Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1026/28536

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 January 2019

Unison union higher education conference: a missed opportunity to develop a fighting strategy

Unison union delegates voting, photo by Paul Mattsson

Unison union delegates voting, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Unison higher education activists

Delegates from universities across the country met in Nottingham on 10 January for public service union Unison's annual conference of the higher education service group.

As is usually the case, the standing orders committee was busy preventing branches from discussing motions and amendments and, in some cases, preventing delegates (or anyone) from even reading what activists wanted to discuss. This is all supposedly on the advice of the legal officer.

Of the four amendments and three emergency motions submitted by branches, only one was allowed onto the agenda. This amendment on pay dispute tactics from Brighton did at least manage to provoke a debate.

The main controversy was the pay campaign for 2019. The campaign in the autumn of 2018 ended with a strong vote (62%) in favour of strike action. But the turnout was below the anti-trade union law threshold of 50%.

The amendment to the pay motion sought to commit the service group executive to running a future strike ballot on the basis of a series of 'disaggregate' ballots, in effect creating separate disputes at each university.

This tactic is a measured response to the problem of low turnout (31% last year) which would at least provide some options. Not least of these could be the opportunity for the most organised branches to take action over pay as the others catch up.

Campaigning for a disaggregate ballot, as opposed to repeating the same mistake again, is the agreed policy of Unison Action broad left activists. Left activists agreed that this would be proposed on the basis of fighting for every branch to get a 50% turnout and a positive strike vote.

Many delegates supported the Brighton amendment, carefully explaining to conference that this tactic is the best way of allowing higher education workers to take action in 2019, linking up with University and College Union members and students in a united and dynamic campaign to achieve better pay and working conditions, and a fully funded education system.

Opposition came from the leadership, who couldn't explain how we could realistically double the turnout in the ballot by doing precisely the same thing again.

Despite some excellent contributions, the amendment was voted down. Either way, the result does not rule out that tactic, but it does mean that conference leaves the decision-making to the service group executive.

Across many universities, support workers and academics are bracing themselves for more attacks on jobs and pension schemes as institutions fight among themselves for a reducing number of students.

For workers and students, defending higher education as a public service, and the jobs and education that go with it, will be on the agenda. No amount of bureaucratic manoeuvring by some trade union leaders will prevent workers from struggling.

What's necessary is a fighting and democratic leadership to develop a clear strategy for that battle.

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


In The Socialist 23 January 2019:


What we think

Corbyn: stand firm for a general election


Socialist Party news and analysis

Nationalise big pharma: end this profit-driven NHS crisis

Duke's car crash: one law for them and another for us

Racist jobs discrimination same for 50 years - unions must fight for jobs for all

Wales is Europe's prisoner capital: capitalist cutters' crimes to blame

Them & Us


Socialist history

Cuban revolution at 60: defend the gains and fight for workers' democracy


Workplace news and analysis

Birmingham: hostile Labour council attacks striking workers

Mass strike wins historic step towards victory in Glasgow equal pay battle

John Lewis workers count the cost of the retail crisis

Unison union higher education conference: a missed opportunity to develop a fighting strategy

Bristol Deliveroo workers walk out

PCS union: re-elect Chris Baugh for assistant general secretary


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Enfield North CLP backs no-cuts budget - now councillors must act

We need May Day greetings!

Leeds: don't let the far right divide us


International socialist news and analysis

Europe: school students strike against climate change

Poland: thousands mourn death of murdered mayor

International round-up


Opinion

Theatre: Rouse, Ye Women to tell story of 1910 chainmakers' strike

Non-fiction: The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg "reveals the brutal lengths capitalists will go to protect their system"

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 January 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Unison:

triangleSocialists in Unison hold positions in elections despite ban on campaigning

triangleBirmingham home care strikers close to victory!

triangleDoncaster NHS pay win shows: strikes can get results!

triangleRight wing tries to block campaigning

triangleSouth East Unison annual general meeting votes for no-cuts budgets

Higher Education:

triangleUCU conference 2019: Preparing for struggle

triangleTheresa May admits tuition fees system is broken - but plans new attacks on students

triangleUniversity and College Union: anti-union laws frustrate strike ballot again

triangleCardiff Uni: urgent action needed to stop job cuts

Education:

triangleTory drug hypocrisy

triangleProtest against Send education funding cuts

triangleDay of action against cuts to special needs education

Pay:

triangleScottish airport strikes against attack by "ideological capitalists" - fight for better pay and pensions

triangleSouthampton hospital workers win

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

12/6/19

Airport

Scottish airport strikes against attack by "ideological capitalists" - fight for better pay and pensions

12/6/19

Hospital

Southampton hospital workers win

12/6/19

TUC

Socialist Party members make big impact at trades council conference

12/6/19

National Shop Stewards Network

Fight the closures save every job!

12/6/19

Essex

Save Essex libraries protest

12/6/19

Enfield

Edmonton joins Enfield North Labour in supporting 'no cuts' fightback strategy

12/6/19

Trump

D-Day for fighting Trump attack on NHS

12/6/19

South Western Railway

South Western Railway guards to strike again

12/6/19

Unison

Socialists in Unison hold positions in elections despite ban on campaigning

10/6/19

Barking

Fire tears through flats - cladding off now!

6/6/19

Lancashire

Stagecoach strike - bus workers show how it's done

6/6/19

Bridgend

Ford closure announcement must be met with united response of defiance

5/6/19

National Shop Stewards Network

Strike together to kick out the Tories!

5/6/19

Wales

Welsh train fleet workers' victory

5/6/19

UCU

UCU conference 2019: Preparing for struggle

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: 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

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999