UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK
Scotland in UNISON



National Delegate Conference 19-22 June 2007

The reports below cover debates with a significant Scottish input. See the UK Conference pages for more news

Conference makes landmark decisions on pay and privatisation
Conference made fundamental decisions about a co-ordinated fight for pay south of the border - across health and local government - a trade union wide fight against privatisation, with national and regional demonstrations. It also decided key policies on pensions.

Campaign for united fight on pay south of border - and warning for Scotland
Conference demanded that the government abandon its 2% public sector pay freeze and laid out a campaign for fair pay across the public sector south of the border which could involve strike action coordinated with other public sector unions. But there's a warning for Scotland.

Privatisation agenda fails children and elderly
Conference took a second bite at the cherry when it backed a call to build alliances within and outwith UNISON to mount a major campaign against privatisation in the public services with local and national demonstrations.

Making sure members have their say over how their pension funds are managed and invest - "Capital Stewardship - Toward the Citizen Economy" Conference backed Scotland's call to encourage workers to serve as trustees on occupational pension schemes and has become the first union in the country to set up its own training scheme for shareholder activism, thanks to a powerful speech by Pat Rowland.

Campaign for statutory definition of violence against women
Conference called for a statutory definition of violence against women as a step towards eliminating domestic violence. One in four women in Britain will experence domestic violence in their lives, and it is now the second biggest category of violent crime - with 13 million incidents each year.

Trident threat to peace - and public services
Reaffirming its campaign to oppose Trident replacement, Conference warned that the billions of pounds it would cost to replace the missile would mean huge cuts in public services.

Northern Ireland peace process - UNISON fighting for equality and public services:Northern Ireland members are "once again optimistic that a fair and peaceful future is in sight. A future shared on the basis of equality and rights", Scotland's Mike Kirby told Conference as it backed a call to use UNISON's influence to ensure services and investment are targeted where they are most needed.

Zero tolerance of violence at work
UNISON will campaign for zero tolerace of violence at work for all public service workers and will push for legislation and guidance to prevent the abuse of these staff.

UNISON slams child poverty
Conference endorsed an anti-poverty strategy aimed at tackling low pay amongst UNISON members and tackling the causes and effects of child poverty in this country and gobally.

Stop climate chaos now. Past generations didn't know. Future generations will be too late
UNISON laid out its plan to Stop Climate Chaos, calling on central and local government to take positive action now to reduce our carbon footprint.

No change to subscriptions
Conference rejected a rule change that would have changed subscription rates just a few years after they were last reviewed.

NEC motions restriction rejected
After a lively debate (who says rules are boring?) conference threw out a rule change which would have restricted the numbers of motions and amendments which the NEC could submit to conference.

Registration opportunity to recruit as review called for
UNISON welcomed occupation and professional registration for protection for the public and practitioners alike, and as an opportunity for occupational development but warned about the challenges it presented for the union.

UNISON backs Access to Work scheme for disabled people
Conference threw its weight behind the Access to Work scheme for disabled people and recognised the important role it plays in supporting people with a range of disabilities into work.

UNISON says no to EU privatisation threat and privatisation threat
Conference committed itself to a campaign of active opposition amongst members, to any attempts to revive the EU constitution and pledged to fight attempts to open up health and social services to competition and to remove them from democratic control.

October demo against NHS marketisation
Conference gave overwhelming support to a strategy to build broad alliances to combat the marketisation of the NHS. It also heard that UNISON has taken the lead in organising a National Demonstration in London on 13 October this year.

Dave Prentis demands fairness and justice: ‘Last chance saloon' warning to Labour but ‘never forget the Tory trail of destruction'We demand fairness and justice for our members and we are prepared to fight and if necessary strike to get it, was General Secretary Dave Prentis' resounding message for the Government.

No to pensions contaminated by the blood of others
UNISON will call for an end to investment in the arms trade by pensions funds The Conference debate heard how huge the investment by pension funds is in the arms trade.

National demonstration against privatisation
UNISON will step up its 'Positively Public' campaign for public services and against privatisation and back this up with a national demonstration. Scotland had a key role in the debate with an amendment warning of the 'creeping privatisation' of shared services and PFI.

Recruitment and Organising
UNISON made a commitment to resource and develop its organising agenda. Branches will be encouraged to incorporate recruitment into all their activities and maximise their opportunities to recruit new staff members, and build upon their existing stewardship.

"I Never Dreamed I'd Be Here"
Malcolm Cantello UNISON's National President Addresses Conference, praising positive public services, slamming racism, welcoming UNISON's international work and seeking support for his chosen charity to help young people communicate across boundaries and to express their stories, needs, hopes, fears and aspirations as a way of reconciling and moving forward after conflict.

Cuban health and education - a shining example
Conference congratulated the union on its 'Made in Cuba' pack about the country's unique health service and its outreach in the Caribbean and Pakistan and agreed to continue joint work with the Cuban Solidarity Campaign and encourage UNISON branches to forward the campaign using the material.

32, 000 Cuban health workers bring aid to 72 countries "Support an inspiration to Cuban people":
Inspiration goes both ways. As Dr Juan Carlos Dupuy Nunez thanked UNISON for its support - "a source of inspiration for the Cuban people" - a standing ovation from Local Government delegates showed how inspired they were by him.

Scottish fringe raises debate on Asylum children and Direct Payments
Around 80 delegates from across the UK packed into the Scottish Fringe meeting on Sunday evening to hear about the work of our Social Work Issues group. They heard about SWIG's achievements over the years, including the work which has been done on Direct Payments, along with disabled people's organisations; and the campaigning for the rights of asylum seeker families including the guide for members, "child's welfare paramount?"

Welcome from Mike Kirby

Welcome to Conference
from UNISONScotland Convenor Mike Kirby

Mike KirbyUNISON National Delegate Conference will meet weeks after the appointment of a new Prime Minister, a novel development in a long-standing democracy used to electing governments.

We look forward with interest to learn if the architect of much of New Labour's economic and political model of the last decade, including reform of public service delivery, PFI, can adopt a new New Labour direction, particularly in domestic and foreign policy.

The Conference also meets after considerable political change in the UK. In Scotland a change in political ascendancy for the first time in fifty years and a minority administration in power.

Similarly, in Wales a more traditional Labour minority administration will endeavour to govern. While in Northern Ireland the diverse communities came together in coalition, with the restoration of a form of self government.

The challenge for UNISON will be how we respond to this new plurality in politics in the UK. In Scotland we have practical engagement with the range of political parties.

The union has had to deal with variations of political control and coalition at local government level, but in the majority of UNISON's teenage years it has assumed that it is dealing with one political party. That may require a change in substance and style.

Indeed, Conference two years ago adopted a major report on the Impact of Devolution, pressed for by Scotland, affecting policy development and resources.

England may revisit, sooner than it thought, the issues of devolution. Whether the new New Labour Government will follow the professed Scotland model of co-operation not competition remains to be seen.

Conference will debate issues of a UK government agenda, some of which are devolved. Whatever happens in England, and the extent of developing powers in the devolved administrations, the UNISON identity is strong.

Don't forget the meeting of Scottish Branches on: MONDAY 18 JUNE 5.30PM Grand Hotel, Brighton Light refreshments will be provided. Conference Crèche will be available until 7.00pm:

(Local Government Branches will also meet at the Grand Hotel on Saturday 16 June at 5.30)

Mike Kirby
Convenor UNISONScotland



Conference reports by Jane Aitchison, Kate Ramsden and John Stevenson, Communications & Campaigns Committee. Thanks to Gordon Scott from the committee for his help and to Bob Revie for the photos.

* Click here for Photo gallery