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Conference 2012 Gary Martin

2012 UNISON National Delegate Conference

Personal Delegate report

Dear members,

I was fortunate or unfortunate dependant on how you view it to attend this year’s Unison National Conference held at Bournemouth’s BIC conference centre. The main debates were focused around the coalitions governments desire to erode the LGPS final salary scheme replacing it with a career average scheme. This proposal is nothing more than an exercise on behalf of this government to release pension funds into a centrally located pot in order that they may get their hands on the money that is contained within the LGPS Scheme to offset the deficit. If this career average pension option was more beneficial then why Unison’s directly employed staff, leading by example and opting to change their final salary scheme for the less attractive career average scheme.

The government are now requesting that all companies provide a pension scheme which is compulsory providing an opt out clause, what they fail to declare is that any employee opting out of this compulsory scheme what the consequences maybe on the state pension. This type of scheme fails to take into consideration the financial position of the employees eg if they are repaying student loans or saving money to get onto the property ladder, then they are hardly going to be interested in paying into a pension scheme. These factors need to be seriously considered by this inept government.

Also worth noting and of interest to Harrow employees is the release of Capita’s profits identified within the conference documents of £2 billion. This Consultancy Company and partner of Harrow Council appear to be flourishing in these times of misery for directly employed local authority employees. As stated previously this company exists on the knowledge they obtain from the experience of public authority workers and appear to be plagiarising their views and ideas and regurgitating them as their own. This large company only exists due to the perceived lack of ability or experience of senior highly paid council officials. Therefore I pose the following question- why are we paying senior officers such a handsome salary for failings in their own positions?

Many motions were submitted by branches across the UK many of which were unopposed. These unopposed motions were supported by up to 23 speakers in support, wasting valuable time. My opinion in this matter was for conference to put the question which would have ended the motion and the one sided debate, therefore allowing business to flow in a more consistent manner. 

The conference in my opinion was lack lustre and failed to provide any real strategic direction. I was completely amazed especially when it is well known that public service employees are facing the most extreme cuts ever seen throughout their history. Mr Prentis’s opening speech to conference stated that since the coalition government had taken office approximately 625 jobs per day had been lost in public services.

Of course there was an upside to conference in that I was gifted the opportunity to meet directly with the London Regional Secretary on issues directly relating to Harrow Council. These meetings were extremely productive in that full support for this Branch was readily endorsed by our Regional Officials.

Finally to end this report was the ridiculous statement put to conference by a London region branch, who stated, if any member failed to take strike action in either a National or Local dispute, then they should be subjected to the Unions disciplinary procedure. This statement not only contravenes Unison rules but would be deemed unlawful under the convention for Human rights. I am glad to report that the NEC intervened to dismiss this statement.

Gary Martin

(This report is a personal account of the Local Government Conference 2012 and the views expressed are not the views of the Harrow UNISON LG Branch Executive Committee)






Last Updated on Monday, 02 July 2012 12:50

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