300 delegates from North West UNISON branches will be travelling to Brighton this weekend for UNISON’s 21st NDC.
Together with 2000 delegates from the union’s other 11 regions we will debate policy on a wide range of issues including alternatives to austerity, pay, public services, organising strategy and international issues including the pernicious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Cynics argue that conference is an end in itself and point out that little action is taken on agreed resolutions. There is even a school of thought that conference is a luxury the union can no longer afford (at least on an annual basis) while the financial pressures of permanent austerity bare down on us.
These views are mistaken.
Democracy is the lifeblood of trade unions. As well as the formal policy debates over four days there will be the opportunity to attend fringe meetings for high quality debates and briefings on key campaigns as well as time for hardworking union activists to network and socialise with UNISON sisters and brothers from across the UK.
North West region has two motions including, at the last conference before the general election, the only motion submitted on trade unions and political influence which will be debated on Friday morning. Our other motion seeks justice for victims of the Bhopal in the 30th anniversary year of the world’s worst industrial disaster. We will be lobbying for this motion to be debated in the reprioritisation session on Friday afternoon. North West amendments on public service reform and Palestine will be debated on Tuesday and (probably) Thursday morning respectively.
Next week we will be launching our region’s economic plan for the North West and will be marking that with a conference fringe meeting on Friday lunchtime.
A safe journey to all North West delegates travelling to Brighton and as regional delegates, Paula Barker and I look forward to catching up with you at the regional delegate meeting 5PM on Monday 16 June in Syndicate Room 1 Brighton Centre.