Unison’s national Labour Link form was a relatively low key affair and disappointingly the motions did not include the South West one on political reform. We did pick up the issue of voter suppression/ID. Try again next year.
There were some MPs present but not high in profile or number to reassure me that we are being listened to in the way that we are hoping. I think that highlighted the relevance of the motion on increasing unison’s representation among the ranks of Labour’s MPs. We are also concerned that the new opt in process for the affiliated political fund is eroding trade union influence as well as Labour’s finances and need to renew our efforts to get involved with branches at local level and to get members to sign up the political levies.
I did move our region’s other motion on local government funding and I do think that will be settled by the next government as this one is too busy with Brexit to do any long term planning.
In common with most of the conferences this year there was little new or controversial. A motion calling for equality of retirement options for ambulance staff with Police and Fire staff was a good idea, as was the one to extend the duty to report on the gender pay gap to closing it.
I also spoke on the debate on Trade union Freedom to demand that the Labour Party goes further than just repealing the most recent anti trade union act but gets rid of all the Tory laws dating back to Thatcher before looking at a new act based on the IER Manefesto for Labour Law.