By Sarah Bates
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Unison union leader tells branches to get strike ready

Delegates at the Unison conference debated trans equality, fighting privatisation, the mental health of workers and ending violence against women
Issue 2809
An electronic display behind the stage at Unison conference reads 'Together we rise in Unison'

Delegates gather at the start of Unison conference (Picture: Unison)

Recovering from the Covid-19 crisis and a rallying cry against the cost of living crisis dominated Unison union’s local government conference, held in Brighton last Sunday and Monday.

Around 1,400 delegates spent two days, at the first conference since 2019, discussing where next for Unison members. And conference emphatically passed motions on trans equality, fighting privatisation, on the mental health of workers and ending violence against women.

Delegates also discussed funding cuts in local government, reasonable adjustments to home working arrangements and the climate emergency. And workers spoke about how to organise for the biggest possible turnout on the 18 June TUC demonstration. This was echoed by Unison general secretary Christine McAnae.

“Join the whole trade union movement—and let’s show the government our anger, our outrage, but above all, let’s show them our strength,” she said. And she said now was the time to launch a fightback. “Every single branch—go back to your branch and do everything you can to be strike ready”.

Delegates emphasised that is possible to resist Boris Johnson’s hated regime. Arthur Nicoll said that Unison members “face a brutal and weakened—and in many places, despised, government.” Yet it is one that continues to cut services and enforce “systemic wage suppression”.

The discussion will continue at the Unison union’s national delegate conference from Tuesday to Friday this week. Socialist Worker was denied a press pass to both Unison conferences, despite covering the union and its activities in depth for many years.

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