Report from Unison women’s conference

A report of the national Unison women members’ conference from one of Camden Unison’s delegates.

I attended the Unison Women Conference as a last minute replacement for a colleague who was unable to attend. 

 I arrived at Liverpool Lime Street Station late Thursday (1st Feb 2018) evening and checked into the hotel.  I had planned to attend the social event later that evening, but I was so tired that I had to forgo it and went to bed instead. 

 I woke up Friday morning and received a text from Maddy Cooper telling me to meet them (Isra) at the restaurant, which I did. At about 9.15am, Isra and I took 15 minutes’ walk to the conference arena. Isra kindly helped me to register for the conference, secure my credentials, and ID badge. 

 When later we got to the main hall, the conference was in session and we promptly took our seats at the observers section.  I was amazed to see that many women attend the conference.  The conference hall was full; this was later confirmed that this was the highest attendance of Unison women’s conference. 

 There were a number of speakers in support of motions at both morning and afternoon sessions.  I attended two fringe meetings, namely the Labour Link and Women in the early afternoon and the Women and Pensions meetings later in the evening.  I was interested in attending both. As the Unison’s Pension Observer on the Council’s Pension Committee, I used the opportunity to glean the latest information on both the State Pension and Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). I am also an APF payer, I listened to Maria Eagle speak and numerous contribution from other Labour Link members. 

 In the afternoon session, we had a delegate from Birmingham Carers address the conference asking us to support their strike action.  Her speech was so moving; at the end, she received a standing ovation.  Dave Prentis spoke after her, promised Unison’s backing, and that he will be making an appearance at the picket line in Birmingham. 

 I left the conference centre went back to the hotel at about 6.45pm, as soon as I had something to eat for dinner, I went to bed and I missed an evening get together with Maddy and Isra. 

 On the last day of the conference (half day), I attended, and listened to motions and our Maddy spoke eloquently against one namely the Nordic Now Model.  I believed her speech swung the vote against a motion backed by the Women Committee.  The conference finished shortly after I.00pm.  

 The journey back on the train was eventful to say the least, as we had to disembark at Nuneaton due to fatality at Milton Keynes.  I travelled on another train to Leicester to get the East Midlands train to St Pancras. I arrived back at London St Pancras at 6.30pm and went home. 

Kathy Anifowose

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