The past few days at Labour conference have been great for both our party and our union. Few Labour conferences would provide such a strong argument for the importance of the Labour Link to UNISON than this one.
This was a conference where the issues under discussion were about real people’s live, and the radical solutions match the urgency so many in our communities feel. Jonathan Ashworth promising to renationalise our NHS, Angela Rayner’s work on expanding free childcare and John McDonnell’s commitment to working people’s representation at the top of their employers structures – these are just some of the ways our movement is rising to the challenges are country faces.
Better still, Labour now has policy – passed unanimously – against privatisation in all its forms. The motion, which I moved on conference floor on Tuesday, not only commits Labour to oppose further privatisation, but to reverse all privatisation within the first year of the next Labour government, putting public services back in public hands once again. This is a change that will have a massive impact on service provision and on the lives of hundreds of thousands of public service workers.
I’m so proud that UNISON, a proud union of the left, is continuing to get the radical solutions to the issues that matter on the agenda of our party. Proud too that conference made sure trade unions kept our voice at all levels of our Party. And proud to support the Labour Leader’s office in their proposals on selections and leadership elections.
And it’s our people that our shaping our party’s future as we head back towards government. Our people – like Angela Rayner, like our UNISON group of MPs, like our dedicated Labour Link activists and our incredible delegation to this year’s party conference. They played a huge part in making this conference a success – showcasing the non-negotiable and essential role of our people, working people, in our party.
That’s just one reason why I’m so proud that my friend Wendy Nichols, who has given decades of her life to UNISON and the Labour Party, as Yorkshire Regional Convenor, NEC member and President – was elected unanimously as Chair of Labour’s NEC for the next year. I can’t think of anyone better for the job, and I know she’ll do us all proud.
(Credit to Jenny Harvey, one of UNISON’s fantastic delegates, for the photo)