#Uwomen20 General Secretary Dave Prentis told UNISON Women’s Conference that women are at the heart of this union.
He praised the way women have shaped our agenda. UNISON’s colours deliberately chosen from the suffragettes, to reflect that we are a women’s movement.
He paid tribute to the women in Northern Ireland and their achievement in winning not only a pay increase but also the return of the Stormont assembly.
He paid tribute too to the many other women’s whose strike action has protected services and improved pay and conditions for our members, including the Glasgow equal pay strikers.
He praised this year’s president, Josie Bird and vice-president Sian Stockholm.
“Josie and Sian are special but they are not unique. Every one in this hall is special for all the work you do for our union and your members,” said Dave, thanking each and every one.
He spoke of the battles still to be won, against sexism and discrimination. He pledged continued support for the WASPI women. He pledged to fight through the courts for sleepover payments “to the very end.”
Dave touched on the disastrous election results and the devastation in particular when Eleanor Smith lost her seat. Conference sent our full support.
He also spoke about other UNISON women who gained and held seats including Angie Rayner. “I hope that very soon she will be Depute Leader of the Labour Party” said Dave to applause.
“We need a Labour Party in power” said Dave, warning that we have a mountain to climb.
He urged us not to be fooled by the Tories, who have the same old policies that attack the life chances of ordinary people and pledged that our union will keep up the fight for our members and the services they provide.
By Kate Ramsden