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This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.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 15-18 June 2010

Go back to your branches and organise for the fightback
Conference round-up from Scotland's perspective.

Challenging the cuts myths and lies
Spreading the burden evenly? For the Tories, that might mean the moat gets cleaned less often! That was how Jane Carolan of the NEC described government claims that the pain of any cuts will be shared.

Benefits and challenges of devolution
Delegates agreed that doing things differently in devolved countries helps the union promote models of best practice in campaigning, organising and bargaining when they discussed the benefits and challenges of devolution

Let's prepare to organise workers in co-operatives Conference recognised that co-operatives and mutuals, when developed in close collaboration with the public sector can have a place in public provision.

Better support for activists
Delegates set out a four-point plan to recruit and support activists over the next year with a report to come to Conference 2011.

'Organise, organise, organise!'
"Organise, organise, organise!" was the rallying call from the key debate on organising at national delegate conference.

Conference considers one fund to defend pensions
Conference set out an agenda for defending the Local Government pension Scheme (LGPS). Central to the strategy will be a reduction of the funds that make up the LGPS, from the current 101 to single funds for England, Wales and Scotland - greatly reducing the costs paid to fund managers.

Pay freeze means pay cut
Conference condemned the government's pay freeze for public sector employees for 2010/11 - which, with inflation, effectively means a pay cut for millions of workers.

Young and old come together to combat elder abuse
UNISON will build alliances to campaign to make elder abuse an aggravated offence across the UK.

Denis Goldberg, UNISON member: I now have a million brothers and sisters - comrades too I hope...
John Stevenson reports on Denis Goldberg receiving honorary UNISON membership

Bill of Rights based on equality, fairness and justice
In the week that saw an apology from the British Government for the Bloody Sunday atrocity, Conference threw its weight behind a call for a strong, inclusive and enforceable Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland

Call for broader engagement in Labour Link as Conference supports political fund report Conference approved the report into the effectiveness of the political fund and the NEC will take forward a range of measures to improve the understanding of the political funds and to encourage all parts of the union to engage with the funds to advance UNISON's objectives.

Raise awareness of non apparent disabilities
Delegates heard of the difficulties which face members in the workplace who have non apparent disabilities, such as dyslexia or mental health problems.

Taking domestic violence seriously in the workplace
UNISON will call for a statutory requirement in the public sector for workplace agreements to deal with the complex issues of domestic abuse and violence.

Young members are our future
Scotland's young and not so young came together to urge conference to support young people out of unemployment and into apprenticeships and higher and further education.

Our services are not for sale
UNISON will continue to promote the value of publicly delivered services, resist the privatisation of public services to outsourcing companies and work to counter the artificial distinction between "back office" and "frontline" functions.

Standing up for social care
In the key debate of this morning's session, Conference welcomed the rise of social care up the political agenda.

United to defend our NHS
Let's be united about defending the NHS, Clare Williams told delegates as she opened a passionate debate on defending the National Health Service.

We are ready to fight for pensions and services
Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary told the new Government in no uncertain terms that UNISON would fiercely defend our members and the services they deliver, and their pensions.

Angela and the union are up for the fight
Angela Lynes, UNISON Vice President and later confirmed as 2011 National President, highlighted UNISON's campaigning work over the last year, defending cuts to jobs and services, against a political climate of confusion.

Take million voices to members
We did not cause the crisis, said Gerry Gallagher UNISON National President, as he urged UNISON to take the Million Voices Campaign to all our members and to the public.

Local Government Conference 13-14 June

Guidance on medical procedures will protect staff and children
Pressure on members in schools, colleges and nurseries to administer medication and medical treatment without proper training is increasing, leaving them vulnerable to disciplinary action if things go wrong.

Redress the imbalance in absence monitoring
Absence management schemes disproportionately affect women, especially those experiencing serious menstrual or menopausal problems which need short monthly absences.

Campaign against shared services to protect jobs and services
Conference recognised the serious threat that shared services pose to members in Local Government and fears that this will worsen as budget cuts bite.

Social Work under pressure - time to take control
A packed fringe meeting heard from social services members and activists of the day to day pressures faced by social care staff; John Stevenson presented Scotland's Social Work Issues Group work on supervision.

Pay stays high on union agenda
"It is vital that the union can lead its members into effective industrial action whether on pay or cuts."

Oppose cuts and put members first
Conference agreed a comprehensive strategy to oppose cuts to jobs, pay and services at a local and national level. It will provide a range of supports to activists to assist them to protect members' jobs and to campaign against cuts to services.

UNISON standing up for social work
Local Government Conference recognised that, despite a range of welcome initiatives such as Changing Lives and the Social Work Task Force in England, there are still acute problems facing social work staff.

Supporting choice for disabled people
Disabled people should have as much independence and control as possible over their own care packages and these should be of high quality with improved pay and conditions for staff, said Local Government Conference.

Conference Briefings

Conference 2010Throughout Conference week, the Scottish Communications and Campaigns Committee will issue daily briefings for delegates and update these web pages with selected reports on issues from a Scotland perspective. Use the links on the right to see the pre-briefing information going out to delegates.

Welcome to Conference

from UNISONScotland Convener Mike Kirby

Mike KirbyWelcome to Bournemouth for UNISON’s 17th National Delegate Conference. We will meet just five weeks after an innovation in UK politics, a coalition government. A coalition government committed to slashing public expenditure and the services in which we work and on which our communities rely.

It has been said that the standard of any civilised society can be measured by its public services, its ability to care for those elderly and infirm, young and learning, at work and out of work, those disadvantaged or disabled.

The UK standard is about to be severely tested. The announcements of the first £6billion of cuts in May are a mere starter of what’s to come. There will be an Emergency Budget on 22 June. This will be the set piece announcement, in which Chancellor George Osborne shows the markets he is tough enough to deliver the deep cuts they are looking for.

The Financial Times estimated on the previous governments plans, that £37.4bn would have to be cut from public spending by 2014, if the deficit as promised is to be halved. That’s £37.4bn in the expected lifetime of this fixed term coalition.

That’s 25% of the whole NHS budget, half the cost of the basic state pension,10 times the NHS dentists’ bill, three quarters of the defence budget. And remember, the pressure on public sector cuts, is likely to hit hardest on women, often the low earners, as workers and family users of services.

It is important to be aware that the Emergency Budget will be a mere foretaste of the cuts that can be expected in the autumn Comprehensive Spending Review.

We can expect it to include:

- deep cuts or very tight restrictions to funding and provision in health, education, social services, policing, housing, and throughout our public services

- further plans on imposing pay restraint across the public sector beyond the pay freeze already announced for 2011-12

- recommendations of the “independent review” of public sector pensions.

Cameron paid an early visit north of the border. He uttered “Respect”. The First Minister replied “Respect”…….and a deal was done to defer Scotland’s share of the first £6bn, £322million until after the elections next year 2011.

There is an argument in delaying cuts in budgets already set by the Scottish Parliament, to avoid heightening the impact. However, two years’ cuts will be administered next year, after the Scottish Parliament election. Should make for an interesting campaign?

Mike calls for cuts?

And as we gather, here’s a headline for you, “Trade union leader calls for more cuts”. Cut the central government use of private consultants, £2.8 billion. Cut the Private Finance Initiative in favour of conventional funding, £3 billion. Cut the tax dodging non doms and save £10 billion a year. Cut tax avoidance and unnecessary relief on high earners, save £15 billion.

Cut finance racketeering with a Tobin Tax make £30 billion a year. And above all, save £80 billion over 40 years, by cutting Trident.

Do that rather than have Our People, pay for the bail out of the banks, estimated at anywhere between £50 to £120 billion. A

cross Scotland, and the UK, local authorities and other public service bodies, are cutting services to local communities as the price to be paid for the bail out of the banks.

Replacing Trident will waste billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, that could better be spent on jobs, pensions, education and health, to improve the lives of the people of Scotland and the UK, without threatening the lives of others.

With unemployment continuing to rise, the priority must be to secure a recovery from the recession. Public services must be at the core of that recovery plan. Across the UK there is a clear majority against deep cuts in public expenditure.

It is more important than ever that UNISON is seen to be at the forefront of the campaign to protect and expand public services and jobs.