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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 February 2010

Nominate Roger Bannister: Council workers need a fighting union

ROGER BANNISTER is a member of the Unison union's national executive, and campaigning to stand for election as Unison general secretary. Roger says the union must fight the cuts in Birmingham, which are being repeated by councils, health authorities and the education sector nationwide:
Unison conference 2009: Roger Bannister, photo Paul Mattsson

Unison conference 2009: Roger Bannister, photo Paul Mattsson

"THE PROPOSED culling of jobs, conditions, pay and public services has begun. Dave Prentis, Unison's present general secretary, attacks the Tories who run Birmingham council but Labour councils will make similar cuts. Will he attack them? Why can't the Labour government bail out our public services as they did with the banks?

"Unison must not leave each council, school or hospital to fight alone. National attacks must be answered with national coordinated action. Campaigns against the cuts must be linked up along with other public sector trade unions.

"But Unison's leadership backs the Labour Party and pays 3 million to Labour each year. This money should be put to better use by launching a national fightback against these attacks.

"What has this Labour government done for workers? Public sector workers have suffered meagre or zero wage increases, worse conditions and threats to their pensions. The disgraceful anti union laws have not been repealed in Labour's 12 years in power. Now Labour proposes draconian cuts to our public services.

"I argue that Unison should break the link with Labour and act in our members' interests. If elected to be Unison general secretary, I would take a worker's wage instead of the inflated income of most union leaders and ensure that all union officials are elected.

"Nominations for general secretary candidates close on 1 April. I urge Unison branches to nominate me so we can begin to build a democratic fighting union in the battle to defend jobs and conditions in the worst attacks facing the public sector for decades."

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In The Socialist 17 February 2010:

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