UNISON’s national conferences took place in Brighton this year. The Branch sent a delegation (including Karen Daubney, Deputy Branch Secretary (left) and Young Members Officer Laura Child, pictured)
The branch was heavily involved trying to influence UNISON to change for the better, through participation in debates and by tabling motions for discussion. As a branch, we tend to focus our efforts through our motions on improving UNISON’s structures, organisation and funding arrangements.
The branch tabled its own motion on employer facility time at UNISON’s Local Government Conference. Dan Sartin, Branch Secretary, moved the motion and it was carried unanimously. The branch also participated in the debate on local government pay. Karen Daubney spoke in the debate for an emergency motion to censure the National Joint Council Committee for having accepted a pay offer which West Sussex members had voted to reject by 82%. This was a finely balanced debate which led to a card vote and a majority decision of 60,000 (of the union’s 1.25million members) in favour.
The branch was also at the centre of efforts to change the way the union’s funding is distributed, to see more of it provided to branches who tend to do the work that members benefit from. The branch drafted a motion on this which 6 branches jointly submitted. This proved to be the other most hotly contested debate of Conference – and the branch’s position was lost by just 40,000 votes (52 to 48%). However, in the period leading up to the debate, a number of concessions were made to the branches, which means that from 2017 new funding streams should be available to help us support members better.
Of course there were many more debates in Brighton, from the Trade Union Act, to Palestine, to youth services, to the crisis in social work. Your delegates listened to and voted in them all. Conference was also addressed by Jeremy Corbyn MP, who is a UNISON member and used to work for its forerunner union, NUPE. He received a rapturous reception from delegates who feel he is the first Labour leader for decades to fully share our values and beliefs.
If you would like to read the motions the branch drafted, or see the list of all the decisions taken at Conference, please get in touch with the Branch office.