Representatives from PlymouthinUnison attended UNISON health conference in Brighton the week beginning 16th April.
The weather picked up during the week and so did the debate .Conference started with two key note speakers. The first speaker was Aneira Thomas who was named by her mother after the architect of the health service Aneurin Bevan. Aneira spoke passionately about the NHS over the last 70 years and about the forthcoming NHS 70th birthday which is celebrated On July 5 2018.
The second speaker was Dave Prentis who is the General Secretary of UNISON. He spoke of the successes of UNISON during the last year, including campaigning around last year’s general election, the pay up now campaign (which included the scrap the cap) and recently UNISONs support of the Windrush generation in their fight for justice.
On the second day of conference, delegates debated the NHS pay deal proposal. As you can imagine the debate was lively and there were many speakers both for and against the proposal. The debate although robust was conducted in a professional and respectful way. Eventually after several impassioned speeches the motion for UNISON to recommend the pay offer to members was put to the floor, although the vote appeared tight, the chair decided that the motion was carried.
After the debate there were several workshops for delegates to attend including a session on violence and aggression within the NHS, it comes as no surprise to members that assaults are on the increase nationally year on year. There were many more motions put to conference in the afternoon session.
On the third day UNISON Representatives from Livewell addressed conference during a debate surrounding a motion to stop privatisation within the NHS. We shared our experiences of being a Trade Union rep working within a social enterprise and informed conference of the integration plan Of Livewell Southwest and Plymouth NHS Hospitals Trust, taking members back into the NHS.
Then after conference was finished, we all left to go our separate ways, for us there was a little question of a 6 hr. train journey back to sunny Plymouth. As you probably can guess, there was a slight delay returning home due to a train issue. Campaigning to nationalise the railways can wait for another day and debate .