Our people need hope – and a decent standard of living

It’s always impressive walking into a hall with more than 2,000 UNISON delegates ready to debate our policy and campaigning agenda for the coming year. 

This week our annual conference kicks off in Brighton against a backdrop of anger over pay, over the destruction of our NHS and over deep cuts to local government and other key services.

I will be sending a strong message to the government in my keynote speech that austerity, pay freezes and squeezes cannot be sustained; that our members will fight back and will win.

I will also be warning Labour that it needs to up its game and give us all something to vote for at the next general election.

It won’t be enough to say kick out this rotten Tory-led coalition.

Our people need hope; they need a decent standard of living and, above all, our young people need jobs.

Not zero-hours, low paid or temporary, but decent jobs with decent pay to give them a decent standard of living.

I know at the end of the week, we will be united with a strong fighting agenda to take on the challenges ahead.

It will be a strong base on which to continue our Worth It pay campaign leading up to the TUC national demonstration on pay in October.