#uwomen20 Assistant general secretary (bargaining) Christina McAnea, addressed conference and said that she was so proud to be in a union of over a million women members.
She underlined the importance of prioritising women’s issues in the bargaining agenda. She deplored the fact that women’s jobs are so undervalued.
“It’s telling that you get paid more for looking after animals in a zoo than for caring for our children.”
She referred to school support staff and how it’s taken so long to recognise their important role in our children’s learning.
She spoke about the role of care workers, caring for our most vulnerable. Skilled important work, still not valued.
Christina also spoke about other aspects of the equalities agenda and its impact on women. She warned us to be constantly vigilant on how women are treated in society with recurring messages that we are somehow less important than men.
“That is the reason for having trade unions. To stand up for dignity and respect for all workers.”
To applause, Christina paid tribute to the achievements of our mainly women members in Northern Ireland who she had joined on the picket lines during their dispute.
She condemned the election of a Tory government.
“We live in a country that has more food banks than McDonald’s restaurants.”
But we are in a great place to take on the Tories, said Christina, adding that membership is rising and UNISON has the highest satisfaction rates of all unions.
Christina said, “I see members at events like this up and down the country and you have one thing in common.
“You are all brave. Everything you do for your members, taking on employers and the government is brave.
“I look out over this conference and I see strong brave fierce women and men who won’t give up the fight and will take Boris on.”
By Kate Ramsden