Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/551/6481
Frustration with leadership
Like the London Unison member (issue 550 of the Socialist), I am angry and frustrated at the direction of our bid for a decent pay rise in local government. I had no confidence in Unison's leadership before the dispute began but, like hundreds of thousands of Unison members across the country, I was on the picket lines, hoping that the momentum would build.
Like many Unison members, I waited for the announcement of further action. None was forthcoming and now I learn from the London Unison member that our leadership has run up the white flag. This revelation came in the same week that my monthly pay was docked for the two days' strike action.
It seems I've given up over £200 for nothing. If that proves to be the case I feel like I want to take immediate action against the leadership of my union. Of course, I will continue to support progressive attempts to reclaim our unions from the pro-capitalist, pro-Labour Party leadership and seek to hold that leadership to account through the union structures.
But I am so angry at this latest development. Not only on my own account but because, as an activist, I know that the betrayal we suffered in the 2002 pay dispute caused massive disaffection; that negative effect will now be doubled, making claims that members don't support action a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I know our leadership is well-insulated against discontent from below. Motions can be ignored or ruled out of order or dealt with by way of platitudes. I have thought of making a claim against my own union for the lost money in the county court.
That would possibly be futile but it's the way I am thinking. The thought of these people sitting pretty at the head of my union and getting ready to stifle any move which may embarrass the Labour Party makes my blood boil.
Rob Rooney, Plymouth Unison member
In The Socialist 8 October 2008:
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