Sunday, June 15, 2008

Local Government Spending and Pay

Today is the first day of UNISON Local Government Conference at which I will be a delegate. I won't try live blogging today. This morning we debate local government spending cuts "efficiency savings", local strategic partnerships and shared services.

This afternoon we turn our attention to local government pay. In classic Conference style everything seems to be in one composite (Composite A) and so it is anyone's guess whether the real differences of opinion which exist within the Union will find expression on the floor of Conference.

Yesterday delegates arrived and had a series of pre-meetings. For me there were two highlights of the London Region delegates' pre-meeting. The first was the contribution from the Fremantle dispute. Maggi and Lango from the Barnet branch gave an impassioned plea for support for their long running fight for justice and against the consequences of privatisation.

The second highlight was - for me - a presentation by Malcolm from the Croydon branch to Jean Geldart, who is retiring as Chair of the Local Government Service Group. Some activists in the Region had taken the opportunity to offer Jean a small token of some of our appreciation for her 37 years of activism.

Jean referred to the Fremantle dispute as an example of the campaigning work of the Union of which she was so proud. I hope that this won't be the last reference to Fremantle during the course of both Local Government and National Delegate Conference.

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