Unions' rift over euro threatens conference

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Indy Politics

Last-ditch attempts will be made this week to suppress a damaging dispute over the euro which is likely to dominate the Labour Party conference and next week's TUC meeting.

Last-ditch attempts will be made this week to suppress a damaging dispute over the euro which is likely to dominate the Labour Party conference and next week's TUC meeting.

Leaders of Labour's big union affiliates have so far failed to thrash out the common position on the single currency, reflecting similar bitter arguments at the most senior levels of the Government.

With the covert backing of the Prime Minister, Sir Ken Jackson, leader of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, is calling for Britain to join the euro at the earliest opportunity in the next parliament, whereas Bill Morris, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, enjoys the support of the Chancellor for his far more sceptical position.

Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, however, are anxious that the behind-the-scenes conflict does not boil over into a public slanging match at the TUC in Glasgow and the party assembly in Brighton. It is likely that the next few weeks will form the last opportunity for the labour movement to portray a sense of unity on the issue before a likely general election next year.

Sources at the transport union and the engineers' union said yesterday an attempt last week to agree a compromise motion for the TUC failed.

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