Aberdeenshire UNISON

22nd Nov 2011
Report of STUC Women's Conference 2011

Susan speaks up on fuel poverty at her first STUC Women's Conference

Susan Kennedy
Susan Kennedy

Assistant Branch Secretary and Equalities Officer, Susan Kennedy joined UNISON's 16 strong delegation to the STUC Women's Conference in Glasgow from 13-15th November.

The delegation included Carol Peggie, the first ever chair of UNISON's Women's Committee, and Eleanor Smith, UNISON's President, who offered a lot of support.

Despite this being her first ever STUC Women's Conference Susan was up speaking twice, as the Conference approved a range of motions to address growing inequality as a result of the UK Government's cuts agenda.

The issue of fuel poverty was high on the agenda as the Women's Conference recognised the impact of rising fuel costs on women and families.

Delegates heard that women over 60 and single parents are increasingly having to choose between whether to "eat or heat" and condemned this as unacceptable.

This is an issue which bears great relevance to our members and their families in the N.E. It has concerned us in the Branch for some time, especially since we cover a rural area where fuel costs can be even higher.

Supporting the Communication Workers Union motion, Susan told delegates that fuel poverty has risen over the past 10 years with around 33% of Scottish households being affected.

"The reality is that our elderly, the low paid, single parent families and people with disabilities are having to spend such a high rate of their income to heat their homes that they are putting themselves into financial difficulty and being forced into making choices over basic necessities. Some are also putting themselves in serious danger of health problems, and sadly for too many - death", she warned.

The STUC Women's Committee will work with the STUC, the Scottish Pensioners' Forum, the Fuel Poverty Alliance and all affiliates to lobby the Scottish Government to influence policy for any future price increases.

Susan also spoke out to condemn human trafficking, as delegates agreed a range of measures to keep up the pressure to end this terrible violation of human rights.

Click here for full details of motions debated and approved.