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8 December 2010

Scotland: Unison votes for fighting cuts strategy

Unison's Scottish council, made of delegates from all branches in Scotland, voted on 3 December to raise with the other public sector trade unions the need for a Scottish industrial action strategy beginning with a one-day Scottish public sector strike to fight the cuts. The meeting of over 100 delegates also supported a call that the Scottish Parliament and local councils should set "needs budgets" that protect jobs and services.

Brian Smith, Glasgow Unison branch secretary and Socialist Party Scotland member

The motion on industrial action was moved by Glasgow City branch and supported by the Scottish Unison leadership, with the caveat that any action must be within the law. Speakers from several branches spoke in favour of the motion which was passed unanimously.

The motion calling on elected politicians to stand up to the Tories by setting "needs budgets" was jointly moved by Glasgow City and the North Ayrshire branch, with Dundee City lending support in the debate.

A section of the leadership opposed the motion on that basis it was 'gesture politics' and councils would not agree to it. The movers made the point that Unison must have a 'no cuts' position and that the concept of setting needs budgets was a political tool to deliver that in the short to medium term. It would mean that Unison had a clear position of encouraging Scotland's politicians to fight the Tories.

Earlier in the meeting Unison general secretary Dave Prentis had called on political parties to "oppose the cuts" and stand with working people. The movers of the motion suggested that the call for needs budgets was in tune with this demand. The motion was carried by a clear majority.

Scottish Unison must now use these decisions to step-up the fight to defend jobs and services.