It was a big morning for our branch with three delegates speaking.
Nixon Tod, our convenor at Manchester College spoke on cuts to further education. The motion was written by our FE and young members committees, taking into account the concerns of young people and workers.
“Why are colleges suffering cuts of 25% or more?… Ignorance and greed!” “FE colleges didn’t figure on the learning journey of the Eton boys in this government, none of them live in communities where the FE college is the main educator and often a major local employer.” “There is an ideological push from this government to turn colleges from accountable community based institutions into for profit training providers.”
Assistant Branch Secretary – Carl Greatbatch who has been working with college members also spoke. Carl made a more personal speech saying:
“I’m able to stand here today because of the training I received through further education colleges”. “Many of us are able to support our members due to the life-changing knowledge & skills we received from colleges.”
“Education is the best route out of poverty. As Further education options are reduced that route is diminished for everyone”.
Eddy Redmond, Assistant Branch Secretary also gave a rousing speech on youth services.
Eddy speaks as “the last youth worker in Manchester”. He said that “Manchester is not only a nuclear free zone. It’s a Lib Dem free zone and a UKIP free zone.” “Sadly it’s also a Youth Service free zone”.
His speech focused on the wipe out of services for 14 to 19 year olds in Local government. Eddy urged the delegates to work through the Labour Link to move the Labour Party towards bold policies that moves workers away from poverty and promotes a welfare state that supports the needs of young people.
There was a lot of talk about working closer with Labour in the hall today. With a general election less than twelve months away The Labour Party will be looking for our support. The feeling from conference seems to be that now is the time to push for policies that support our members.
Outside the hall branch members were busy doing other work. Isobel McVicar was running a stall for Community Heart, promoting their work in South Africa and looking for the support of more branches. Pat McDonagh spent most of the day in ‘room 6’ with the Standing orders Committee. The group that deals with the technical side of the conference.
Eddy Redmond and new Branch Secretary Evelyn Doyle attended a social work fringe meeting along with over 100 other activists. The meeting was for all people who have taken part in the UNISON questionnaire on social work case loads .
The results of the questionnaire have been issued as a report “Social Work Watch – inside an average day in social work.”
Eddy said that he was concerned that among the reports findings was that the national case load average was 22, but in the North West the average is higher.
The full report is available to view online by clicking this link.
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You can find out more about the work of Community Heart here by visiting their website: community-heart.org.uk