Friday, December 30, 2011

A flawed defence of UNISON

Some folk get confused when reading a criticism of the tactics of the leadership of a trade union, and wrongly conclude that this amounts to an attack upon the trade union itself.

Such is today the case with the notoriously shy bloggers at UNISON Active ( who are not amused by the musings of Owen Jones in today's Morning Star (

Owen has earned the wrath of his anonymous adversary with the use of the word "capitulation". The outpouring of ire to which this gives rises serves to demonstrate, if nothing else, that the phrase "ultra-left" does no more to enlighten debate around the pensions dispute than the phrase "sell-out".

UNISON Anonymous are keen to point out that our members in the LGPS don't face an immediate contribution increase (which is both welcome and true) and that the lower paid half of the NHS workforce face no increase for at least a year (which is also true, and also welcome).

However, given that the other two of our three demands (that we should not get less and should not work longer) have not really been achieved, it is perhaps an example of litotes that the nameless blogger describes the Framework Agreements as "far from perfect."

I would suggest that a framework which defers the pensions of all those more than ten years from retirement, whilst leaving to the lottery of litigation the vital question of indexation is "far from perfect" in the way that my singing voice is "far from perfect."

"Capitulation" isn't my word and I haven't used it - but the (sadly and inexplicably) anonymous blogger at UNISON Active would better use their time attending to the unsatisfactory details of the Framework Agreements, rather than taking ill-judged potshots at Mr Jones.

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