Socialist Worker

Debates over resistance at Unison health conference

by Suzy Franklin (pc)
Issue No. 2300

At the Unison union’s health conference in Brighton last weekend the talk was of the fantastic strikes on

30 November and Tory attacks on the NHS.

The first person to speak said the rolling industrial action against pension attacks in Scotland showed the way.

Lots of branches argued that the union should reject the government’s proposals on pensions. They expressed disappointment with Unison’s stance not to make a recommendation in its ballot.

Others pointed out how the 30 November strike saw union membership soar.

Delegates who called for all Unison branches to affiliate to trades councils received huge support from the floor.

Ambulance workers spoke about organising and recruiting in an increasingly fragmentated NHS.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham pledged that if Labour got back into office they would repeal the Health and Social Care Bill. He also said that Labour would always have private investment in the NHS.

General secretary Dave Prentis warned health secretary Andrew Lansley that Unison “will not sit back and let you destroy our national pay agreement”.

But he made no mention of the future of the pensions campaign—and the lukewarm applause when he left the podium showed delegates’ disappointment.

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Article information

Tue 24 Apr 2012, 16:25 BST
Issue No. 2300
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