Blog: Concentrating on the issues that matter

As Boris Johnson continues to bluster amid Tory infighting and a vote of no confidence, UNISON will be using our national delegate conference to discuss the issues that really matter

Portrait of Christina McAnea

It’s been another troubled week for the prime minister. He met his no-confidence vote with the usual bluster and spin. The thumping from his own party is another huge dent in his authority. To ‘move on’, we’ve been given a set of vacuous and unworkable housing ‘plans’ that do nothing to solve the urgent cost of living crisis.

Our national delegate conference (NDC) opens next week in Brighton and we’ll be firmly focused on the crisis at hand. Inflation is set to reach 10%, filling up the petrol tank now costs £100, and the number of workers needing food banks is exploding.

Hunger doesn’t just affect people today – it seriously hampers life chances. Selling off housing association stock is not the answer to these problems. Ahead of our conference we’ve secured some great national press coverage, highlighting how much our members are suffering from the cost of living and the cost of working.

The PM also lauded the UK’s unemployment levels – the lowest since 1974 – but if pay isn’t even putting food on workers’ tables, then he’s got a perverse understanding of what employment is. And when pay doesn’t even meet the basic needs of housing and heating, then our society is clearly broken.

The public sector has had pay restraint for years, yet the UK is suffering the worst inflation of any G7 countries. Boris Johnson’s claims that pay rises would spark a wage-price spiral just doesn’t ring true for public sector workers. Their pay has dwindled after a decade of real terms pay cuts.

Our conference next week can’t come soon enough – the first time we can meet in person for our NDC since the pandemic began. It’s your chance to hold your union to account, and make sure we have a laser-like focus on what matters to members – pay, jobs, terms and conditions, and the decent and inclusive society we can create when we all pull together for our common cause.