UNISON’s 2021 summer conferences move online

Union’s NEC hears that it is not possible to commit to usual schedule due to ongoing COVID-19 disruption

UNISON will hold an online national conference in June this year to debate and vote on policy on public services in a post-COVID world, the union’s national executive council (NEC) agreed today.

The NEC heard that it is not possible to commit to a physical conference of the size of the union’s usual national delegate and service group conferences due to ongoing COVID restrictions.

Instead, a special conference to be held online in June will allow the union to debate key policy around the response to the pandemic and its impact on public services, as well as to make decisions on time-sensitive issues such as the pay freeze and the branch resources review.

The NEC heard that, after fully researching online options, it is clear that no platform could offer a direct equivalent to the union’s usual national delegate and service group conferences, in accordance with the union’s rules and standing orders. However, a special conference would see branches and other bodies submitting motions on key themes.

Service group conferences that normally run alongside national delegate conference – those for local government, water, environment and transport, and energy – will also be replaced by online special conferences at around the same time. Final decisions will be made by service group executives.

The NEC agreed that the health service group conference will be delayed until later this year due to concerns around the pressures on health members during the pandemic – subject to agreement by the service group executive later this month.

Further details on the timing and processes around online conferences will be circulated to branches.