UK Politics

Union Views: Mervyn King speech

Mervyn King has become only the second Bank of England governor in more than a century to address the annual gathering of the TUC. What did delegates make of him?

NICKY WILSON, NUM

I think he was quite frank in his speech.

There's obviously a difference of view between trade unionists and bankers over how to deal with the current situation.

We would be looking forward to a lot more answers about what to do to deal with the problems.

The problems are affecting ordinary working people far more than they are the bankers.

It's interesting that Mervyn King made the offer to travel around the country talking to unions. I think it's important that he genuinely talks to people and hears what they are saying. I hope he will.

KEN RUSTIDGE, NUT

It's difficult to know whether Mervyn King will pass on our message to the government.

But the fact that he's come here to talk to us could be encouraging.

He's only the second Bank of England governor to speak to us in 142 years and I think that shows a certain willingness to start a dialogue with us over the cuts programme and the other issues we have.

ALEXIS CHASE, UNITE

He was slick - and that's not a compliment.

This visit was, for me, a complete exercise in frustration. He didn't answer the questions that people asked him.

He was very pleasant and personable but he kept saying that questions weren't for him to answer.

He asked us to come up with an alternative to cuts but we already have - raising more money from tax-avoiders.

To be honest, I was very annoyed.

JACEK JUSZCZYK, ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE MANAGERS

I think he spoke quite eloquently and he said more or less what I expected from him.

Of course, he was shunned by part of the audience but it was good that he came.

He's coming here at a time when it seems the banks are going back to the way they were, with bonuses being awarded again - the sort of amounts which normal people never see.

There was nothing new in Mr King's speech, but I'm glad he appeared. It's important that someone in his position addresses us and hears what we have to say.

JACQUELINE DARBY, RMT

I'm astonished that Mervyn King has come to the TUC. It's entirely inappropriate.

The fact is that he's in charge of the Bank of England, which makes him complicit in the cuts programme.

BETTY JOSEPH, NUT

I want the government to think carefully about what it's doing.

We need to avoid a double-dip recession and the cuts will make one more likely, as they have a knock-on effect.

Mr King has to listen.

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