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STUC 2012 Inverness
Kate Ramsden
UNISON's Kate Ramsden, chair of the STUC Standing Orders Committee, gets Congress under way.

These reports cover only the UNISON speakers on the main issues at the STUC Congress in Inverness from 23-25 April. Reports will also appear in Scotland inUNISON's May issue. For an overview of the whole Congress go to the STUC website

Austerity isn't working: Mike Kirby lays out the STUC's vision for domestic and international solidarity: Presidential speech from UNISON's Mike Kirby.

Wed 25 April

Constitutional debate not about powers but what we do with them
As the STUC sets out on a historical campaign to engage working people in the debate on the future of Scotland, it should not be about what powers politicians want, but about “what they want to do with those powers”, UNISON’s Stephen Smellie told Congress this morning.

Break down the barriers and get more black councillors
The STUC will call on all political parties to engage more with the BME community to address the lack of representation in local politics from ethnic communities.

Stop homophobic bullying in schools
Unions are being urged to work together and with local authorities to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.

Campaign to oppose FE cuts
Congress condemned the planned cuts in Further Education funding and college mergers when unemployment levels amongst young people are spiralling and when the need for skills development could not be greater.

Tues 24 April

Pensions: NHS talks start but action not ruled out
UNISON's Lilian Macer told the STUC that NHS workers in Scotland were starting talks on pensions but warned, "We will talk - basing our case on decency and farness but as Mike Kirby said yesterday - if the force of argument fails we will use the argument of force".

Care for the Elderly – Privatisation Through the Back Door
"Make no mistake, the cuts in Council budgets, pushing up the costs in care mean a race to the bottom between public services and private profiteers", UNISON's Lynne Rankin told Congress.

Spiralling fuel costs mean a choice for many between heating and eating
The cost of heating and keeping warm is leaving more and more of us having to make stark choices on whether to “heat or eat”, whilst the “Big Six” energy firms see their profits multiply.

Action not words to deal with housing crisis
The STUC will step up its campaign for increased and sustained investment in good quality, affordable social and council housing. New build programmes should be used to increase apprenticeships and employment in the construction industry, with full employment rights for workers.

Put need before false efficiencies in Community Mental Health
Congress welcomed the move from the institutional care of people suffering from severe mental health conditions but set out measures to ensure mental health provision in the community is properly resourced to meet the increased demands.

Reform must improve public services, not cut costs
"Quality public services are the mark of a civilised society and are necessary for any growing economy", UNISON's Stephen Smellie told delegates.

Congress celebrates Edinburgh victory against privatisation
Congress applauded the victory by trade unions and community groups in Edinburgh, in seeing off the threat of the privatisation of a huge tranche of council services and pledged support to unions and communities to fight privatisation in the future.

A broken economy leads to a broken society – there is a better way
The thrust of the STUC’s ‘There is a Better Way” campaign was underlined as the Congress in Inverness committed to pushing for policies that would rebuild the economy, create growth and demand, abandon cuts and ‘genuinely’ tackle tax evation.

Show Racism The Red Card – the union role
Unions must back members in local efforts to take the Show Racism the Red Card message to young people in their communities and fans on the terracings, UNISON’s John Stevenson told a fringe meeting at the STUC in Inverness.

Scottish Government sets up “Women’s Employment Summit” as Congress highlights impact of occupational segregation
Just a day after Congress had recognised the damaging effect on Scotland’s economy of the segregation of women and men into different types of employment and called on the Scottish Government to make real its commitment to tackle gender inequality and occupational segregation, the First Minister announced to the STUC that the Government will set up a “Women’s Summit” to develop a strategy to tackle rising levels of unemployment amongst women in Scotland.

Public services delivered by democratically elected councils - not private for profit
Congress urged local authorities to work with trade unions and communities to ensure open and accountable government and to promote local democracy. It called on Trade Union Councils to build alliances with councillors who oppose the cuts agenda.

Mon 23 April

Pledge to fight welfare cuts to protect most vulnerable
There should be a 21st century welfare system, based on need, not moral judgements, which ensures everyone has a decent standard of living, free from poverty and low pay. Welfare cuts are 'political choices", says Ann Wardlaw. ""My point here is we have the money – these are political choices".

Support democratic movements and condemn state sponsored terror
Delegates welcomed the new democratic movements across the Arab world but condemned the double standards of many Western Governments in their response to the widespread oppression which still continues in many countries.

As inequality grows it is our children who suffer
Congress condemned the rising levels of child poverty in Scotland and across the UK as a result of the UK Government’s austerity measures.

Invest in the people to help looked after children's attainment, says STUC
More support for looked after children in school will only work if the government and councils invest in the people to provide that support.

Now is the time to make universal childcare a reality
Good quality, publicly funded childcare makes a fundamental contribution to the economy and cuts in childcare services have had a disproportionate impact on women’s lives.

Real jobs, not false hopes for young people
Congress threw its weight behind a wide ranging strategy to tackle growing youth unemployment in Scotland and to increase the numbers of permanent, well paid jobs available to young people. UNISON's James Corry warns against “a clutch of certificates and false hopes.”

Austerity isn't working: Mike Kirby lays out the STUC's vision for domestic and international solidarity: In a wide ranging presidential speech today from domestic to international issues, UNISON's Mike Kirby laid out eloquently and comprehensively what we stand for as a movement and why there is a better way than austerity. Here we publish his speech in full.

Mike Kirby
STUC President 2012

STUC 2012
We will be reporting all the UNISON speakers on the main issues every day at the STUC Congress from 23-25 April. Reports will also appear in Scotland inUNISON's May issue. For an overview of the whole Congress go to the STUC website

This year's STUC Annual Congress in Inverness will highlight the 'There is a better way' campaign which promotes a clear and distinct economic alternative to current policies of the coalition government.

Congress will attract over 330 trade union delegates representing 37 Trade Unions, 24 Trades Union Councils as well as a number of international guests and speakers from the world of politics. UNISON's delegation is 33 strong and includes NEC members, delegates elected by Scottish branches and staff.

UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby is STUC President for 2011-12 and he has the honour of chairing Congress this year.





Eden Court STUC
Stories by Kate Ramsden and John Stevenson
Thanks to John Gallacher, Sam Macartney and Hamid Rasheed for help with the photos

STUC 2006 | STUC 2007 | STUC 2008 | STUC 2009 | STUC 2010 | STUC 2011

Husain Foqahaa
Palestinian trade unionist Husain Foqahaa greets President Mike Kirby with a Palestine scarf
Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond, First Minister, addressed Congress on Tuesday
Johann Lamont
Johann Lamont, Leader Scottish Labour, addressed Congress on Monday