I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit the Isle of Man last month to learn about the challenges facing our members on the island.
The Isle of Man branch is unique in that it is the only national branch in UNISON. The island has its own distinct political and legal institutions as well as laying claim to having the oldest parliament in the world, the Tynwald.
Nevertheless, the branch faces many of the same challenges we face in the UK, such as outsourcing, privatisation, and budget cuts. The branch represents members in the Department of Health, hospitals, ambulance service, commissioners (local councils), borough councils and private sector employers who provide a public service.
It was a real pleasure to meet new Branch Secretary, Sam Hudson, and some of our new and long-serving stewards. I also had the opportunity to catch up with former Branch Secretary, Robin Turton. Robin had been the Branch Secretary since 1997 before he stood down from the role last year. Colleagues will no doubt remember Robin from Regional Council meetings and National Delegate Conference.
As Convenor, it’s important to me that UNISON members, wherever they are in our region, have the opportunity to participate in our structures. To this end I will be ensuring that in the coming months and years, the Isle of Man National Branch gets the support it needs to confront the challenges our members face.