Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/564/6832
Victory for left in Glasgow Unison
As reported in last week's issue of The Socialist, International Socialists (CWI Scotland) member, Brian Smith, has been elected to the post of branch secretary of the Glasgow City branch of Unison.
Ronnie Stevenson, convenor Glasgow social work services (SWS) shop stewards
In one of the largest branches of Unison in Britain Brian won by 990 votes to 891 for the sitting branch secretary, Carol Ball. It comes after many years of strong campaigning and leadership within the SWS sub-branch.
We sought to organise the influence of the left within the 14,000-strong branch by organising a broad left. This was helpful in extending the left's influence beyond SWS, where our strength lay. Another left, Jim Snell, was elected to the post of depute conditions of service officer.
The pursuit of the 2008 pay claim was an important test for those who sought to lead Unison. The sitting branch secretary was part of the national leadership of the pay claim strategy and members' disappointment and even anger about the way it was conducted no doubt played a role in her defeat.
SWS shop stewards argued for a positive alternative to the leadership's strategy. Also important was the role played within the branch by Brian and the stewards in fighting the proposed pay cuts arising from the implementation of 'single status' within Glasgow.
Currently Brian is leading the strike of community service supervisors, some of the lowest-paid workers in SWS.
Brian's election statement clearly stated he is a socialist and believes Unison should stop paying money to the Labour Party because of their betrayal of ordinary working people.
His election is only a start. We are entering a very difficult time for public services.
Others in the Unison branch must now come forward to help transform the branch into a fighting democratic unit, prepared to defend the interests of all the members.
In The Socialist 28 January 2009:
Slaughter in Gaza
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
Marxist analysis: history
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news
Socialist Party reviews