After the general election….

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2015 National LGBT Conference
18 September 2015

Conference notes that the Conservative Party’s success at the general and local elections on May 7th created further threats to public services, trade union rights and Black and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members’ jobs and standard of living.

Conference remembers that the previous Conservative led government pursued a range of savage policies resulting in:

1. Tens of thousands of UNISON members losing their job;

2. Cuts in pay, terms and conditions of employment;

3. Attacks in trade union rights and facilities agreement;

4. Introduction of employment tribunal fees;

5. Reduction of public services provided to LGBT and Black communities;

6. Reduction in compensation payments for workplace discrimination;

7. Dilution of the equality duty; and,

8. The slashing the budget of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The new Conservative majority government has made it clear they will continue their policies and have announced plans to:

A. Implement further massive cuts to public services and public service jobs – with nearly one million more job cuts anticipated before 2020 regardless of the consequences on the services relied on by Black LGBT, women, disabled people, young workers and retired people;

B. Continue with the policy of pay restraint which has resulted in the average public service employee now being more than £2000 a year worse off than they were in 2010;

C. Further restrict workers’ ability to participate in lawful industrial action;

D. Reduce trade union facility time and remove deductions of contributions at source (DOCAS) across the public sector;

E. Cut £12 billion from welfare and freeze most working age benefits (e.g. tax credits) until 2018.

Conference believes that the whole of UNISON including the LGBT members’ self organised group (SOG) must do everything possible to develop organising, negotiating and campaigning strategies to fight the Conservatives’ plans.

Conference therefore calls on the national LGBT committee to:

I. Participate in any review that looks at the union’s strategies for the next 5 years to ensure that they are responsive to the needs of LGBT members and harness the potential of the LGBT members SOG at national, regional and branch level;

II. Produce a guide to political campaigning for regional and branch LGBT members groups with specific ideas of what they can do in their local areas to mobilise LGBT members;

III. Contact the other national SOG Committees and the National Young Members Forum and explore the possibility of a shared political strategy;

IV. Use every edition of Out in UNISON to raise political awareness of LGBT members of the impact of the government and how they can fight it. This should include timely reminders about registering to vote and voting for the political party most able to defend public services;

V. Seek to develop a joint work programme with UNISON Labour Link on a programme aimed at increasing the number of LGBT Labour candidates in local, national, devolved administration and European elections.