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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 June 2008

Reopen the battle on NHS pay

Adrian O'Malley is the chair of Unison's Wakefield and Pontefract Hospitals branch and newly elected to Unison's health service group executive (SGE) for Yorkshire and Humberside. He spoke to The Socialist, in a personal capacity, about the result of the recent Unison ballot accepting a three-year pay deal.

"I was disappointed in the ballot result because we'd got a good campaign going in our branch. Members were saying they'd all voted against it so we were a bit surprised and disappointed to hear it was 2:1 to accept nationally.

Most of them are absolutely gutted that we've got a three-year pay deal which is going to end up in pay cuts for four full years, following last year. So they feel let down by the union.

But I think that a lot of branches didn't make a recommendation. Also, there's a lot of not very active branches in Unison health where members were not getting any recommendation and just received the biased stuff from head office.

In our branch we had branch committee meetings to recommend a rejection. We also had smaller meetings of individual members and we sent a letter to each member's home prior to the ballot going out. So all 2,000 members got a recommendation from the branch - not just to reject but for strike action to fight for a better deal.

Unison haven't even announced the turnout, we think that's because it was low.

I think also that members were looking at the union and thinking: 'They haven't even made a recommendation so how serious are these people? They're giving no leadership whatsoever. They don't even say reject then they say if you do reject the deal, you'll have to be ready for long periods of strike action.'

What they should have been saying is - this deal is terrible, let's go for it, let's have a fight on pay.

I've just been elected to the SGE and on my election notice I said I support strike action to get more pay.

There is a clause in the deal which says that if inflation goes up we can reopen negotiations. So we'll be calling for it to be reopened so we don't have to wait years before we get another pay rise.

There's actually a motion from one region to the SGE already calling for the deal to be reopened and that will be discussed in July.

I'll be supporting that with fellow Socialist Party member Len Hockey who has also just got elected from the London region.

We really feel that the union leaders have done a deal with New Labour to avoid the embarrassment of strike action and in doing that they have betrayed the membership with pay cuts for a few years. So they must be brought to task."

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In The Socialist 18 June 2008:

No! to racism: Yes! to decent jobs, homes and public services

No! to racism: Yes! to decent jobs, homes and public services

Unite and fight against racism

Protest at BNP 'hate festival'

Let AmDani stay!


International socialist news and analysis

Lisbon Treaty 'No' vote delivers major shock for political and big business Establishment

Socialist Party campaigns

Shell drivers strike

David Davis - sanity or carving a position?

Greater Manchester - save your post office

London protest over Rajapaksa's dismal human rights record

Stop big business polluting our environment


Stop New Labour's divisive school academy plans

Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Polyclinics - Stop this backdoor privatisation

PFI - a very bad deal for the NHS

Reopen the battle on NHS pay

Socialist Party campaigns

End the occupations

Unison conference: Angry delegates attack leaders

Post office closures

Leeds: Stop Beeston post office closures

Socialist Party workplace news

National Shop Stewards Network Conference

CWU's link with Labour hotly debated

Victory against bosses at Keele

Workplace news in brief


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