Today Unison conference voted to support its activists. They are the backbone of this union. Speaker after speaker talked of the sustained attacks they have suffered at the hands of employers. Inspiring was the fight backs and support the activists have received from both members and the union. There is also the emotional burden stewards carry. A speaker talked about how a member at her branch committed suicide because he couldn’t carry on. Unison will promote mental health awareness training and provide a counselling service for activists.
The impact of the cuts is having a disproportionate effect on minority groups. The high rates of unemployment, lack of good quality affordable housing and reduction in services are having a detrimental impact on minority groups. But immigrants are being blamed when it is austerity that isn’t working. A speaker from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies said that £21 billion of public money was spent in 2009 which rose to £22 billion after the cuts. Manchester Mental Health Services spent 4% on administration in 1982. Before the Health Service is now required to tender services, administration costs have risen to 18% of the budget. (In America administrative costs are 29% of the total budget). The speaker made a very important point, if private companies are so innovative and efficient, why do they need contracts from public services.
The biggest worry for Unison, its members, working people, all minority groups is the return of a ConDem government.
I hope you have found my posts, informative and have given you a flavour of Conference. Thank you for letting me be your delegate. Mary