Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/815/18800
Unison local government members want action on pay
Local government conference for Unison opened up in a very difficult period for local government workers.
A report given by the union's head of local government, Heather Wakefield, stated that 85% of surveyed local government workers said their workload was up and 77% said they were cutting spending on food. Council workers' debts had increased by almost 60%.
Naturally conference was dominated by the question of industrial action over pay with a great deal of debate over the action on 10 July and the possibility of action on 9-10 September.
It was clear from many of the speeches of delegates that there is a mood for action and for victory on this issue.
This mood was best summed up by Vicky Perrin speaking on a motion about celebrating the work of teaching assistants, saying the best way to celebrate the work of teaching assistants is by taking strike action on 9-10 September.
The other frequently occurring issue at conference was anger towards the Labour Party. Speakers form the floor and the leadership expressed distaste at Ed Miliband's photo opportunity with the Sun.
One of the loudest cheers from the conference floor was given to Brian Debus in a debate on the impact of cuts when he asked why this union was giving millions of pounds to the Labour Party when Labour-led councils were cutting services at a local level.
There was also an audible intake of breath when Jean Thorpe pointed out that Ed Miliband, at the GMB conference, had confirmed that he would not be supporting strike action on 10 July.
- Unison's full national conference is taking place as the Socialist goes to press. Check www.socialistparty.org.uk and the Socialist issue 816 for more.
Socialists elected to service groups
Five more Socialist Party members have been elected to Unison's service group executives (SGEs), joining six Socialist Party members already on the SGEs.
Mike Forster from Yorkshire and Humberside region and Tim Cutter from South East region joined Angie Waller, Mark Evans and Jane Armitage on the local government executive.
Gary Freeman from East Midlands region and Diane Cawood from the North West join Steve Bell and Adrian O'Malley on the health group executive.
Helen Couchman, from South East region, joins Mal Richardson on the community SGE.
All eleven will fight for Unison to be a fighting democratic union that puts its members before the interests of the Labour Party.
Unison Bureaucracy Unmasked: The Defend the Four Story
In 2007, four trade unionists from different Unison branches were publicly and unjustly accused of racism. Yet all were committed anti-racists and led well-run union branches.
All four are well-known members of the Socialist Party. But this provides only part of the explanation; the bureaucracy was also driven by a desire to make the union safe for its full-time machine, and safe for the Labour Party.
This book tells the story of the ultimately victorious campaign and legal challenge that cleared them of all charges, and which exposed the true nature of Unison's bureaucracy.
- Available for £5 (plus p&p) from www.leftbooks.co.uk
In The Socialist 18 June 2014:
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