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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 May 2010

Vote Roger Bannister

Ballot papers will be going out soon in the election for Unison general secretary. Nearly 1.4 million workers in local councils, the health service, police, fire service, voluntary sector, universities, colleges and privatised utilities will be voting for a new leader.

A Unison member

Socialist Party member Roger Bannister is standing against the current general secretary, Dave Prentis and a third candidate, Paul Holmes.

Whichever government takes power the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems have all promised to make massive cuts at the behest of the financial markets and as usual it is ordinary working class people who will be expected to pay the price with job losses, pay freezes and attacks on pensions.

In a recent interview in the Financial Times Dave Prentis has already concluded that: "An attack on pensions would provoke a national strike" but "it is unlikely that we would take national industrial action over jobs". He also reported that "union negotiators are being trained in public procurement negotiations and local government and health finances. The idea is to go through an employer's books and suggest alternative ways to make savings."

In contrast, Roger Bannister argues that national action is needed to defend members' jobs, pay and pensions so that branches are not left to fight these battles on their own. Union leaders should not suggest how and where to make cuts!

If elected Roger will lead a campaign in Unison to stop these attacks and join with other public sector unions to defend jobs and pensions.

Roger is the only candidate who opposes Unison funding the Labour Party and supports the building of a new trade union based party.

Unlike Roger, the other two candidates, Dave Prentis and Paul Holmes, are members of the Labour Party. Unison members have suffered for too long as millions of pounds of their union subs have gone to the Labour Party. In return Labour have attacked their pay, conditions and jobs. As part of this support for Labour, Unison has held back from a real fight against these attacks.

The election period is 17 May-11 June.

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