This year we sent 3 of our reps – Sarah (Membership Officer and SR Steward), Jacqueline (Branch Treasurer, Black Members Rep and TAP Steward), plus Dan (Communications Officer and LGBT+ Rep) to NDC. This is a brief snapshot of the conference from Dan.
Dan’s conference highlight
One of the key motions we debated was adding the ‘+’ to the current LGBT acronym for our LGBT members. Although the LGBT SOG works with inclusive, umbrella definitions it’s clear that some members who the LGBT group consider to be part of the group are put off. Some of the LGBT members don’t use the label about themselves, for example people who identify as queer or pansexual. It was also an issue with our LGBT Black members who didn’t use Western terms to identify their sexuality and/or gender identity such as the term two spirit used amongst Native communities.
The National LGBT Committee, therefore, submitted a motion to 2018 LGBT Conference proposing that the group agree that its name should be changed and that a rule amendment should be submitted to 2019 National Delegate Conference to seek approval to change the name of the LGBT group to the LGBT+ group. LGBT Conference agreed on this motion and then at the NDC it was unanimously agreed to adopt the new name of ‘LGBT+’.
Ideas from NDC
A few of the motions gave me some ideas on what we can do within our own branch, these are the ideas I had and as a committee, we will decide on which ones we can take forward:
- Motion 58 talked about strengthening maternity policies which provided a good basis for reviewing our own maternity policy and checking that it’s keeping pace with current best practice.
- We also listened to a few motions on menopause and the importance of regarding it as a workplace issue. These motions helped give me a greater understanding of how important it is to highlight this within the workplace and increase visibility.
- Motion 105 talked about tackling racism within the workplace and it was agreed that the National Black Members Committee should develop a specific training programme for all activists to enable the union to be better equipped to challenge racism and fascism in the workplace and in wider society. I think once it has been developed, it would be great for our committee members to sign up to the training programme to further develop our skills.
- NDC also coincided with Year of the Young Member and conference speakers got us to think about what we’re doing to recruit young members and as such as a branch I think it would be useful to review our current recruitment strategy and think about what we can do to attract young members to our branch.
- We also got to hear from the president of Zimbabwe’s Commercial Workers Union, Barbara Gwangwara-Tanyanyiwa, who brought UNISON delegates to their feet on Wednesday, with an impassioned speech that described both the hardship and the defiance of her country’s workers. https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2019/06/zimbabwean-union-leader-talks-battle-injustice/.
The full guide to the motions debated and the decisions made can be found at https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2019/07/2019-National-Delegate-Conference_Decisions_Booklet_Final.docx