Welcome to Conference from UNISON Scotland
Convener Lilian Macer
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
UNISON Scotland Convener