Friday, July 13, 2012

Sonnet bows out

This week's meeting of UNISON's National Executive Council was somewhat overshadowed, for me, by the solid and enthusiastic strike action by Camden Branch members working for parking contractor NSL (http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=7963). I was very pleased to be able to join the strikers on a picket line and at their lunch time rally.

The relatively low key NEC meeting, focused on reviewing last month's Conference, received apologies from our General Secretary, Dave Prentis, who therefore missed the leaving drinks of Deputy General Secretary, Keith Sonnet (http://www.unison.org.uk/about/board_view.asp?did=2239) who left UNISON's employment at the end of last month.

Keith expressed himself, in a leaving message, as follows; "The importance of strong trade unions is as evident today as it ever was. The current Government imposed austerity is  devastating the lives of so many, particularly young people. The next generation will suffer  both the consequences of our failure today, to act to create decent sustainable jobs, and to protect the environment and the planet on which we live. As trade unionists we strive to show that through collective action we can make a difference to the lives of working people and their families. Through organising we provide leadership and build confidence that no challenge is too great."

That's a succinct summary of the challenges we face and the hope that through union organising, we may yet confront these challenges. Whether we shall do so effectively depends very much upon the leadership to which our departing DGS refers.

Keith's departure (from a post which is enshrined in UNISON's Rule Book) will enable the appointment of a successor who is likely to be seen as "official" heir apparent to our General Secretary (in an election which could come at any point in the next three years). Regular readers of this blog thinking of applying should keep an eye on the job ads (http://www.unison.org.uk/jobs/)!

Mind you, now might be just the time to return to the debate we had at UNISON's second National Delegate Conference in 1995, concerning the election (rather than appointment) of the Deputy General Secretary...

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

Andrew Maybury said...

We, at Dudley General Branch, have tried to enable such a debate at the last two NDCs but have been consistently ruled out of order.