Friday, June 21, 2024

UNISON National Delegate Conference 2024: Day 2 Wednesday

Day 2 started again with the usual NEC meeting at 8.30am then I joined other activists to hand out leaflets outside the conference hall to publicise the Labour Link rally and campaign session being held that that evening. I was back on the NEC platform for the 9.30am start. After the normal S.O.C bun fight, we continued debates including a very important composite motion on a National Care Service. 

At 12 noon we stopped conference business for the keynote speech by our General Secretary, Christina McAnea. Christina gave a powerful and wide ranging speech celebrating our union successes during the past 12 months but also making it clear after 14 years of Tory failure "Our members need a Labour Government". 

During lunch I attended the the Greater London fringe on "Tackling HIV Stigma in our workplace" chaired by London activist Anu Prasher. In the afternoon there was a very powerful debate  (Motion 39) on "Domestic Abuse:Access For All" where survivors of abuse shared their experiences. 

Another important debate (motion 56) was "Tory Cuts to Police Funding Harms Community Safety". Conference was generally very supportive but some speakers incredibly spoke against this motion and even appeared to call for further cuts. One claimed that research showed that there was no benefit from the jobs of her fellow UNISON members - low paid Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). So I suppose she wants them all to be sacked? As an inner city housing officer who has worked with such staff for many years I can say this is completely untrue. 

Dreadful comments, no wonder that our Police Civilian staff members present were so upset. The overwhelming vote in favour of the motion by conference showed what real trade unionists thought about these remarks.  

After close of conference, I attended the Labour Link Rally where Labour Parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavillion, Tom Gray (no relation) spoke before we were organised into canvass teams and went door knocking for Labour. The canvass went pretty well with a clear majority of Labour supporter but it was mostly flats which were difficult to get into. One person I spoke to was not on the electoral register but he was holding some sort of political banner. He explained in an American accent that he was off to a Revolutionary Communist Party rally. He and all the other people were friendly and pretty keen to engage even if they did not support Labour. 

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