Conference recognised that our women members are our greatest asset as it backed measures in a composite motion from Lanarkshire Health and Aberdeenshire Branch to support low paid women to become active in our union.
It demanded that the views and active involvement of low paid women in developing our campaigning and bargaining priorities is essential to ensure they are relevant and inspire these members to get involved and to increase recruitment.
Linda Rae from Lanarkshire Health moved the composite, speaking about the experience of her low paid women members during COVID, how they stepped up to the mark to deliver services, at risk to themselves in the early days.
She called on the union to find a way to reach these low paid women members and those working for private contractors within our organisations.
“Some of these women have no access to technology and lack basic training. We need to work out a way to engage those groups and allow them to access training.
“We need to empower these workers and ensure that not only are they included but are encouraged to become valued activists within our Union. Provide them with the skills to progress and lead within the branch and beyond.
“We need to ensure that all members are fairly represented and minority voices heard, not just at branch level. It’s our UNISON. We decide where we want it to go. Let’s raise our game,” urged Linda.
“And the only way to do that is to make sure that low paid women are properly represented in ALL the structures of our union,” urged Audrey.
“Those of us working on the ground know how hard that can be,” she added, pointing out how difficult low paid women find it to get time off for trade union activities.
“Yet we know that when these women do get involved in their union they are great. You only have to look at the low paid women members involved in the Glasgow equal pay dispute to see that.
“Women who have learned the power of the collective and who have used it to great effect.”
Audrey called on the union to do more to support low paid women to get active in our union; to give them the confidence and the support to participate; and to challenge the employer to give them the time off they need.