What we did at Conference 2016.
Members of Birmingham Unison have attended both the National and Local Conference in Brighton.
Steward Stephen Booth has been speaking at Local Government Conference on Emergency Composite B , which deals with opposition on forcing schools to become academies.
Here's some more reports from Conference 2016
Nicola Moran ( Young Members Officer) writes:
Last week I attended National Delegate Conference as the young member delegate. I chose to attend the conference to broaden my knowledge within Unison and be involved in the democracy that runs this union.
Conference was a really good, positive experience for me. I met and had the opportunity to talk to so many new people from across the country and made some really helpful contacts. The days were long and tiring with many motions to get to, but it was incredibly worth it to have a say on the business of Unison.
A motion in particular that made me proud to be a member was Motion 5 – Bullying and Young Members. The speakers were so passionate and the support for the motion came from all ages across the board. I felt so proud of this union while listening to the speakers .Some of our members have overcome so much and the support they offered to those who are just starting out in the workforce was overwhelming. This motion was incredibly close to home for me and I’m really glad it was supported so enthusiastically. We need to stamp out bullying in the workplace and this motion was certainly a start.
Phil Nobbs ( Senior Steward and Communications Officer) writes
I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first visit to Unison conference, but I left feeling that I’d had an extremely enjoyable and worthwhile experience and that I had been a part of something important. I listened to speeches from Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis and from the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy gave an inspirational speech which received a standing ovation and it was clear that he has the support of grass roots Labour members and working people. Corbyn spoke against austerity, in favour of public services and stated that if elected to government he would scrap the Trade Union Act saying “We would strengthen trade union and employment rights. We would be a government that says that trade unions are a force for good and a force for equality in our society.”
It was very interesting to learn about the procedures of Conference and how Unison policy is formed and changed. It is a democratic process in that anyone can put forward a motion to start a campaign or change policy, then anyone can speak in support or opposition of that motion. At the end of the debate all present (of which there were 3,000 members and representatives) vote in favour of or against the motion. There are some restrictions and limitations to the democratic process, with which I don’t necessarily agree, such as the fact motions can be ruled “out of order” by the Standing Orders Committee before they are heard for various reasons including the possibility they “could bring the union into legal jeopardy”.
Another wonderful aspect of the Unison conference is the people who attend and the opportunity to meet people from all races, cultures, backgrounds who are united in their concern for working people and workers rights.