Friday, July 06, 2007

Unite the fights

So we have decided to hold off on a strike ballot in health because Alan Johnson is going to talk to us about pay.

Let’s hope he doesn’t say what he said to the teachers

2.5% is not enough, whether it is paid all at once or staged. It’s not enough for health workers and it’s not enough for local government workers.

I’m sorry not to be able to be at the shop stewards conference tomorrow, and hope that it goes well, and that rank and file activists discuss how we coordinate the fight for fair pay across our movement. I hope that the conference adopts the very sensible statement put together by the organisers.

The shop stewards conference tomorrow will offer a lot more positive guidance than any other meetings going on at the moment…

Or we could live in dreamland and put our faith in Gordon Brown


DM Andy said...

Jon, the Health SGE hasn't delayed the ballot because of the talks with Alan Johnson. It was always going to be September because that's when the RCN want to move and if we're going to have effective action, it's going to need their support.

I would have welcomed a strike ballot in May and industrial action in June, but as we couldn't do that, September makes sense, isn't there a possibility of local government having a ballot then as well?

Jon Rogers said...

Thanks for that Andy. I guess the website story was just spin as we try to cheer ourselves up with the thought that "our mate" Alan Johnson may do something helpful...

As things stand we could be looking at a ballot in September for local government, alongside health and perhaps the teachers too. PCS will probably try to coordinate whatever action they can with such an initiative.

However, there is a risk I think that if health are offered 2.5% in one go in England, and local government employers resist Government pressure and make a marginal increase in their offer, we might then see attempts to obfuscate and delay.

What would the RCN do if they got 2.5% backdated to 1 April (and what will they do in Scotland and Wales now...?)

Nick said...

Andy is spot on, Jon, and I'm afraid you've fallen victim to the spin from Mabledon Place. Just think about the dates. UNISON health SGE met on Wednesday, Alan Johnson announces on Thursday that he'll agree to more talks, yet the UNISON news article claims that the SGE deferred a ballot because of Johnson's announcement.

We're good on the SGE, but not that good!

The BBC were very clear by Friday that there was no chance at all of the Government changing tack on the staging of the award. Unlike our negotiators, they seem to have figured this out by the revolutionary tactic of ... asking.

If, and given the above it is a big if, the government did back down on the staging, the RCN would probably call off their ballot. They've already suggested that there's no need for a fight in Scotland against the imposition of 2.5% there. UNISON Scotland's regional health committee on the other hand have made the absolutely correct decision to condemn the staging and pledge to be part of a UK-wide campaign to win our actual demand - a pay rise above the rate of inflation.

So I guess what happens then is... UNISON recruits hundreds of very angry RCN members as they realise that the RCN is settling for a pay cut while we're organising a strike ballot...

Anonymous said...

For information: The RCN, RCM and Unite - Amicus section welcomed the 2.5% imposition in Scotland. It is only UNISON, GMB, Unite - T&G and the SoCP who oppose the impostion.

I think it is a pretty safe bet that if Johnson said no staging the Royal Colleges would bite his hand off for it.

Anonymous said...

Position on Scotland