The Socialist 14 June 2003 |
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Left Make Gains On Unison Executive
THE left swing amongst rank and file trade unionists was a factor in public sector union UNISON's national executive council (NEC) elections.
Three Socialist Party members, Roger Bannister (North West), Jean Thorpe (East Midlands) and Raph Parkinson (Reserved Seats) comfortably held their positions, as the hard-left grouping increased from nine to fourteen members. Socialist Party member Glenn Kelly, standing for one of the national local government seats, was narrowly defeated (by 19,316 votes to 20,866) as was Adrian O'Malley, standing for one of the national health seats.
Socialist Workers Party (SWP) member Mark New (Health Service Group) lost his seat but a new SWP member Bea Belgrave gained one of the Reserved Seats to join Yunus Bakhsh (Northern Region), the other SWP member currently on the NEC. But another left NEC member, John Owen, lost his East Midlands seat.
Left gains in the elections were Ann MacMillan Wood (East Midlands), Fiona Monkman and Jon Rogers (Greater London), Carol Dutton (North West), Kate Ahrens (health).and Jessie Russel (Southern).
In the Cymru/Wales Region the former (right-wing) NEC members all lost their seats, although they have not been replaced by left-wingers.
In December 1997 Dave Prentis, then the deputy general secretary, proposed a report to the NEC that initiated the witch-hunt against socialists in the union. Responding to the accusation that the report was a sledgehammer to crack a nut, Prentis told the NEC: "It may be, but if you don't back this report it will be too late, they are after your seats!"
These results show what a waste of time the witch-hunt has been as far as saving the political skins of UNISON's right wing and how little time ordinary members of the union have for Prentis' witch-hunting antics!