The Socialist

The Socialist 23 January 2019

Corbyn: stand firm for a general election

The Socialist issue 1026

Corbyn: stand firm for a general election


Nationalise big pharma: end this profit-driven NHS crisis

Duke's car crash: one law for them and another for us

Racist jobs discrimination same for 50 years - unions must fight for jobs for all

Wales is Europe's prisoner capital: capitalist cutters' crimes to blame

Them & Us


Cuban revolution at 60: defend the gains and fight for workers' democracy


Birmingham: hostile Labour council attacks striking workers

Mass strike wins historic step towards victory in Glasgow equal pay battle

John Lewis workers count the cost of the retail crisis

Unison union higher education conference: a missed opportunity to develop a fighting strategy

Bristol Deliveroo workers walk out

PCS union: re-elect Chris Baugh for assistant general secretary


Enfield North CLP backs no-cuts budget - now councillors must act

We need May Day greetings!

Leeds: don't let the far right divide us


Europe: school students strike against climate change

Poland: thousands mourn death of murdered mayor

International round-up


Theatre: Rouse, Ye Women to tell story of 1910 chainmakers' strike

Non-fiction: The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg "reveals the brutal lengths capitalists will go to protect their system"

The Socialist inbox

 
 
 
 
 

PO Box 1398, Enfield EN1 9GT

020 8988 8777

editors@socialistparty.org.uk

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1026/28536

Seach this siteSearch the site

Printable versionPrintable version

Facebook

Twitter

Home   |   The Socialist 23 January 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Unison union higher education conference: a missed opportunity to develop a fighting strategy

Unison union delegates voting, photo by Paul Mattsson

Unison union delegates voting, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Unison higher education activists

Delegates from universities across the country met in Nottingham on 10 January for public service union Unison's annual conference of the higher education service group.

As is usually the case, the standing orders committee was busy preventing branches from discussing motions and amendments and, in some cases, preventing delegates (or anyone) from even reading what activists wanted to discuss. This is all supposedly on the advice of the legal officer.

Of the four amendments and three emergency motions submitted by branches, only one was allowed onto the agenda. This amendment on pay dispute tactics from Brighton did at least manage to provoke a debate.

The main controversy was the pay campaign for 2019. The campaign in the autumn of 2018 ended with a strong vote (62%) in favour of strike action. But the turnout was below the anti-trade union law threshold of 50%.

The amendment to the pay motion sought to commit the service group executive to running a future strike ballot on the basis of a series of 'disaggregate' ballots, in effect creating separate disputes at each university.

This tactic is a measured response to the problem of low turnout (31% last year) which would at least provide some options. Not least of these could be the opportunity for the most organised branches to take action over pay as the others catch up.

Campaigning for a disaggregate ballot, as opposed to repeating the same mistake again, is the agreed policy of Unison Action broad left activists. Left activists agreed that this would be proposed on the basis of fighting for every branch to get a 50% turnout and a positive strike vote.

Many delegates supported the Brighton amendment, carefully explaining to conference that this tactic is the best way of allowing higher education workers to take action in 2019, linking up with University and College Union members and students in a united and dynamic campaign to achieve better pay and working conditions, and a fully funded education system.

Opposition came from the leadership, who couldn't explain how we could realistically double the turnout in the ballot by doing precisely the same thing again.

Despite some excellent contributions, the amendment was voted down. Either way, the result does not rule out that tactic, but it does mean that conference leaves the decision-making to the service group executive.

Across many universities, support workers and academics are bracing themselves for more attacks on jobs and pension schemes as institutions fight among themselves for a reducing number of students.

For workers and students, defending higher education as a public service, and the jobs and education that go with it, will be on the agenda. No amount of bureaucratic manoeuvring by some trade union leaders will prevent workers from struggling.

What's necessary is a fighting and democratic leadership to develop a clear strategy for that battle.


In this issue


What we think

Corbyn: stand firm for a general election


Socialist Party news and analysis

Nationalise big pharma: end this profit-driven NHS crisis

Duke's car crash: one law for them and another for us

Racist jobs discrimination same for 50 years - unions must fight for jobs for all

Wales is Europe's prisoner capital: capitalist cutters' crimes to blame

Them & Us


Socialist history

Cuban revolution at 60: defend the gains and fight for workers' democracy


Workplace news and analysis

Birmingham: hostile Labour council attacks striking workers

Mass strike wins historic step towards victory in Glasgow equal pay battle

John Lewis workers count the cost of the retail crisis

Unison union higher education conference: a missed opportunity to develop a fighting strategy

Bristol Deliveroo workers walk out

PCS union: re-elect Chris Baugh for assistant general secretary


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Enfield North CLP backs no-cuts budget - now councillors must act

We need May Day greetings!

Leeds: don't let the far right divide us


International socialist news and analysis

Europe: school students strike against climate change

Poland: thousands mourn death of murdered mayor

International round-up


Opinion

Theatre: Rouse, Ye Women to tell story of 1910 chainmakers' strike

Non-fiction: The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg "reveals the brutal lengths capitalists will go to protect their system"

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 January 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook