By Maddy Cooper, Unison union women’s conference delegate (pc)
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Glasgow strikes and #MeToo fuelled a confident mood at Unison women’s conference

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Issue 2642
Unison and GMB union members on strike in Glasgow
Unison and GMB union members on strike in Glasgow (Pic: Andrew McGowan)

Around 800 women held an inspiring and rousing Unison union women’s conference in Bournemouth last week.

With some 58 percent of Unison members on low pay, poverty was one of the main issues.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis told the conference we will get back every penny the Tories have stolen from our pay over the last nine years.

But it was women strikers from Glasgow council who showed us how to win on pay. After 12 years arguing with the council over their equal pay claim, over 8,000 mostly women workers walked out on strike last October.

And other workers walked out in solidarity—including the mainly male workers at nine bin depots.

Their magnificent campaign and victory shaped the mood of conference and helped activists argue how we can fight and win.

Birmingham care worker and Unison rep Mandy Buckley spoke to conference.

Care workers have taken over 60 days of strikes to defend their jobs and pay from the Labour-run council.

The #MeToo campaign had clearly given confidence to women and many delegates spoke about taking up harassment at work.

The conference also unanimously passed a motion defending trans women’s right to self-identification.

Conference called for delegates to support the Stand Up To Racism national demonstration against racism and fascism in London on 16 March.

And delegates unanimously passed a motion against Islamophobia and to defend Muslim women.


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