I have just got back from Unison Health Conference in Harrogate, which was excellent, but left me with a dose of ‘flu (I suppose that is what happens when you get 1000 health workers in a room together).
I have made a list to argue why we urgently need change in the union to transform it into a fighting, democratic union which will fight for people’s jobs. If the right wing get their way, there will be a further clampdown on those who are fighting for change.
1. The union is acting in an undemocratic way. Some of the best activists on the left in Unison are facing expulsion or have already lost their jobs (Glenn Kelly, Yunus Baksh, Onay Kasab, Suzanne Muna and Brian Debus – see the Defend the Four Campaign and Unison Right Wing Exposed) for more details).
2. We have had year on year of below-inflation pay rises and the leadership of Unison have done nothing. Repeatedly, Unison leaders have failed to fight effectively for ordinary members. The union refuses to give any sort of leadership to those who wish to take action to defend their jobs or fight for better pay. Even when there was a mandate for strike action, the leadership did nothing. When it was finally forced into a one-day strike of council workers, it returned to the negotiating table as soon as possible, rather than escalate the action and win a decent settlement.
3. At UNISON’s health conference, the leadership moved that the union should leave pay bargaining to the Pay Review Body (a government quango) rather than mounting an effective campaign on behalf of members.
4. The leadership of Unison is too closely tied to New Labour, which is responsible for cutbacks and privatisation. Why is Unison giving money to the government, when it is attacking our jobs and conditions?
For a change of leadership, please use your vote for United Left candidates in the NEC elections:
Local government: Mandy Berger, Emma Goodall, Paul Holmes, Glenn Kelly
Health: Kate Ahrens, Alison Brown, Paul Harper, Len Hockey
Transport: Tony Wilson
Higher Education: Tom Silverlock
Young Members: Daniel Roberts
Additional members: Raph Parkinson
There will be other United Left candidates depending on which part of the UK you live in. Have a look through the candidates’ statements and decide for yourself.
If you have lost your ballot slip, or haven’t received one phone the election helpline on 0845 355 0845. Ballot papers must be returned by 15th May.
[No Unison resources were used in writing this blog]