The agenda for the 7-9 November Special Virtual Conference of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) has been released. Motions from branches were only permitted on subjects designated by the NEC. That said, this will enable activists the first opportunity in a long time to debate some key issues.
The event will open with a section on Anti-Racism, which is unlikely to be controversial, followed by one on Politics, which certainly will be. Here the choice will be a complete break with Labour or a reduction in financial support to the party. The latter is the National Executive Committee (NEC) position and is likely to prevail.
The section on a New Deal For Workers sets some laudable objectives, but we can only wonder how much enthusiasm there will be for arguing for improvements in the condition of workers in industries where in recent years things have gone in the opposite direction. The biggest section is on Recruitment and Organising, not surprising given this is the most pressing issue for an organisation with a rapidly declining membership. Unfortunately most of the proposals are a restatement of previous initiatives which have failed.
One of the standouts on this agenda is a motion from the left-led Greater London Combined branch which calls for an extension of Public Ownership to the utilities and broadband. It will be interesting to see what attitude the NEC takes to this.
There are a number of motions not admitted to the agenda, and for some it is hard to see why. One from the tech workers' branch UTAW is in this category. It is an excellent internationalist motion to “develop and strengthen comradely links with unions elsewhere in the world - particularly the Global South", and it also raises the question of the anti-union laws and particularly the right to solidarity action. It is to be hoped that the sponsors will use the facility to make an appeal to conference for it to be placed on the agenda.