Tuesday, June 21, 2011

UNISON National Delegate Conference 2011

This morning the UNISON National Delegate Conference opened in Manchester. This is one of the largest trade union gatherings in the world. There are 1.4 million UNISON members and we have delegates from all over the UK representing public service workers.

I am there as part of the Housing Association branch delegation with Mary Powell and Joel Bodmer.

I spoke at a Housing fringe meeting yesterday evening (will post on it later) after the close of the Local Government Conference. After the fringe I went to the London regional welcome meeting to delegates. Next was a UNISON Labour Link social which was held in the historic Manchester City Hall.

There is huge media interest in this years’ conference due to the threat of strike action over pensions. I was interviewed briefly by Sky News. The main debate on Pensions will be on Wednesday. It is a shame that nowadays the media are only interested in trade unions when strikes are on the agenda. There will be a number of important debates during conference which will never be reported upon. Despite the fact that trade unions are still the biggest mass movement in the UK.

I was in Manchester at the same venue last September for the Labour Party conference. So I am getting to know the area quite well. This morning I went for a run to clear my head and prepare for the day. Just after 7am I ran past the conference hall and saw the UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, standing outside being interviewed by a film camera team. I gave him the thumbs up, got a grin in return then I ran back along the Rochdale canal.


Anonymous said...

nice photo john. Mike doing a double take and if you double click it - you can see the grump above your left shoulder and Rae handing out leaflets.

John Gray said...