National Delegate Conference 15-18 June
Go back to your branches and organise for the fightback
You get Conferences that inspire. Conferences that divide with
destructive quasi-political infighting. And you get 2010.
A quiet and serious resolve characterised the contributions
and responses as almost 3,000 delegates set out a range of strategies
to prepare for the biggest attacks we have ever seen on our services,
our pensions, our pay, our health and safety and our hard won
rights and equalities.
It was time to get down to work and organising is the key.
And while we worked away at detailed policies to build the fightback,
we were inspired by legendary anti-apartheid campaigner Denis
Goldberg as we made him an honorary member.
We were lifted by international solidarity from Canadian Union
of Public Employees president, Paul Moist. Warning about Clegg
and Cameron's 'infatuation' with the 'Canadian Model', he said,
"Canada is no model, if the price you pay is a terrible imbalance
And we were cheered up by a Robin Hood Tax knockabout with Billy
Scotland played a central role again. From the serious and sometimes
barnstorming contributions from Glasgow Housing's Jane Carolan,
national policy chair, to Mike Kirby's key role in organising
across Regions and bringing us a bit of fun in presenting bagpipes
to Dave Prentis.
And talking of Dave Prentis. Probably the most considered, most
comprehensive, most rallying and most inspiring speech our general
secretary had made to Conference. A serious leadership performance
for serious times ahead.
Scotland contributers were too many to mention them all. But
they took part - and often led - in the most significant debates.
Jane Carolan moved the keynote debate on the economy, slamming
the 'myths and lies' that cuts were inevitable. On the final day
she made a rallying call to branches to go back home to educate,
agitate and organise - to recruit and campaigns for jobs, pay
“Go back and tell your members who their enemies are - and ask
them what they are going to do about it”. “This union united will
never be defeated”, she said.
From the Annual report when Glasgow's Angela Lynes - and UNISON
vice-president - said, "When the going gets tough, UNISON gets
going", to Mike Kirby's call for the political fund to offer a
broader engagement, expanding eligibility for participation",
that would strengthen ability and influence, we set out the broad
picture while getting down to the nuts and bolts of the organisation
needed to mount the fightback.
"Our services are not for sale", was Edinburgh's message to
Conference as Kevin Duguid spoke in the privatisation debate.
The crisis in social care was reflected in it being the first
debate of the week. Edinburgh's John Stevenson warned of 'social
care on the cheap' showing no respect for people who need those
Mike Kirby led the devolution debate, taking the union's devolution
protocol forward to the next stage.
Young and not so young united in Lothian Health's Graham Smith
and Retired Member Lily McNaughton combining to campaign for high
Combining to set a landmark policy on workplace agreements to
support victims of domestic violence and to get perpetrators to
address their behaviour, Edinburgh's Elaine Wishart, Aberdeenshire's
Kate Ramsden and Falkirk's Gray Allan led a considered and at
times emotional debate.
Are we an organising union?" asked Quarrier's Stephen Brown -
and the answer was ‘yes we are’ - as he called for us to make
sure we can organise in co-operatives and protect members.
Aberdeenshire's Susan Kennedy spoke on disabilities, Dundee's
Rory Malone spoke on pensions and Glasgow's Alison Kelly warned
that we will have to take action to get decent pay settlements.
"We know our members are worried about their jobs, but we must
stand together and if need be, take industrial action", she said.
See the website for reports on all the main