Bournemouth 2002









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Mike KirbyUNISON home and international

UNISON Scottish Convenor MIKE KIRBY looks at the main issues for this Conference

In comparison with previous conferences, 2002 may not appear to set the heather on fire. Nor the rose, leek or shamrock for that matter.

What may seem at first sight a rather pedestrian agenda, includes major debates on the future funding of public services and how we campaign. This year the international trade union agenda forces its way on to the priorities.

The prioritisation process with regions, branches, service groups and self-organised groups has again allowed the Standing Orders Committee to create a series of themes to lead off each half day's business and to construct the agenda around a dozen or so main composites.

Public Services

Funding Public services were established to address social need, when business sought profit. Business is geared to profit not to address need. But traditional public services can be improved and if they are to remain public must secure public confidence through greater participation.

Scepticism of politics is growing and UNISON has an opportunity to engage people in our agenda, properly funded public services do deliver.

Major composites on the Third Comprehensive Spending Review, the Health Service and Public Transport have a Scottish influence.

A major element of the Public Service debate will focus on UNISON activity re national demonstration or not. The Scottish Council debate favoured regional-based activity. Recent national demos have not been supported. If you won't be there, don't vote for it.

Issues at Work

The threat to final salary scheme pensions has put a major composite at the head of the agenda and changing working practices have given rise to a debate on Work Life Balance.

Government and Home Affairs

The government's aggressive policy on immigration and asylum is addressed in Composite F and reflects Scotland's criticism of the use of detention centres, made earlier this year at the STUC, and calls for an end to forced dispersal which is opposed by asylum seekers and sympathetic local host communities alike. We should reciprocate support for Elected Assemblies in England (Composite G) and oppose the election of mayors (and monkeys?) Composite H.

International UNISON

The referendum on the Euro is imminent and motion 4 continues UNISON's opposition, due to the adverse effect upon public services. Similar concerns are expressed in Composite J on Globalisation. The international space on the agenda has been considerably increased to accommodate debates on international situation and the East (Composite K).

Palestine has a particular focus (composite L) is worthy of support but the amendment L.3 forgets the first rule of solidarity ….be mindful of the wishes of those you would support.

Not to Mention……. For the dour Scots, wailing Welsh and not-there-either Northern Irish, I haven't mentioned the World Cup….. so now I have mentioned it.

Anyway. Enjoy the week!

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Scotland's Conference Briefings Team

The Scottish Communications and Campaigning Committee, along with the Regional delegates, will issue daily briefings at Conference.

It is not a ‘News' service after the event (after all you were there), it is for briefing delegates before the event. However, we may issue some special reports if necessary.

The service is also there to be used by branches if you are campaigning within Scotland Policy or if you need urgent help for issues back home.

Your contact is SiU editor John Stevenson who leads the team with Jane Aitchison and Robert McComb whose name we will soon learn to spell. Other committee members will also be lending a hand (yes, there's no rest if you are on the Communications Committee).


If you need to contact the team, see Mike Kirby or Mary Crichton at the Regional Delegates' seats or grab John Stevenson if (carefully though). Otherwise you can nobble Jane Aitchison with the South Lanarkshire lot. Please try to avoid coming up to the Newsheet Arel. Health & Safety regulations mean there are strict limits on numbers, even for the briefings team. Website We will be trying to update the website with occasional reports for back home. We cannot guarantee this service due to a number of factors - but we'll try.

Key Contacts

Mike Kirby and Mary Crichton are this year's Scottish Regional delegates. They are there to help, especially if you want to get into a debate. They have a key role in promoting Scottish policy, organising and giving branches a way to join together to promote policies more effectively. Robin Hunter is our rep on the Standing Orders Committee and is a mine of information.

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Scots Night
Jamtastic BAND

Wessex Hotel, Westcliffe Road, Bournemouth
Wednesday 9 June 8pm - 1am (Bar till 12.30)
Proceeds for Palestine
Tickets £7 from Pat Rowland

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What are they really saying?

A guide to Conference ‘code' phrases.

"I'd just like to echo...” - I've written my speech and you're going to hear it.

"I think I've got flu” - the hangover's set in.

"Must have an early night” - delusive conference fantasy.

"This is my first speech to Conference.” - I've spoken at 23 political meetings, two rallies and a sit-in, but this is the first time at Conference.

"It's undemocratic” - I don't agree with it.

"I'll tell you what my members say to me” - They agree with me when they get a get a word in.

"The Standing Orders Committee will look at it again and report back to you” - Piss off!

"The NEC has concerns about the motion to an extent that the intention is not in line with the strategic review” - I've lost my idiot notes.

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