Local Government Conference was a serious and sombre affair as delegates heard of the relentless attacks on local government services and local government workers across the UK at the hands of this ConDem government. However, it was very clear that the situation for our UNISON colleagues in England is much grimmer even than the challenges we face north of the border.
Call to reverse welfare reforms
The attacks on the equalities agenda, on health and safety laws and regulation and on facility time were all condemned as speaker after speaker vowed to fight to protect services and to defend hard won trade union rights.
Decent pay for all
Pay was also a key theme, with rousing support for Scotland's Pay ballot alongside criticism of a "lack of leadership" from the negotiators in England and Wales where a ballot for action resulted in a NO vote. Moving an emergency motion on the Scottish position, Inez Teece asked for and was given the overwhelmingsupport of delegates.
End the moves to privatisation
Meat inspectors "the thin red line" for consumer safety
"Food Standards meat inspectors and vets are the thin red line which ensures that each piece of meat produced in the UK has been inspected and passed for human consumption," he said.
He told delegates that in supporting the motion, they will be speaking on behalf of the majority of UK consumers as well as our members within the Food Standards Agency, “who do so much unseen work to keep consumers safe from harm.”
Go back and make the arguments
And to make the arguments that it cannot be right that our pay is frozen; that our services are being cut; that more and more children are growing up in poverty; that the disabled are demonised and our young people are finding it harder and harder to find work; whilst the richest 1000 increased their wealth by enought to pay the deficit three times over, and got an average tax cut of £112,000 courtesy of this government.
As Liverpool Mayor, Joe Anderson, himself a UNISON member said, in his opening address to conference, “It is at times like these that trade unions show their worth, where they come into their own.”
We must not disappoint!
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 delegation to this year's Local Government Conference in Bournemouth is:
Regional Delegates: Two regional delegates are elected each year from the Scottish Local Government Committee. They speak to Scotland's motions and amendments and they keep Scottish delegates right about conference matters. We are very pleased that for the third year in a row, our branch secretary, Inez Teece has been elected as regional delegate, along with Scott Donohoe, from Glasgow Branch.
Service Group Executive (SGE): Assistant Branch Secretary, Susan Kennedy is an elecetd member of the ruling body for UNISON's Local Government Service Group, and she will take her place on the stage during this conference and will speak on behalf of the SGE. We wish Susan well for her first conference in this role.
The Branch has not submitted any motions to this year's Local Government Conference.
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.