About the Conference
Since the banking crisis of 2008, Coalition and Conservative governments have systematically inflicted austerity measures on workers and their families. Cuts in pay, pension provision, terms and conditions of employment and public services have been imposed. Such cuts have reduced the living standards of millions of citizens at the same time as reducing the size of the state – the public sector.
Trade unions in the public sector have inevitably been at the forefront of resisting these cuts. As a consequence they face draconian attacks from a government determined to eliminate dissent. Attacks on facility time and check off aim to undermine the administrative efficiency and effective funding of public sector unions. While restrictions on the right to strike, to protest and to politically campaign, aim to undermine unions’ political and industrial voice.
With organised opposition weakened, the end result is the imposition of terms and conditions that are unacceptable, unsustainable and unsafe. Recent examples of problems faced by public sector workers fill the news: Junior Doctors having 7-day rotas imposed; teachers expected to work with unqualified assistants; firefighters having to cover wider geographical areas with fewer appliances; civil servants from Land Registry to Border Services having their numbers reduced but their workloads increased.
Research shows that women are hit the hardest by Conservative austerity measures. Women form the largest part of the public sector workforce and are also the most dependent on public services. With that in mind, speakers at this event will consider the impact of public sector cuts on women and drill down into a service commonly acknowledged as in need of particular attention – that of home care workers.
At this conference expert speakers from trade unions, academia and the legal profession will provide the latest information about proposals, legislative changes and case law precedents affecting public sector unions and their members. The day will conclude with a forward looking glance at the kind of alternative economic policies we might expect from the election of a more progressive government.
Neil Todd, Thompsons Solicitors
The Trade Union Bill – Implications for the Public Sector
Kate Ewing & Matthew Egan, UNISON
UNISON’s home care workers project
Dr Lydia Hayes, Cardiff University
The weaker sex? Public services, gender and employment rights
Matt Wrack, General Secretary, FBU
Public sector cuts in the fire service
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, PCS
Redundancy, privatisation and the PCS alternative
Andrew Fisher, Economist
Economic choices – alternatives to austerity