Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/751/16086
Labour cuts better than Tory ones?
At a recent Unison south east regional conference a resolution was moved by Southampton district branch for debate on how Unison should fight the cuts.
The resolution correctly laid the blame for cuts with the Con-Dem government but called for Unison to link up with the Labour council - which is currently implementing the Con-Dem cuts.
Surrey County Unison branch moved an amendment expressing disappointment at Labour's cuts budget and calling for support for the two rebel councillors who are calling on Labour councillors not to vote for cuts.
Rather than ensuring a robust debate took place on the issues, the regional leadership ruled the amendment out of order on the grounds it interferes with 'branch autonomy'.
Southampton delegates then distributed a newsletter attacking Surrey branch, the Socialist Party and criticising the rebel councillors.
Paul Couchman, branch secretary Surrey Unison, speaking in a personal capacity, explained: "Southampton brought their motion to conference for discussion and our branch was engaging in that.
"Unison members have a responsibility to support and advise each other across branches, regions and service groups.
"Debate on the union's position on Labour and fighting the cuts was undemocratically obstructed. Despite these manoeuvres delegates spoke critically against support for Labour with a third of delegates failing to support the Southampton motion.
"Socialist Party members in Unison will continue to argue for a fighting strategy to oppose all cuts."
The Southampton Labour Party newsletter states that the core argument is "a Labour council is better than a Tory one."
Those Unison members receiving redundancy notices from Labour-led councils this month are not likely to see the difference.
In The Socialist 6 February 2013:
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party reviews and comments
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis