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Unison LGBT+ Conference 2021 – Panel Debate Session 1

Day 1 – Panel debate And first session in the conference hall 

This year there were no separate meetings as there was a need to ensure social distancing and reduced contact took place for all conference business. The main conference. 

Unison LGBT+ conference started with a debate for service groups prior to the main conference taking place. This explores how each area supports all in sensitive ways for each service group. 

There were speakers on each specific service area, these were the following

Maureen Le Marinel – Police and Justice Group

Jon Richards – Assistant General Secretary

Davina Rankin – Higher education

James Anthony – Health Service Group

Brian Morgan-Scrutton – WET and Energy Service groups

Key points and discussions were held around the following 

  • Better wider view of things that are happening in your workplace and other workplaces to be able to support all. 
  • How we experience discrimination is different for all in more ways than just sexuality.
  • looking at ways to support LGBT+ NHS workers and patients 
  • It’s important that when the time is right for you get involved in the unison structure and service groups when you can you will not regret it.
  • The SOGs have direct representation from service groups to report back to the SOGs to ensure that there is representation for all service groups.
  • NEC has a equality liaison group where members work together to ensure that all needs are considered for all groups and ensure that policies are categorised correctly.
  • Encouraging young members into Service Groups
  • People join a union for protection and support to ensure they can work effectively.  
  • Hybrid working but ensure it all staff are included that can and get support to do so. Working from home held more discussions around the certain issues facing those who can work from home and those who are not able to due to the nature of their work. 

Issues faced 

  • Pay and terms and conditions affects all service areas 
  • Issues around job evaluation schemes and changing of staff terms and conditions.
  • Job security affected due to current energy suppliers having increased costs and reducing employment levels in any way they can 
  • Issues faced with face to face contact reducing recruitment opportunities, use zoom, outdoor meets, professional groups visits.
  • Having the Covid-19 vaccination becoming mandatory by next year for all apart from exemptions, and also the effects of the mandatory covid-19 vaccination to work in a care setting. Vaccine hesitancy has an effect on all of these issues and not enough work is being done to support these workers.  
  • What’s being done for organisations who are saving money by staff working from home and getting no recompense but the money is now being banked. Budget constraints in public companies are absorbed however private companies may capitalise. 

Christina McAnea General Secretary of UNISON will be speaking to conference tomorrow.

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