Friday, February 05, 2010

Budget setting and the phoney war

Having been back at work a week now I suppose I am nearly recovered from a week of 'flu' - since its budget setting time in local government I need to be.

This year's budget round has the feeling of a "phoney war" since all the talk is of restrictions on spending from 2011/12 onwards. One of the high points of an otherwise fairly dreary Regional Annual General Meeting on Wednesday was hearing John Burgess from the Barnet branch doing his best to wake the Regional Council up to the reality of Total Place.

UNISON's baroque structure of Service Groups is not fit for the purpose of facing an attack which will cut across the public sector (and as to our arrangements for "Service Group Liaison" I was always taught that if you have nothing good to say it is sometimes best to say nothing). Unfortunately having failed to propose a sufficiently democratic structure to devolve bargaining to sectors at last year's Conference the NEC will be taking our ball home this year and doing no more with our structures for the time being (though perhaps leaving this to the Service Groups themselves will in the end make more sense...)

At a Regional and local level we need urgently to be building links not just with other UNISON branches but with all trade unions representing employees of partners in our Local Strategic Partnerships. Will we find that our Union's structures facilitate this vital work? One obvious step would be for the Region to organise a branch briefing on Total Place to coincide with the June Regional Council meeting.

Since the Regional Council AGM was not persuaded to reduce the frequency of our invariably inquorate meetings we might as well make use of the June meeting to focus on the form which the coming wave of public spending cuts is almost certainly now going to take. Thousands of our members' jobs are at risk over the next couple of years and we need to wake our Union up to this threat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"baroque" a catachresis if there ever was one

"bureaucratic" surely?