The North West & Irish region hosted its annual GMB union Womens’ Conference, this was the first time the conference had been held digitally
19th GMB North West & Irish trade union Womens' Conference 2020
On Thursday, the region hosted its annual GMB union Womens’ Conference, this was the first time the conference had been held digitally and despite a couple of teething problems was a great success and the feed-back received was that it was enjoyed by those who attended.
In what was a packed agenda, we had some amazing women sharing their stories, their knowledge and their experiences.
After the GMB union Regional Secretary Paul McCarthy welcomed everybody, we were honoured to have GMB trade union National President Barbara Plant address our conference. Barbara talked about the progress that is being made in response to the recommendations from the Monaghan Report.
We had a fabulous section on sexism in the workplace from Kellie O’Dowd which addressed what sexism is, from assumptions on the roles and responsibilities of women, stereotyping to plain harassment.
Councillor Ann O’Byrne gave us an update on her work with the women in Lebanon. Ann had joined us before and told us about an initiative working with ANERA and many other agencies trying to make conditions more bearable for the women and their families for whom home is a refugee camp with limited access to even the most basic needs. Anns’ latest update can be found here https://medium.com/@ann_obyrne/lebanon-69e2db7d2fda (mimecast.com)
We were joined by Joanne, Anna and Lisa from GMB Reachout- they provided some really useful information on services they can provide to GMB union members who may be facing or have recently been made redundant. Services such as access to computers and the internet, workshops on job searching including interview skills and cv writing, plus welfare rights assessments. This will be an even more invaluable tool as we will sadly see a great many more job losses when the current furlough period ends. Further details of services can be found here www.gmbreachout.org.uk
We had a small session on mindfulness over lunch, as many of us have had to adapt to different ways of working or are dealing with different stressors to what we have become accustomed to, it’s really important to take a few moments to gather your thoughts and concentrate on deep breathing for a minute or two.
After lunch the ladies from GMB Reachout joined us again to talk about access to learning online ranging from Maths, English, ICT to Webinars and professional development. Courses are available at one of the training sites or are available to do online from home www.gmbreachout.org.uk
We were very pleased to be joined by Kim Johnson MP, MP for Liverpool Riverside who is the first black MP in the city. Kim spoke very passionately about her route into politics coming from a background working as a community worker and adult social care and also some of the challenges of women being able to get involved in Labour Party.
We had an emotive session where female activists: Margaret Dochery, Nuala Whiteside, Kay Doherty and Tracey Patrick shared with us their experiences of working through the pandemic. Issues from lack of correct PPE, having to police the publics wearing of face coverings to the fear of taking the virus home to their own families touched a chord with many of those listening.
We closed with a presentation from Denise Walker on Activism, Politics and Women which showed some women who have made a positive change through history to empower women of today. We finished with an as that the activists would take the GMB union- Work to Stop Domestic Abuse Workplace Policy into their workplaces to start a conversation on the implementation of a policy with HR or their management. Click here to download The PDF policy here
The event was brilliantly chaired by Margaret Gregg