Wednesday, February 06, 2013

UNISON must back People's Assembly Against Austerity

The welcome call initiated by the Coalition of Resistance for a "People's Assembly Against Austerity", backed by numerous trade union General Secretaries (http://m.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/feb/05/people-assembly-against-austerity) may give rise to a sense of deja vu to old cynics, but does us all the service of offering some hope.



It may, at this stage, be no more than a call for a single Central London meeting (for which you can register online - http://www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk/2013/02/peoples-assembly-against-austerity-saturday-22-june/), but the breadth of support for the initiative suggests that it could contribute something useful.



The organisers hope that the Assembly "will provide a national forum to develop links between trade unions, trade union councils and grassroots community based campaigns, and to build confidence of those promoting anti-austerity views which, whilst increasingly popular, are barely represented in Parliament."



There's a model motion to support the Assembly online (http://www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk/2013/02/peoples-assembly-model-resolution/) and this should be taken into Labour Party and trade union branches. I hope that UNISON will support this initiative at every level, since the jobs of our members are so much in the firing line of continuing austerity.



UNISON activists should be tailoring the model motion to local circumstances and UNISON rules and guidelines - and should put the question of support for the Assembly on to the agenda of our National Delegate Conference.



This will require a coordinated approach reflecting, within our union, the broad support for this worthwhile initiative.

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