Sunday, June 02, 2013

GUMBISON ruled out?

Back to work tomorrow after half term so back to blogging just in time to learn that Brian Strutton has told the GMB Congress categorically that there are no merger talks with UNISON.

As a UNISON NEC member I'd like to think that, having heard of no such talks, there have indeed been none, but it's as well to have these things confirmed.

UNISON and GMB have been making eyes at each other in public at recent TUCs - but it does now seem we were only ever trying to make UNITE jealous...

Given that our Development and Organisation Committee threw out a protocol developed between officials of the two unions to reduce membership "poaching" it's clear there's little appetite for merger among lay members of either Union.

Joint working between rank and file representatives of UNISON and GMB at a local level is essential to protect workers' interests - mutual hostility only ever ends up strengthening the employers. We should be far quicker to support each other's disputes.

In the long run, the existence of any particular trade union isn't written in stone. We made UNISON twenty years ago - but it is inevitably an open question whether it will exist in the same form to receive my application to be a retired member in another twenty years time.

However, for now, a merger with the GMB would be (for both unions I should imagine) a massive distraction from the task of rebuilding our membership and our strength in the workplace. The one merger which would have had compelling industrial logic and significant political benefits over the past decade is the one which, it now seems, will never happen (at least not with UNISON).

With trade union membership figures edging upwards, and positive news from UNISON's spring recruitment drive, we need to focus outwards to the interests of members and potential members.

And at least now we know we will never have the misfortune to become part of an organisation which would inevitably have been called "GUMBISON"...

Hat tip Andy Newman on twitter.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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