National Local Government Service Group
13th-14th June in Bournemouth
Organise to protect
members and services
This year's Local Government Conference laid out the challenges
facing our members and our services as we prepare to fight against
the massive cuts proposed by the Con-Dem Government - cuts that
despite what they say, are not inevitable - to meet a deficit
which was not of our making.
Again it was clear from the debates that the challenges our colleagues
in England have been facing - privatisation, outsourcing, academies
etc - are much worse than we have been facing here in Scotland....
so far! But it is very apparent that these challenges are coming
our way and we must be ready to defend our services - the services
we provide to the most needy - from being eroded.
Conference set out a range of strategies to organise to recruit
and retain members, to protect equalities and to defend our services
and our members' jobs and pensions.
Both Kate Ramsden and Susan Kennedy spoke in the debates.
Guidance on medical procedures will protect
staff and children
Pressure on members in schools, colleges and nurseries to administer
medication and medical treatment without proper training is increasing,
leaving them vulnerable to disciplinary action if things go wrong.
The Service Group Executive will lobby for national protocols
and guidance to protect both staff and children, will produce
clear advice for branches and members, and will ensure consistency
across service groups.
Branch delegate Susan Kennedy, herself a Support for Learning
Auxiliary, introduced conference to the 'guilt-factor' - "low
paid educational support staff, predominantly women, who care
about the children they support, who are guilt tripped into administering
medications and carrying out medical procedures. They do so because
they are not only scared of losing their jobs in the present climate
but also feel guilty about the pupils in their care not receiving
the treatment they need."
She added, "We need to make a stand against being bullied into
administering not just medications, but an exhaustive list of
medical procedures too.
Colleagues who are persuaded into "volunteering" by managers
are setting unwanted precedents. They are practising without policy,
without extra pay and without certified training," she warned.
UNISON standing up for Social Work
Local Government Conference re-affirmed its support for our members
in social work and threw its weight behind a range of measures
to campaign for proper resources to fund social work services
and to ensure that social work staff can provide quality services
to the most vulnerable in our communities.
"The great majority of our members, like me, are in social work
because we want to make a positive difference to the lives of
the people we are giving a service to," said branch delegate Kate
Ramsden, calling for proper investment in social work and proper
systems of support for social work staff.
She told conference that the Scottish Social Work Issues Group
has had some success in highlighting social work issues because
its activists are front-line staff from across the range of social
work services and she urged other regions to set up their own
"The issues for social work members can't and shouldn't just
be left to the national organisation. We must all play our part".
Who's who and what's what?
Service group conferences bring together members across the country
doing similar kinds of jobs or working for the same kinds of employers.
Our branch's service group is local government. It has its conference
just before the National Conference and in the same venue.
The branch is entitled to send four delegates to this conference
and must have regard to proportionality in line with the gender
balance etc in the branch. We tend to have the same delegation as
the Delegate Conference because of the distance to travel and the
fact that one conference follows on from the other.
The Branch delegation to this year's Local Government Conference
in Bournemouth is:
Morrison Branch Officer
Branch Chair (sharer)
Lawrence, Branch Officer (sharer)
Over the past few years the branch has regularly submitted
motions to this conference. Last year we submitted one motion
on UNISON's reponse to "baby
P". We have not submitted any motions or amendments this
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.
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.