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Unions to take on Labour Party

Tony Woodley, Transport and General Workers’ Union general secretary, will confront the Government tonight at the Labour Party Conference.

In a direct challenge to the next leaders of the Labour party, Woodley will call for action to be taken against the ‘do nothing dogma’ on British manufacturing. Woodley wants jobs and manufacturing in the industry to be defended. He also wants a public spending policy that prioritises support for British manufacturing.

Woodley will say:

“£119 billion is spent yearly buying manufactured goods. This Government should do what most governments do – spend it here protecting British jobs. Why not insist that vehicles used by the government and the public sector are made in Britain. When a new hospital of school is kitted out, why not ensure that the tables, chairs, curtains and beds are British-made?

“Why should Public-Private partnership always mean bringing private money into a public service? Why not put public money into a strategically important private industry that’s in short term difficulty. After all, a relatively small investment in a key company could save the taxpayers millions in jobseekers allowance, housing benefit and retraining.

“That is what people want. We do not have the luxury of time but we have an opportunity. There is a window opening up to reshape the Government’s agenda. Let’s organise to make sure that anyone who wants to lead the Government is pressed to act to defend British manufacturing.

As part of the ongoing campaign to save the Peugeot car factory in Coventry, Jim O'Boyle, the T&G convenor at Peugeot’s Ryton factory, will also be addressing the meeting. In his speech he will bring home to party delegates the extent of the destruction caused by the proposed closure of the Ryton plant.

The fringe meeting is held jointly with Amicus and Amicus general secretary Derek Simpson will be speaking alongside Jon Cruddus, MP for Dagenham and John Hendy QC. The meeting will be chaired by Carolyn Jones, director of the Institute of Employment Rights.

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