“First-time delegate, first-time speaker” Robyn from Cornwall was on the receiving end of cheers as she stood up to speak at UNISON’s national delegate conference in Brighton last week.
Here she shares her experiences from the week.
“After already attending local government conference earlier in the week, we all felt a bit more relaxed. It was much easier to understand the running and procedures of the days agenda, motions and timings.
“With 37 emergency motions and some controversial motions, emotions were running high. But this is not surprising with this being the first face to face conference since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There was a strong female, black, retired, disabled and LBQT+ presence, equality really is at the heart of our union movement. Everyone used their voices to express life experiences and debated motions.
“On Tuesday, I attended the Welfare AGM and met the trustees, chair and vice chair. It was good to hear about the up and coming fundraising for this year and There for You’s school uniform grant. Welfare has been inundated by members asking for help from their grants this year, which is unsurprising amid a cost-of-living crisis.
“Three members of our Cornwall branch also attended a proportional representation meeting with the added bonus of free fish and chips! It was a great night, time to relax and enjoy the heat of summer, and the lights on the sea front.
“Our branch delegation attended conference every day. Listening, contributing, and voting. I am really pleased with the motions we prioritised as they got their chance to be heard and debated.
“The most exciting times are when motions go to card votes, speakers speak passionately for and against and it shows the value in having your voice heard within your union.
“Being in Brighton has been thoroughly enjoying, the atmosphere, food and fringe events.
“We’ve all agreed to start planning for the next conference.”