The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union conference met against a background of the worst recession since the 1930s and in the wake of a budget statement that set out the government's strategy to "deal with the economic crisis" they themselves have created. This is in spite of the fact that this government has sold off more than the Tories ever did.
John McInally, PCS vice president, personal capacity
The anger of delegates at this attempt to lay the responsibility of paying for the crisis at our door was best reflected in motions calling for complete opposition to cuts and privatisation.
But these motions also set out a comprehensive programme to tackle the failure of the unrestrained free market, including the expansion of public services and the nationalisation of banking and finance under democratic control, accountability and scrutiny with full protection of the workers in that sector and compensation for shareholders only on the basis of proven need.
The motions also called for the nationalisation of the major utilities, including transport, and a major programme of public works. There were demands that we need a planned economy in the interests of the many, not the few.
The agreement on pay that the union made with the government before Christmas, which was designed to put more money into members' pockets, has been tested and has failed. The conference agreed a process of consultation with the members on a strategy to take forward the campaign, which will begin in the early summer.
In a genuinely historic debate, conference voted overwhelmingly to launch a consultation with branches and members on supporting trade union candidates in elections.
This move was not seen as some academic exercise but a vital initiative to effectively back up our campaigns on the industrial front with that of the political front.
Everything has changed with the passage of this motion - it means a major trade union, along with the transport union RMT, has now made it clear that a radical change is required. Standing candidates against those who represent the interests of the bosses rather than the workers must be a core part of that change.