Welfare based on "prejudice and dogma"
“So who suffers from benefits cuts,” asked Jane. “The 300,000 children condemned to poverty. Those forced to take a weekly trip to a food bank to ensure they can feed their families. The thousands evicted in the name of housing benefit changes. And the disabled cut off from all support by a multinational operating to guidelines that have seen even the dying declared fit for work.”
And Lilian Macer, Scotland’s Regional Delegate developed this theme telling conference that this is about what kind of society we want to live in. She added that this government’s ideological attacks will have a significant impact on our members since two thirds of those who will lose as a result of these welfare reforms will be in work, in predominantly low paid jobs delivering vital public services.
Encourage spending to benefit the economy
"Giving people work and paying a fair wage will promote spending and growth. We should raise the income of the lowest paid because not only is it the right thing to do, but it is the sensible thing to do when we need to encourage spending.
"There is an alternative to austerity, it is a programme of fairness, decency and justice. It is what this union is built on."
Don't put profits before people
He described the desperately short supply of affordable housing and how this marginalises people, breaks up families and ruins communities. “Housing that is affordable, secure, fit for purpose and responsive to the needs of local communities is essential to a Fair Society.”
End the poverty pay scandal
Scotland Regional Delegate, Stephen Smellie called for the living wage campaign to be extended, to press councils and the Scottish government to use their procurement policies to make sure that these employers also pay their workers the living wage.
"Councils are procuring services in the full knowledge that workers will be paid national minimum poverty wages, often on zero hours contracts. This is a publicly funded wages scandal,” slammed Stephen.
And Susan Kennedy, Asst Branch secretary told delegates of some of the Branch's successes in staving off privatisation and successfully negotiating a 'Living Wage' for all local authority employees including Modern Apprentices and looking to see this assimilated into the pay scales.
Susan said, “We believe we have achieved what we have now by being prepared to negotiate, by involving our members and being publicly visible.
"We've been seen to be keen negotiators by using all the tools available to us, making sure all our members know what it means to them and letting the public know how these changes can either benefit or disadvantage their lives."
Every UNISON branch elects a delegation to attend annual conference and to vote on behalf of their local branch members. Scotland has about 200 delegates. This branch has three. Two must be women and one of these must be a low paid woman, to reflect the make-up of the branch.
Branch Committee voted this year's delegation to Conference in Liverpool as:
UNISON Scotland Briefing Team
UNISON's annual national conference is the union's ruling body. Every year delegates from all over the country take part in debates to choose our campaigning priorities and policies.
Conference is chaired by the UNISON National President, or by one of the Vice-Presidents. This year there are over 100 motions on the conference agenda again and a number of proposed amendments to the UNISON rules. Only a proportion of motions will actually be debated at Conference because there is not time to hear them all. Motions are therefore "prioritised".
Branch motions and amendments
Motions are passed by a straight majority of the conference delegates on a hand vote. If it is close, conference delegates or the chair of conference can call for a card vote. The number of card votes per delegation is based on the number of members in the branch.
Amendments to rule need to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the voting delegates. Card votes can also be called for (and often are) in rule changes. Thursday afternoon is traditionally the time that the rule changes are debated. Many delegates find this session really boring, but in recent years it has produced some of the best debates, and often the funniest speeches.
As delegates we will vote on the motions and the rule changes in line with branch policy, where we have that in place and we can speak for or against any of the motions, amendments and rule changes, again in line with Branch policy, if we have a position.