Left Economics Advisory Panel (a ‘think tank’ chaired by John McDonnell MP). Find out more about them at:

Among the speakers was deputy general secretary Michelle Stanistreet who outlined some serious concerns about the provisions of the Equalities Bill (now before the Lords) and the need to improve the pay of women who still do not receive equal pay with men. There is also an emergency delegate conference organised for 6 March to discuss the impending attack on the public sector (whoever wins the general election) and focusing on the unions’ agenda as we approach the election. The conference will include delegations for all 8 supporting unions as well as a number of individuals invited from specific campaigning organisations. (I’m checking on how the NUJ is deciding who to send).

The TUCG is a useful initiative, and really needs to wide its trade union base. This is not for want of trying by the organisers (it’s too ‘left’ and critical of government for some unions it seerms), but it must be a priority for the future. We all know what’s coming and who is being expected to pick up the bill for the bail out of the bankers and capitalism. I would rather we hang together than separately, although in truth I don’t see why we should hang at all!