Thursday, October 02, 2008

Obviously unofficial blogging about London Region UNISON

As regular readers at Mabledon Place (Sid and Doris Constitution) will be aware, I am diligent in not using UNISON resources for unofficial purposes, so clearly this evening's posts are being done unofficially.

We are now (at the London UNISON United Left) considering the problem of the lack of democracy in the Greater London Region of UNISON. Now that a majority of the Regional Committee consist of members who are prepared to go along with whatever the office wants, and has conceded control of the agenda for the Regional Council to a small and malleable group, we face the frustration of a Regional UNISON machine which does not deliver for our members.

The decline in support for industrial action from the office over recent years is one manifestation of the consequences of this stifling of lay control. The current Regional Committee majority is not producing any positive outcomes for UNISON members in Greater London.

Those who write the speeches for the supporters of that majority believe that national strike action is pointless, but have consistently failed to come up with any constructive ideas to defend our members' interests. With public spending cuts on the horizon we need a Union with ideas to promote the interests of our members.

UNITE members in the health service are about to consider strike action against a pay deal which was more or less "sold" to UNISON members. When ordinary members in the health service had a say they elected members of the Service Group Executive who stood on a platform of fighting for our members - just as members nationally have recently elected Karen Reissman to the NEC.

Branches sending delegates to our Regional Council need to consider whether it is adequate to elect a leadership which is happy to go along with the failure to fight over pay and whether this will be a leadership that can mobilise our members to combat the job cuts which are now to come.

One contributor to the current debate at the United Left meeting has called for "Democratic" control of the Region (I don't think he meant Obama...) whilst another wit has wondered whether UNISON should move in the direction of the hereditary principle for our senior officials.

UNISON in Greater London has many strengths in our activists and our branches - when you look at the excellent work that is done in many of our branches it is clear that we could achieve a great deal across the city. Whether we do or not will depend upon how branches vote at the Regional Council.

My battery is failing now so this exciting experiment in live blogging from the London Region UNISON United Left will draw to a natural close...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jon, once again you have hit the nail squarely on the head! To everyone out there reading Jon's blogs, I can tell you from personal experience, that he absolutely 100% knows what he is talking about!

The rank and file members, and the rank and file activists who walk the walk every single day are indeed completely disillutioned with UNISON London. (yes I know I've spelt disillutioned wrong!)

My own experiences as a member and a lay rep bear this out. UNISON have lost their way, do not operate in a democratic manner anymore and most definately support whatever 'the office' wants.

The victims of this are the members and the activists who are slogging their guts out day in day out - and receiving either no support from unison or minimal and completely innapropriate support from UNISON who remind me of many of these corporate bods who don't give a toss for the workers, and are only interested in fighting their own in house policitcal problems and become far to friendly, cosy and complacent with the bosses.

Yes, Jon tells it as it is, and I admire him for continuing to fight on. As for me, I will most definately be resigning my membership of UNISON and going elsewhere - PCS most probably - as I have more faith in PCS leadership than I have ever had for UNISON.

UNISON have sold themselves down the river. Jon is far too polite to say that outright - but that is the truth. As I say, I have been an activist for years - mingling and negotiating with snr mgt officials - right up to the very top - and I mean the very top - only to find that UNISON are no different to mgt, and I seriously quesiton their motives!

Keep on saying it as it is Jon! Well done. Now - perhaps what is needed from you Jon (and I believe that you are the person to do it) is a much more aggressive approach - and attack on UNISON itself. Mount a campaign and get those bods out! I will support you all the way.

WB