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Unions To Discuss Mass Strikes At TUC Congress

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PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Union activists will discuss calls for co-ordinated industrial action in protest at the Government's controversial policies on pensions and spending cuts when the TUC Congress is held in a few weeks time, it has been revealed.

The preliminary agenda of the Congress, being held in London over three days from September 12, includes motions on fresh industrial action among public sector unions.

Labour also comes under attack, with the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union describing the party's response to the public sector pensions crisis as "pathetic".

Labour leader Ed Miliband will address the conference on the Tuesday, the only outside speaker to address the slimmed down event.

This year's conference has been cut to three days, with the number of delegates more than halved to 300, and the event is being held at the TUC's London headquarters for the first time.

A PCS motion calls for full support for industrial action against the controversial pension changes, including action planned for this autumn. The National Union of Teachers will also press for further co-ordinated action following a one-day strike in June involving up to 750,000 teachers, civil servants and other public sector workers.

A motion from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) reads: "The combination of public service cuts, wage freezes, benefit cuts, growth in unemployment, changes in the calculation for pensions and other benefits from the Retail Price Index to Consumer Price Index and unchecked inflation, amount to the biggest attack upon living standards in this country since the 1920s."

The CWU will call for a national day of action, including possible co-ordinated industrial action. Unions will attack the Government's spending cuts, describing them as "unnecessary, unjust and economically damaging".

The mood of the conference is likely to be one of anger following months of spending cuts and pay freezes, and long-running talks on the Government's plans to increase pension contributions for public sector workers including teachers, nurses and civil servants. Some union leaders have been warning of an "autumn of discontent" and the threat of action is likely to come a stage closer during the conference.

Other issues due to be debated range from the worsening problem of piracy in the Indian Ocean, to concerns about the risk to health from wearing poor footwear.