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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Shopfloor views on Brown's speech
By Ben Davies
BBC News politics reporter, at the TUC conference in Brighton

How did delegates at the TUC conference react to Chancellor Gordon Brown's big speech?

Irene Stacy, who is a Unison member, was pleased the chancellor had focused on issues such as poverty and aid but was concerned about Mr Brown's calls for public sector pay restraint.

Miranda Grell
Miranda Grell: 'It's one thing to sound left wing'

"I am a low paid worker in the public sector and we are treated absolutely disgustingly - as second class citizens. People at the top of the ladder need to realise that without your low paid workers, cleaners, cooks, carers you'd have nothing. You wouldn't have people at the top."

Hearing from someone in a well paid job like the chancellor that she can't have a decent pay rise made her "sick", she added.

"It annoys me to hear it from a Labour chancellor because without low paid workers he wouldn't have a job at the top. But his ladder will topple and so will Tony Blair's."

GMB member Miranda Grell from East London said: "He said the government would honour the Warwick agreement - I'd be very interested to see if that actually happens because a lot of people fought for those commitments. There are some things in there - rights for agency workers - that I'd heard the government wanted to drop.

"On the whole I thought the speech was good, he was as passionate as usual but people are still wary really and want to know if he's going to be different from Tony Blair.

Derek Bevan
Derek Bevan: 'I pretty much agreed with what he had to say'

"It's one thing to sound left wing but it's the policies that actually count."

Ms Grell was pleased the chancellor had mentioned boosting skills in the workforce, particularly for women, although she speculated as to whether some elements of the chancellor's speech had been included because "there was going to be a leadership contest".

Amicus worker Derek Bevan from South Wales said he was "very much impressed" by Mr Brown's speech and felt that the chancellor was "singing from the same song sheet" as him. Mr Bevan was particularly pleased by the parts of the chancellor's address that focused on tackling poverty.

Asked what he thought of Mr Brown's reception at the TUC Mr Bevan said: "Well to be honest he didn't give us much chance to react did he? His speaking style is pretty non-stop. Obviously the man is passionate about what he was talking about and I pretty much agreed with what he had to say."

Colin Green
Colin Green welcomed efforts to get petrol prices down

Amicus member Colin Green, from the south west, said Mr Brown had gone down very well at the TUC. "He did what he is paid to do and I have no objection to what he had to say." Mr Green said he likes the chancellor's "open approach". "We want to know the truth, why hide it?"

Mr Green added that he does not work in the public sector and was therefore unable to comment on issues to do with pay levels there. But he said everyone was currently suffering with high oil prices and he welcomed the chancellor's efforts to get prices down.

Unison member Mark Fysh, from Oxford, said the chancellor had been politely received but argued the public services had to be given "back their pride".

"You do that by investing in public services with money and people. You cannot have a Rolls Royce service on a Mini budget."

Mark Fysh
Mr Fysh was angry about calls for pay restraint

On the chancellor's call for public sector pay restraint Mr Fysh said: "I am a branch secretary with 4,000 members in Oxfordshire. We've just done a job evaluation review with 12,000 staff and the Tory authority in Oxfordshire agreed to pay our staff 9m extra which has meant 5,000 staff have had their jobs regraded.

"Now if a Tory authority is prepared to do that because of market forces it's absolutely no good a Labour government saying you have got to accept 2% - that would force people to go and get jobs elsewhere, in Tesco and wherever else there is more money."

"Where are people going to live if they just get 2%? Are we all going to have to move into mobile homes?"

T&G member Terry Brittan from Bradford said Mr Brown seemed to be saying pay had to stay low but skills must increase. The textile worker said in his industry they got pay rises of just 1.5 or 2% "if we're lucky".

Terry Brittan
The minimum wage is too low, says Terry Brittan

"We got this government in and we thought we were going to get decent wages. The minimum wage started too low, I thought it should have started at 6.

"I wasn't over-impressed with the speech to be honest there were some good points but by and large I'd have never have stood up for it."

Mr Brittan was sceptical that more people are in work saying the government was "just hiding figures".

"There's more people out of work now than there ever was. What jobs there are agency jobs. There's more agencies in Bradford now than there are pubs and that's saying something."


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