Thursday, September 11, 2008

UNISON GMB merger?

Last night UNISON and the GMB held a joint reception.

Our members in local government might think that joint industrial action against real terms pay cuts would be of more value - GMB members in the health service might possibly think likewise. For now though we can coordinate free food and drink.

There was much jollity about the prospect at some stage of a UNISON-GMB merger. For the moment I think that this has as much to do with the GMB's previous flirtation with UNITE as it does with the potential industrial logic of such a merger in the public services.

Activists in both unions need to consider how we improve joint working at a rank and file level. Should merger seriously appear on our agenda we need to be vigilant in defence of lay member democracy. While we are at it we need the same joint working with brothers and sisters in UNITE.

If we are going down the road of "super unions" then a merger between UNITE, UNISON and the GMB makes just as much sense as a UNISON-GMB merger.

There is a future for small and specialist unions which organise particular industries, but is there a future for what we have now in terms of three large general unions, competing for members in some areas and generally failing to coordinate effectively. I don't know.

Activists need to think about this.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Word on the pier was that Paul Kenny thought there was a plot to cause him to have a heart attack!

Anonymous said...

what's your take on teacher unions then? on the one hand the NUT wouldn't be so likely to go for strike action if it had all of ATL's members in it - on the other hand what impact is there when one union takes strike action and schools are kept open by members of the other 5/6/7/however many it is these days