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UNISON CONF: PRENTIS DECLARES 'JUDGEMENT TIME'

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Public sector workers should be celebrated by a government that promised to deliver more funding and support, gener...
Public sector workers should be celebrated by a government that promised to deliver more funding and support, general secretary Dave Prentis said in his address to national conference delegates yesterday.

And he added that the time has come to judge the government on its promises to deliver investment and improvement in public services. 'If they would spend as much on real doctors as they do on spin doctors,' he said, 'perhaps all our health service problems would be solved.'

Reaffirming the union's commitment to public services, Mr Prentis praised the work of frontline public sector workers who have, he said, been unfairly labelled by the government as part of the problem rather than the solution.

'It may be right that the queen's five decades of public work should be acknowledged,' he said. 'But how much more should we recognise the decades of service given by public service workers?'

Mr Prentis also offered conference's support to local government members in their fight over pay, and members in the south east taking action over London weighting.

Taking pride in the union and its achievements Mr Prentis talked of rising membership, improved internal communications and a continued commitment to the development of members, through initiatives such as return to learn.

Whilst domestic political issues are a key consideration for the union, however, the general secretary was also mindful of the changing nature of global politics since 11 September.

Drawing links between the rise of the far right in Europe and in Britain's northern towns, hostility towards asylum seekers, and the growing divide between rich and poor, Mr Prentis talked of the need for international solidarity.

'We, as a union, achieve far more by working together with our sister unions across the world than we do by working alone,' he said.

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