Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 June 2018

Unison union conference: delegates can't be cowed

Unison pay strike, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson

Unison pay strike, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party reporters

At Unison conference in Brighton the leadership claimed that the union is "seen as the world's leading progressive union". However, among delegates there was a clear mood that the branches have to bear the weight of all the attacks on jobs and working conditions but with fewer activists, less facility time and so on, while the union leadership has no answers.

Despite general secretary Dave Prentis claiming "we are a left union, who never backed Blair and always backed Corbyn", and giving public support to strikes in Wigan and Birmingham, he suffered a personal defeat when he failed to get a major review of the union structures through conference. The conference didn't trust what the leadership was up to and saw it as a money and power grab of the branch funds and union democracy.

Delegates felt strongly that union resources need to be put on the front line where the fight is and not soaked up in the jobs and wages of increasing numbers of unelected full-time officials, who more often than not 'police' the membership.

Despite the vote clearly being lost, the vice-president called it carried and then tried to deny a card vote. The conference erupted and chanted "card vote, card vote" until he relented. Delegates overwhelmingly defeated the motion.

At the end of the conference it was announced the same person had just been elected by the national executive to be next year's president. Spontaneously a chant went up: "card vote, card vote"!

Once again, the conference was sanitised by the standing orders committee which managed to keep off the agenda any controversial issues, hiding behind the infamous "legal jeopardy" defence.

In the local government conference, the lay members' leadership's own motion to see how the union could trigger a national dispute over local government cuts was not allowed on the agenda.

However, the demand for a fightback by members couldn't be quelled and 300 attended the evening Unison Action fringe meeting, determined to win a new, fighting and democratic leadership. 300 delegates also attended a lunchtime meeting the same day with workers in dispute (see Mid Yorkshire NHS strike article) and to hear Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

An excellent Socialist Party public meeting had 50 in attendance and seven delegates gave their names to join the Socialist Party. Socialist Party members produced an eight-page conference bulletin, sold a magnificent 250 copies of the Socialist, and raised 1,600 towards the fighting fund.

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

In The Socialist 27 June 2018:


30 June NHS demo: prepare for a mass movement

Fight to save the Wales NHS

Gosport opioid deaths scandal: we need democratic control of our NHS

Socialist Party news and analysis

Walk out on 13 July against 'Kid Cager' Trump

Tottenham block evacuations a test for 'Corbynista council'

The bosses are 'dishonest' - not Militant and its supporters

Them & us

International socialist news and analysis

The gathering new world disorder

Turkey's 'strongman' Erdogan tightens grip on state power

Socialist Party women

Defending women's services

Workplace news and analysis

PCS union pay strike ballot - win the vote, win the claim

Unite union conference - drive out the Tories!

East Dunbartonshire council workers strike to stop pay and leave cuts

Unison union conference: delegates can't be cowed

NHS Mid Yorkshire strike suspended

NSSN conference, 7 July 2018: fighting back against the Tories and bosses

Homes and Communities Agency workers vote to strike over pay cuts and inequality

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Thousands snap up issue 1000 of the Socialist

Fighting for rights for Windrush generation and other migrants

Fight to save Devon hospital services

Support growing against incinerator in Washington

Hull unions organise 'Engage for Change' festival

Huddersfield set to lose two town centre post offices


Prison: life inside a living hell

Blairite cuts and restructures make social work dangerous

The Socialist inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 27 June 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleBig victory for Wigan NHS strike against privatisation

triangleBin workers take strike action after talks with Kirklees council collapse

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleNHS Mid Yorkshire strike suspended

triangleKnowsley council pushed back on cuts and privatisation


triangleThem & Us

triangleNSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination

triangleCampaign in full flow to squeeze out every last Yes vote in pay ballot

triangleHackney traffic wardens strike for better pay and protection at work

Local government:

triangleSocial care funding crisis: no to an age levy - make the super-rich pay

triangleEast London housing workers fight privatisation of pay

trianglePCS union launches strike ballot on pay

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Confronting the FLA pro-Trump demo - build a workers movement to defeat the far-right


Socialist Students

School students protest and walk out against Trump


National Shop Stewards Network

NSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination


Donald Trump

Hit the streets against Trump and capitalism


The Socialist

Issue 1000 drive shows sales potential


Fighting Fund

Tories fractured... election possibility... give us the resources!



Yes to NHS - No to PFI!



NHS Leeds: Campaigners halt outsourcing... for now


Domestic violence

Women's Lives Matter launched in Leeds to fight domestic violence service cuts



Unite conference sees union go in a fighting, socialist direction



Tyneside shopfitting plant lays off 61 workers



Summer of discontent on the cards in Huddersfield bin workers' dispute



Hackney traffic wardens strike for better pay and protection at work



Campaign in full flow to squeeze out every last Yes vote in pay ballot



Big victory for Wigan NHS strike against privatisation

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



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


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: 0784 114 4890

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



Alphabetical listing

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018