Delegate Conference 19-22 June 2007
The reports below cover debates with a significant Scottish
input. See the UK
Conference pages for more news
Conference makes landmark decisions
on pay and privatisation
Conference made fundamental decisions about a co-ordinated fight
for pay south of the border - across health and local government
- a trade union wide fight against privatisation, with national
and regional demonstrations. It also decided key policies on pensions.
Campaign for united fight on pay south
of border - and warning for Scotland
Conference demanded that the government abandon its 2% public
sector pay freeze and laid out a campaign for fair pay across
the public sector south of the border which could involve strike
action coordinated with other public sector unions. But there's
a warning for Scotland.
Privatisation agenda fails children
Conference took a second bite at the cherry when it backed a call
to build alliances within and outwith UNISON to mount a major
campaign against privatisation in the public services with local
and national demonstrations.
Making sure members have their say over
how their pension funds are managed and invest - "Capital
Stewardship - Toward the Citizen Economy"
Conference backed Scotland's call to encourage workers to serve
as trustees on occupational pension schemes and has become the
first union in the country to set up its own training scheme for
shareholder activism, thanks to a powerful speech by Pat Rowland.
Campaign for statutory definition of
violence against women
Conference called for a statutory definition of violence against
women as a step towards eliminating domestic violence. One in
four women in Britain will experence domestic violence in their
lives, and it is now the second biggest category of violent crime
- with 13 million incidents each year.
Trident threat to peace - and public
Reaffirming its campaign to oppose Trident replacement, Conference
warned that the billions of pounds it would cost to replace the
missile would mean huge cuts in public services.
Northern Ireland peace process - UNISON
fighting for equality and public services:Northern
Ireland members are "once again optimistic that a fair and
peaceful future is in sight. A future shared on the basis of equality
and rights", Scotland's Mike Kirby told Conference as it
backed a call to use UNISON's influence to ensure services and
investment are targeted where they are most needed.
Zero tolerance of violence at work
UNISON will campaign for zero tolerace of violence at work for
all public service workers and will push for legislation and guidance
to prevent the abuse of these staff.
UNISON slams child poverty
Conference endorsed an anti-poverty strategy aimed at tackling
low pay amongst UNISON members and tackling the causes and effects
of child poverty in this country and gobally.
Stop climate chaos now. Past generations
didn't know. Future generations will be too late
UNISON laid out its plan to Stop Climate Chaos, calling on central
and local government to take positive action now to reduce our
No change to subscriptions
Conference rejected a rule change that would have changed subscription
rates just a few years after they were last reviewed.
NEC motions restriction rejected
After a lively debate (who says rules are boring?) conference
threw out a rule change which would have restricted the numbers
of motions and amendments which the NEC could submit to conference.
Registration opportunity to recruit as
review called for
UNISON welcomed occupation and professional registration for protection
for the public and practitioners alike, and as an opportunity
for occupational development but warned about the challenges it
presented for the union.
UNISON backs Access to Work scheme for
Conference threw its weight behind the Access to Work scheme for
disabled people and recognised the important role it plays in
supporting people with a range of disabilities into work.
UNISON says no to EU privatisation threat
and privatisation threat
Conference committed itself to a campaign of active opposition
amongst members, to any attempts to revive the EU constitution
and pledged to fight attempts to open up health and social services
to competition and to remove them from democratic control.
October demo against NHS marketisation
Conference gave overwhelming support to a strategy to build broad
alliances to combat the marketisation of the NHS. It also heard
that UNISON has taken the lead in organising a National Demonstration
in London on 13 October this year.
Dave Prentis demands fairness and justice:
‘Last chance saloon' warning to Labour
but ‘never forget the Tory trail of destruction'We demand
fairness and justice for our members and we are prepared to fight
and if necessary strike to get it, was General Secretary Dave
Prentis' resounding message for the Government.
No to pensions contaminated by the blood
UNISON will call for an end to investment in the arms trade by
pensions funds The Conference debate heard how huge the investment
by pension funds is in the arms trade.
National demonstration against privatisation
UNISON will step up its 'Positively
Public' campaign for public services and against privatisation
and back this up with a national demonstration. Scotland had a
key role in the debate with an amendment warning of the 'creeping
privatisation' of shared services and
Recruitment and Organising
UNISON made a commitment to resource and develop its organising
agenda. Branches will be encouraged to incorporate recruitment
into all their activities and maximise their opportunities to
recruit new staff members, and build upon their existing stewardship.
"I Never Dreamed I'd Be Here"
Malcolm Cantello UNISON's National President Addresses Conference,
praising positive public services, slamming racism, welcoming
UNISON's international work and seeking support for his chosen
charity to help young people communicate across boundaries and
to express their stories, needs, hopes, fears and aspirations
as a way of reconciling and moving forward after conflict.
Cuban health and education - a shining
Conference congratulated the union on its 'Made in Cuba' pack
about the country's unique health service and its outreach in
the Caribbean and Pakistan and agreed to continue joint work with
the Cuban Solidarity Campaign and encourage UNISON branches to
forward the campaign using the material.
32, 000 Cuban health workers bring aid
to 72 countries "Support an inspiration to Cuban people":
Inspiration goes both ways. As Dr
Juan Carlos Dupuy Nunez thanked UNISON for its support - "a source
of inspiration for the Cuban people" - a standing ovation from
Local Government delegates showed how inspired they were by him.
Scottish fringe raises debate on Asylum
children and Direct Payments
Around 80 delegates from across the UK packed into the Scottish
Fringe meeting on Sunday evening to hear about the work of our
Social Work Issues group. They heard about SWIG's achievements
over the years, including the work which has been done on Direct
Payments, along with disabled people's organisations; and the
campaigning for the rights of asylum seeker families including
the guide for members, "child's welfare paramount?"
Welcome from Mike Kirby
Welcome to Conference
from UNISONScotland Convenor Mike Kirby
National Delegate Conference will meet weeks after the appointment
of a new Prime Minister, a novel development in a long-standing
democracy used to electing governments.
We look forward with interest to learn if the architect of much
of New Labour's economic and political model of the last decade,
including reform of public service delivery, PFI, can adopt a
new New Labour direction, particularly in domestic and foreign
The Conference also meets after considerable political change
in the UK. In Scotland a change in political ascendancy for the
first time in fifty years and a minority administration in power.
Similarly, in Wales a more traditional Labour minority administration
will endeavour to govern. While in Northern Ireland the diverse
communities came together in coalition, with the restoration of
a form of self government.
The challenge for UNISON will be how we respond to this new plurality
in politics in the UK. In Scotland we have practical engagement
with the range of political parties.
The union has had to deal with variations of political control
and coalition at local government level, but in the majority of
UNISON's teenage years it has assumed that it is dealing with
one political party. That may require a change in substance and
Indeed, Conference two years ago adopted a major report on the
Impact of Devolution, pressed for by Scotland, affecting policy
development and resources.
England may revisit, sooner than it thought, the issues of devolution.
Whether the new New Labour Government will follow the professed
Scotland model of co-operation not competition remains to be seen.
Conference will debate issues of a UK government agenda, some
of which are devolved. Whatever happens in England, and the extent
of developing powers in the devolved administrations, the UNISON
identity is strong.
Don't forget the meeting of Scottish Branches on: MONDAY 18
JUNE 5.30PM Grand Hotel, Brighton Light refreshments will be provided.
Conference Crèche will be available until 7.00pm:
(Local Government Branches will also meet at the Grand Hotel
on Saturday 16 June at 5.30)