Pay and Pride

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2012 National LGBT Conference
21 September 2012


Conference deplores the head-long attack on equalities from the Tory-led Westminster government and their attempts to dismantle workplace rights. Conference notes that this is particularly vitriolic in relation to public services, with the public sector equality duty portrayed as burdensome bureaucracy and public sector workers lampooned as well-rewarded, secure and complacent. The reality is that our hard-working members, delivering vital services to the public, are increasingly living on the edge of poverty.

Conference notes that many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people work delivering public services because of their commitment to public service and because of the terms and conditions and the regard to equality that have been won through years of trade union organising, negotiation and campaigning.

Conference further notes that, although trade unionists know that the global banking crisis was not caused by Labour’s investment in Sure Start, in extra teaching assistants or in reducing National Health Service waiting times, the Tory lie that excess public spending was the cause of the current economic crisis is believed by a significant section of the public. This has allowed the Tory-led government to implement a programme of pay freezes, caps and cuts designed to lower living standards and decimate the welfare state, using the excuse that it will reduce the deficit. However, we know that austerity is not working. Growth has stalled, unemployment is unacceptably high and women, young people, and Black, disabled and LGBT people are suffering most.

The pay freezes and pay caps, along with welfare cuts to in-work benefits, are driving down living standards for already vulnerable families and contributing to a double dip recession. This threatens to embed inequality in the United Kingdom for a generation. It provides fertile conditions for the growth of the far right.

Conference therefore welcomes UNISON’s campaigns for a Living Wage, against government pay policies of freezes, caps and attacks on terms and conditions, and against regional pay.

Conference recognises the need to take our campaign out to communities, including our diverse equality communities, to win public opinion and recruit workers into UNISON. Pay is an equality issue and an LGBT issue.

In support of the campaign, Conference calls on the National Executive Council to work with the LGBT group and other self-organised groups (SOGs) to:

1)Build support for the Living Wage campaign and UNISON’s campaigns against the public sector pay freeze, pay caps and regional and local pay amongst SOG members, potential members and our diverse equality community groups and events, such as Prides, ensuring our campaign materials spell out the equalities impact;

2) Publicise UNISON’s alternatives to austerity among members, potential members and equality communities;

3) Build a highly visible equality community presence in UNISON-backed anti-austerity and anti-far right actions;

4) Make sure members are aware of the UNISON Welfare services.

5) Work with Labour Link to ensure our campaign objectives are on the agenda of existing local, regional and national Labour administrations and of future Labour governments.