Thursday, July 12, 2007

Conclusion of the General Secretary's report to the UNISON NEC

In response to questions, Dave Prentis has confirmed that many General Secretaries met with the Prime Minister yesterday and protested at the appointment of Digby Jones as a Minister. He has also pointed out this “Government of all the talents” has excluded trade unionists. We are told that this criticism will be the subject of many speeches in the coming months.

So that will have the Prime Minister well worried then?

The final element of the General Secretary’s report is on pay. He is concerned that we should know how to coordinate within UNISON in the run up to a meeting of the TUC Public Service Liaison Group on 15 July, there will also be a separate meeting with PCS.

CWU have reported that support for their industrial action is increasing.

Unfortunately the General Secretary is of the view the “Democracy in UNISON guidelines” preclude branches taking initiatives such as organising joint union rallies (!) (This is precisely the sort of draconian interpretation of the guidelines which some of us were criticised as scaremongers for predicting…)

I suggest that activists use local Trades Councils to convene meetings rather than take up too much time debating internal union guidelines when we should be fighting to break the 2% pay norm.

Finally, Dave is reporting that Keith Sonnet, our Deputy General Secretary will be seeking election as General Secretary of the Public Services International - the international grouping of public service trade unions. This will be a contested election and the outcome will be known after the PSI Congress at the end of September.

The President has wished Keith good luck ("not that we want rid of you or anything"). The General Secretary's report has only lasted about two and a half hours...

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