UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Preview - UNISON Local Government Conference 2013

#UNDC13 Centre stage Sunday and Monday is the Local Government Service Group Conference. Having been at the apex of coalition cuts under Eric Pickles’ chisel for three years there should be no shortage of serious issues to discuss.
    Sunday morning sees debates over attacks on union facility time and a wide ranging composite from Scotland, the SGE and North West on Welfare Reform. These are followed by Pension Scheme governance, childcare, Free Schools and support staff training.
   After this gentle hors d’oeuvre Sunday afternoon is given over to all things pay.

As reported here yesterday UNISON’s sector wide consultation on the disgraceful 1% NJC pay offer saw members vote to accept by 59% to 41%. But the pay debates at conference need to be looking forward rather than navel gazing, hand wringing or at worst recriminatory. Local government members haven’t had a sniff of a pay consultation in 4 years and their landscape has been carpet bombed in that time.

Yet nearly three times as many members rejected the offer than rejected in 2009. In that context the outcome is a clear indication of growing anger and should be seen and used as the sound basis it is to intensify industrial campaigning within the pay strategy. Seasoned activists and aficionados should recognise this and seize the opportunity to ensure that Composite C, in particular, leaves conference as a real blueprint for action and not another paper tiger.

Monday morning focuses in on cuts and privatisation. The SGE motion 16 forms the centrepiece setting out in stark terms the scale of cuts imposed on the sector and how that is used by the coalition’s big business backers to step up calls for outsourcing. Several amendments strengthen the motion and whilst a dialogue with Councillors Against Cuts is raised it’s to be hoped half the debate isn’t taken over by this relatively minor point.

The final session on Monday afternoon highlights UNISON’s notable Ethical Care Campaign and the sticky flypaper of ‘cooperative’ councils.

A number of Emergency Motions are likely to make the agenda. Including the UNISON Scotland strike ballot, where next for NJC pay, and a response to the recent announcements threatening the future of our entire Teaching Assistants service.

Plenty to chew on and hopefully some real policy will be digested and not just spat out a week later.