Saturday, 22 July 2017

Motion to TUC Congress from National Trades Councils Conference, Sunderland June 2017

Motion to TUC Congress from National Trades Councils Conference, Sunderland June 2017
The ‘LUCAS PLAN’, Arms Conversion and Socially useful Production

"Conference welcomes the ‘Lucas Plan’ 40th Anniversary Conference held in Birmingham in November
2016 and agrees that the Plan was an idea from which we can learn much today.

The Plan was a pioneering effort by workers at arms company Lucas Aerospace to retain jobs by
proposing alternative, socially-useful applications of the company’s technology and their own skills.
40 years afterwards, we are facing a convergence of crises – militarism and nuclear weapons, climate
chaos, and the destruction of jobs by automation – which mean that we have to start thinking about
technology as political, as the Lucas Aerospace workers did.

However, in the 4 decades since the Plan was drawn up Britain’s manufacturing industry has shrunk
from 25% to 14% of GDP, with the ‘defence’ industry now representing 10% of all manufacturing.
Britain cannot afford to lose any more manufacturing skills and capacity, and ‘defence’ workers are
rightly concerned about the potential loss of jobs, for example if Trident replacement is cancelled.
In line with the outcomes of the Lucas Plan Conference, we therefore call on trades unions and the
TUC to lobby the Labour Party to establish before the next general election a ‘shadow’ Defence
Diversification Agency, to work closely with the Shadow Department for Industry in developing an
overall national industrial strategy including the possibility of conversion of ‘defence’ capacity.  The
first task of this Agency would be to engage with plant representatives, trades unions representing
workers in the ‘defence’ industry, and local authorities, to discuss their needs and capacities, and to
listen to their ideas, so that practical plans can be drawn up for arms conversion while protecting
skilled employment and pay levels.  A key means for developing the national industrial strategy
would be the National Investment Bank proposed by the Shadow Chancellor.

We also urge trades union councils, trades unions and the General Council of the TUC to assist the
work of such a ‘shadow’ Agency if set up."

acknowledgements to Jenny Patient, Sheffield Climate Alliance

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