500 days to the election: have your say at the CLASS C...

500 days to the election: have your say at the Class Conference

15 October 2013

Unite is supporting the Class Conference in November, a new and exciting event in the Labour movement calendar featuring a range of high profile speakers from trade unions and progressive politics including Unite general secretary Len McCluksey. Tickets are available at

Here Class's own Roisin McDermott writes about the debates ahead.

Five years since the bailout of the banks and Britain is still in desperate need of a strategy to help pull us out of the economic crisis. We are told that the recession is a thing of the past as Britain is officially experiencing the fledgling signs of economic growth. However, this talk of recovery we hear on the news is little comfort to the 500,000 people Oxfam report to be reliant on food banks, many of whom are children. Or to the 300,000 public sector workers who fell victim to the rising levels of unemployment between 2010 and 2012. Or to any of us struggling to make ends meet, for that matter. So much for economic growth, for the majority of us the only thing that seems to be growing is the number of crises – economic crisis, housing crisis, school places crisis and, most recently, a living standards crisis. Now the experts are forced to admit what trade unionists have been campaigning on for years – the coalition government got it wrong; austerity is not working.

With around 500 days to go until the next general election, now is the time to discuss what policies we want to see implemented in 2015 and the Centre for Labour and Social Studies’ (Class) upcoming conference, Class Conference 2013: Leading the Debate, on Saturday, 2nd November, 2013 will provide the perfect forum to host these debates.

Class is a think tank which was founded last year by Unite and the trade union movement to provide the arguments needed to win the battle of ideas. We were established with the clear role of developing policies promoting trade union values and countering the coalition government’s austerity agenda – an agenda, which has translated into uncertainty, misery and the dismantling of our welfare state for far too long now. But the tide is turning. The appetite for a progressive alternative has never been stronger. No party post-crash should go to election with a narrow, consumerist agenda. People want the type of change that can only be achieved through new, progressive thinking and radical policies. The question is – what policies should they adopt?

This is exactly what we’ll be debating at our conference. It will see leading thinkers on the economy, politics and society gather with working people and their unions to discuss the challenges facing Britain and the responses needed to inspire voters in the 2015 general election. There will be sessions on a wide range of issues from housing to health, education to equality, poverty pay to privatisation amongst many more. We want trade unionists and working people to play an active role in the debate – who better to discuss how public services should be improved than those who work in and use them on a daily basis? This innovative approach to our conference is characteristic of Class – we are a think tank who wants to do more than think, we want to fast track vibrant, fresh ideas into policy.

Unite recognises this and has made a long-standing commitment to Class, playing an active role in influencing the policies we promote. As a result, we have produced work against the coalition government’s cuts and privatisation of the NHS. Len McCluskey has also shown his support by speaking at past events and at our upcoming conference.

In our first year, Class has made great headway in the political arena and, with support from a growing number of trade unions as well as an increased presence beyond London after a series of successful regional launches; we can only go from strength to strength. Our national conference is the perfect opportunity to celebrate this and ask the all-important question – what next?

Join Len McCluskey at Class Conference 2013: Leading the Debate, Class’s first national conference, on 2nd November 2013 at the TUC, Congress House.

Book your early bird ticket now

To find out other confirmed speakers and for more information visit:
•    Class’s website
•    Facebook!/events/500706923317709/
•    Or follow @Classthinktank and #classconf13 on Twitter