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STUC 2011 Ayr
Kate Ramsden
UNISON's Kate Ramsden, chair of the STUC Standing Orders Committee, gets business started at the 2011 STUC
These reports cover the UNISON speakers on the main issues at the Congress from 18-20 April. Reports will also appear in Scotland inUNISON's May issue. For an overview of the Congress go to the STUC website

Wed 20 April

UNISON's Mike Kirby new STUC President: UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby was elected as STUC President for 2011-12 at the Congress in Ayr.

Action on government pensions robbery This Congress and this Government should be under no illusion that if this tawdry coalition of a government does not end their attacks on our pensions, then UNISON will ballot for industrial action and we will win, Gordon McKay told the STUC to loud applause.

There is a better way: A Living Wage: The Living Wage campaign in the NHS has been a major victory at a time when many of our campaigns have been about holding on to the terms and conditions we have, UNISON’s Gordon McKay told the STUC.

What kind of residential care would we want for ourselves? Asked Stephen Brown on the day the inquiry into the Uddingston care home fire exposed serious safety failings. The STUC called for an end to privatisation of homes for older people, a stricter regulation scheme and proper staff training and standards.

Domestic abuse: We have a critical role in campaigning for protection, prevention, provision and workplace policies: The STUC in Ayr backed the Women’s Aid STOP campaign and heard a powerful and courageous speech from UNISON’s Marie Garrity.

Fighting for disability benefits is about protecting services we all need: “Fighting to protect disability benefits is not just about protecting a vulnerable group. It’s about protecting the services we all need”, UNISON's John Nisbet told the STUC.

STUC opposes tuition fees: The STUC backed a Youth Conference call to oppose tuition fees, remove the burden of debt from graduates and support campaigns for a fairer funding system for higher education in England.

More modern apprenticeships - and the rate for the job: The STUC will demand that Modern Apprenticeships are made available to young people who don't go into further or higher education - and campaign for the £2.50 rate to go up to the minimum wage.

Housing should be a right for everyone: Decent housing should be a right for every individual in society and this could do much to improve health, social mobility and community regeneration, said a motion from UCATT and Midlothian TUC.

Higher education: Business should pay its share: Higher education benefits society as a whole - including the business and financial community, said the STUC as it agreed to campaign to ensure business and finance pay a fair share of the costs to address underfunding.

Public transport should not just be for the fit: The STUC backed a Disabled Workers' Conference call for more accessibility for the disabled on public transport, with more audio announcements, staff training to assist disabled passengers sensitively and safely, more spaces on trains and buses and lobbying to ensure operators meet duties under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Tues 19 April

Our young people have a right to a future: Slamming cuts in benefits, education allowances and employment opportunities, UNISON NEC Policy Chair Jane Carolan told the STUC, “there has never been a worse time in this country to be young.

NHS and social action both needed to improve nation's health "We cannot let that great vision be washed away by another Tory Government. We must fight to protect the NHS and all our services"

UNISON wants time to consult on national fire service: The STUC supported the amalgamation of fire and rescue services, while UNISON abstained on the issue until it could consult fully with its members in the service

Health and Social Care: 'Injury to one is an injury to all' - It's the principle that underlines our determination to defend those services, those that rely on them, and those that provide them", UNISON Scottish Convener Lilan Macer told the STUC today.

Comprehensive education works - let's protect it: Sandra Kennie highlights the role of the whole education team.

Be bold in the defence of our public services, says Mike Kirby as the STUC set out plans to build the widest possible alliance to popularise an alternative economic strategy and to fight the cuts.

Mon 18 April

Bonuses: We are not all in it together: Pat Rowland condemns the massive bonuses for senior executives in the finance sector, while workers face the stress of redundancy.

Call for balanced energy policy: Congress set out an agenda for a balanced energy policy in the UK, aiming to reduce energy consumption and investing in renewable energy generation. Willie Docherty calls for action on climate change.

Lossiemouth 'deeply let down by the ConDem government': "I have seen first hand the damage being caused to our communities in Moray as we have been left in suspense for the last six months over the future of RAF Lossiemouth", Kieron Green tells Congress.

Support Highland development but protect Careers Service: Delegates backed the important role of Highlands and Islands Enterprise but rejected any merger with Scottish Enterpise as UNISON called for the Careers service to stay with Skills Development Scotland.

There is a Better Way special session: Civic society speaks up for services. Katrina Murray warns that personalisation is being driven by cuts.

Congress slams 'irresponsible and ideological' cuts: "We need a fair tax system and a crackdown on tax avoidance, decent pay for workers and improved social provision to reduce individual debt. We need to re-regulate the finance sector and re-direct our pensions to useful and sustainable investments", said Rory Malone.






STUC 2011 Ayr
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