THE UK UNISON FULL COVERAGE OF CONFERENCE
National Delegate Conference 15-18 June
Go back to your branches and organise
for the fightback
Conference round-up from Scotland's perspective.
Challenging the cuts myths and lies
Spreading the burden evenly? For the Tories, that might mean the
moat gets cleaned less often! That was how Jane Carolan of the
NEC described government claims that the pain of any cuts will
Benefits and challenges of devolution
Delegates agreed that doing things differently in devolved countries
helps the union promote models of best practice in campaigning,
organising and bargaining when they discussed the benefits and
challenges of devolution
Let's prepare to organise workers in
co-operatives Conference recognised that co-operatives
and mutuals, when developed in close collaboration with the public
sector can have a place in public provision.
Better support for activists
Delegates set out a four-point plan to recruit and support activists
over the next year with a report to come to Conference 2011.
'Organise, organise, organise!'
"Organise, organise, organise!" was the rallying call from the
key debate on organising at national delegate conference.
Conference considers one fund to defend
Conference set out an agenda for defending the Local Government
pension Scheme (LGPS). Central to the strategy will be a reduction
of the funds that make up the LGPS, from the current 101 to single
funds for England, Wales and Scotland - greatly reducing the costs
paid to fund managers.
Pay freeze means pay cut
Conference condemned the government's pay freeze for public sector
employees for 2010/11 - which, with inflation, effectively means
a pay cut for millions of workers.
Young and old come together to combat
UNISON will build alliances to campaign to make elder abuse an
aggravated offence across the UK.
Denis Goldberg, UNISON member: I now
have a million brothers and sisters - comrades too I hope...
John Stevenson reports on Denis Goldberg receiving honorary UNISON
Bill of Rights based on equality, fairness
In the week that saw an apology from the British Government for
the Bloody Sunday atrocity, Conference threw its weight behind
a call for a strong, inclusive and enforceable Bill of Rights
for Northern Ireland
Call for broader engagement in Labour
Link as Conference supports political fund report Conference
approved the report into the effectiveness of the political fund
and the NEC will take forward a range of measures to improve the
understanding of the political funds and to encourage all parts
of the union to engage with the funds to advance UNISON's objectives.
Raise awareness of non apparent disabilities
Delegates heard of the difficulties which face members in the
workplace who have non apparent disabilities, such as dyslexia
or mental health problems.
Taking domestic violence seriously in
UNISON will call for a statutory requirement in the public sector
for workplace agreements to deal with the complex issues of domestic
abuse and violence.
Young members are our future
Scotland's young and not so young came together to urge conference
to support young people out of unemployment and into apprenticeships
and higher and further education.
Our services are not for sale
UNISON will continue to promote the value of publicly delivered
services, resist the privatisation of public services to outsourcing
companies and work to counter the artificial distinction between
"back office" and "frontline" functions.
Standing up for social care
In the key debate of this morning's session, Conference welcomed
the rise of social care up the political agenda.
United to defend our NHS
Let's be united about defending the NHS, Clare Williams told
delegates as she opened a passionate debate on defending the National
We are ready to fight for pensions and
Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary told the new Government
in no uncertain terms that UNISON would fiercely defend our members
and the services they deliver, and their pensions.
Angela and the union are up for the fight
Angela Lynes, UNISON Vice President and later confirmed as 2011
National President, highlighted UNISON's campaigning work over
the last year, defending cuts to jobs and services, against a
political climate of confusion.
Take million voices to members
We did not cause the crisis, said Gerry Gallagher UNISON National
President, as he urged UNISON to take the Million Voices Campaign
to all our members and to the public.
Local Government Conference 13-14 June
Guidance on medical procedures will
protect staff and children
Pressure on members in schools, colleges and nurseries to administer
medication and medical treatment without proper training is increasing,
leaving them vulnerable to disciplinary action if things go wrong.
Redress the imbalance in absence monitoring
Absence management schemes disproportionately affect women, especially
those experiencing serious menstrual or menopausal problems which
need short monthly absences.
Campaign against shared services to
protect jobs and services
Conference recognised the serious threat that shared services
pose to members in Local Government and fears that this will worsen
as budget cuts bite.
Social Work under pressure - time to
A packed fringe meeting heard from social services members and
activists of the day to day pressures faced by social care staff;
John Stevenson presented Scotland's Social Work Issues Group work
Pay stays high on union agenda
"It is vital that the union can lead its members into effective
industrial action whether on pay or cuts."
Oppose cuts and put members first
Conference agreed a comprehensive strategy to oppose cuts
to jobs, pay and services at a local and national level. It will
provide a range of supports to activists to assist them to protect
members' jobs and to campaign against cuts to services.
UNISON standing up for social work
Local Government Conference recognised that, despite a range of
welcome initiatives such as Changing Lives and the Social Work
Task Force in England, there are still acute problems facing social
Supporting choice for disabled people
Disabled people should have as much independence and control as
possible over their own care packages and these should be of high
quality with improved pay and conditions for staff, said Local
Conference week, the Scottish Communications and Campaigns Committee
will issue daily briefings for delegates and update these web
pages with selected reports on issues from a Scotland perspective.
Use the links on the right to see the pre-briefing information
going out to delegates.
Welcome to Conference
from UNISONScotland Convener Mike Kirby
to Bournemouth for UNISON’s 17th National Delegate Conference.
We will meet just five weeks after an innovation in UK politics,
a coalition government. A coalition government committed to slashing
public expenditure and the services in which we work and on which
our communities rely.
It has been said that the standard of any civilised society
can be measured by its public services, its ability to care for
those elderly and infirm, young and learning, at work and out
of work, those disadvantaged or disabled.
The UK standard is about to be severely tested. The announcements
of the first £6billion of cuts in May are a mere starter of what’s
to come. There will be an Emergency Budget on 22 June. This will
be the set piece announcement, in which Chancellor George Osborne
shows the markets he is tough enough to deliver the deep cuts
they are looking for.
The Financial Times estimated on the previous governments plans,
that £37.4bn would have to be cut from public spending by 2014,
if the deficit as promised is to be halved. That’s £37.4bn in
the expected lifetime of this fixed term coalition.
That’s 25% of the whole NHS budget, half the cost of the basic
state pension,10 times the NHS dentists’ bill, three quarters
of the defence budget. And remember, the pressure on public sector
cuts, is likely to hit hardest on women, often the low earners,
as workers and family users of services.
It is important to be aware that the Emergency Budget will be
a mere foretaste of the cuts that can be expected in the autumn
Comprehensive Spending Review.
We can expect it to include:
- deep cuts or very tight restrictions to funding and provision
in health, education, social services, policing, housing, and
throughout our public services
- further plans on imposing pay restraint across the public
sector beyond the pay freeze already announced for 2011-12
- recommendations of the “independent review” of public sector
Cameron paid an early visit north of the border. He uttered “Respect”.
The First Minister replied “Respect”…….and a deal was done to
defer Scotland’s share of the first £6bn, £322million until after
the elections next year 2011.
There is an argument in delaying cuts in budgets already set
by the Scottish Parliament, to avoid heightening the impact. However,
two years’ cuts will be administered next year, after the Scottish
Parliament election. Should make for an interesting campaign?
Mike calls for cuts?
And as we gather, here’s a headline for you, “Trade union leader
calls for more cuts”. Cut the central government use of private
consultants, £2.8 billion. Cut the Private Finance Initiative
in favour of conventional funding, £3 billion. Cut the tax dodging
non doms and save £10 billion a year. Cut tax avoidance and unnecessary
relief on high earners, save £15 billion.
Cut finance racketeering with a Tobin Tax make £30 billion a
year. And above all, save £80 billion over 40 years, by cutting
Do that rather than have Our People, pay for the bail out of
the banks, estimated at anywhere between £50 to £120 billion.
cross Scotland, and the UK, local authorities and other public
service bodies, are cutting services to local communities as the
price to be paid for the bail out of the banks.
Replacing Trident will waste billions of pounds of taxpayers’
money, that could better be spent on jobs, pensions, education
and health, to improve the lives of the people of Scotland and
the UK, without threatening the lives of others.
With unemployment continuing to rise, the priority must be to
secure a recovery from the recession. Public services must be
at the core of that recovery plan. Across the UK there is a clear
majority against deep cuts in public expenditure.
It is more important than ever that UNISON is seen to be at the
forefront of the campaign to protect and expand public services