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National Delegate Conference Brighton 17-20 June 2014

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Welcome to Conference from UNISON Scotland Convener Lilian Macer

Lilian Macer
'Only by organising in the workplaces will we continue to deliver for our members.’.’

Welcome to sunny Brighton for UNISON's 21st National Delegate Conference in June 2014 and can I extend a very special welcome to first time delegates and visitors to conference.

Since we met last year in Liverpool our agenda has been extremely busy and our commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for our members has produced positive results. We have a clear focus, protecting our public services and the UNISON members who deliver them.

We have been supporting public services and the staff who deliver them by, for example, making a strong case for the Scottish Living Wage across the Scottish Economy.

As a consequence of our campaigns we have seen the introduction of the living wage for all NHS workers in Scotland and a significant number of local authorities have now been persuaded of the benefits of this policy.

It is good for employers since it reduces turnover, improves productivity and attracts better staff through reputational gain. The wider community benefits through lower benefit costs, less stress on the NHS and cash into the local economy.

We are winning the argument that austerity is not working.

Our message is that high quality public services are affordable and can be funded through fair taxation; this is the basis for decent services provided by properly rewarded staff and is the key to achieving our social objectives. But don't just take my word on the failures of the government's austerity programme.

Assessed against its own terms the Coalition's five year programme of austerity has not lived up to its promised outcomes.

Whilst the 2008 financial crisis created the economic world in which we now find ourselves, it has been the Coalition's decision to dramatically cut public spending too quickly and by too much that has failed to get the economy working again.

As we move ever closer to the introduction of Health and Social Care Integration this will bring huge opportunities but it also brings challenges not least the threat of further privatisation.

We believe that the private profit motive has no place in running our public services.

The Scottish public service ethos has a proud history, is valued by the general public and should be maintained and strengthened.

This ethos rather than the narrow commercial concerns of the market will provide the services the public need.

Our 'Worth It' campaign on pay remains a priority across all sectors in Scotland. Its aim is to raise the profile of pay within the membership, the wider public, and to find a new way of talking to people about the impact of the continued pay injustice - making pay about people.

Only by organising in the workplaces will we continue to deliver for our members, therefore we need to double our efforts around organising, building our union in size and strength, a strong voice for working people delivering high quality public services day in and day out.

On 18 September this year the Scottish population will make a historic decision that will affect all of us and generations for years to come.
Scotland’s future and the future of our public services has been a priority area for UNISON Scotland and through our efforts the debate has opened up, moving all parties away from the constitutional arguments to the real issues for our members - the type of society we want to live in, a fairer Scotland - by challenging both the Yes and Better Together campaigns to demonstrate to us how their vision can deliver for public services and working people.

We want to tackle inequalities, poor health and deprivation. We will continue to take the principles within our Fairer Scotland document to both campaigns and to continue the debate at National Delegate Conference we have organised a fringe meeting for Tuesday lunchtime, syndicate room 4 in the conference centre at 12.45 to 13.45.

As UNISON Scotland our focus is our members, and the services as public service workers we deliver, and our agenda in Brighton has that at its core.
It's the right place to be and I look forward to seeing you and importantly hearing you in the debates and focused discussions over the week of National Delegate Conference.

Lilian Macer
UNISON Scotland Convener

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Essential cover
Scotland Delegates' booklet
Brighton Centre