UNISON leads the debate at TUC gathering

Climate change, the COVID-19 Inquiry and a change of government were amongst the debates in Liverpool this week

UNISON president Libby Nolan speaking at the TUC Congress 2023

As the UK’s largest union, UNISON played a big role in the TUC’s annual gathering of unions – the 155th TUC Congress in Liverpool.

General secretary Christina McAnea moved the composite motion on public services, attacking the Tories for years of austerity that have left public services reeling.

UNISON President Libby Nolan (pictured above) kicked off the debate on the COVID-19 inquiry, highlighting the importance of the inquiry for holding politicians to account.

And, ahead of Green UNISON Week, policy chair Tony Wright moved the composite on the environment, stressing the need for urgent action to tackle the climate emergency.

The union also featured prominently in debates on housing, the Minimum Service Levels legislation and key equality motions.

The debacle over the use of RAAC and the sudden closure of schools is only the most recent example of the desperate failings of the Conservative government.

The Congress was notable for the unity of purpose across the movement in striving to rid the country of 13 years of Tory mis-rule.

The UNISON delegation did express some concern at the content of a small number of motions on the Congress agenda.

For example, on HS2 while the broad goal of boosting economies in the Midlands and the North is one that a number of UNISON regions support, the disregard for communities affected by HS2 also needs to be acknowledged.

And where steel production is concerned, UNISON members were keen to highlight that we should not support its use for the production of weapons.

Congress witnessed a number of stirring speeches, not least from deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner who promised that the party would bring in a new bill to ban zero-hours contracts and repeal anti-strike laws within 100 days of a Labour government taking office.

As Christina McAnea highlighted in response, “Creating fairer workplaces with better job security for all will make the world of difference.”