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National Conference Bournemouth 2002
Scotland Daily Briefings
Wednesday 19 June Briefing

Public service debate overshadowed by demo - or not to demo?

A major element of the Public Service debate will focus on UNISON activity re a national demonstration or not (7.2, 3, and to an extent 7 along with motion 15 and amendment 25.1).

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.

7.4 and 7.6 impose conditions of funding on candidates. This would mean we could not make links with progressive forces unless they are in 100% agreement with us on everything. It could even end up with us effectively backing more than one candidate!

This looks like it is really about ‘breaking the link' with the Labour Party. The proper place for these arguments is in the political funds debates after the consultation.Support 7, Oppose 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.6 and 7.7, Oppose 15, Oppose 25.1

Comp M Political Fund review

The criticism is unfounded as a consultation exercise is under way through March-May following the exploration and explanation of the legal and constitutional options open to the union.

The St Helen's amendment grounds the process in reality and recognises the history of the union's inception (does anyone remember the near split at the first conference because of the fears about losing identity and treasured traditions?)

But it does more in actually looking at the issues as they directly affect members and seeks to add these dimensions in the review process. It is by far a more constructive way forward.

It also takes a longer term view, addressing the changes brought by devolution, committing itself to constructively taking part in the review and addressing the key issue of membership participation in the APF and its decision-making processes.

The amendment closely reflects Scottish policy.

Support the motion only if amended by M.1

Norrie Chesney - an appreciation

Many delegates will remember with affection Norrie Chesney, who died last Friday.Because of Conference, many people will not be able to attend the funeral on Thursday, so here Jane Carolan give a short appreciation.

Norman Chesney, Ches, was a member and an activist in the Glasgow City Branch for nearly 30 years, originally in NALGO then in UNISON.

Ches was "employed" by the Building and Works department, but spent a large part of his working life in the old NALGO office in Cochrane Street, for a time as Glasgow Branch Secretary, then in his capacity as the Service Conditions Officer.

He represented the Union at Scottish level, was a representative on the SJC and represented Scotland on the National Local Government Committee. His last conference before retiring was in Bournemouth.

Ches had strong connections with the CWU, mainly through the shared evenings in the New Blane Valley Pub in Glasgow. As the CWU conference presented NALGO the posties went round to the hotel where he was due to stay and assured them Mr Chesney was BIG MAN in the trade union movement.

Ches arrived at a suite with bar, Jacuzzi and all mod cons, especially the electronically operated curtains that fascinated him. The hotel however seemed disappointed that he wasn't the General Secretary!

Ches worked hard on behalf of the union and there are more than a few members who have to thank him for the fact they are still in a job, while his action on behalf of the branch meant that in the days of CCT we never lost a contract. (Even in some cases where NALGO intervened, though we had few if any members.) He was respected by all those who worked with him, not just in the union but with the City Council and with the employers side.

Ches believed in trade unions, socialism and international solidarity. In retirement he continued in public service, working with the Citizens Advice Bureau. Staff in West Campbell Street came to expect those who came through the door saying. "You can help me, I've got an absolute stonewaller of a case, the man in the citizens advice told me". Norman Chesney, still recruiting!

He will be sadly missed all sympathy goes to his wife, Cathy (another stalwart and activist.)


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