Sunday, April 22, 2007

Delegates walk out at UNISON Health Conference

I am sorry not yet to have written up my full report from last week’s meeting of the UNISON National Executive Council (NEC). However I was waylaid this evening by meeting delegates who are in Brighton for UNISON’s Health Conference.

I hear that a decision by the Chair of the Conference prompted an unprecedented walkout by delegates who felt that the Chair had called the outcome of a vote incorrectly. This is – surely – what card votes are for!

The issue in contention was our financial support for the Labour Party and whether we should be placing limits upon it whilst the Party in Government pursues a deliberate policy of attacking our health service. A motion before the Conference sought to limit financial support to the Party beyond our basic affiliation whilst such attacks were underway.

Delegates I met this evening felt that the motion was carried on a show of hands and that the Chair was mistaken in deciding otherwise and then refusing a card vote. I understand that the subsequent walk out included delegates who had voted for and against the motion, all of whom were unhappy with the way the decision had been taken.

The most important issue facing all public sector trade unionists right now is the pay policy of the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, who appears to want us to face cuts in our living standards in coming years.

I hope that the Composite Emergency motion to UNISON Health Conference on pay will be agreed – we need the maximum unity within UNISON and with all other public service unions if we are to combat Gordon Brown’s policy of public sector pay restraint. I can see why there is an amendment to bring the health pay claim into line with that in local government, since the maximum coordination must be a good thing. However, what really matters is that we should try to coordinate industrial action over public sector pay.

Best wishes to all health delegates in Brighton for the Conference!

1 comment:

Concerned Unison Health worker said...

They were probably too busy organising to try and beat Jon in the nec elections - see certain members of the london regional health committee (though most do good work)don't actually care about being in the hall representing our members - or the rules of this union . They are more interested about what they can get personally - I've heard that leaflets advocating Jon's opponent in the nec elections were being handed around in the hall and left on all the london delegations seats as you will know that type of leaflet would have had to be done outside of the hall. (I understand this has been reported to soc by someone from another region and not by someone who most of 'our' comrades as you called them would say was from the left!)

Shows what they think of us members and their own motion!