Vote Roger Bannister

UNISON general secretary election:

Vote Roger Bannister

For a union that fights pay and pension cuts

UNISON MEMBERS deserve a better choice in this election than which Labour
Party member becomes general secretary". So Socialist Party and UNISON
national exec (NEC) member, Roger Bannister explained why he is standing for
UNISON general secretary, at the north-west region’s election meeting.

Hugh Caffrey Manchester Socialist Party

The New Labour government are relentless in their attacks on the public
sector. With privatisation, pay cuts and attacks on pensions coming from the
same party that their union still funds to the hilt – UNISON members have had

Pay cuts due to the Single Status ‘agreement’ are leading to disputes up
and down the country; ‘Remodelling’, or teaching on the cheap, provoked
teaching assistants to strike in Brighton late last year. ‘Agenda for Change’
in the NHS promises more of the same.

Members want to know how to defeat these attacks, stop witch-hunts against
Left activists, and develop a strategy to build the Left in the union. They
don’t want a leadership that continues to stitch up dodgy deals with Blair’s
New Labour.

Blairite candidate, Dave Prentis, didn’t even bother to show up to the
meeting but members did get a chance to contrast Roger Bannister – Socialist
Party member – and United Left candidate and Labour Party member, Jon Rogers.

Both Prentis and Rogers support the Labour link – continuing to give
members’ money to a party that attacks public-sector workers.

Clear programme

Roger Bannister, on the other hand, offers a clear programme to fight
privatisation, cuts and attacks on pensions. As a beginning, Roger is calling
for a one-day, public-sector strike, a call which has been reinforced by the
resounding consultative ballot of UNISON local government workers.

Roger highlighted his own record as a leader of local struggles in Knowsley
– for example winning the 35-hour week for local government workers. Roger has
also consistently defended members, such as Bolton UNISON members, from
witch-hunts, both under previous general secretary Bickerstaffe as well as
current leader Prentis.

Roger contrasted the present Left leadership of the PCS – of which the
Socialist Party is a significant component – with the passive, bureaucratic
UNISON executive. UNISON needs a real rank-and-file organisation to help
defend workers, pressurise the leadership and the union officials, and win a
Left-led national executive.

UNISON’s current leadership is too close to New Labour – for public-sector
workers that means too close to the bosses. Roger Bannister will, if elected,
campaign for an end to UNISON funding of New Labour, and ballot the membership
on whether to break the link with this party of privatisation and big business
– both Prentis and Rogers support the Labour link.

Workers need a new party that will represent their interests and Roger will
campaign for UNISON and other trade unions to form a new workers’ party that
will defend public services and fight privatisation.

This election is an opportunity for UNISON members to get their union out
of New Labour’s wallet and into a serious struggle against pension cuts, pay
cuts and privatisation.

If you want to get involved in the campaign to elect a fighting, democratic
general secretary of UNISON, contact Glenn Kelly (campaign organiser), 37
Linale House, Murray Grove, London N1 7QH.