Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/765/16679

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 May 2013

Unison leader 'gets it wrong' over action on pay

Unison health workers in Mid Yorks on strike, photo Iain Dalton

Unison health workers in Mid Yorks on strike, photo Iain Dalton   (Click to enlarge)

Local government workers have had three years of pay freeze, as well as facing cuts in pay and conditions of service and massive job losses.

That is why many members welcomed Unison general secretary Dave Prentis' photo shoot at Unison conference in June 2012, when he took a hammer and smashed an ice sculpture in the shape of 0%!

In reality however the Unison bureaucracy's campaign to fight the pay freeze was born out of the need for an excuse to end the pensions struggle rather than any desire to seriously fight for decent pay for workers.

Unison activists began to get ready for a fight over pay anyway, nowhere more so than in the North West, where the right-wing regional leadership are keen Prentis loyalists.

At the beginning of February a blow was struck to this fighting spirit by Prentis himself! Addressing a meeting of the North West regional council in Liverpool, Prentis shocked the delegates by telling them that he had got it wrong over pay, this was not the year to fight, members were more worried about jobs than pay. At least one full-time officer and some right-wing activists left the room at this point, presumably in disgust!

Shortly after the Prentis bombshell the local government employers made their first offer: 1% for the lowest paid members and 0.6% for the rest or 1% across the board with 'strings', mainly attacks on the sick pay scheme.

The North West region opposed this offer, got the support of branches in the region for this position and lobbied other regions. The offer was rejected at national level.

This offer was followed by a second 'final' offer of 1% across the board with no strings, which was also opposed by the North West, along with the greater London and Southern regions.

Other regions were split with the result that by a vote of 14 to 13 it was agreed to put the offer to members via branch ballots as "the best that can be achieved by negotiation" with no recommendation and saying that only sustained all-out strike action could bring about any improvement.

This strategy is clearly designed to pour cold water on any fighting mood while attempting to scare people off strike action.

The leadership in the North West, however, prepared to defy this position, having successfully argued at a regional delegate meeting that branches should campaign to reject the offer and call for an industrial action ballot.

The priority for Unison now is to campaign in the ballots for a clear rejection of the 1% offer and to build the confidence of the members to fight for a decent pay settlement.

Left activists are best placed to carry out this campaign, having been doing it against the opposition of the bureaucracy and their right-wing lay allies for years.

Clearly Unison is in a critical situation, facing threats that could do lasting damage to the union. This shift in the North West reflects increased dissatisfaction among the rank and file with the union's ability to defend them.

A strong united and successful fight over pay will help transform Unison, move it away from passive acceptance of and acquiescence to cuts, to being a fighting organisation, worthy of the name of a trade union.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 15 May 2013:


Fight the bedroom tax

Axe the killer tax: End the bedroom tax now

Bedroom tax non-implementation


Socialist Party news and analysis

Give us jobs, not Tory lies

Stop the health cuts!

Fat cat tax-dodging: 200 lorry loads of lolly!

Con-Dems' benefit fact fraud

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Japan's 'Abenomics'


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

TUSC builds support in Leicester byelection

Swansea's food bank for students

British government supports murderous Sri Lankan regime

Socialist Party meeting against cuts


Socialist Party workplace news

Gloves off in Mid Yorks hospital battle

Brighton bin workers fight pay cuts - this time from the Greens

Wales TUC: no fight against austerity

Unison leader 'gets it wrong' over action on pay

PCS conference 20-23 May

One Housing

Workplace news in brief


Reader's comment

Letter to the Tories who tell me to 'work hard and strive'


Socialist history

When mass action defeated Thatcher's poll tax

Yeadon Mill strike 1913


 

Home   |   The Socialist 15 May 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Unison:

triangleThreat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council

triangleUnison national women's conference

triangleLocal government workers' reps reject 2% pay offer

triangleLeeds college pay protests

triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts

Pay:

triangleI'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

triangleFighting sexism: Positive discrimination - yea or neigh?

triangleRoyal Mail forced back under threat of action

triangleNHS - build the fightback

North West:

triangleArriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangleHuge support for strikes of bus drivers and train guards

triangleArriva bus workers' dispute continues

Dave Prentis:

triangleThe left unions and the Labour Party affiliation debate

triangleGains for left in Unison executive election

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/2/18

Haringey

No fudge with the right wing

15/2/18

TUSC

TUSC statement on sentencing of Derby TUSC agent

14/2/18

Haringey

Haringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

14/2/18

UCU

Uni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

14/2/18

Cardiff

Enjoyable and successful Cardiff Refugee Rights gig

14/2/18

Carlisle

Carlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

14/2/18

Firefighters

Staines fire services saved

14/2/18

Surrey

Threat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council

14/2/18

Woolwich

Woolwich Crossrail walkouts to demand promised bonuses

14/2/18

London

Sadiq Khan's bus drivers' London licence doesn't go far enough

14/2/18

Mansfield

Stop press: victory - campaign saves NHS rehab ward

8/2/18

Newham

Teachers strike again as anti-academy pressure mounts

7/2/18

Unison

Unison national women's conference

7/2/18

Royal Mail

Royal Mail forced back under threat of action

7/2/18

Walthamstow

'Occupy to save the town square'

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999