Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 17:54 UK

TUC day at-a-glance: Tuesday

By Justin Parkinson
BBC News political reporter, in Brighton

Here are some of the main points of Day Two of the TUC's annual conference in Brighton.

Gordon, you've written a book about courage. Take the words off of the page.

Tony Woodley, joint leader of Unite

It was a day of guessing. "Will they boo the chancellor, or won't they?" seasoned union-watchers wondered. The overwhelming vote in favour of a windfall tax on energy companies added to the excitement. As Alistair Darling rose to speak, the assembled hacks hovered like vultures. But in the end there was very little protest. A few delegates held placards or donned T-shirts with messages about public sector pay. There were some howls of disbelief, but in the end the chancellor got a pretty decent round of applause. Phew, he might say.


The mood does not seem to have improved, if our soundings are anything to go by. Delegates said they were not impressed with the prime minister's performance. But the hall showed some appreciation when Universities and Skills Secretary John Denham revealed the minimum wage for apprentices was going to rise. With a big announcement due on energy policy soon, might the union mood turn?

Remember Monday? There was a close vote on whether the TUC's policy of supporting a nationwide series of demonstrations against the government's pay policy should instead become a series of national strikes. Unite's joint general secretary, Tony Woodley, let slip that the decision would have gone the other way, had not one of his delegates mislaid their voting card. But, he told the BBC, it had mattered "not a jot", as many of the unions were planning industrial action anyway. The delegate in question would be well advised to steer clear of the Prison Officers' Association, which proposed the strikes.

Alistair Darling

Rather you than me: The chancellor ponders his fate ahead of his speech and Q&A session


After all the excitement of having the chancellor and the prime minister (attending a dinner) in town, delegates return to some more bread-and-butter union issues on Wednesday. Equal rights, TUC organisation, the environment, international affairs and transport will be debated. Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman is the keynote government speaker.

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