Eastern young members make tackling sexual harassment a national priority

Delegates to the 2022 young members' conference smile for the camera

UNISON’s second-ever Young Members Conference was held last month in Bournemouth, with Eastern delegates once again playing a major part in making the gathering a success.

Our regional motions, Affordable housing is a human right and Uncomfortable yet? Sexual harassment is never OK, were both adopted by conference.

The latter was even selected by conference to go to the 2023 National Delegate Conference, meaning it could become policy for the whole union.

First-time delegate Eloise from University of East Anglia UNISON was particularly impressed by the Uncomfortable Yet motion and another on raising the age limit for young members from 26.

She said: “The average age of a UNISON activist is 48. Clearly, we have a problem attracting and engaging young workers. Our young activists have an important part to play in getting more young workers involved in the movement and raising the age limit for young members would give us more time to train and develop them. This rule change would also reflect the realities of being a young worker today.

“Young workers are more likely to be casually employed and working in precarious jobs. This creates an imbalance of power that puts young workers at great risk of sexual harassment.

“Organising as workers is the only way we can claw power back and put an end to sexual harassment. And so, we need to commit to a national campaign against sexual harassment, as pushed for in the motion.

Fellow first-time delegate Oloye from Norfolk Community Health branch was also impressed by conference.

“The reception and accommodation was top notch,” he said.

“The highlight for me were the motions put forward for discussion and debate. The motions around sexual harassment, poverty pay, Black members’ inclusion were particularly interesting to me.

“I met other young people and it was delightful and helpful.”

Any UNISON Eastern members who want to get involved in the union’s young members’ structures can come along to the region’s annual general meeting next week.

It’ll be a friendly, welcoming introduction for those who haven’t been before and gives you the chance to have a say on how young members insure their voice is as loud as possible within UNISON.

Find out more

You can read full reports from the conference on UNISON’s national website.