The Socialist 17 April 2019 |
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Unison union: right wing tries to block campaigning - elect a socialist leadership
Unison pay strike, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
1.3 million ballot papers are going out to members of public service union Unison to elect their national leadership.
Unison members have seen their working lives devastated in the last decade or more, with over 700,000 jobs lost, a fall in living standards of at least 15%, and rampant privatisation.
Despite this, there has been no national fightback from the leadership. Instead, branches are left to fight alone in the hope of holding back the tide of the government and employers' onslaught.
That is why it is crucial that the union elects a leadership that is willing to take a stand and fight. There are nine Socialist Party members standing for election alongside 32 other fighting candidates.
Incredibly, the current right-wing leadership has tried to make electing fighting, socialist candidates even more difficult by banning so-called "outside organisations" from campaigning in the election.
Not only are members of political parties like the Socialist Party denied the right to campaign as Socialist Party members and have the support of their party. The union bureaucracy has gone even further, describing an "outside organisation" as any group which consists wholly or partly of Unison members and is not provided for in Unison rules!
This has meant that for the first time ever, Unison Action, the union's broad left group, is banned from campaigning in the election under the threat of disciplinary action.
Incredibly, the justification for the new rules is the fact that a senior unelected full-time official was caught cheating in support of the right wing in the last general secretary election!
The truth is that the current leadership is genuinely fearful it will lose its grip on the union this year. It hopes that by trying to ban effective campaigning, it will be able to hold on to power.
All those in the union who want an end to weak and timid leadership must do all they can to ensure the members get a genuine democratic and fighting leadership - a socialist leadership.
- This article has been produced without the permission of the candidates