The purpose of this post is to encourage branches and activists to campaign for rejection, and therefore for further strike action alongside teachers, civil servants and other health workers (local government workers are still waiting - and waiting - to see our "final offer").
The UNISON Health Service Group Executive did not decide that UNISON should recommend that members accept the Government's derisory "final offer" - and any official who suggests that that is the policy of the SGE would be misrepresenting the policy. The SGE agreed that this offer was "the best that could be achieved by negotiation" and that rejection would need to be accompanied by a preparedness for sustained industrial action.
Branches within UNISON - and individual UNISON representatives have a clear cut right to make and campaign for recommendations in member ballots. This right was reaffirmed as recently as National Delegate Conference 2010 and an NEC colleague has had it confirmed that Branches can campaign for a NO vote provided that they make it clear that rejection would mean that a sustained programme of strike action would be necessary to improve the offer.
That is, a sustained programme of strike action exactly as is underway in Scotland, being taken by UNISON members in the health service pledged to fight for a better pensions deal.
These two links to each side of a handy A4 leaflet setting out the case for rejecting the pension offer;
On an earlier post I touched upon the question of how we should assess 30 November 2011. Was it a triumph or a damp squib? Did it show our strength or expose our weakness?
The answer to this question depends to a considerable extent now upon this ballot.
It is what trade unionists do from now on that will determine whether the largest strike of our lives was an important moment in mobilising trade union opposition to wide ranging attacks upon our members' interests, or whether it was no more than a token of protest intended to recruit members.
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