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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 October 2009

Unison - opening door to minority rule

It seems the witch-hunt of lefts in Unison is failing to silence their voices on the union's national executive council (NEC), so at the NEC meeting on 7 October the right wing majority launched a further organisational attack on them.

This time they proposed that NEC members should be banned at the full NEC, from opposing decisions of committees of which they are members! (Usually it is only left wing members who do this, as the vast majority of right wingers remain silent and do as they are told!) Any member falling foul of this rule would risk being removed from the committee.

In their desperation to silence the left, the ruling right wing clique apparently forgot what they had supported in the past. It was pointed out to them that the current NEC handbook makes it clear that "collective responsibility" does not apply to NEC committees, and that the NEC had previously been given legal advice that NEC members should have the "unfettered right" to vote as they wish at the NEC!

All six Socialist Party members on the NEC opposed this move, and spoke against it. This measure opens the door to minority rule on the NEC, since the committees are large bodies. A committee with 23 members could approve a measure by twelve votes to eleven. As there are 69 NEC members, if these 11 were forced to abstain, there would be 58 voting NEC members, requiring a minimum of 30 votes to carry a motion.

In this circumstance the 28 voting against the motion, plus the 11 who opposed it at committee but forced to abstain (39), would outnumber the voting "majority"(30). That's democracy right-wing style!

Socialist Party members on the NEC are clear, we are accountable to the rank and file members that elect us, not to the NEC or to its committees.

We will continue to support policies that are in line with our election addresses, to promote militant trade unionism, to call for an end to the millions wasted on the Labour Party and to fight for a democratic union, accountable to its members.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 14 October 2009:

The main parties say: 'Work until you drop'


Postal workers

Victory to postal workers


Socialist Party editorial

The economy: Green shoots or scorched earth?

What would a Tory government be like?


War and occupation

Afghan conflict: Stop the war now


Youth fight for jobs

Apprenticeships? Yes, but not at any price!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Manchester mobilises against fascists

RAP victory in Walthamstow

Housing workers in 'sleep over'

Fast News


Socialist Party workplace news

Fight the fire service cuts

British Airways - What's really going on?

University staff forced to strike

Unison - opening door to minority rule

Socialist stands for NUT vice-president


International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka: Shut down the camps!

Greece: Hated ND government booted out in general election


Socialist Party review

A 'dis-service' to Leon Trotsky


 

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