Friday, November 30, 2007

Fighting for UNISON members at the UNISON NEC

Being a member of the National Executive Council (NEC) of UNISON is a sometimes strange and surreal experience. Members would – I suppose – imagine that the body charged with running the Union between our Annual National Delegate Conferences would meet frequently and pay attention to the detail of what our Union does.

In fact the NEC does neither of these things.

We meet infrequently and as much detailed work as there is to be done is delegated to Committees. The most important such bodies consist of meetings of those already elected to Chair – or selected by - other Committees, hence generally (but not always) they consist entirely of those already predisposed to agree with what has been decided by those in charge.

Those in charge are the key officials and not the leading members of the NEC (although sufficient interpersonal skills are deployed that I imagine that some leading members of the NEC do in fact believe that they are leading the Union). There are leading lay activists who keep straight left and who are genuinely influential but I am not always sure they remember where they came from or where they belong

I shall look forward to reporting back from next Wednesday’s meeting of the UNISON NEC at which I will be seeking official support for the rally which will be taking place at the House of Commons on Tuesday 11 December in support of UNISON activists who are fighting privatisation and its consequences. I hope we will seize this opportunity to unite the trade union movement with our real allies in Parliament in order to promote the interests of our members.

Our Union could be even better than it is if we could galvanise real unity in action between our very experienced and capable national officials and our equally experienced and dedicated lay activists. To do this we need to unite against a common enemy and forget about squabbling.

Unison has no enemies to our left politically. Sometimes some of our key people forget this. The enemies of our members are those who push forward privatisation and who want to hold down our pay.

I hope to be able to give a positive report in five days time and that we will unite with our friends and allies to promote the interests of our members.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Having attended a Regional Committee yesterday, which seemed little more than a rubberstamping exercise, I couldn't agree more with you, Jon.

In the same boring meeting (I have better things to dedicate my life to!), two comments were made about a recently sacked member and supporting her case "despite political differences". I failed to see what relevance this was, as an injustice to one of us is an injustice to all.

Enjoy your meeting next week - hope it's better than what I endured yesterday!!