Bristol Branch of Local Government had breakfast together and a nice stroll through Manchester to the conference centre. Two are new delegates and it was nice to see their delight at the range of stalls that abound at conferences. After collecting a variety of sweets, pens, cups and T-shirts and seeing the smiles on their faces we made our way to the conference hall.
A great speech from the President Angela, before accepting finance report. Then Clytus introduced SOC report. Can't wait to see him in the kilt doing his song and dance routine to close conference.
The first motion was carried on the cuts and many members gave speeches that brought reality to the cuts already happening up and down the country.
The second motion dealt with the attack on our pension. Many retired members spoke passionately about taking the fight on, and pledged to do everything they can to assist us in that fight.
We then broke for lunch, sat out side under the grey skies of Manchester, it's a wonder our mood didn't change the sky red. We are angry at the way the welfare state is being dismantled and the people we provide those services for are being so needlessly hurt.
We recognise our general membership have not really felt the full impact of Osbourne's spending review and the cuts will begin towards the end of this year on a scale never before experienced by public sector providers or service users.
The papers this morning have pitted public sector workers and the ever perpetuating myth of the gold plated public sector pension versus the private sector who don't enjoy the same benefits. They don't tell you we give up part of our wages to put away for our pensions and the millions of pounds the company chiefs in the private sector take in pensions at the expenses of the rest of us somewhere along the line. All working people regardless of employer need to have the means to provide for their old age, and occupational pensions should be available for all.
After lunch we came back to the motion supporting Sure Start Centres. We watched a young UNISON member who works in a Sure Start Centre, who became very emotional at the cuts she is witnessing young children suffering. Simple things like access to books are being denied young children. Sure Start is the Big Society at work within our Communities, not the Big Society the Tories really want us to have, despite ConDems propaganda that We are all in it together. The millionaire cabinet government just want us cheaper, poorer, so the "The Fat Cats" can become even richer.
All working people need to reject the ConDem attack on us all. We didn't vote on it, we don't want it, we will March On as the conference video clearly says from the 26th March.
march with us, march for us, march for yourself, we are all under attack together. We are all strong together. Dave's opening speech was a UNISON Member said "Eric Pickles has eaten my community centre" and when we want Ed Ball's advice we'll ask for it.
Dave Prentis clear, Join us as we struggle to pay our bills, as we wait to be made redundant, care homes close, children denied good education. We need to fight the brutality of the ConDems cuts. Together we are all in it together, it's us they are hurting, the providers and the receivers of services.
Time to say no we don't accept cuts on the poor to repay a debt the rich caused.
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