Friday, November 30, 2007

Time to fight over privatisation and pay

Having now recovered from the excitement of the Greater London Employers’ Forum I am looking forward to Monday’s meeting of the Regional Local Government Executive (you knew I was a sad anorak but you didn’t know how sad!)

I hope that the Executive will have an opportunity to discuss the disputes with Fremantle and the London Borough of Newham. In both cases UNISON needs to step up our campaigning against the consequences of privatisation. We should obviously be supporting and encouraging our members to take industrial action, but equally we need to discuss how to step up our political campaigning.

We should make better use of the influence we believe we have with Government – and we should support initiatives which are taken to focus support for these important campaigns. In particular we need more MPs signing up to EDM 276!

At the Regional Local Government Executive we will also be discussing Single Status and the pay and grading reviews which are taking place across London (and the country). Full marks to the Croydon branch for reaching an agreement – as there is a meeting of the National Executive Council next Wednesday I shall have the opportunity to raise any issues which London local government branches may have (so please get in touch if you need to).

Also on Monday’s agenda is the 2008 pay claim. We need early agreement on a claim around which we can mobilise our members for the inevitability of national strike action (unless we want to live within Gordon Brown’s 2% pay norm and see our living standards decline further!) We ought to be lodging our claim early in the New Year and giving the employers a deadline in March to respond (we know that they have been consulting their constituents for some time so there is no reason why they should not).

If we don’t have a satisfactory offer by mid March (and realistically we know we won’t) then we should be planning for strike action around the settlement date in April – not months later.

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