Sunday, June 24, 2012

Unite with UNISON and be in unison with UNITE

It would appear that leading activists in UNITE anticipate a generally progressive consensus around policy questions at their Biennial Policy Conference which commences tomorrow in Brighton (

This is pretty much the same prediction (more or less) correctly made by your humble blogger about UNISON Conference earlier this week (

The policy positions of UNITE and UNISON are rarely far apart. The interests of our members are similar. Our enemies are the same.

So why are our two largest unions each building alliances in a competitive rather than collaborative way? Why do UNISON officials decry action by UNITE? Why does UNITE poach UNISON members?

The successful fight against Southampton's Tories shows how potent an alliance of our two biggest unions might be. Rank and file members of each union must reach beyond the sectional, particularist interests of each official machine if we are to be the movement our members deserve.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


Anonymous said...

And why don't UNISON unite with UNITE by having biennial conferences instead of annual ones? Could save a lot of money

Adrian Picton said...

Suggesting that we go down to biennial conferences is also like giving into Government cuts. We can hardly criticise if we make cuts ourselves and we can hardly preach democracy when we reduce our's. We should unite with Unite in action and campaigning and not in cuts.

Dave said...

Perhaps the question is, 'why would Unsion members be so poachable?'. The answer must lie in a national leadership who make an annual statement of fighting intent as publicity for annual conference (pensions last year and pay this). Then bold statements are made and one, or two days of action result. No strategy is set out for winning and members get demoralised.

At the local branch level, where branches are subjected to 'supervision' Unison members leave and join other unions in their hundreds. This can either be because the Socilast Party believe this to be the way forward, to avoid further political victimisation, inactivity and surrender to local management by the regional officials; or, members who see regional officials selling them out say enough and pack up and leave.

You can call this poaching, or you could recognise that this will be a continuing trend which will only increase unless the right wing, Stalin like bullying stops and instead we get the leadership we need to prevent the decimimation of the organised working class. Flying pigs and leopards and spots come to mind as far as our 'world class' leaders are concerned.

Anonymous said...

For union democracy to be "valuable and worthwhile" there actually needs to be real debate not just worthy speeches that everyone agrees on.

Jon, what percentage of the motions debated actually had speakers speaking against? Less than 5% I would say.

The other motions the NEC could just got on and done without the need for conference. So why not cut it down and save some time and money? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Don't attack annonymity, Jon. Opinions without accountability are the foundation of the modern internet, and have enabled it to become the barometer of public thought that it is. Democracy owes a lot to annonymous opinions, but then that's just my annonymous opinion.

Anonymous said...

I am a unite member and i would never want a merger with unison

Anonymous said...

Unite poach amembers? Where i work Unite dont get a look in. Unison are the bigger and when ive spoken to them about local issues, i never get any feedback