Unionlearn conference 2014

In 2014, the conference theme was "Britain needs a skills rise" and over 400 delegates came together to listen to a range of high profile speakers, including Skills minister Matthew Hancock, and discuss the important issues in union learning in coming years.

Conference 2014

© Jess Hurd/reportingdigital.co.uk

In his speech to the conference, the minister of state said that more than £15 million of funding for Unionlearn will continue in 2014 to 2015.

Media coverage

Recruiter magazine: Apprenticeships are for all ages, says minister (23 June 2014)

National Extension College: Opportunities for learning at work enhanced through new Unionlearn and National Extension College agreement (24 June 2014)

Show Racism the Red Card: SRtRC attend Union Learn Annual Conference, June 23rd 2014

Read the speeches

Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary, spoke at the unionlearn conference 2014.

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Frances O'Grady ©Jess Hurd/reportingdigital.co.uk

Thanks Juliette [Alexander] and to everyone for coming.

Welcome to the 2014 unionlearn conference.

As ever, a great opportunity for us:

  • To celebrate our magnificent achievements in the field of learning and skills
  • To hear inspirational stories from ordinary workers we have supported
  • And to reflect on what the future holds for us.

I want to begin by saying thank you.

Thank you to all of our partners for the great support you give us. Thank you to our learning reps for your outstanding work. And thank you to the staff at unionlearn for doing such a great job.

I know the past few months have been incredibly tough. The government's decision to slash our budget by almost a fifth has had a big impact. I'd be lying if I claimed otherwise.

But it's thanks to your professionalism and commitment that we've still been able to support learners so effectively. This year, there have been 34 successful bids for new workplace projects. Each different. But each making a difference. And that's what our work is all about.

Touching lives.

Changing lives.

Transforming lives.

A few months ago I travelled up to Stoke to meet workers in the ceramics industry. It's a city that has borne the brunt of industrial change. Unemployment is higher than average and pay rates are low. But there I saw for myself how our work on learning is giving people hope.

People like David Barker. After leaving school he had a number of short-term jobs. He spent time on the dole. But at the age of 21, things changed for the better. With the support of his union Unity, he became an apprentice at Wedgwood.

A great scheme with employer and union working closely together. And, in the three years since, David has never looked back. He's now got a highly-skilled job at the company's visitor centre. And is looking forward to a bright future.

And just a couple of weeks ago I visited the BMW mini plant at Cowley. Thanks to a strong, well-organised site, the company has made a huge investment to secure the future of both Oxford and Swindon.

But the investment isn't just in new kit and technology. Unite the union have ensured it's in people too, including a top class apprenticeship programme that is helping young men and young women become the skilled workforce of the future. What's more those apprentices are all union members.

This is the difference that only union learning can make.

Because we know that the best way to empower individual workers is through collective action. As the old trade union adage goes, together we are stronger.

And if anybody ever doubts that, I say let's set the record straight. Tell them about the 220,000 workers we helped last year. Tell them about the men and women able to read to their kids for the first time, or speak a foreign language for the first time, or go to university for the first time.

Conference; trades unionism transforms lives.

Our work on learning is our movement at its best.

Positive, progressive, popular.

Focused firmly on the future.

Making our economy stronger and more productive.

Our society fairer and more mobile.

Our country brighter and more hopeful.

But for all the progress we have made, we still have a mountain to climb. In the autumn, the OECD laid bare the scale of the skills challenge facing Britain, how far we have slipped behind our competitors. In a damning report, the international organisation pointed to the huge training divide in our workplaces.

It underlined big skills gaps among young people, older workers and the disadvantaged. Revealed major weaknesses around intermediate and technical skills. And showed how inequality and poor skills are fundamentally and inextricably linked.

As trades unionists, we know we won't address the former unless we crack the latter. In the long run, democratising education is the only sustainable way to make Britain more equal. Making learning for life, for all, a reality.

And self-evidently, what happens at work will be crucial. Now there are lots of good employers who make a real effort to train all their staff.  ut it's a sad fact that far too many organisations still neglect their responsibilities.

We know that nearly half the UK workforce do not receive training at work.

A national scandal.

And it's those whose skills needs are most acute – migrant workers; people on zero hours contracts; agency staff – who are losing out the most.

It's the same old story. The lion's share of development opportunities going to the privileged few, the privately-educated elite who control so much of our national life. And working-class people all too often passed by. Simply left alone to learn to labour.

Righting this wrong – getting the pendulum swinging the other way – is why everything we do around the learning and skills agenda is so massively important.

And I'm proud that there is so much great work going on as I speak. To mention just a few examples:

  • We're working with the National Numeracy charity, employers and education providers to boost numeracy skills.
  • We're doing pioneering work to help workers in mid-career, with our joint project with NIACE attracting double the expected take-up.
  • And we're making further improvements to trade union education, already recognised as among the best in the world.

TUC Ed is of course a critical part of the unionlearn offer. Last year, we trained 43,000 reps in the classroom and online. With a further 5,000 learning through e-Notes, our web-based service.

Trade union education is education with a purpose and we're making a big impact in workplaces right across the country.

Let's be clear: union learning reps are vital. But the success of union learning also depends on having well trained convenors, shop stewards, workplace reps and branch activists too.

Today we are launching a new study – "Still Making a Difference" – which underlines the continuing importance of our work. Copies are available here in the hall and online.

And I want to thank the 2,000-plus reps – including many learning reps – who took the time to give us detailed feedback for the report.

Conference, it doesn't matter whether it's Trade Union Education or union learning, we need to set our sights high.

And as the election approaches, I see three areas where can really shape the policy debate.

The first is young people. With youth unemployment still a terrible blight in our communities and nearly a million under-25s out of work, this is a huge challenge for all of us.

And whether it's facilitating work placements or improving the new traineeships schemes, trade unions are helping our young people gain a foothold in the world of work. Giving lie to the myth that we're only here to look after people already in a job.

The second area where we can lead from the front is apprenticeships. I'm proud that we've led the argument about the quality of schemes, really shaping the political consensus. In place of six-month long sham apprenticeships, we've shown that Britain needs proper schemes with good off-the-job training and decent terms and conditions.

And trade unions are in a unique position to make sure that happens. Last year, almost 6,000 apprenticeships were supported by ULF projects – a big increase on the previous figure. From the NHS to McVities, from the Fire & Rescue Service to Heathrow Airport, from Network Rail to Wolverhampton City Council, we're working with employers in every sector of the economy.

  • Raising standards.
  • Raising expectations.
  • Raising quality.

And we should all be incredibly proud of that work.

Conference, the third area where we can shape the debate is intermediate and higher skills. It would be a big mistake to assume our work on learning was targeted only at lower-skilled workers.

We're putting a lot of work into continuous professional development, helping workers with intermediate and higher skills move on to the next level. And we're also addressing Britain's chronic shortfall of technical skills – especially in science, engineering and technology.

Through our "Technician Pathways" project, we're promoting the professional standing of technicians. Not just recognising the huge contribution they make to our economic life, but extending career development opportunities to this crucial group of workers.

Conference: tackling youth unemployment; making apprenticeships better; improving our technical and higher skills. These are the some of the huge challenges facing Britain today.

And our movement is showing that we're a big part of the answer. Ultimately our work on learning and skills is about winning a better deal for working people.

The theme of our conference this year is "Britain needs a pay rise". But in the long run, we're not going to get a pay rise without a productivity rise. And we're not going to get a productivity rise without a skills rise.

That's why what we do matters so much.

Learning reps, course tutors, project workers, education providers, support staff – together we are helping to deliver the learning revolution Britain needs.

Giving all working people – regardless of class, gender, race, age, ability or background – the chance to fulfil their true potential at work and in life.

A genuinely noble cause.

So my message to you today is simple:

  • Keep up the good work.
  • Keep innovating.
  • And keep changing lives.

Harriet Evans, Quick Reads author, spoke at the unionlearn conference 2014.

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Harriet Evans © Jess Hurd/reportingdigital.co.uk​​​​​​​

Last year, I was asked if I'd be interested in writing a Quick Read and I said yes immediately. For those of you who haven't heard of me or my books – I'm betting that's about 99.99% of you – I'll tell you a bit about myself. I've been writing for ten years now and before that I worked in publishing as an editor. I write sort of 'used to be a bit more Bridget Jones-ish, then a bit romcom ish, now a bit more family secrets and saga-ish' books.

I've been on the side of a London bus (I should point out that's a poster for one of my books, not me personally), and I've been in the Top Ten. I've had eight novels published, including my Quick Read book and not including the sex and shopping bonkbuster I ghostwrote for an extremely famous person one summer, whom I'm sure you'd all be much more interested in hearing from. But sorry, today you've got me instead.

I was going to talk to you about my experience with the Quick Reads programme. It's no exaggeration to say that being involved in Quick Reads, from writing the book itself to working with the organisation is the highlight of my career as an author. When you are surrounded by books and people who love reading it is hard to put yourself in the shoes of people for whom books and reading evoke feelings of shame or isolation. I grew up in a house full of books. Not particularly high-brow literary Booker-prize winning stuff, you understand. But good books that people want to read.

My mum works in publishing, she edits Jilly Cooper and the Shopaholic books. My uncle writes those kind of books you get in school libraries called things like How Copper is Made and Miss Bradnam is a Bus Driver. And my dad was in publishing too, and also wrote several novels, thrillers about international spies and glamorous Italian footballers (it was the Seventies). When I was nine months old, he was in a car accident about two hundred metres from here. Now, thirty-nine years later, he's in a wheelchair and cannot walk. He is totally compos mentis, especially about England's defence and Rooney's missed chances, but his life was changed that night.

So I came to Quick Reads with the experience of reading from the other side of the coin as it were because these last thirty years, reading has saved my dad. It is one of the few unalloyed pleasures that hasn't changed since his accident. In that respect, the world is as open to him as it was before. He can't walk or stand up unaided, but he can read, all day, every day. He is as well-informed as people twice as well-travelled, as passionate about issues as anyone walking down the street, as up to date as anyone in his family. In many different ways, as I'm sure you can imagine, times were pretty hard when I was growing up, but books and the local library were everything to me and my little sister. I suppose my point is that I grew up knowing how important reading is when your horizons have shrunk. How like a muscle it is, that if you work at it, it just keeps getting stronger. That is what I passionately believe about reading, that with encouragement and the right support you can bring it further into the centre of your life again. It's definitely what made me want to write a Quick Read.

As I'm sure most of you will already know, Quick Reads publishes six books every year. They are supposed to be enjoyable, easy-to-get-into books for grown-ups. They're aimed at emergent readers, those who are dyslexic, or rusty about their reading and lacking confidence, and those for whom English is not a first language, or those who simply want a quick read to engage them while they're on the bus or waiting for the toast to pop up. Some big names are involved, too: this year the list had titles by Lynda LaPlante, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Jeffrey Archer, Lindsay Davies and Emily Barr as well as me. Here's a statistic: 1 in 6 adults of working age in the UK finds reading difficult and would not pick up a book for pleasure. At the last count, 272 libraries have closed in the UK since 2010, and with them organisations and reading groups which might have drawn in those who just need some guidance and encouragement to start reading again. The work of Quick Reads and their partners such as you all gathered today is more important than ever, for as you know, the further we march into a digital age, the faster we leave behind those who find reading difficult.

There is still so much shame surrounding not being able to read, and it has always struck me how strange it is that it's one of the last few social stigmas that is greater today than a hundred years ago. Prejudice against women, against different ethnicities and religions, against illegitimacy, being gay, or disabled like my dad – huge, in some cases radical, strides have been made in the name of social equality to change attitudes in these areas. Not literacy. It is, if anything, even more difficult these days to admit you can't read, and so people don't. When I first met Cathy Rentzenbrink, project director of Quick Reads, to discuss writing the book, she told me a story which stayed with me the whole way through. She went to a reading group at a library to watch some older readers talking about the Quick Read title they'd all read together. Afterwards one of them was talking to Cathy, and she said, "Look at me, sitting there in a library, talking about books. You'd think I was born to it."

As Cathy said to me, we are all born to it. We should all have access to books and libraries and an education that equips us for life. But, for many reasons, some of us fall behind, and that's why it's vital there are projects like Quick Reads to fill the gap.

I have to say I thought it'd be pretty easy to write a Quick Read. My books are typically around 120,000 words, about this thick. Quick Reads are 20,000, much shorter. But actually it's surprisingly hard. You have to concisely and clearly tell a proper story in that time, make it warm and believable and full of life and you can't go off at a tangent or complicate the story with layers of sub plots or additional research – there isn't time. You also have to make quite sure you are keeping your reader, who might be hesitant at first, pulled in and gripped from the start. You can't mess around.

My Quick Read is called Rules for Dating a Romantic Hero. I chose to write a sequel to one of my first books, a Hopeless Romantic, about an ordinary girl who swears off romance and romcoms and Jane Austen TV boxsets & Mills and Boons and then has to go on holiday with her parents and then, on a boring day out with them to a stately home, meets and subsequently falls in love with the owner of the stately home, without realising who he is. It's been the most successful of my books because of the title I think and its Royal Wedding / fairytale style storyline. Everyone likes dream fantasy houses, whether it's visiting a National-Trust-style big house out or watching TV property shows, and so many people like Downton Abbey that I hoped everyone could get into the story of a very ordinary girl from the suburbs who finds herself in love with the most eligible bachelor in the country, a modern day Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I wanted it to be inviting and cosy like a cream tea, but also believable, not too fluffy and ridiculous.

Plus, I knew who the other authors on the list were and that they would be writing more suspense or historical books and hoped mine might be a counterbalance, more of a girls' book, for want of a better phrase. (However I've since sat in on a prison reading group and discussed it with a group of male prisoners who all said they enjoyed it, so maybe it's a more universal theme than one realises). Finally, I thought if I broke it up into rules, following the title of the book, it'd be easier to give it a structure that leant itself to bite-sized pieces, so you weren't swamped with the storyline.

Because it was a sequel, I had to make sure it worked as a standalone story, but also that the characters were introduced to the reader coming to the setting for the first time in a way that wasn't confusing, but meant those people who loved the first book recognised their favourite characters. It was, at times, hard to keep track of all of that and keep myself in line – but I liked that. Writing such a different kind of book – much shorter, much cleaner, a sequel that can't seem like a sequel – is a bit like the equivalent of going on one of those Driver Awareness courses when you're caught speeding: you can't help but realise halfway through that your skills, whatever they once were and however much you thought you knew you could do this on autopilot, might benefit from a bit of a refresher course, looking at things slightly differently. It was absolutely the case with this.

And it helped me too. It made me realise how the best writing is not about the longest words or the most complicated plot, but the clarity and simplicity which makes images and stories seem enticing and real to the reader. I have done reading volunteering in primary schools and have seen how easy it is for the children of parents who don't speak English or who don't have time, to fall behind with their reading and writing for want of someone to read with them or to them every night. Now I have a daughter myself I can see how the stories that we enjoy rereading most are the ones that have that deceptive simplicity to them. It's true with reading no matter how old you are, no matter your confidence levels. Well-told stories will stand the test of time. That's the first thing I learned, both writing my Quick Read and growing up with people who knew the importance of a good read. The second thing I learned is best summed up in a quote from one of my favourite books of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird. It's what Atticus Finch tells his children and it is for me at the centre of that book:

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through, no matter what."

It takes such a lot of courage for some people to pick up a book and try and see it through, and they deserve all the encouragement and support they can get.

Thank you very much.

Matthew HancockMinister of State for Skills and Enterprise, spoke at the unionlearn conference 2014.

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Matthew Hancock ©Jess Hurd/reportingdigital.co.uk​​​​​​​

I understand that stormy weather disrupted last year’s annual conference. The outlook is, thankfully, much brighter today - both in terms of the weather and also the economy.

The times are changing, our economy is recovering.

And as today’s TUC report on full employment is right to point out, job prospects are improving. There are record jobs, and record full time jobs.

For younger workers, the UK now has the fourth highest youth employment rate in the EU and youth unemployment is falling sharply - down by nearly 60,000 on the quarter, with a third fewer claimants than a year ago, and long term claimants down over 40%.

The report also highlights that the number of people leaving their jobs is falling. This is good news for job security and the peace of mind that stable employment brings.

Some of the raw figures are impressive. NEETs at 16 to 18 are at a record low of 6.7%: 18% lower than last year and down a third on 2010. Overall, NEET numbers are at their lowest in over a decade.

In terms of attainment, since 2010, the proportion of young people that have achieved level 2 - GCSE or equivalent - qualifications has risen from 53% to 71% in maths and from 58% to 75% in English.

Over the same period, the proportion of young people who didn’t get GCSE at 16 achieving GCSE passes between the ages of 16 to 19 has also increased rapidly, from 40% to 50% in maths and from 35% to 48% in English.

But on both jobs and skills there is more to do.

We are backing Britain’s young people today and we won’t rest until all are given the opportunity - through education, through work, and through the respect each citizen deserves - to reach their potential.

To do that we are driving up standards in schools, yes, but just as important we are changing the face of vocational education and revolutionising Apprenticeships so all young people can get the skills they need for years to come. And we’re making it easier for jobs to be created.

We want everyone - of all ages - to benefit from this growth in jobs and opportunities - and that means addressing the urgent need for skills for everyone, adult learners as well as school pupils.

I know that we share this goal and we are working together achieve it: we support Unionlearn because you in turn, through 30,000 union learning reps, work to reach deep into the UK workforce to drive up skills.

And I want to pay tribute to you, Frances [O’Grady], and Sir Brendan before you, for the leadership you have shown in supporting a more responsive skills system, focusing on work and one that is more employer-led so that workers have the skills that employers need.

Because, as we know, having more people with higher quality skills is essential to achieving, not just greater prosperity, but to be help millions, of people realise their potential. Yes this goal is an economic one. It is part of our long-term economic plan. But it is so much more than that. It is part of a much broader moral mission for social progress and social justice.

I want to take this opportunity to celebrate your achievements and to talk about how apprenticeships and Traineeships are opening up even more opportunities for adult learners.

In narrow economic terms, the benefits of adult learning are obvious.

Life expectancy is increasing: the number working past state pension age has doubled in the last 20 years.

Retooling your skills means you can stay in work for longer. This allows businesses to retain their most experienced employees and takes pressure off the public finances.

And we know that the higher the level of your qualifications the more likely you are to be in work. Recent ONS figures show that in 2011 less than half of those with no qualifications - 48% - were in work. This is compared to 80% for people with at least 1 qualification.

So qualifications matter. Education matters. It helps people into work, to build security for them and their families.

At the same time, the shape of the labour market is changing. No longer is a job for life. Times have changed.

And while this has its costs, it also has many benefits. And we will help people to make the most these. We will help people to adapt to this new labour market.

Globalisation and galloping changes in technology pose big questions for old, inflexible business models, but they also offer huge opportunities to improve our living standards. Our workforce must have the skills to get the most from those opportunities and reap the rewards.

But there’s much more to this than simply boosting our national productivity, vital though that is.

More important is the moral argument for adult skills. We do what we do to lift people’s chances to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Adult education does this and more.

It takes people from being prisoners of circumstance to captains of our economic fate.

In a 2012 study, researchers from the LSE found adult learning was associated with gains in life-satisfaction, fewer visits to the doctor, a fall in depression, and a greater desire to find a better job. Learning embodies earned reward.

And it’s not just about money. The link between self-worth and success that you’ve earned holds true, even when you control for income.

Learning embodies that belief. Because while learning may be difficult, the rewards for applying yourself are instantaneous, far-reaching and profound.

Rousseau was wrong when he wrote that ‘man is born free, but everywhere is in chains’. We are born with the ‘mind-forg’d manacles’ of illiteracy, innumeracy, and for some, low expectations.

Education shatters those chains.

This starts in schools where we have unashamedly put children’s needs for higher standards and aspirations first and emphasised a core body of knowledge that everyone should attain.

But it’s not enough just to focus on schools.

7 million people will enter the workforce in the next decade, but we’ll need to fill 13 million vacancies as baby boomers retire.

So we must do everything we can to create a better skills system that gives everyone the chance to aspire and achieve.

Those who lost their jobs in the recession through no fault of their own.

Women - and men - who took time out from their careers to start a family.

Those trapped on welfare and written off as unemployable.

Despite tight finances that we all recognise, we’re backing your efforts by providing over £15 million of funding for Unionlearn – funding that will continue in 2014 to 2015. In addition, we’ve also protected the £210 annual Community Learning budget – even though finances remain tight – because we know the importance of non-formal learning.

You deserve credit for reaching out to disadvantaged workers – people who face some of the biggest barriers to accessing in training and development at work – but who arguably, have much to gain from it.

We know that learning champions can play a significant part in engaging these groups. So it’s great to hear that 900 maths champions have been recruited in the past year to improve workplace numeracy.

And there are other highly commendable projects, like the Technicians Pathways project which is getting more technicians professionally registered.

But I’m especially pleased to see the impact that Unionlearn has had in helping employers generate 5,000 apprenticeship places and in supporting thousands more.

Because expanded, all-age apprenticeships offer an enormously powerful vehicle for both adults and young people to be able to retool, retrain and reconnect with the world of work.

This government has thrown its weight behind apprenticeships, like no other. Apprenticeships have doubled in number since 2010 and are on track for 2 million.

And at the same time as boosting numbers, we’ve driven up quality.

Our apprenticeship reforms are quite literally rewriting the apprentice rulebook.

Condensing hundreds of pages of complex, messy frameworks to a two-page description of the skills and attitudes employees should demonstrate in a particular industry and how they should be assessed.

Shorter, clearer, better standards written by employers for employers.

Expressed in language they can understand, drawing on international expertise to match the world’s best.

We’re also strengthening apprenticeships through more rigorous testing and grading.

The result? Taking an apprenticeship is becoming the new norm for school leavers and top apprenticeships are as coveted as top university places among some of our brightest and most ambitious young people.

I want them to also become the first choice for adults looking to re-skill.

And Traineeships, introduced last August, are another great route into apprenticeships and employment for young people. Thousands have already taken part and the numbers are growing.

Unionlearn has been especially supportive of Traineeships and the opportunity they offer to experience the world of work – this support is greatly appreciated.

Traineeships also emphasise the need for a good grasp of maths and English - underlining how vital it is to get the basics right.

Employers now expect good maths and English as a bare minimum. Vocational education is not an alternative to these basic skills. It’s a prerequisite.

A 2011 survey found that 43% of working age adults didn’t have the literacy skills we expect of our 16 year olds, 78% lacked Level 2 maths.

I know this is unacceptable to you as it is to me.

And it’s for this reason that we’re taking action to raise standards in these subjects in adult education; to improve the quality of the teaching workforce, reward the best providers and ensure learners are stretched to really achieve.

We’re also making GCSEs – which have high public recognition – both more demanding and more relevant, so that new GCSEs in maths and English do more to assess practical relevance or functionality – providing adults, young and old, with a solid foundation for the future.

Conclusion

So adult education is vital. We are passionate about delivering higher standards for all, and higher expectations are all. And already we are seeing welcome progress. But there is much more to do.

Because better skills are, after all, the best investment we can make – as individuals, in our own potential. And, as a country, in our future.

Spreading opportunity and rewarding effort are a great banner behind which we can push forward, so that together we do all we can to help all people in this country – all people – to reach their potential.

Stephen Cavalier, Thomspons Solicitors, spoke on behalf of Show Racism the Red Card, at the unionlearn conference 2014.

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Stephen Cavalier © Jess Hurd/reportingdigital.co.uk​​​​​​​

Chair, comrades, thank you the opportunity to speak to your conference today. I am Stephen Cavalier, Chief Executive of Thompsons solicitors, proud supporters of Show Racism The Red Card (SRTRC). And I am speaking to you today as an ambassador of SRTRC.

Your speaker today was supposed to be Rachel Yankey, footballer with Arsenal and 125 caps for England. So when they chose a replacement they chose me as the person least like her – white, middle-aged bloke who supports Spurs and – unaccountably – has no caps for England.

SRTRC is the UK's leading provider of anti-racism educational resources. Using the power and influence of football and footballers to combat racism and to educate.

Here's how SRTRC started 18 years ago: Shaka Hislop, who is from Trinidad, was the goalkeeper for Newcastle United FC. He was filling up his car in a petrol station when he was racially abused by some white youths. When they realised who he was, they stopped abusing him and asked him for his autograph. He refused.

The incident sparked Shaka to contact Ged Grebby and they set up SRTRC, to tackle racism and use the celebrity of footballers to educate that racism is wrong and unacceptable.

Yet racism still exists in football. At White Hart Lane last season, I was still hearing anti-semitic chanting by away fans. Elsewhere, there is still racism, Islamaphobia, homophobia. All issues that SRTRC works to tackle.

And we are here today during the World Cup. An international celebration of football. Of diversity. Of all nationalities. Although sadly not England for much longer.

And football is a great advert for diversity. An advert to young people and to all those watching the game. In the same way that in a diverse city like London, UKIP's vote was low, in a diverse environment like football there is no place for UKIP's scaremongering and racism.

Because it is racist of Nigel Farage to say he wouldn't want to live next to a Romanian family and to say 'you know what I mean'. Yes, we do know what he means.

A few days after those comments, I was at White Hart Lane for a match. There were Romanians and Bulgarians playing, along with many other nationalities. I didn't hear anybody saying, "Look at those Romanians, coming over here, taking our corners".

And this is how football also shows the value of migration. Of workers coming to this country to exercise their trade, to use their skills. And to be valued for it.

And this is the pernicious effect of UKIP. Their language and policies, making people feel they have permission to be racist. We can see that in the voting in elections and in the language of the press.

We must tackle that. And that is what SRTRC is here to do. To combat the issue with young people. With trade unionists. Using the power of education.

And, as trade unionists, don't forget that UKIP would take away workers' right, would scrap discrimination laws, job security and maternity rights.

And also don't forget that this government. This government of Tories and of Lib Dems. Has already slashed workers' rights. Bringing in fees for Employment Tribunals so it costs £1200 to bring a case to enforce your rights if you have been discriminated against. And scrapping discrimination questionnaires. The questionnaires that you can send to an employer if you feel you have been discriminated against, so that you know whether you have evidence to bring a claim. Making it even more difficult to bring a claim. Hurting those who have been discriminated against. Protecting those that discriminate. That is what this government is about.

So, I urge you all to tackle racism in your workplace, to support SRTRC, to make use of their excellent resources, to visit their stall at this conference, to attend the SRTRC workshops this afternoon and to affiliate your union branch to SRTRC.

It is time for all of us to Show Racism The Red Card.

Thank you.