Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/630/9868

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 June 2010

Unison leadership: Lack of anti-cuts strategy

Unison's national delegate conference met in Bournemouth on 15-18 June. Against the background of the attacks of the Con-Dem government on public services and public sector workers, this was the most important conference to be held by the union.

A conference delegate

Despite outbreaks of anti-Tory/Con-Dem rhetoric, the mood however seemed fairly flat. Part of the reason for this is that the agenda items were formulated before the general election, so nobody knew which party would be in power. Further, the Con-Dem's budget proposals were only known the week after the conference finished, making it difficult to focus on specific areas.

Add to that the large number of items kept off the agenda by the Standing Orders Committee, suspected of deliberately trying to create a non-controversial 'showcase' conference and the lack-lustre quality of the union's national leadership. The preparation for battles ahead had a damp squib air about it.

In his keynote speech, general secretary Dave Prentis at least promised national industrial action if the Con-Dems attacked our pension schemes. But for other aspects of fighting cuts it seems that branch by branch action, with no national industrial action, is all that is envisaged.

This means that stronger branches will make a stand, inevitably with mixed results, whilst weaker branches could go under in a welter of attacks on jobs, pay and conditions of service. More worryingly the right wing national executive (NEC) backed agenda items indicating a favourable attitude to privatisation by co-operatives and other mutual organisations, as if that made it much better! An emergency motion from the NEC and certain branches had a shopping list of measures to fight cuts, but again devoid of a national industrial action strategy.

There were three main points of contention between the NEC and the delegates during the week. One was where the creation of a new service group, combining higher and further education members was rejected, largely as a result of poor pre-conference consultation with the branches concerned.

A central role for trades councils in the battle against the Total Place privatisation scheme was successfully opposed by the NEC. A rule change proposed by the Bolton branch seeking to limit the length of time that Unison members could be banned from holding office as a disciplinary measure to two years was backed by a majority of votes, but narrowly missed the two thirds necessary to change the rules.

In effect this item became a referendum on the witch-hunt, and conference delegates were angered by the initial refusal of vice president Angela Lynes to allow a card vote, despite having allowed one on the previous item, that no delegates actually requested.

A stand-off between platform and delegates developed, with delegates stamping their feet and demanding the card vote, refusing to move on with the business. Eventually Lynes was forced to back down and allow the vote!

The witch-hunt against Socialist Party members and other lefts rumbled through the conference, and was dealt with by tactics worthy of the East German Stasi secret police. Delegates who referred to it had the microphone turned off, one delegate was ejected from conference for wearing a T-shirt in support of Yunus Bakhsh, a witch-hunted activist from the Northern region!

A Coffee Republic coffee bar with a public entrance and an entrance that only delegates could access was forced to close its public entrance in case any expelled or banned members used the public entrance and spoke to conference delegates!

A Reclaim the Union fringe meeting, addressed by Glenn Kelly, Caroline Bedale and Yunus Bakhsh, all witch-hunted activists, attracted a large turnout, over 300 of whom marched behind the speakers back to the conference in order to protest at the witch-hunt. Most Unison members understand that the fight against this vicious Con-Dem government to defend jobs, pay and conditions of service will be undermined by the scandal of the ongoing witch-hunt.

50 attended the Socialist Party meeting, where Peter Taaffe, Glenn Kelly and Roger Bannister spoke. Almost 2,000 was collected for the Fighting Fund.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 23 June 2010:

Stop budget attacks with mass action

Budget cuts hitting the poorest hardest


Youth fight for jobs

Young people: fight for your future!

Youth speak for jobs at UCU union rally

Anti-EDL protest

Protesting at Iain's Dickensian Society


National Shop Stewards Network

The role of the NSSN in the battle to defend public sector jobs and services


Budget

Budget Day: workers' responses

Fightback to stop the cuts - public meetings


Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday: Innocent protesters murdered by the British army in 1972


Workplace news and analysis

PCS union rejects 'inevitable' cuts

Unison election: Over 42,000 votes for socialist candidate

Unison leadership: Lack of anti-cuts strategy

Fighting cuts in Nottingham: Save the WAP day centre

Workplace news in brief

National Shrewsbury 24 Justice Campaign March and Rally


Socialist Party news and analysis

Refugee and Migrant Justice: Save this vital service!

Afghan war

Coventry rally against public sector cuts

Stop attacks on services for the vulnerable in Nuneaton

Birmingham: Growing anger against cuts

Save South Leeds Pool

Why BP should be nationalised


Socialist Party feature

How deep is Britain's media crisis?


International socialist news and analysis

Ethnic conflict explodes in Kyrgyzstan

Donate to aid Greek socialists


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 June 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Unison:

triangleTrade union activists from across the south of England discuss the battle for safety on the frontline

triangleElectricians pay victory

triangleBig Unison south east regional meeting votes for anti-cuts position

triangleLambeth Unison letter

triangleMake a stand: set legal no-cuts council budgets

Witch-hunt:

triangleBirmingham Uni: Standing up to racism is not harassment!

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleLivingstone's smear of Militant

triangleThe Socialist Party and support for the Corbyn movement

Glenn Kelly:

triangleAnti-academy strikes kick off in Redbridge

triangleIlford: strike forces school management to back down

triangleSocialists in Unison hold positions in elections

Coffee:

trianglePost-election campaign stalls, coffees, chats on Saturday 10 June

Cuts:

triangleStrong union response needed against job cuts

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

27/5/20

Fighting Fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis

27/5/20

Ferries

Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

27/5/20

Schools

Schools aren't safe

27/5/20

Energy

Energy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant

27/5/20

Hull

Hull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

27/5/20

Covid

Eerily quiet before second wave - don't reopen schools!

25/5/20

Coronavirus

No return to unsafe construction sites

22/5/20

Obituary

Mick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20

22/5/20

Rolls Royce

Strong union response needed against job cuts

20/5/20

CWU

Postal workers' action results in double victory for union

20/5/20

NSSN

Organising to fight for workplace safety

20/5/20

Peterborough

Posties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive

20/5/20

Covid

Johnson claims workplaces safe but HSE cancels inspections

20/5/20

Protest

Safe protests against Tory corona chaos continue

19/5/20

Hull

Trades council debates workers' political representation

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

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999