This is the first UNISON Conference I have attended on behalf of my branch at SEPA. I wasn’t sure what to expect. To be honest I thought it was going to be a dry week of boring discussions surrounding pay, contract terms and conditions and the importance of recruiting new members.
I even asked myself did we really need four days? Despite me being this narrow-minded, I prepared as much as I could. The information provided seemed to be about issues that I thought were outside of my life or workplace so I really shouldn’t be involved in them so I began to ask myself what could I possibly offer?
I listened to the speakers and heard their energy, passion and motivation to speak on the issues brought to conference.
I began to realise that we were here to address fairness and equality on matters relating to workers’ pay, health, working conditions and respect from their employers regardless of gender, age, race, sexuality or disability and I wanted to take action!
Believe me, four days no longer seemed long enough! I attended a number of fringe events about international issues.
I listened in shock at the speeches from our international friends from Turkey, Brazil and Venezuela of the extreme circumstances under which they lived and worked.
I was in awe as I heard of the strength and bravery they showed as they took a stand despite it being a life threatening situation.
I was equally inspired to hear the work and support UNISON, and its members were providing and the difference this was making to people’s lives.
I’m glad I took the time to come to conference. I’m glad my wife and kids supported me so I could attend! It has opened my eyes to the power we have through UNISON when we stick together.