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Unison conference: Socialist Party members call for anti-cuts fight and build left challenge
Socialist Party members in Unison
2,000 delegates gathered in Liverpool for the Unison annual delegate conference from 16-21 June. Despite the city we were in none of the fighting traditions of Liverpool seemed to rub off on the union's leadership.
Given the onslaught on jobs and services in the public sector it is a scandal that the union conference isn't even allowed to debate setting legal no-cuts budgets, let alone demand Labour councils implement them. However this did not stop the four Socialist Party members speaking in the cuts debate and calling for the union and Labour to do what socialist-led Liverpool's Labour council did in the 1980s.
With a rumour that the unions were due to meet Jeremy Corbyn to discuss Brexit and the call for a second referendum the leadership tried to get an emergency motion on the agenda that included the call for a second referendum.
But for once it was them who fell foul of the standing orders committee and they didn't get away with it. The union position is still to demand a call for a general election and it was clear from the mood of conference that there is no appetite for a Remain position.
General secretary Dave Prentis gave his usual lacklustre performance and only managed to stage a standing ovation by listing all the local strikes that had and were taking place and then calling up the strikers to the platform.
His stunt fooled no one, particularly the 200 delegates who attended the Unison Action fringe meeting determined to build a fighting and democratic union and to prepare a left challenge in the forthcoming general secretary election.
The Socialist Party held a successful fringe meeting at which over £1,700 was raised for the fighting fund and during the course of the week 200 copies of the Socialist were sold.
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