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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 February 2011

Scottish Unison members oppose leadership's sell-out

Social care workers on strike in Scotland, photo Duncan Brown

Social care workers on strike in Scotland, photo Duncan Brown   (Click to enlarge)

Just days before councils across Scotland meet to slash public services, the February meeting of Unison Scottish Council was presented with a paper for debate entitled The Public Sector Workforce Framework.

A Scottish Unison member

The paper, marked "strictly not for publication" was the product of continuing discussions between the Scottish government, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

The paper's stated aim was "the pursuit of the goal of no compulsory redundancies in exchange for agreement to real and meaningful working practices that allow employers to generate the package of savings required to fund this goal".

Social care workers on strike in Scotland, photo Duncan Brown

Social care workers on strike in Scotland, photo Duncan Brown   (Click to enlarge)

An hour before the full council, the union's Scottish Committee meeting had debated the paper and, on a narrow vote of eleven to eight, recommended acceptance.

The document represented a thinly disguised attempt by a section of the Unison Scottish leadership to overturn the Unison council's position for coordinated industrial action to defeat cuts, as proposed by the Glasgow City Unison branch and agreed at the council's previous meeting in December.

Also agreed in December was the call for councils to set needs budgets and to call on elected politicians to refuse to make cuts. However, the proposed document shows that the Scottish leadership accepts cuts are inevitable.

The debate was sharp and protracted with many delegates opposing on two counts: firstly, over being 'bounced' into making a decision without time to consult members; secondly, that the content of the proposal represented a 'sell-out' of the membership in advance of any struggle against the employers.

Branch delegations that had consistently supported the leadership previously were split, in one case providing speakers both for and against the motion.

It was unfortunate that some delegates who consider themselves to be on the left were pushing for acceptance, arguing for the 'new reality' of reduced council budgets.

One delegate, a member of Socialist Appeal, explained that his branch had adopted a similar approach twelve months ago when it became clear that the council would be heading for a crisis.

Speaker after speaker condemned, not only the intention of the proposal, but the signal that it would send to employers who would use it to undermine local action.

If carried it would also represent a severe blow to the morale of the membership who are looking for a firm lead from the union at this time. After over an hour of debate the meeting voted to reject the partnership framework by a big majority.

This represents a victory for Unison members who want the union to have a clear strategy to defeat the cuts.

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In The Socialist 10 February 2011:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Big society? ... big con!

Fight the cuts - whoever makes them

Ditch the library cuts

Hands off our forests!

Campaigners reject maternity unit cuts

Billy Bragg helps raise Exeter Anti-Cuts funds

Institute of Directors, bosses' organisation, bares its teeth at unions

Solidarity with the Egyptian masses

Uprising in Egypt - Socialist Party public meetings

EDL racists terrorise Luton

Fast news


Socialist Party youth and students

National education shutdown needed

PCS young members' network conference

Yorkshire: organising the student movement

Demonstrating against cuts in Grimsby

Volunteering 'plaster' for unemployment


International socialist news and analysis

Egypt: Is revolution derailed?

Economic crisis in Greece: Immigrants made scapegoats

Solidarity messages needed for US prison reform activist


Socialist Party workplace news

Southampton campaigners march in defence of jobs and services

Jobs massacre at Pfizer

Striking against health job cuts

Scottish Unison members oppose leadership's sell-out

Leicester Unison members rally against all cuts

March against the job losses in Greenwich

Unite anti-cuts conference


Socialist Party review

Woody Sez


Comment

Life on the autistic spectrum


 

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