Friday, July 11, 2008

Everybody out! (except...)

One of the many weird things about organising a strike in local government is the process of exemption.

Although we are trying to disrupt, if not close, all local authority services in England Wales and Northern Ireland next week we don’t want anyone to die or suffer serious injury as a result.

Not even Gordon Brown…

Or Sandy Bruce-Lockhart…

Therefore, since you cannot rely on the deadbeats and selfish oafs who haul themselves across picket lines to do any proper work, we do have to consider “exempting” some of our members from the strike call in order to ensure we safeguard “life and limb”.

This invariably means that – as a Branch Secretary – I have to spend some time in the run up to any major strike debating with the employer who we won’t call out.

I have been engaged in this odd process, on and off, for the last few days, and my point in blogging about it is that the Regional Office (whose approval is required) turned round the request from my local authority (and accompanying recommendations from the local UNISON branch) in just over an hour this afternoon.

Since I am the first to criticise the official machinery of the Union when the occasion demands I think it is worth saying that it is helpful to get such a prompt response to what could be a tricky issue.

No, knowing that we have done what we reasonably can to safeguard life and limb, we can concentrate on getting the maximum response to the strike call.


Anonymous said...

Rightly or wrongly our Branch has informed the employer NO exemptions,
How can we justify asking low paid members to lose two days pay while agreeing to other members crossing picket lines?
If the worst happens the blame lies with the national employer,
The bigger the impact this strike has the sooner it will be resolved.
enough is enough, everybody out!

Anonymous said...

I know an employer in a previous action whose expectations of "life and limb" cover was more than the staffing establishment at any other time. That is taking the P**s!

Good luck to all