Aberdeenshire UNISON

National Local Government Service Group Conference 2013

16th-17th June in Liverpool

Protecting our services - defending trade union rights

Fair Pay call
Scottish delegates call for fair pay

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.

Inez Teece
Inez Teece

Call to reverse welfare reforms
In a debate led by Scotland regional delegate, Inez Teece, there was condemnation of the welfare reforms which hit the most vulnerable in our society, and of poverty pay which is still rife in many Local Authorities in England, alongside a call for a Living Wage.

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
The plight of young people was also high on the agenda, as Scotland's call for decent pay and conditions for modern apprenticeships was overwhelmingly supported. Susan Kennedy, speaking for the Service Group Executive called for young apprentices all to be paid the living wage, as in Aberdeenshire Council.

Branch delegates
Branch delegates listen intently

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
Our colleagues in England also face privatisation of services on a massive scale from the move to Academy schools to outsourcing of key public services on a major scale. Levels of poverty and deprivation are on the increase, as they are for us all, and the equalities agenda faces serious attack.

Meat inspectors "the thin red line" for consumer safety
A spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency Branch,told delegates that the privatisation of meat inspection services poses a risk to public health and is bad for consumers and UNISON will fight moves to privatise and de-regulate.

"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
Despite all the challenges, delegates vowed to go back to their Branches and their councils to continue the fight to protect our members and our most vulnerable service users.

Susan Kennedy takes her place on the
platform with the SGE

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!


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 delegation
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:

Morag Lawrence Steve Gray Tricia Morrison Kate Ramsden
Morag Lawrence Newssheet Editor Steve Gray, Asst Secretary Tricia Morrison, Health and Safety Officer

Kate Ramsden,
Branch Chair

Inez TeeceRegional 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.

Sue KennedyService 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.

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.

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.



Local Government Service Group Conference 2013

Kate Ramsden
Local Government Conference Liverpool 2013
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