positions on all the main issues
Regional Delegates to National Delegate Conference, Convener
Mike Kirby and Depute Convener Lilian Macer, preview the main
debates at National Delegate Conference.
Branches, Regions, Self Organized Groups, Retired and Young members
and the National Executive Council (NEC), submitted over 130 motions
and associated amendments to the conference agenda.
The experience of recent years is that conference will manage
to discuss no more than thirty or so of these motions, many of
which will find themselves in composites agreed by the bodies
submitting the original motions.
If your favourite is not discussed below, it is unlikely to be
debated first time around and the only alternative will be in
the reprioritisation exercise.
This will take place onWednesday evening/Thursday morning, for
Friday afternoon business. The Standing Orders Committee (SOC)
has balloted Regions, the NEC, Self Organised Groups, National
Young Members' Forum and the National Retired Members' Committee
on what motions should be prioritised for debate at the Conference.
The Scottish Council meeting in April agreed Scotland’s priorities.
All but three of Scotland’s priorities are likely to be debated.
Recruiting & Organising Comp A (1,4) 2
Motions 1 & 4 (Composite A) welcome the recent growth in membership,
look for a coherent and coordinated plan to market the benefits
of trade union membership, and seek to dispel the myths surrounding
As we are in a period of economic recession when public services
will come under attack, the time to organize is now. Motion 2
recognises the importance of supportive training for activists.
Improved Representation - 5
The important place of young members in the organization, for
now and the future is discussed in Motion 5, submitted by the
young members’ forum.
Conference in 2005 and 2007 overwhelmingly approved reports which
recognized the need to make UNISON structures, the product of
merger negotiations in 1993, more fit for purpose in the changing
face of public services. This report on implementing previous
decisions is a preface for a number of rule changes. It seeks
to make the rule book less proscriptive, more enabling in the
face of constant change, to facilitate different ways of organising,
while safeguarding lay oversight and control of the bargaining
The Scottish Committee has supported the general direction of
travel, and the specific changes, while recognizing the need to
finetune to the particular circumstances in Scotland.
Collective Bargaining 14, Comp B
In time of economic recession, it is important to lay foundations
for future growth. Developing our commitment to apprenticeships
(Motion 14) must be done in a properly negotiated framework, within
the scope if the National MinimumWage.
Hundreds of thousands of UNISON members will come within the
scope of the Independent Safeguarding Authority in England &Wales,
and the corresponding legislation in Scotland. Vulnerable people
must have confidence in the services and those who provide them,
and must be protected from those who may seek to exploit the relationship.
However, many of these services are already regulated and members
pay significant fees. There are clear bargaining objectives, training
and organizational objectives identified in motions 15 & 16 (Composite
Pensions - 21, 22, 23 Comp D
Public sector pensions have been defended successfully in recent
years, but will come under ever-increasing pressure in recession.
Aberdeenshire branch motion 23 is part of a likely Composite D
with motions 21 &22.
The Retired Members’ Committee keeps before us the campaigning
objective of restoring the link between the basic state pension
and earnings in motion 64.
Reorganisation, Restructuring, Privatisation 26, Comp
E (32, 49) Comp G (39, 40)
In motion 26, Northern Ireland asks beyond PFI, what is the next
scam? While NEC, in motion 31, states that the current recession,
caused by the greed and "irresponsibility of speculators", demonstrates
once again the importance of public services.
With a higher proportion of the economy in Scotland appropriately
settled in public expenditure, as provider of services and an
economic lever, it is right that Scotland has a high profile in
the public services debates.
In Composite F (32, 49 and amendment), Yorkshire& Humberside
and Scotland join forces in declaring our opposition to cuts in
public services employment.
In motion 37 we outline the challenges of the procurement model.
The growing shortage of affordable housing, the links of housing
policy to the economic collapse, the important place of council
housing and the potential regenerative effect of building new
council housing at this time are set out in Composite F (35, 36).
The identification of bargaining resources and advice to address
the challenges of the Shared Services agenda are highlighted in
composite G (39,40).
Economy - Comp I, Comp H and 52
Composite I of motions 50, 54 and 55 and amendments will challenge
any reader but represents a comprehensive analysis of what faces
public services in the next few years and how the union should
meet the challenge.
Composite H (51, 53) and motion 52 warn us that a time of economic
recession the most vulnerable can be at risk of discrimination
Employment Rights - 67
Legal protection for trade unionists acting as whistleblowers
in expressing concern at apparent corruption or malpractice in
motion 67, takes on an unusually topical air.
International - Comp J and 82
NEC member Fiona Smith and Convener Mike Kirby were members of
the recent STUC delegation to the Occupied Palestinian Territories
and Israel.The reports are on the STUC website and a film is on
FBUtube. Their experience has informed the motion 72 and amendment
on Justice for the Palestinians.
This motion will form part of a composite J (72, 74, 77, 78,
79) in expressing solidarity, condemning the incursion and slaughter
in Gaza, progressing the policy of Boycott, Disinvestment and
Sanctions and seeking to review our relations with Histadrut.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution,
the initial perspective of the Obama administration offers the
prospect of change in relations. Motion 82 seeks an end to the
economic blockade and for the UK Government to normalize relations
Europe - 87
Motion 87 from Cymru/Wales seeks to defend social Europe, extend
workers’ rights and oppose exploitation of foreign workers, evident
in some recent judgments and actions by employers.
Racism - 89, 90
The racism and fascism of the far right BNP has found itself
on the streets of Scotland’s cities in the European election campaign.They
will seek to exploit the economic recession with their xenophobia.
UNISON activists have a key role to play in countering their myths
and lies (89, 90).
Asylum & Immigration - 94
Many asylum seekers are highly skilled and educated people.The
asylum process must be speeded up and the rights of asylum seekers
to work should be extended, argue East Midlands in motion 94.
Equalities - 96, 97, 98, 105
The current human rights framework and legislation must be developed,
if we are to fully promote the awareness of discrimination on
grounds of gender, faith, religion, race, age or sexuality or
orientation or disability in the workplace and in UNISON (motions
96, 97, 98, 105).
Social Policy 106, 108, Comp K, 113
Motion 106 from the NEC argues that public services provide an
important welfare safety net at a time of economic recession.
The UK has one of the worst rates of child poverty in the industrialised
world and the government is losing touch with its own targets
to combat child poverty.
Motion 108 sets out some campaigning priorities and objectives
for the union. The growing problem of fuel poverty, when at least
10% of disposable income is spent on fuel, is highlighted in motions
109, 111 (Composite K).
Domestic violence counts for one in six of violent incidents,
and that will include UNISON members who will need support at
work, states motion 113.
Environment Comp L (116,117)
City of Edinburgh branch motion 117 contributes to a review of
our policy and organising objectives called for in Composite L
Funding the Equal Pay Challenge - 125
Scotland was instrumental in motion 116 passed at 2008 conference,
which set in place the union’s financial plan for resourcing the
strategy to pursue equal pay and to resist the challenges from
the parasitical fee-claiming lawyers. Motion 125 presents the
annual review called for at that time.