June 2019 news

The Scottish Women's Convention (SWC) are coming to the Highlands to hold 'roadshow' events with women on 9th, 10th and 11th July.
The SWC was set up by the Scottish Executive in 2003 in recognition of the need to ensure women's voices reached policy makers.  The organisation works to ensure that women throughout Scotland have an opportunity to be involved in activities and events. The information gathered is reported to key decision makers at both a local and national level.  Working across Scotland, the organisation seeks to illustrate real women's views, opinions and concerns on key policy areas.  Women have a right to be heard.  Decision makers have a right to listen.
The 'roadshow' events take the form of informal, roundtable discussions, where women can talk about issues which are important to them, in their local area.  While the SWC asks broad questions, the discussions are led by the women.  A report is produced, which is sent to women who attended, as well as local and national politicians.  It is hoped that the women will use the document to press for the change that they want to see within their communities. Information gathered then goes on to be included in Scottish and UK Parliament and Government consultations and calls for evidence, so that real women's voices are heard as part of the decision making process.
Events are as follows:
•  Inverness - Tuesday 9th July, Mercure Hotel, Church Street, Inverness IV1 1DX
•  Helmsdale - Wednesday 10th July, Timespan, Dunrobin Street, Helmsdale KW8 6JA
•  Dornoch - Thursday 11th July, West Church Hall, Sutherland Road, Dornoch IV25 3SX
As sensitive issues are likely to be discussed, the SWC aim to provide a safe, confident and comfortable space to allow these experiences to be shared.  These events are, therefore, only open to women to attend.
If you require more information about the event, or about the SWC in general, please do not hesitate to get in touch with:
Lorna Gilfillan
Policy and Events Coordinator
Scottish Women's Convention
2nd Floor, The Albany Centre
44 Ashley Street
G3 6DS
NHS Highland's first draft action plan has been circulated to all NHS Highland staff by email.  If you did not receive this and would like a copy, please contact the Branch (email inverness.office@unison.co.uk, tel 01463 715891).  We are very keen to hear from you with any comments/suggestions about the action plan, as we would be very interested in reporting feedback on this from members.  We are planning to hold some local members' meetings for further discussion/engagement.  If you have anything which you think UNISON should be saying in response to this, and/or would like a local meeting, please contact the Branch.  We expect that there will be events led by NHS Highland management (roadshows) and focus groups which will be facilitated by an external company.  But we are keen to meet with UNISON members to talk, too.  Let us know what you would like!  Look out for more on this in the Up Front newsletter.
The Branch had a full delegation at this, comprising Lyn Wormald and Adam Palmer as delegates, Sally Basset/Etta Mackay as a 'Sharer' delegate, and Tony Clapham as a Visitor.  If you follow our Facebook page you will have seen lots of postings about some of the issues being discussed.  A 'Day 1' report on the conference is included below.
UNISON finance
Importance of the UNISON political funds (affiliated and general) and getting members to sign up to one or other of them.
Overall small growth in income. 
Growth in membership - UNISON the largest UK union.
In terms of Branch reserves, the standard is £16.00/member.
President (Gordon McKay)
Shocking that, in an average school class, 9 children are living in poverty.
Probation service being renationalised because of this union.
'This union makes a difference in people's lives.  This union makes people's lives better'.
General Secretary (Dave Prentis)
Significant mention of UNISON's international work eg in Turkey and Palestine.
'Solidarity is the bedrock of our union'.
'We will put the racists back in the gutter where they belong'.
Good Friday Agreement is paramount (re Brexit).
'There is no such thing as a left wing no deal Brexit'.  What we need is a general election.
'Gordon, you've taken our solidarity across the world along with your spam sandwiches'.
'Solidarity is more relevant than ever before'  UNISON needs to lead on kindness, care and compassion.
Important motions were agreed on subjects including:
•             The menopause
•             Promotion of activity for young members
•             Housing policy
•             Windrush generation
Fringe meetings attended included solidarity with Cuba.
Families living on low incomes struggle constantly to make ends meet - and this can be particularly acute before the new school year begins when the extra costs hit hard.
But it's not all bad news - help IS available.  The union's welfare charity There for You has a limited fund to help members on low income with the costs of school uniforms through a one-off payment of £40.00.   For more info see:


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