Report from Collette, National Equalities Officer
Youth Workers service is at the sharp end of attacks on the public sector, both in terms of real threats to disestablish the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) that determines terms and conditions, and also attacks in the form of cuts to the service itself.
Unite and its members need to fight back to protect Youth Workers who provide such an essential service for the Young People in our communities.
James, Research Officer
Provided a presentation on the composition of the different organisations in the YWCNFP sector, plus Trade Bodies (ie. National Housing Federation) and challenges to the sector.
Bryn (Rep in RSPCA)
New CEO in 2010 wanted to derecognise Unite as the first step to reducing staffing, terms and conditions, pay etc at the RSPCA.
He used the Unite recruitment strategy to organise the workforce and he found it most effective to take the union message into peoples workplaces, especially to the younger employees.
Des (Edinburgh Voluntary Sector Branch)
An industrial sector branch uses organising and negotiating to achieve successes and carry campaigns.
Suzanne (Branch Secretary, Unite Workers)
Stressed the importance of embedding the Union within the workforce using the organising model. Building from the member level up.
Chris (South West RISC, Play Worker and NISC delegate)
National Industrial Sector Committee doesn’t want to just debate the options, but rather wants workplace branches and reps to act and achieve.
NISC wants to develop organising strategies that are sector specific to go forward.
Chris organised the conference into small groups who identified possible strategies, some very sub sector specific. Workshops reported back after lunch.
Motions At Conference.
All motions were accepted by the delegates, including the Emergency motion with regards to attacks on Local Authority Youth Services.
The motion on Housing for the East Midlands was accepted and engendered useful debate. The main points that came up were the commercialisation of the Housing Association Sector and also the need for Local Authorities and Housing Associations to develop new housing that is environmentally responsible and sustainable ways with features that benefit tenants.
Hilary Benn MP
Hilary Benn addressed the conference in the afternoon.
Cameron uses the term ‘Trade Unionist’ as a term of abuse whilst 6.5 million people are members of trade unions.
Cutting of Local Authority funding is falling heaviest on the most deprived communities in the country (circa 30-40%) whilst Cameron’s own Local Authority has received a small increase in funding.
Labour will redistribute available funding more equally.
The Bedroom Tax is immoral. David Cameron gave the rich a 10% tax cut and yet imposed this tax on the poorest in society.
A tax on the poorest and at current transfer rates it will take 10 years to reallocate everyone into appropriately sized housing.
The Bedroom Tax undermines family life.
Labour will scrap the Bedroom Tax.
The Living Wage is becoming a feature of Labour led Local Authorities, either implementing it now or giving clear commitments to working towards it.
Labour will address the Energy Crisis by freezing prices for almost two years whilst the sector is restructured splitting supply from retail so companies cannot dominate the market.
Labour will review legislation around Zero Hours Contracts to remove abuses.
Devolution throughout the UK has redistributed power to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but England remains very centralised. England needs to be devolved and monies released from Central Government.
Older persons are having to source care and health services from multiple different agencies. Labour will integrate Health and Social Care into one service so older people will only need to approach one agency.
Young people – 16 and 17 year olds – to get the vote under a Labour Government.