Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A tale of two picket lines (one today and one yet to come!)

This afternoon I attended a protest (not quite a picket line I think) of UNISON staff protesting against a lack of consultation by management within the Union with the staff trade union over proposals for change.

Neither the staff trade unions nor progressive forces within the lay structures wish to oppose constructive change in our Union, but we will not move forward by confrontation with the staff trade unions! I am awaiting an explanation from the Chair of the NEC staffing committee as to what is going on!

I was happy to have the opportunity to stand on a picket line with UNISON staff since we shall have further opportunities very soon. I hear that the UNISON industrial action committee has just agreed to ballot all our local government members for strike action over pay.

The UNISON staff pickets outside Congress House had a really good idea - a union account with the local cafe so that pickets can get tea and coffee!

UNISON local government activists take note!

Update on 20 September about the local government pay dispute – the decision on the local government strike ballot is being reported here, as follows;

"UNISON is to ask its 850,000 local government members whether they're prepared to take action over this year's low pay offer" – well, yes, obviously we will need a vigorous campaign for a “YES” vote based upon a strategy to win by taking action alongside PCS and other public sector workers.

Further update on the UNISON staff protest yesterday – the Chair of the Staffing Committee has kindly sent me a copy of a circular sent to all UNISON staff. He has asked me to keep it confidential to UNISON (as it has only been circulated to over a thousand staff…) so won’t blog the details here. He goes on to say;

“I understand you were supporting the 'dispute ' today.

I would have hoped you would be supporting the increase in staff we are seeking to employ in UNISON and the impetus this will give to our organising capabilities.”

Of course there need be no contradiction between supporting positive change in the Union and also supporting appropriate consultation with the staff trade unions – the leaflets being given out by the staff made clear that they have no principled opposition to the staffing changes being proposed.

I understand that a meeting will take place today and hope that a resolution can swiftly be found. We need all our energies for the local government pay dispute now!

1 comment:

Sean said...

jut picturing the surrela moment of our remployed officiasls on strike who would be the scabs :D I got a copy of their flyer last night made strangely familiar reading