‘I see first-hand how lack of funding is harming the NHS’

UNISON president Margaret McKee works at the Royal Victoria hospital in Belfast

UNISON president and hospital catering assistant Margaret McKee gives a rousing speech at the union’s women’s conference in Liverpool.

Ms Mckee works at the Royal Victoria hospital in Belfast and told conference of the challenges she sees her colleagues and patients facing.

“Operations are being cancelled,” she said. “People are dying before they can be treated.”

And there are problems all public sector workers face:

“The value of our wages has declined sharply as the cost of living has increased.

“There has been a lot of talk about ditching the pay cap, but not a penny more has made its way into the pay packet of our members.”

“This government has taken incompetence and misconduct to a new level.

“It’s sad that our second woman prime minister has proved to be no better than the last,” she added.

“It’s time for the message to go out loud and clear – privatisation and PFI have failed and we need to work to get rid of it.”

Ms McKee also mentioned the government’s limiting of child tax credits to the first two children, and the so-called ‘rape clause,’ which says that a woman can claim for a third child if one child was conceived as a result of rape.

This clause forces women to label their children as a product of rape, she said, and could put them in danger if they are still in contact with their attacker.

The UNISON president also called for support for her chosen charity of the year, Rosemount House, and ended her speech with praise for everyone at the conference: “You are all amazing women and I thank you for being here and for all you do for women and our union.”