UNISON prepares to make its mark at TUC Congress

Key issues will feature in debate and congress will recognise the work of activists Darren Barber and Margaret McKee

UNISON will be making its mark on the 148th TUC Congress in Brighton next month (11-14 September) with a number of key campaigning motions on the agenda – and key personnel involved.

The union has put forward three motions dealing to address issues faced by workers and the economy after the 23 June vote to leave the EU.

They cover:

  • Austerity and public services – including the need for a workers’ voice in EU negotiations;
  • Protecting worker and union rights in Brexit;
  • Challenging the politics of hate, particularly the “rise in visible, expressed racism since the EU referendum”.

The UK’s largest public services union is also suggesting amendments to three motions put forward by sister unions:

  • giving specific mention to the care sector in the call for action on the living wage;
  • on the future sustainability of the NHS;
  • on the campaign for proper housing provision.

The congress itself will be chaired by this year’s TUC president, UNISON assistant general secretary Liz Snape.

And the work of the union’s rank and file activists will be recognised during the week.

Darren Barber is the branch secretary at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, as well regional convenor for UNISON Eastern region.

When he started at the hospital, union membership was at an all-time low. As branch secretary he has helped membership grow from 365 to 810 this year, and the number of active UNISON stewards increase two to 14.

Congress will recognise his work with a TUC organising award.

And UNISON vice president Margaret McKee from Northern Ireland will be presented with the TUC women’s gold badge in recognition of her work in the union, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and a range of community and voluntary work over 36 years.