Unison women’s conference took place in Liverpool between Thursday and Saturday of last week.
A record 750 women attended the conference from all over Britain. A considerable number were first time delegates.
Lots of women were angry about the cuts and their impact on all areas of women’s lives.
There was a lively debate around new attacks on abortion rights and the attacks on LGBT people.
A number of motions highlighted health issues that were gender specific.
Delegates spoke of the need for a greater focus and recognition of these conditions which can seriously affect women’s lives.
The impact of the cuts on women workers and the devastating effects of welfare reforms on women was a repeated theme throughout conference.
Some people highlighted the problem of reduced street lighting and transport in rural areas.
Others spoke of the massive budget cuts to services predominantly used by women.
Unfortunately one speaker chose to attack the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) during her speech to a motion condemning George Galloway for his disgraceful comments about rape.
Conference passed the motion.
SWP delegates supported the condemnation of Galloway’s comments but opposed the motion.
This is because it called for Unison to adopt a policy of not offering or sharing a platform with Galloway.
Socialists argue that fascists should be denied a platform because of the fundamental threat they represent to democracy and the working class.
We do not think this should be widened to include anyone we disagree with.
These people should be challenged by all of us in political debate and mass action.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis addressed conference as did Chris Tansley, the union’s president.
Both acknowledged the unprecedented level of attacks by the government.
But there was a real lack of direction about how to fight the cuts.
However a call from conference floor for the TUC to name the day for a general strike was warmly received and applauded by delegates.