ARC 2024 - Facing the future together

The CSP's Annual Representative Conference (ARC) took place in Manchester this week, with over 200 members helping shape the direction of the society.

A crowd of indistinct faces, holding placards reading 'We are the CSP'
CSP delegates together at ARC 2024. Photo: Asadour Guzelian 

Each year, the CSP’s stewards, safety and equality reps, professional networks, country boards, regional networks, student reps, associates' network, diversity networks and Retirement Association send delegates to ARC – who move and debate motions of importance to the profession.

This year’s agenda covered:

  • Pay, terms and conditions
  • Equality, diversity and belonging
  • International conflict
  • Environmental sustainability 
  • and much more.  Read all motions from #CSPARC24

ARC motions are advisory, and if passed are put to CSP Council to inform their role in setting strategy and policy.  Council will report on what decisions it takes later this year.

Delegates also heard from a range of speakers  

Close cropped photo of someone behind a lectern
Mark Hennessey on stage. Photo: Asadour Guzelian 

Mark Hennessey - CSP steward and associates' network communications officer - led conference in marking the 40th anniversary of the 'Battle of Orgreave'.   Mark told conference about miners’ year-long industrial struggle, and how the state met them and their allies with physical and legal violence.

'Let us remember [their] sacrifices… Let us honour their legacy by continuing to fight for workers’ justice and equality.  Let us take pride in being active CSP members. And let us acknowledge the strength gained in standing shoulder to shoulder with our comrades in solidarity'.

Conference heard from Jemima Olchawski, CEO of the Fawcett Society – the charity for gender equality and women’s rights. 

Jemima outlined what changes - in the workplace and government policy - that campaigning organisations, trade unions, and others committed to pursuing equality for women should push for:  

Side-on shot of someone at a lectern
Jemima Olchawski addresses conference. Photo: Asadour Guzelian 
  • Make flexible work the default - With women still doing the majority of unpaid labour in the home, women are more likely to work part-time.  But a lack of quality part-time work means women can’t progress, trapped below their skill level.
  • Make our workplaces safe for women - Workplace discrimination remains common, with pregnancy discrimination, unequal pay, racism and sexism too-often the norm.  'This] is the enforcement of power – a way to preserve the status quo of who is valid, who deserves respect, and who can feel safe… Employers have to proactively challenge and root this out'.
  • Make sure women's voices are heard – 'To change the system we need to centre women’s stories and perspectives'. 

How the CSP works with the Fawcett Society year round

  • The CSP has an organisational affiliation with the Fawcett Society.  
  • With them and the TUC, we have worked to change the law to increase protections for workers against sexual harassment.  The new Worker Protection Bill will now put the onus on the employer - rather than the employee - to actively protect workers from sexual harassment and take reasonable steps in doing so.

Someone wiping their eyes
Ricky at the mic. Photo: Asadour Guzelian 

Actor Ricky Tomlinson recollected on his trade union activism. He described how the 1972 national building workers' strike 'was the best thing we ever did' due to the safety improvements won for the industry – in spite of experiencing a wrongful conviction and state repression for his role in it.

Conference was rounded out with a packed, member-led fringe programme.  

Together delegates discussed workplace organising, the CSP and member’s political engagement, and other topics.

Get involved

Each of ARC’s delegate-sending networks are run by members, offering plenty of opportunities to get involved in your workplace or local area.  

See the CSP website for how to get involved in each.

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