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Community Conference 2019

1-3 March 2019

Southport Convention Centre

Delegate Report

Friday 1st March 

  • New Delegates Workshop (1.45 – 2.15) presented by Matt Lay & Jane Ellis.

It was explained how seminars and conferences work. They showed us a couple of videos that gave information about voting rules and delegates’ rights and responsibilities.

I found this very useful as it was my very first conference so it helped me familiarising with the conference structure and rules.

It started around 2.30pm. Malcom Gray, Community Service Chair, welcomed everyone to the 2019 Community Conference.

  • Rebecca Long Bailey MP delivered a speech around workers’ rights in the community sector and explained Labour plans around the economy and Labour market. Followed Q&A session.
  • Other speeches were delivered from Dr Lyndia Hayes, Simon Nunn and Christina McAnea.

At the end of the speeches, members took a photo to show solidarity with UNISON AFG care workers taking industrial action on the weekend.

Saturday 2nd March

  • Social Care Strategy Seminar ( 9.30 – 11.00) presented by Donna Rowe, Merriman, UNISON Senior National Officer

The seminar was extremely interesting. The first part was based on a group exercise where each group had to define what social care is. Our group said: “there are people in our society that struggle to look after themselves and social care is the service that provides that need” also “to support vulnerable individuals to live independent lives and to fulfil their potential regardless of their ability”.

An interesting debate followed as a result of this exercise.

Then, the groups talked about the role that the Social Care sector have in UNISON. In particular our group had to identify opportunities and threats. Opportunities are: influencing the policy making process (Labour link), increasing membership, greater impact/voice, empowering more members, increasing the profile of the union by taking strategic issues on. Threats are: social care fragmentation could cause difficulties in identifying the right issues (ineffective), supporting our members more effectively, difficulties in supporting our activists re facility time and training.

Members then talked about the important of being in a union and supporting its members.

It was mentioned the good news re Sleep-in appeal to the Supreme Court.

Conference debated motions and amendments (1pm- 5pm).

There were 14 motions and all were carried. These are:

  1. Bargaining for good Mental Health policies in Community workplaces.
  2. Organising around Health & Safety.
  3. Social Care Green Paper.
  4. Family Friendly Policies in Community & Voluntary Sector.
  5. The Effects on staff going through the Menopause (with amendment).
  6. Inclusive workplace policies in the Community Sector.
  7. Building and Strengthening Black Community links (with amendment).
  8. Women’s Refuges and Universal Credit Changes.
  9. Standing Up for Fair Pay for CVS Workers in Commissioned Services (with amendment).
  10. Alexa, Did you take our jobs? The Rising Threat of Automation and Computerisation in the Housing Sector (with amendment).
  11. Hidden Disabilities.
  12. Mental Health support for our members (with amendment).
  13. Housing Association Mergers.
  14. Making Community Workplaces safe and accessible.

Some motions were debated while other passed smoothly. In particular, Motion 4. Saw different members speaking ‘against’ it. Some members felt that the motion tends to prioritise families with children, while the term ‘family’ should be extended to people who, even if single, have siblings or other relatives they want to spend time with over Christmas Holidays.

Ultimately, the motion was carried.

In addition to this, it is worth mentioning that there has been a debate which challenged the decision made by the Community Standing Orders Committee on not having a Motion included on the agenda. However, no paperwork or details were provided so was not easy to follow this debate. Ultimately, the Motion was not included. (ask Louise Ashworth for more details)

Conference finished at 5pm.

Giulia Savini