Sunday, June 08, 2008

UNISON NEC - leading the fight on pay?

The NEC meeting took place ahead of the outcome of the consultation on health service pay (about which more later) so the main focus of discussion at the meeting was on other pay claims and disputes.

The factual basis of the reports that were given will be familiar to members in the respective service groups and sectors. Members in OFSTED are still in dispute, members in Further Education have rejected an unacceptable offer and most local government members in England Wales and Northern Ireland are being balloted for strike action – with members in Scotland likely to follow shortly.

In response to questions about coordination within UNISON and between UNISON and other Unions the General Secretary emphasised the frequency of his meetings with the General Secretary of PCS and the Acting General Secretary of the NUT, both of whom led strike action on pay on 24 April.

A health sector official was fairly critical of the balloting techniques of those health unions whose members had rejected the health service pay offer. Now that we know that the offer has been accepted there would appear to be some work to be done to repair relations with other unions who felt excluded from the way in which UNISON and the RCN negotiated with the Government.

Dave Prentis summed up our objective as a national Union when he said – in his contribution to this debate – that we must break the Government’s pay policy. I think many of our members would add that in doing this we need to try to secure pay rises above the rate of price inflation!

If we want an overarching debate on pay at our National Delegate Conference we will have to reprioritise Motion 15 - which I hope the Newcastle City branch will leave on the agenda to give Conference that chance.

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