It's always nice to report good news and small steps forward are important, so I'll start my NEC report on a high note. At the start of the meeting we endorsed a report of a review into 'Children and UNISON Conferences' given to us this morning. The recommendations are that whilst children should not be allowed to enter the conference floor for health and safety reasons (there is a creche facility), but with the exception of children who are breast feeding, who can now access all areas of UNISON conferences. This is great news and follows an incident at HE conference this year which I raised at last NEC (see here).
This small but important success for nursing mothers is hardly the top priority for most members so I'm not going to bang on forever about breast feeding babies on this blog and I'll return to occasionally reporting here about other issues on the NEC and the Higher Ed Service Group and more generally reporting on issues of interest to UNISON members in HE.
Incidentally, this also comes as a relief to myself as the Chair of a branch who missed the deadline on amendments to motions for NDC, which was submitted on the correct date but after the midday deadline (hmph!). That ruled out amendment to Motion 82 had proposed an NEC review into our policy on access for nursing mothers - which has now already happened - with a view to altering the policy, which is now our position.
Before moving on (to Breaking the Pay freeze, settling up on Pensions and Winning the Living Wage, Palestine is still the issue), I think it is right to thank those many activists who did support Gail after she had been removed from the conference hall during the fringe meeting on the Living Wage. It was a distressing and distracting afternoon, so the solidarity and sisterhood displayed by those activists – some of whom we had never met before - really helped to reaffirm those strong beliefs we hold dear in our union and was really welcome and appreciated.
I look forward to meeting those delegates again - hopefully at NDC 2012 – to share with them this good news and to thanking them personally.
Solidarity forever, sisters!