Delegates at the women's conference of public sector union Unison gave harrowing accounts of living their lives in debt, and how they have been reduced to choosing between eating and heating while trying to put food on the table for their families.
Most of the motions on the agenda, heard by 800 trade unionists attending, covered how women are not coping with the effects of austerity. A motion on women and debt outlined that of the 8.8 million people struggling with debt, 64% were women.
The meeting of broad left Unison Action was well attended. At the meeting, Socialist Party and Unison national executive committee member Vicky Perrin, in a personal capacity, spoke about the consultative strike ballot of school staff and the Birmingham home care and Glasgow equal pay strikers. In Glasgow, the workers have proved that where you fight collectively, you can win!
Socialist Party member Mia Hollsing said councils like Birmingham - which are cutting the hours of the home carers - have a choice not to make cuts. They should set no-cuts budgets. But if they carry out the cuts, we should be prepared to fight them.