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UNISON conference denounced the Tories today for promoting greed rather than supporting people struggling to survive the worsening cost-of-living crisis.
Delegates in Brighton debated public-sector pay, finance, taxation and the cost-of-living crisis.
Lilian Macer, on behalf of the Scotland region, told the conference that “now was a time for investment in public services and not cuts.
“This government seem more interested in allowing greed at the top to drive down standards of living for everyone else.”
Ms Macer added that the Tories lacked the political will to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, so “we need to make sure the voice of public-service workers is heard at the demo in London on Saturday.”
Jane Gebbie, the regional delegate from Wales, told of Bethany, a worker in the NHS in Pembrokeshire for 17 years, who has been forced to remortgage her house and take on extra shifts as she and her family struggle to make ends meet.
“Bethany can’t even find the money to fix the fence that was blown down in the storms earlier this year,” she said. “Many of our members are struggling in the same way. We all deserve better than this.”
John McLoughlin, from Tower Hamlets local government branch, thanked members who supported his branch during its recent dispute with the local Labour mayor over brutal fire-and-rehire tactics.
He reported the mayor was defeated in his re-election campaign in May.
Attacking the government, Mr McLoughlin said: “The Tories are vicious but they are weak. But when we act together, we can win. We are going to fight and we are going to win.”
Martin Gallagher, representing the retired members’ delegation, said pensioners had been hit so hard that in Northern Ireland they “travel on the buses from early in the morning just to stay warm because they can’t afford to heat their homes.”
National executive council speaker Greta Holmes said: “It was no longer a choice between eating or heating: they can’t afford to do either.
“Inflation has wiped out any proposed pay cuts.”
Teesside University delegate Denise Ward said: “This was the biggest squeeze on public-sector pay in more than 20 years.”
She said that the Tories “treat us like the dirt on their shoes when they don’t deserve to lick the boots of our members.
“We need a co-ordinated approach across all service groups because handclaps don’t pay the bills.”
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