Saturday, June 18, 2011

Industrial Action and accountability

Today's call to arms from our General Secretary raises once more the question of how to give direction to, and take decisions about, large scale industrial action, a subject which I touched upon after the last NEC meeting (

Where an industrial dispute involves a group of workers who can reasonably be gathered together in one meeting hall (or footbal stadium) then decisions on both the tactics for action and the outcome of any negotiations can - and should - be put to the workers collectively.

This is the ideal of labour movement democracy to which we should aspire - and to which we ought to do our best to approximate when a dispute involves workers who, by virtue of the numbers and geographical distribution of those involved, cannot possibly be brought together for a single discussion and decision.

I hope that this week in Manchester delegates elected by, and accountable to, the million plus UNISON members who will soon be called upon to strike to defend our pensions, will be enabled to debate not only how we mobilise our members to act, but also the nature of the action for which we shall mobilise, and the means that we shall use to ensure that the conduct of the dispute, and any negotiations, is meaningfully and democratically controlled by the membership.

I'll update the blog as the week goes by and let you know how we're getting on.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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