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STUC Congress 2015 Ayr

STUC 2015
STUCWe will be reporting all the UNISON speakers on the main issues every day at the 118th STUC Congress in Ayr from 20-22 April. Reports will also appear in Scotland inUNISON's May issue and on the blog at unison-scotland.blogspot.co.uk/. For an overview of the whole Congress go to the STUC website

Check the blog for all the main stories as they happen.

Additional support needs are stretched to the limit
Additional support needs for pupils, particularly those who start at a disadvantage, are stretched to the limit with children not getting the support they are entitled to, Susan Kennedy told delegates.

Migrant rescue cut 'indefensible in its inhumanity'
Moving the motion on behalf of the General Council, UNISON Scottish Secretary, Mike Kirby, clearly shocked by the events of the previous weekend, told delegates that the situation in the Mediterranean “where they are dragging bodies out of the sea, day after day, thousands of innocent people dead, simply beggars belief.”

Change society so women can live free from violence
Gender equality is at the root of violence against women and girls and the STUC will campaign to keep this issue at the heart of the agenda for all public bodies in Scotland.

Poorer students are being failed
Too many students in Scotland drop out of full time education due to inadequate financial support.

Foodbanks: Solidarity not charity
The rise of foodbanks in the 6th richest country in the world is a national scandal and the STUC will continue to campaign vigorously against austerity, low pay and benefit sanctions which see so many people reliant on them.

End 1 in 5 children living in poverty in Scotland
UNISON Scotland's Kate Ramsden supporting an USDAW motion said that that the STUC had highlighted as far back as 2010 that cuts and austerity would lead to a rise in the numbers of children in poverty.

Call to challenge gender equality in apprenticeships
The STUC will press the Scottish government to work with them to tackle gender inequality in apprenticeships and to encourage women to take on apprenticeships in under-represented sectors.

Tackling poverty to tackle education inequalities
“There is no evidence that children from deprived backgrounds have fewer aspirations, hopes and dreams. Let’s continue to fight for a fairer, just and equal society so that all children can reach their potential,” says Carol Ball.

STUC calls on University governors to reflect diversity of staff
STUC has called on Scottish Government to legislate for all university governing bodies to have a chair elected by all staff and students, ensure they are representative of the university and wider community - including a quota for women members; and include reserved places for trade union representatives.

Attempt to take over transport police is another ‘polishambles’
The STUC will vigorously oppose Scottish Government plans to absorb the specialist British Transport Police (BTP) into Police Scotland and delegates were dismayed that the announcement of these plans was made without any public consultation.

House building and living rent to fix housing crisis
UNISON Scotland’s Susan Kennedy, backing the USDAW, UCATT and North Lanarkshire and Aberdeen trade union councils’ motion, said Scotland has a ‘housing crisis’.

Return power to local councils to act on services
The STUC overwhelmingly backed a range of measures to rebuild local democracy and will press the Scottish Government to provide resources to ensure strong local democracy and to return to councils greater control over local taxes and power to take services back in-house.

Call to improve access to GPs
UNISON Health’s Catriona Beveridge told delegates that it is not appropriate for GP facilities only to be available during the traditional hours they work whilst the rest of the NHS has extended access.

Pay success needs unions to work together
The reason the Tories can justify five years of pay cuts for public service workers is simple according to UNISON’s Gordon McKay. “They don’t like you!”

Let’s show the Palestinian people why Scotland supports them
“Let’s show the Palestinian people why Scotland supports their cause. The time to act is now!” said Sam Macartney.

STUC drive to improve equality
“Ensuring that an organisation reflects the community which it serves is clear proof of its commitment to equality and inclusion,” UNISON’s Priscilla Maramba told delegates...

Defending Rojova's democracy and gender equality
The STUC sent solidarity and support to the people of Rojava and Kobane and pledged to lobby the Government to do everything it can to ensure that humanitarian aid gets through to Rojava, to support the refugees from other parts of Syria and to ensure that Kobane can defend itself and its people.

TTIP needs international response
The STUC in Ayr heard a stark warning from UNISON’s Jane Carolan that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would be “an assault on democratic government”.

Only hope for BME workers lies in their unions
First time delegate and speaker, UNISON’s Priscilla Maramba, told Congress that ConDem austerity has worsened the plight of BME workers, and the rise of UKIP and media bias have added insult to injury.

Stop fracking and lobby for sustainable energy
Delegates backed a Fife TUC call to oppose fracking and underground coal gasification (UCG) until their potential impact on local communities and the environment is fully investigated and understood.

Climate change and fuel poverty are urgent challenges
The STUC will work with NGOs and trade unions internationally to press for a Just Transition as part of a binding international deal at the UN Conference on Climate Change due to be held this year in Paris, which is “critical for the future of the planet.”

Prentis sends solidarity to Kobane
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis took time out at the STUC conference today to visit the Kurdistan Solidarity stall along with Depute Convenor, Stephen Smellie. Dave expressed his solidarity with the efforts to re-build Kobane and the continuing struggle against ISIS.

Quality child care needs a valued workforce
The STUC will work across the early years sector to ensure that all parents have access to free, universal and flexible childcare, geared to the needs of children and their families and will press the Scottish Government for proper resources to support this.

Care workers deserve living wage
The STUC endorsed UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter and committed to campaigning for a living wage for all care workers in Scotland. Delegates backed the call from the Chartered Society for Physiotherapy, which recognised the invaluable contribution of care workers to health and social care provision in Scotland and slammed the terrible working conditions for many as exposed by UNISON’s “Time to Care” survey.

End exploitation of young vulnerable workers
Ryan Boyle supports the call for a campaign against the exploitation of young workers and the promotion of credit unions as an alternative to pay day lenders.

Flexible working good for life and the workforce
UNISON’s Maggie Cook told delegates that flexible working, when handled well, can enhance workers’ quality of life and lead to a happier and more productive workforce.

Partnership means rights on both sides – repeal anti-union laws
Stephen Smellie issues a challenge to the Scottish Government to make good their “fine words” and make sure that trade unions are given greater representation on public bodies.

STUC welcomes Glasgow strikers
The STUC Congress in Ayr gave a standing ovation to strikers from Glasgow Council’s Homeless Service who have been on all-out strike since 31 March

Public contracts should demand fair treatment for workers
“Public money going into the private sector must be spent ethically and not to help contribute to profits made on the back of the working poor", says Brenda Aitchison.

Pledge for collective bargaining as Fair Work Convention welcomed
“We need to take the workers’ and trade union voice into the boardrooms and senior management decision making forums. And we need that voice to be loud and effective,” said Lilian Macer. 20 April






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Reports by Kate Ramsden, John Stevenson and Danny Phillips in Ayr