Thursday, November 17, 2011

A very happy Thursday

At the risk of revealing some of my favourite tales as a child, written by A A Milne and set in my native Sussex (, I will wish you, dear reader, a very happy Thursday.

I am happy that the pensions campaign is going well.

This lunchtime I spoke to almost 100 members of UCU ( and UNISON at Lambeth College's Vauxhall site on the topic of pensions.

This was a really positive and constructive meeting between members of two different branches - of two different unions - absolutely united in their determination to defend our pensions. The meeting was unanimous not only for action on 30 November, but also - and wisely - for the necessity for subsequent escalation.

That said, none of the stewards and activists from either union seemed to me to be complacent about the great difficulty of actually getting our members out, and losing pay. That work remains to be done, but from a far better position after such a positive meeting. Plans are in hand for joint picket lines of members of the two branches.

Later on I was pleased to attend a shared meeting between public service trade unionists and anti-cuts activists from Lambeth Save Our Services ( where we planned four pre-strike leaflet drops at major local public transport hubs as well as events for the strike day itself.

Representatives from UNISON, UNITE, UCU and PCS worked in harmony with community activists to make these plans in a model of the unity we strive to create between providers and users of public services. I was able to report on united work being undertaken by our Trades Council and other unions, including the South London Battlebus on 26 November and the organising meeting hosted by the Trades Council on Monday 28 November.

The ballot results of recent days are most important for demonstrating the solid determination of a united labour and trade union movement. The numbers balloted do also, unavoidably, underline the relative importance of different unions in this dispute.

UNISON is absolutely central - but we still need to guarantee unity in action, not only between but also within our Union. If we want UNISON to achieve its potential then we need that unity.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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