UNISON’s national delegate conference this morning called on the NEC to promote and develop political education, as they are “central to engaging people in union activity”.
Chris Tansley for the executive said that “we wouldn’t have wiped out the BNP without a vigorous campaign of political education”.
Praising the “excellent resources” that are produced by UNISON, he said that they enabled activists to challenge people when they repeat some “myth about public services or ‘all being in it together’ from the Daily Mail or the coalition.
“It’s been great to see political education wallcharts on branch office walls,” he added, and urged delegates to “check out the resources” that are available.
He said that there were plenty of materials, courses and opportunities to encourage “members to become more active in politics”.
Cath Elliot from the Eastern region reiterated the importance of political education, saying that activists needed more than just basic union information – for instance, it was crucial that they understood “that there are alternatives to austerity”.
And Margaret McKee from the executive noted that political education was key to challenging problems, from the workplace all the way up to the national parliaments and assemblies.
Conference also instructed the executive to:
- promote the benefit of political education as a means of engaging new members in activity and developing activists; and
- support the training and development of lay tutors and discussion leaders who are able to deliver short workshops and initiate discussion and debate on the origins and implications of austerity and the worth of public services.