Emma hosted the second of her Your Voice Matters events on Friday. The event was held at the Dunes Entertainment Centre and Emma was delighted to welcome Sir Paul Kenny as her special guest speaker. Sir Paul has been the General Secretary of the GMB since 2005.
Friday’s event continued on from the success of her first Your Voice Matters, with twice as many people attending as the first event. Both new Labour members and long-standing members were in attendance.
Before introducing Sir Paul, Emma spoke about the importance of unions and how their support for workers and their rights must never be underestimated. She told members that without the ongoing campaign work of trade unions we wouldn’t have such legislation as the minimum wage, sick pay, and health and safety laws.
Sir Paul spoke and took questions from the floor on a variety of issues including the renewal of Trident, the new Labour leadership, tackling rogue landlords, a fair wage for all and the Tories’ tax credit cuts that would see up to 3.2 million families worse off by an average of £1,300 a year.
Sir Paul also slammed the Government’s Trade Union Bill. The Bill would require a 50% turnout ballot threshold in a strike ballot – it states that unions would have to give 14 days notice for strike action, and would also lift the current ban on using agency workers to do the jobs of those on strike. There would also be implications on how unions can spend their money.
At the close of the event Emma thanked Sir Paul and presented him with a memento of his time in South Shields. Emma said “I am extremely thankful to Sir Paul for traveling up to South Shields and giving his time to talk to Labour Party members. I would also like to thank the Northern region of the GMB for their help in organising this event and a special thanks to the Dunes and their staff for making us all feel so welcome.”