Blog: Richard and Margaret represent…

… private contractor members at UNISON’s national delegate conference

Bright and early Tuesday morning, we were ready and raring to get stuck into UNISON conference and proudly represent our private contractor members. Despite a long journey down from the north, with lots of big issues on the agenda, we were excited to be in Brighton.

We both plucked up the courage to get up and speak on the conference floor. It’s nerve wracking but we both knew it was really important for the voice of private contractor members to be heard loud and clear.

Richard ‘proposed’ the private contractors motion and spoke about the appalling pay and conditions private contract workers face. He spoke about the need to bring services back in house and cited the Carillion collapse to show the risk such companies pose to important services.

Margaret spoke in another debate about inclusive organising and the need to make private sector members feel welcome in their branches. We got a great reception and we were really pleased.

Conference passed the private contractors motion with an overwhelming majority. This is just the first step but we look forward to working with branches and regions to make sure the commitments are put into action on the ground.

But it wasn’t all about us!

We heard from passionate and moving speakers throughout the four days. Whether it was Grenfell or the horrors of universal credit, we felt proud to be involved and take a stand on such important issues. It feels genuinely moving to be on the conference floor and see the union come together as a voice against injustice.

We loved the UNIZONE – a campaigns drop-in area, with staff and activists on hand to chat through all the things UNISON are doing to support members. It was also the centre of UNISON’s 25th anniversary celebrations. It was really fun and interactive, with loads of games and even a dressing up box! Do you recognise us…?

It’s important to note, conference is also about all the incredible people you meet. As first-time delegates, we were made to feel very welcome. And the sun even came out for us all on Thursday.

We would encourage all members in private contractors to think about applying to come to conference. Either via our forum or your branch. We need to be visible at all UNISON conferences. We’ll hopefully see you at our seminar in November too!

Wishing you well,

Richard and Margaret