Sunday, January 17, 2010

A great result for strike action underlines the political challenge before us

I was busy yesterday with the National Committee of the Labour Representation Committee so fell behind blogging.

UNISON's victory over Sodexo in North Devon is an important step in seeking to bring to privatised workers the benefits negotiated for the core workforce. This is a vital element of our opposition to privatisation, which has generally meant profits made at the expense of low paid workers.

Following the victory before Xmas for the Leeds refuse workers these disputes provide a potent answer to those who think that strike action has had its day.

However, with the courts prepared to scupper strike action on technicalities and a would-be Tory Government gearing up to attack our right to strike we need both a political and industrial strategy to defend our members' interests.

It was reported to the LRC National Committee that the proposals from the Trade Union and Labour Organisation (TULO) for the Labour manifesto are predictably feeble, so I suggest we look elsewhere for our political strategy.

The question for UNISON members between now and Wednesday is whether there will be an election for General Secretary in which we can discuss these questions and - if there is - whether the National Executive Council will be bounced into a snap election.

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