Posts Tagged ‘unison’

Reclaim UNISON

May 14, 2013

UNISON members across the country are facing attacks on pay and conditions and their jobs are at risk. In schools, libraries, the NHS and council departments workers are facing the threat of downgrading or redundancy, as councils make cuts. Labour councils have not put up any real resistance to these cuts, except for a few councillors in Southampton and in Hull – their reward has been to be expelled from the Labour Party!

If there is one union that could stop the government’s attacks on the public sector dead in their tracks, that is UNISON. Prentis boasts about the potential strength of the union’s 1.3 million members but he has then done everything possible to avoid national industrial action. On the one occasion, workers did come out in November 2010, mass demonstrations were held up and down the country and picket lines were buzzing with excitment. However, this glimpse of possible militancy has never been repeated. We need national strike action again, this time co-ordinated with the private sector as well. We have tried being reasonable and negotiating, but this has only encouraged the government and been taken as a sign of weakness.

If you agree that we need a fighting, democratic union, vote for Reclaim The Union Candidates on your ballot paper for UNISON NEC elections. If you have lost your ballot paper, if it is underneath a pile of junk mail on your desk, or if the dog has eaten it – you can get another by phoning 0845 355 0845 befoire 21st May. Ballot closes 24th May.

Jean Thorpe (East Mids region, Female Seat)
Adrian Picton (East Mids region, Male Seat)

Monique Hirst (Black Members’ Seat)
April Ashley (Black Members’ Seat)
Hugo Pierre (Black Members’ Seat)

Suzy Franklin (Health Service Group)
Gary Freeman (Health Service Group)
Mark Boothroyd (Health Service Group)

Greta Holmes (Young Members)

Claire Wormald (Eastern)

Jim McFarlane (Scotland)
Duncan Smith (Scotland)

Jamie Davis (Wales / Cymru)

Dave Auger (West Midlands)

Bernie Parkes (South West)

Helen Davies (Gtr London)
MarshaJane Thompson (Gtr London)
Jon Rogers (Gtr London)
Gundula Seidel (Gtr London)

Bernie Gallagher (North West)
Karen Reissmann (North West)
Roger Bannister (North West)
Tony Wilson (North West)

Jacqui Berry (South East)
Diana Leach (South East)
Paul Couchman (South East)

Helen Jenner (Yorks & Humber)
Mike Forster (Yorks & Humber)
Vicki Perrin (Yorks & Humber)

Reclaim our Union. Standing together for a fighting, democratic union.

We stand for – resistance to all cuts, privatisation and job losses.
industrial action against attacks on pay and conditions.
strike action to be co-ordinated across all trade unions.
only funding and supporting politicians who will oppose cuts and fight for our members.

Poem written in a personal capacity

November 19, 2012

I don’t care about the glossy photo-op with the Labour MP you sent us,

Dave Prentis.

To explain why you meant us,

Dave Prentis

To capitulate on pensions. Are you really compos mentis?

Dave Prentis

Did you need to eat a whole packet of Mentos,

Dave Prentis?

To clear the hypocritical stench as,

Dave Prentis,

You made a stirring speech and sent us,

Dave Prentis,

Like a stuttering tortoise,

Dave Prentis.

Up to the top of the hill before making a hasty descent as,

Dave Prentis,

You gave in and broke the mighty consensus,

Dave Prentis.

2 million out on strike, now that was momentous,

Dave Prentis.

Until you betrayed us. You only lent us,

Dave Prentis

The placards and armbands of protests and pickets. Your real intent was,

Dave Prentis,

To back down. You are out of touch and bent as,

Dave Prentis,

On 100 grand a year, you don’t struggle to pay the rent. Is,

Dave Prentis,

that why, instead of fighting the bosses who torment us,

Dave Prentis,

You waste half a million fighting socialists, the dissenters?

Dave Prentis?

Those who want a fighting union, not one that deserts us?

Dave Prentis?

No sell-out on pensions – Fight until we win!

December 16, 2011

This is taken from the National Shop Stewards Network site – it is vitally important that this is spread as widely as possible in a short time, so please feel free to circulate to anyone you feel may be supportive. After the magnificent strikes and demonstrations up and down the country on November 30th, we cannot back down and let the government off the hook. They have given almost nothing away in terms of concessions, yet some leaders of trade unions and the tops of the TUC – notably Brendan Barber and Dave Prentis, are waving the white flag already.

The TUC’s Public Sector Liaison Group (PSLG) has met for the first time since the magnificent 30 November public sector strike.

 Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, argued that trade unions should sign up to the government’s latest agreement on pensions, which would then allow Francis Maude to announce before Christmas that the dispute has been settled.

This was met with outrage by many of the public sector trade unions present. Not one of the central demands of public sector workers has been met. All public sector workers are still being told to work longer, pay more and get less. The teaching unions NUT and NASUWT reported that they had been offered no serious concessions by the government, as did the civil servants’ union PCS, the Fire Brigades Union and representatives of workers in the NHS. In local government, the only concession is to delay the attacks on pensions until 2014, provided that local government unions promise to accept the pain without a fight when it comes.

Yet Dave Prentis – general secretary for Unison – the biggest union in health and local government – argued for accepting this rotten deal. Hundreds of thousands of Unison members who struck on 30 November will not agree.

30 November showed the potential power of the working class in Britain. We can force this weak, divided government to retreat, but only if the action is stepped up. The leadership of the TUC and Unison supported N30 because of the pressure of rank and file trade unionists – now we need to do the same again. PCS demanded that the meeting name the day for the next day of national coordinated strike action. In Scotland, Unison delegates have already unanimously proposed 25 January as the day of the next strike.

We all – public and private sector workers alike – need to pile on the pressure for the date of the next strike to be set before Christmas, and to take place in January.


Sign the petition here:

PCS Left Unity is organising an open meeting at Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London on Saturday 7 January to demand further action on pensions. This meeting will be open to all reps in any union that took action on N30 and is to put pressure on union leaderships to name a further strike day.

How to defend our NHS?

May 29, 2011

The Conservative / Lib Dem government have pledged to protect “frontline” NHS services and cut back on bureaucracy. In reality, this is another broken promise. They have no intention of saving even frontline staff. It is important that trade unions should unite health workers against their plans, not seek to divide them. The nursing union, the RCN, has a national campaign called “frontline first”. While it has every right to fight for its own members, their approach plays into the government’s agenda that some cuts are necessary, and divides healthworkers against each other. I have seen admin staff in UNISON wearing badges saying “I am frontline”, making the point that we are just as important to the running of the NHS, enabling nurses and doctors to do their jobs efficiently.

The RCN website talks of speaking out against NHS cuts that are harming patient care, but also exposing where there is waste in the system. In reality, the NHS has long been under-funded. The Trust I work for has had vacancy freezes, so that gradually less and less staff are under more pressure to do the same job, resulting in a rise in stress and sickness.

The way to win a campaign is to give workers the confidence that if they take action then these cuts can be beaten. As part of TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) Socialist Party members attempted to do this, by standing in elections on a no-cuts platform. We need to explain to people that the cuts are not necessary, they are part of an attack on the principles of the NHS – to provide free health care to anyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay. UNISON and the RCN should be balloting for strike action, in unity with the teaching unions and PCS, who are taking action to protect their pensions on 30th June. That way we could show the government the unity of public sector workers and that we are determined to resist any attacks on our terms and conditions.

The inefficiencies in the NHS come from the privatisation that has already happened under Labour and the Tories. In 1979, admin costs were only 6%. The introduction of the “internal market” by the Tories doubled this to 12% and with Labour’s foundation trusts, this has risen to nearer 20%. In preparation for my hospital becoming a foundation trust, we will have to record every contact with a patient, even if it is just a phone conversation. This is only because the hospital will then be charged per contact, as if it was a business. The real source of inefficiency is the private market.

So what do we do instead? The party I belong to, the Socialist Party would reverse the privatisation of the NHS and place our public services under truly democratic workers’ control. We would get rid of genuine inefficiencies – pharmaceutical companies overcharging for drugs, expensive PFI schemes and allow NHS hospitals to co-operate with each other and share best practice, rather than have to compete with each other for patients. The NHS brought free healthcare to millions when it was first introduced, but sixty years later these gains are being taken away from us, as multinationals move in for the kill. We need to fight for a socialist society, so that we can win a genuinely public NHS now and for future generations.

Join the Leicestershire Against the Cuts protest

October 23, 2010

Leicestershire Against Cuts is a broad-based campaign to defend our public services. It is supported by Leicester and District Trades Council and local UNISON, NUT and PCS branches. We are all in this together, except for the fat cats at the top – and we all need to unite to save our jobs and services.

It has organised a march from Victoria Park cafe to the Clocktower on Saturday 30th October. Assemble at 12 noon

Under the Tory / Lib Dem proposals, housing benefit is being cut back at the same time as people are being forced out of council housing if their income goes above a certain level. Rents will rise to 90% of market value, forcing working-class families into ghettos.

In Leicestershire, the council is slashing 1,000 jobs. Services for the elderly, bus routes and community facilities are being axed. Our central library is under threat of closure.

Over 1 million young people are unemployed, but jobs are under threat at job centres and at Connexions, an agency which helps young people find jobs. This is madness when young people cannot find decent employment and the council is axing jobs.

700 jobs are under threat at Leicester’s hospitals, 1,400 at the Primary Care Trust. Instead our NHS budget is to be handed over to GPs, with no experience of running hospital budgets. Our hospitals are being turned into Foundation Trusts, which will have to compete with each other for patients and can be taken over by the private sector.

Comprehensive education is being destroyed by “Free Schools” and by academy schools , which can be run by private companies or religious groups. Fight to maintain a decent education for all children.

PFI deals hand over the running of our hospitals, schools and public services to private companies. They are wasteful and expensive as they can last for 30 years and tie us into delivering services, even if these are no longer needed.

Leicester Against Cuts is saying that these cuts are not necessary. There is an alternative.

We say NO to cuts and closures. Ordinary people should not have to pay for an economic crisis, which was caused by the boom / bust failures of capitalism. Why should the most vulnerable in society have to suffer, when bankers are raking in huge bonuses? The cabinet is made up of millionaires – it is OK for them to send their kids to private schools and book themselves into private hospitals. I do not think it is OK for the rest of us to suffer as a result of their hypocrisy.

We demand:
No more cuts or job losses. We need to defend our public services.
For services to be run democratically; for local people to have a real say in what they want.

Direct, public funding of schools, health centres and hospital building programmes. No to fat-cats profiting from our public services.
Hospitals, schools, libraries should be run to provide a service, not to make a profit for privateers.

We CAN afford to invest in our public services:
Instead of axing hundreds of thousands of civil servant jobs, use them to collect the tax owed by the non-doms and the rich Don’t believe the lie that there is no money left. In 1945, Britain was ravaged by the Second World War & debt was much higher. But we built the NHS and the welfare state. People fought for better services then and we need to do the same now.


We are all users of public services. If jobs are cut, there will be less money for consumers to spend. Many private companies depend on the public sector for contracts and if there are massive public sector cuts, this could send us back into recession. Public services are there for everybody, whether they work for the private or the public sector. We need a united fight to save our NHS, our schools, council services and libraries which are under threat of closure.

We need to stand up now, before it is too late. We need a mass movement of ordinary people, demanding investment in our hospitals, our schools and our council in order to build an alternative to cuts and privatisation.