wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06LONDON6324 2006-08-30 17:08:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy London
Cable title:  

UK TRADE UNIONS CONFERENCE WILL OFFER SNEAK

Tags:   ELAB PGOV PREL UK 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO2463
RR RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHIHL RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHLZ
DE RUEHLO #6324/01 2421708
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301708Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8646
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEC/MIDES COLLECTIVE
RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA 0289
RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 0386
RUEHED/AMCONSUL EDINBURGH 0603
RUEHBL/AMCONSUL BELFAST 0604
					UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 006324 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB PGOV PREL UK
SUBJECT: UK TRADE UNIONS CONFERENCE WILL OFFER SNEAK
PREVIEW OF PARTY GATHERING


LONDON 00006324 001.2 OF 002


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; NOT FOR INTERNET.



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Delegates to the upcoming TUC Conference
will greet PM Blair with the question "When are you
leaving?", Trades Union Congress (TUC) International
Relations Department Head Owen Tudor told Lab Couns and ECON
Asst Aug 30. The TUC will also debate recent moves to
privatize parts of the National Health Service (NHS). On
international issues, they will stress solidarity with Iraqi
and Kurdish trade unions, denounce Israel's foray into
Lebanon and push for continued free movement of labor within
the EU, including Romania and Bulgaria, when they join.
Tudor noted with regret that elements of the TUC have drifted
left and suggested the US had moved right, resulting in a
greater than ever gap between UK unions and the US. END
SUMMARY

A FORETASTE FOR DOMESTIC POLITICS



2. (SBU) The annual TUC conference, September 11 to 14 in
Brighton this year, relishes its role as the "rehearsal" for
the Labour Party Conference a few weeks later, Tudor said.
The trade unionists get first crack at the Prime Minister and
will focus on the same internal issues that will grip the
politicians in Manchester: when will PM Blair leave, and
what will the next Labour leadership look like. Tudor said
the first question Blair will be asked in the Q and A after
his speech will be "When are you leaving?". Realistically,
however, the unionists know these issues will only be
discussed, not decided, at their gathering.



3. (SBU) The biggest domestic issue on the agenda will be
government's efforts to privatize parts of the National
Health Service. (The government has proposed privatizing the
NHS Logistics service, for example.) Also, a recent bid by
US healthcare giant UnitedHealth Group to provide medical
professionals to the NHS has raised concerns of some
consumers and trade unionists. "Do we really want to follow
the American model of health care?" Tudor asked.

SOLIDARITY WITH IRAQ; SUPPORT FOR IMMIGRANT LABORERS



4. (SBU) The conference's international agenda will try to
stay reasonably close to the Labour government's. Foreign
Secretary Margaret Beckett will address the conference the

SIPDIS
morning of Sep 13 and international issues will be debated
that afternoon. War horse issues like Cuba will offer no
surprises, Tudor said, but he and the leadership will try to
rein in the membership on Iraq. The TUC (like the AFL-CIO)
maintains close ties to the Iraqi trade union movement and
tries not to undercut them by calling for a military pullout
from Iraq. Kurdish trade unionists are treated as a distinct
movement, both by the TUC and their Iraqi counterparts, Tudor
said. The TUC does not try to draw any conclusions from that
distinction, however. On Lebanon, the TUC is likely to
criticize Israel, although Tudor admits there is more passion
than logic to their views on this issue. He argued that even
traditionally pro-Israel voices in the UK did not approve of
the Israel incursion and so a strong statement was inevitable.



5. (SBU) The prospect of Romanian and Bulgarian workers
streaming into the UK when they accede to the EU, as did the
Poles and others before them, is less of an issue for the TUC
leadership than for the rank and file, Tudor explained. The
TUC has always been "purer than pure" on labor mobility, he
said. It should be allowed to occur as freely as capital and
goods move. He questions analyses by the Bank of England and
others that migrants from Eastern Europe have depressed wages
in the UK, saying there is little statistical evidence to
back it up. Free movement of labor, however, should be
matched with strong labor protection laws, as Ireland has
done, he said. The problem will be to convince the rank and
file, who are reading the "bad analyses" in the UK press.

US-UK RELATIONS SHOULD MEND



6. (SBU) Tudor, a recent IV-grantee, welcomed outreach from
the US Embassy and regretted that the UK labor movement had
turned away from the USG and the US generally in recent
years. He blamed a discontinuity between labor's post war
leaders, who favored strong ties to the US, and their
successors, who did not understand the strength of that
tradition. The pull towards Europe and the impact of
globalization had also caused many in the movement to turn

LONDON 00006324 002.2 OF 002


away from the US. He hoped it would prove to be a temporary
rough patch and that strong US-UK ties would again become the
norm.

Visit London's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/london/index. cfm
Johnson