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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 March 2012

Unison: Delegates gagged

A conference delegate

The Unison Higher Education sectional conference took place in Brighton on 2 March. Given that the government has launched a major attack on our pension schemes and following the massive strike on 30 November last year, you'd have thought that defending pensions would have been the key debate of the day.

Instead, the Service Group Executive (SGE) announced that the emergency motions on pensions were ruled out because they included the term "heads of agreement" which they claimed did not exist and "therefore could not be acted on!"

When the spokesperson for the standing orders committee was challenged to explain the reason in more detail, he was lost for words and said "he'd forgotten his notes".

The delegates voted virtually unanimously that they wanted the pension resolutions included. In response the chairperson suspended the conference, declaring that it would resume when delegates would vote "the right way".

After one and a half hours the conference resumed with the SOC sticking to their guns, even though the term "heads of agreement" has been used consistently within the union in the last months, including by Dave Prentis himself in his union diary in the February 2012 edition of the union newsletter In Focus.

This is clearly a spurious excuse and a slap in the face to union democracy. In reality the leaders of Unison have accepted the premise that we must pay more, work longer and get less when we retire, and are preparing to present a shoddy sell-out as some kind of achievement.

The delegates did not take this lying down, with a number of further attempts to get pensions discussed. In the end the standing orders committee allowed a half hour debate on pensions, but refused to allow a democratic vote on the motions.

Delegates then voted unanimously for a living wage campaign and a pay claim equal to inflation plus compensation for previous cuts.

This blatant attempt to gag the rank and file will not succeed, as anger builds up over this and three years of pay cuts. The left is standing candidates for the SGE to challenge the current mis-leaders and will continue to campaign for a fighting democratic union.

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In The Socialist 7 March 2012:


Fighting the government's attacks

On 28 March: Strike back against the Con-Dems

Trade unions must build mass party

NHS: Axe Lansley's bill!


International Women's Day

International Women's Day 2012

Socialist Party International Women's Day schools


Socialist Party youth and students

Workfare

No cuts, No fees, Bring back EMA

NUS elections - Vote Socialist Students for a fighting student leadership


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Kirklees marches to save child centres

Leeds Tenants Federation opposes Welfare Reform Bill

Become Coventry deputy mayor? Thanks, but no thanks!

Attack on pay defeated at Manchester's NHS Trust

Stop prison guards housing asylum seekers - stop G4S!

Party/campaigns news in brief


Socialist Party workplace news

MMP workers step up action

Unison: Delegates gagged

Anti-blacklisting battle continues on building sites

London election candidate named in employers' blacklist

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Quebec: Students engage in 'indefinite' general strike action

Spain: Thousands in student protests against education cuts

Revolution through Arab eyes - the Factory


Socialist Party news and analysis

A4e - The inside story

Cops and big business robbers

Them & Us


 

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triangleA critical election for Unison general secretary

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