Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 June 2008

"Democracy not bureaucracy"

Fighting, democratic unions not witch hunts

Throughout Unison's 2008 conference there were two main talking points. One was the witch hunt taking place against Unison activists, including myself and three other Socialist Party members. The other was motion 63, entitled 'New Labour, what do we get for our money?'

Onay Kasab, Greenwich Unison (personal capacity)

The motion stated how workers in unions such as Unison, all round the country, are questioning why it is that the unions continue to fund New Labour, while day in, day out a New Labour government attacks public services and public servants.

Unison bureaucrats, swimming against the tide of members' opinion, have pointed out that the Tories would be worse. Whoever is worse, New Labour or the Tories, there is no way things could get more bizarre under either party.

This is the experience in Greenwich where Vosper Thornycroft, a shipbuilding firm, is threatening to take over education. When did a career building warships become a qualification for being fit to take over an education service?

Instead of concentrating time, money and resources on fighting these free-market policies, the Unison leadership is attacking leading lay activists. These are trade union activists democratically elected each year by members. It is ironic that unelected officials are witch hunting elected reps. But it is positively 'Orwellian' that the official leading the witch hunt is the misnamed 'head of democratic services'!

It is no coincidence that those being witch hunted include Socialist Party members who ensured that the issue of Labour Party funding was discussed at this year's Unison conference. This crucial debate took place despite the massive pressure put on branch delegates by union officials, who attempted to ensure that the resolution was not discussed.

The witch hunt of Socialist Party members in Unison is linked to a 2007 leaflet which, as well as calling for a debate on the Labour link, protested about the absence of a debate on the election of all officials. The Socialist Party also demands that workers' representatives live on a workers' wage.

These two points are essential to democracy and accountability within the trade union movement. They would make sure that representatives do not lose touch with those they represent.

It is of these principled, democratic ideas that some union leaderships, such as those in Unison, are most scared. This is why the witch hunt is taking place.

This is a huge dereliction of duty by union leaders. For them democracy is not important. In Unison, many of the disciplinary rules are more draconian than those of some of our employers. It is certainly the case that the way in which the Unison disciplinary process has taken place recently would shame most councils.

We urgently need to hold these union leaders to account. The witch hunts must be stopped. Union rules need to be reformed to promote democracy, not enable dictatorship.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 25 June 2008:

Prices up, Wages down...Summer of action needed!

Workers' battles win results: Tankers drivers' success upsets bosses

Council workers striking back

Socialist Party editorial

Editorial: Summer of discontent?

PCS union sends letter of solidarity to Unison

Campaign for a new workers' party: Conference - Sunday 29 June, 11am - 5pm

Unison Conference 2008

Unison conference 2008: Fighting to reclaim the union for its members

Unison Service Group Executives - socialists elected

National Shop Stewards Network Conference

Fighting, democratic unions not witch hunts

Socialist Party campaigns

Thousands show their hatred for racism

Student unions can be pushed into action

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Review: False 'gods' of a failing system

International socialist news and analysis

Zimbabwe: Mugabe's militias crush his political opponents

Afghanistan - paying the price of western occupation

Summit fails to halt runaway oil prices

Britain: No.1 arms dealer

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Cut throat competition threatens NHS

"With polyclinics you're just a number"

Stop this sell-off!

Origins of the Labour Party

'Old' Labour - born out of workers' struggles

Socialist Party workplace news

Brighton bus drivers match inflation

Teachers fight academy plans in Bolton

Union news in brief

Usdaw election


Home   |   The Socialist 25 June 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Black workers and the British trade unions


triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

triangleUnison attacks Barts deal after failing to ballot their members for strike action

triangleSurrey County Council staff on collision course over pay freeze

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap


triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

Socialist Party:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

Onay Kasab:

triangleBromley library workers strike against privatisation

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice