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Health service conference this year was attended by a full delegation from Plymouth in Unison, the conference which was held at Bournemouth international conference centre was well attended by health reps from across the country. We personally had two experienced reps from Livewell and two new reps from UHP all of whom were able to vote on a range of motions on behalf of Plymouth in Unison and its health service members.

The conference started off on Monday morning with introductory speeches from our UNISON president Andrea Egan and we were also addressed by the chair of the Health Service group executive.

Pay was mentioned several times within the first hour of conference however, the morning session consisted of several debates and motions around equalities in line with unisons year of the black worker, also some agenda for change motions were debated in the morning session. All motions  where unanimously passed by conference with no issues. Before breaking for lunch, we were treated to an interesting presentation from Anita Charlesworth, the Director of research and economics, followed closely by Kate Bell the assistant general secretary of the Trade Union Congress. During lunch there were several fringe meetings for disabled members and black members to attend.

The afternoon consisted of Christina McAnea addressing conference before returning to the business of the day, debating motions around Agenda for change and recruitment and organising. Conference closed for the day around 5pm with some business being carried over to the next day.

Tuesday came around fast, and we were back to debating more agenda for change and pay matters, this included two emergency motions the first was around the recent pay ballot results and the second focused on one team and no separate pay spine for nurses. Both motions were passed and conference where in doubt about how they felt on these matters. There were also several focus groups to attend around the mid-morning point. A UHP rep and I attended the Race for equality while Dave attended the re banding and job evaluation next steps session. Pictured below one of the Southwests branch secretaries Trudie Martin, giving a heartfelt speech around the no single pay spine for nurses.

In the image above in the background you can see Baba Aya the Health and Social Officer from Public Services International, Baba gave conference an inspirational speech before the debates continued.  The focus of the next motions was on health and safety and well -being. These motions proved to be emotive and produced some long emotional debates around well-being meaning business had to be adjourned till Wednesday due to the overrun.  After all the hard work of the last 2 days everyone was invited to a quiz night on Bournemouth Pier, I believe that Plymouth in Unison did submit a team however, we did not stay to find who the successful winners were (certainly wasn’t us)

Wednesday commenced with the usually opening welcomes and a minuets silence in honour on International Workers Memorial Day.  This was then followed on by the unfinished business from the day before. Motions debated on the final day where around professional and occupational issues and defending the NHS.

Again, as with all the other motions debated over the three days of conference these motions passed without any issues. I am glad to say. Health Conference closed at 13.00 with only one motion left undebated, which was a fantastic achievement given the amount of work on the agenda at the start of conference this year.

This year conference’s agenda focused on Unisons Year of the Black Worker, Equality, Pay and all thing’s Health and Safety related, within the health sector for the coming year.  Conference is part of the democratic process of any union, UNISON is led by its members, and they play a part in directing all decisions made within the union. The elected reps that were present at conference, exercised their votes to ensure you the members had your voices heard this year again.

If you want to be part of conference next year and help support this democratic process, then why not come, and have a conversation and think about how you can become more involved in your union, you may even want to consider stepping up as a rep. Please approach your branch (Plymouth in Unison) or local reps for more details.