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UNISONScotland positions on all the main issues

Delegates' Briefing

This briefing, compiled by Scottish Convenor Mike Kirby, is based on policies set or guided by Scottish Council. It is intended as a guide to branch delegates. It will reflect Scottish Council policy and will assist the two Scottish delegates in their discussions and negotiations with other regions, the NEC and the Standing Orders Committee.

The guide cannot mandate Branches who may have different policies. However, it may assist delegates in taking an overview of Conference.


Of the 117 motions admitted to the agenda, a prioritisation process conducted by regions, self organised groups and National Executive Council, will lay out the thirty to forty which will be debated, and some of these will be rolled up into composites.

Ten of Scotland's twelve priorities have made it, and are marked *.

The order of business will reflect these priorities and motions on similar subject matters will be grouped in topics in half day blocks.

The final order of business, in the second delegates mailing, will help you spot when your favourite topic is like to be heard.

Motions prioritised for debate, but not reached first time around will be subject to a re-prioritisation for Friday afternoon.

The following motions are most likely to be debated and should be supported with the notable reservations.....

Violence and Aggression Against Staff (19)

Violence and aggression against public service workers should not be part of the job. A campaign to raise public awareness and legal protections are required.

National Minimum Wage (12)

The national young members' forum calls on UNISON to defend, celebrate and improve the national minimum wage and to end age differentials.

Trade Union Rights (57)

While there have been advances in individual employment rights, there is need for support for a Trade Union Freedom Bill, enforced employment rights and collective rights.

Vulnerable Migrant Workers (79)*

Migration continues to be an important issue in all parts of the UK and we must challenge the myths and distortions that create disharmony and abuse.

Funding the Equal Pay Challenge (116)*

Following presentations at the Scottish Council, Glasgow has secured a debate on the rights of conference to decide branch funding, including how the union will resource legal action to ensure fair pay and remove pay discrimination.

Show Racism the Red Card (75)

Scotland's long association with SRTRC, the anti-racist educational charity which uses football as a focus, is reflected in this motion.

Challenging the Far Right (76,78)

Standing in Scottish local government elections, being elected in England, the pernicious BNP cannot be ignored and must be opposed as they dress themselves in a veneer of respectable suits.

Defending Multiculturalism (86,87) (Comp E)

In opposing racism and Islamophobia, we should also celebrate the UK's many cultures which contribute to a healthy diversity and economic success.

Public Services (23,24)

In the face of public service reform, there is a case for sustained direct investment in public services, democratically controlled, and while there is a place for shared services in harnessing organisational and technological change, this cannot be done on the cheap and any savings must be reinvested and procurement properly controlled.

NHS at 60 (30)

The NEC motion celebrating the 60 years of the NHS and setting out an agenda for improvement, may benefit from Amendment 3 which calls for sharing good practice and condemns constant structural/ organisational change. The other amendments are unnecessary as Amendment 1 calls for the ubiquitous "national demonstration" and 4 and 5 seek open-ended engagements with other campaigns while UNISON's best endeavours are coordinated through the TUC.

Local Services (25,26)

These motions reflect on Audit Commission reports, critical of some aspects of the new localism and the drives to procurement and commissioning of service and the enabling authorities. Amendment 1 seeks better support for branches in dealing with these issues.

Flexicurity (74)

The motion addresses the inherent contradictions in the EU concept of workers' flexibility in employment provides greater security and seeks greater cooperation with European trade unions.

Palestine (67,69)(Comp D)*

Maintaining support for the two-state policy, the motion encourages affiliation to the Solidarity Campaign, an end to arms sales to Israel, ending special trading status with Europe, a ban on agricultural products from illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories, and disinvestment from companies complicit in the occupation, with a particular look at pension funds.

Colombia (65)

Condemns the continuing violence and abuse against trade unionists, social movements and civic society organisations in Colombia, which is a front-line state in US interventions in Latin America.

South Africa (64)

In celebrating Mandela's 90 birthday the motion develops UNISON support for work with trade unions in South Africa, particularly in combating HIV/Aids and reversing privatisation of services.

Organising (1)

Organising is the lifeblood of the union and membership must be developed if the union is to survive, grow and maintain recognition.

Pensions (20,54)(Comp C)*

While the government has recognised the pension-earnings link, they have failed to exercise a catch-up and a link to average male earnings. Pensions are a major issue in ontracting out and the two-tier workforce provisions require compliance mechanisms.

Gun and Knife Crime (96,97)(Comp G)

Increasingly, young people are joining gangs and carrying weapons. In tackling crime, the associated problems of social deprivation need to be highlighted. The motion sets out a number of initiatives.

Education and Skills (46)

The motion refers to recent government reports in developing the skills agenda and the place for trade unions in sector skills councils coordinating these developments, particularly in apprenticeships.

Equality Through Learning (3)

Celebrates UNISON's Return to Learn programme and develops the role of union learning reps in the workplace, in organising around learning.

Democracy Guidelines (45)*

Devolution and some recent internal procedural difficulties over campaigning in UNISON, particularly on pay claims, have given rise to this call for a review of the Democracy Guidelines in UNISON, developing and promoting policy.

Shared Services (28,29) (Comp A)*

Shared Services, delivered through PFI, PPP and strategic partnerships have a detrimental impact upon democratic control of provision, jobs, terms and conditions. There is a growing bank of knowledge within branches, but there needs to be greater attention to sharing experiences, practice and better advice.

Home Care Strategy (40,41)(Comp B)*

Employers and government have accelerated a drive to privatisation and outsourcing of care, with adverse impact upon quality of provision, increased costs to the elderly, and attacks on jobs, terms and conditions. There is a need for greater regulation and local joint campaigns to protect and develop services.

Best of the rest

Other Prioritised Topics, which are worthy of support, include:

6 LGBT Equality
11Two-Tier Workforce
14 Fair Pay Network *
18 Flat Rate Increases: surprisingly admitted to the agenda is what is normally a bargaining issue for service groups
35 Affordable Homes
36,38 (Comp H) Defend Council Housing
47 Teaching Black History
49 Economy
84 Women in Public Life
88 Bill of Rights*
89 Prostitution
91Domestic Abuse
92 Elder Abuse
93,94,95 (Comp F) Cheap Labour, Disability Discrimination
98 Fuel Poverty
101 Concessionary Fares
103 Green UNISON
104 Green Issues*
105 Climate Change
108 Protecting Rain Forests
114 Ethical Procurement Policy

Things change

Sometimes new composites, withdrawals of motions or amendments - and of course emergency motions - may change this advice. Any developments will be covered in your daily bulletins.