Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Darlington - fighting cuts with one hand tied behind your back?

Respected UNISON activist Alan Docherty is co-ordinating the campaign to resist swinging cuts from his employer, Darlington Borough Council, that intends to cut non- education budgets by 25% over the next three years and to cut immediately low paid, mainly women workers’, in caring, leisure, and catering jobs, pay by up to 10%, by abolishing premium payments.

The branch has waged an active campaign in the media and encouraging members to attend consultation meetings en masse, to make their views known to the Council. This has had some limited successes so far, particularly a victory saving the Early Years Inclusion Service, and eleven jobs, which gives support to disabled children ages 3 to 5 to help them into nursery schools, which the Council had planned to axe in its entirety.

Last night over 100 members turned out to a lively demonstration to lobby the Labour Cabinet to drop their plans to cut pay. This rally, addressed by Unison NEC member Hannah Walter, and Trades Council Secretary, Pat Buttle, was so successful that the leaders of the Labour Group came out of the town hall to enter into a dialogue with the protesters.

Unfortunatley both Hannah and Pat also had no choice but to criticise the Unison leadership for its attack on Alan. Unison has banned Alan Docherty, Darlington LG’ s Branch Secretary, for 3 years from office. His crime was defending himself from attack over his involvement in the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) as the Tees Valley Secretary of the NESSN.

The complaint that has led to Unison’s sentence to ban Alan from office arises from a year ago when Alan stood for the NEC as a ‘Reclaim Our Union’ candidate against incumbent. The complaint arose Alan rang another activist to ask why he was proposing a motion through his branch seeking punitive action against officers and members of the Shop Stewards Network who he claimed were bringing Unison into disrepute. Alan then circulated the motion to those implicated.

This motion was backed unanimously as a statement by Unison’s Northern Regional Committee. No further discussion on this statement was then allowed within the union on the basis it contravened confidentiality under disciplinary procedures.

A NEC disciplinary committee upheld the view that Alan broke several rules associated with democratic procedures and had brought the union into disrepute and hence should be removed from office.

Alan intends to fight this decision just as he is fighting the cuts in Darlington.

Send messages of support to the Darlington branch fighting the Council cuts to;

Unison Darlington Local Govt Branch, Room 115, Town Hall, Darlington, DL1 5QT, (01325) 388270

To protest at UNISON's attacks upon Alan Docherty contact;

Dave Prentis, General Secretary, Unison, 1 Mabledon Pace, London, WC1H 9AJ.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

sadly as we always do our branch have written to dave prentis. usually we dont get any response.
this time we got a letter saying it could not be discussed due to data protection! i fear that this may not count as progress!

a-kasse said...
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rygestop said...
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