Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 June 2008

"Democracy not bureaucracy"

Fighting, democratic unions not witch hunts

Throughout Unison's 2008 conference there were two main talking points. One was the witch hunt taking place against Unison activists, including myself and three other Socialist Party members. The other was motion 63, entitled 'New Labour, what do we get for our money?'

Onay Kasab, Greenwich Unison (personal capacity)

The motion stated how workers in unions such as Unison, all round the country, are questioning why it is that the unions continue to fund New Labour, while day in, day out a New Labour government attacks public services and public servants.

Unison bureaucrats, swimming against the tide of members' opinion, have pointed out that the Tories would be worse. Whoever is worse, New Labour or the Tories, there is no way things could get more bizarre under either party.

This is the experience in Greenwich where Vosper Thornycroft, a shipbuilding firm, is threatening to take over education. When did a career building warships become a qualification for being fit to take over an education service?

Instead of concentrating time, money and resources on fighting these free-market policies, the Unison leadership is attacking leading lay activists. These are trade union activists democratically elected each year by members. It is ironic that unelected officials are witch hunting elected reps. But it is positively 'Orwellian' that the official leading the witch hunt is the misnamed 'head of democratic services'!

It is no coincidence that those being witch hunted include Socialist Party members who ensured that the issue of Labour Party funding was discussed at this year's Unison conference. This crucial debate took place despite the massive pressure put on branch delegates by union officials, who attempted to ensure that the resolution was not discussed.

The witch hunt of Socialist Party members in Unison is linked to a 2007 leaflet which, as well as calling for a debate on the Labour link, protested about the absence of a debate on the election of all officials. The Socialist Party also demands that workers' representatives live on a workers' wage.

These two points are essential to democracy and accountability within the trade union movement. They would make sure that representatives do not lose touch with those they represent.

It is of these principled, democratic ideas that some union leaderships, such as those in Unison, are most scared. This is why the witch hunt is taking place.

This is a huge dereliction of duty by union leaders. For them democracy is not important. In Unison, many of the disciplinary rules are more draconian than those of some of our employers. It is certainly the case that the way in which the Unison disciplinary process has taken place recently would shame most councils.

We urgently need to hold these union leaders to account. The witch hunts must be stopped. Union rules need to be reformed to promote democracy, not enable dictatorship.

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

In The Socialist 25 June 2008:

Prices up, Wages down...Summer of action needed!

Workers' battles win results: Tankers drivers' success upsets bosses

Council workers striking back

Socialist Party editorial

Editorial: Summer of discontent?

PCS union sends letter of solidarity to Unison

Campaign for a new workers' party: Conference - Sunday 29 June, 11am - 5pm

Unison Conference 2008

Unison conference 2008: Fighting to reclaim the union for its members

Unison Service Group Executives - socialists elected

National Shop Stewards Network Conference

Fighting, democratic unions not witch hunts

Socialist Party campaigns

Thousands show their hatred for racism

Student unions can be pushed into action

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Review: False 'gods' of a failing system

International socialist news and analysis

Zimbabwe: Mugabe's militias crush his political opponents

Afghanistan - paying the price of western occupation

Summit fails to halt runaway oil prices

Britain: No.1 arms dealer

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Cut throat competition threatens NHS

"With polyclinics you're just a number"

Stop this sell-off!

Origins of the Labour Party

'Old' Labour - born out of workers' struggles

Socialist Party workplace news

Brighton bus drivers match inflation

Teachers fight academy plans in Bolton

Union news in brief

Usdaw election


Home   |   The Socialist 25 June 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleUndervalued gritters to walk out

triangleTata announces 1,000 job cuts - Steel unions must fight for every job!

triangleResist attacks against free speech on campus

triangleLondon - 'autumn of discontent'

triangleCorbyn promises 'power in the hands of workers' - how can Labour do it?


triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleHelp fund the fightback: sponsor my marathon

triangleCarmarthenshire union demands no-cuts budget

triangleFrimley NHS Trust: Strikers remain determined to defeat privatisation


triangleSwansea: Corbyn rally attracts turnout but many can't get in

trianglePrepare now for the struggles after 12 December

trianglePlymouth Blairites side with anti-tenant landlords

Socialist Party:

triangleCarlisle Socialist Party: Election analysis, what now? New tasks for the labour movement

triangleHillingdon Socialist Party: Fighting for socialist policies after the election

Onay Kasab:

triangleDouble-dealing Hackney council bosses face renewed strike action

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Avenue of trees saved!



Latest podcasts



Undervalued gritters to walk out


Socialist Party

Come and discuss with us after the election



The Activist Issue 82 - for retail workers



Pay Deal: ACAS sides with management - a missed opportunity to fight



Swansea: Corbyn rally attracts turnout but many can't get in


Socialist Party

Fight for your future - join the socialists



Strikes: more determined than ever


Socialist Students

Students and workers united in struggle


South Western Railway

It's a strike to ensure the safety of the travelling public



Surrey firefighters to ballot on Christmas industrial action



Social workers lobby Hull City Council


Climate change

Climate strikes: Students and trade unionists protest together


Socialist Party

Why I joined: "Proud to be a socialist"

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



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


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 07954 376 096

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



Alphabetical listing

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019