Saturday, March 07, 2015
UNISON NEC elections - vote for me?
Like many blog posts on this blog over the next few weeks this is one which has not been posted with any UNISON resources.
Voting in the elections for UNISON's National Executive Council (NEC) opens on 7 April, but, the nomination period having drawn to a close, I can report that I am a candidate for election (to the male seat to represent the Greater London Region).
Sixteen branches have had their nominations for me to be a candidate accepted (and two have had their nominations rejected).
I'll be writing to the branches directly but shall now thank the Barnet, Camden, Ealing, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark and Tower Hamlets local government branches, the Community and Voluntary Organisations branch, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority branch, the Homerton Hospital branch and the branches at London Metropolitan University, the School of Oriental and African studies (SOAS) and the University of Westminster.
I'm standing for (re-)election to our NEC because I want UNISON to be a vibrant, combative and effective trade union which fights for the interests of our members.
As ever, I face an opponent with enthusiastic support from the control freak faction at Great Russell Street, who believes in "partnership" with employers and the disciplined support of lay activists for paid officials of the trade union.
I have fought six previous elections against candidates of the Regional Office, and have always only narrowly scraped to victory.
My opponents have had the sponsorship of an entire element of the union's bureaucracy and I have had only the enthusiasm of genuine activists.
Once more we shall see whether the unimaginative careerist elements (who generally dominate all the large trade unions) can extinguish troublesome democrats (in the Greater London male seat and elsewhere).
They may succeed of course and - if they do - they'll probably sustain trade unionism in this country for just long enough to ensure that future membership subscriptions pay their own pensions.
My justification for seeking to remain on our NEC is primarily that I am good at making powerful people feel uncomfortable (which is surely what we all want from every shop steward). Years ago I challenged the waste of a million pounds on Care Connect Learing. More recently I pursued the squandering of another million pounds on the risible "Three Companies Project". I make a nuisance of myself to those who misuse power and disadvantage working people - whether they are in management or in the trade union.
There is always the option to vote for an alternative who will do as they are told.
Workers in the UK - and across the world - need much better from our trade unions. Like so many other lay activists, I give my time to try to make our movement into what it could be. Much of what holds us back comes from within our own movement, particularly from this whose vested interest is in the financial viability of the institutions of the movement more than in the efficacy of those institutions in promoting our members' interests.
UNISON members face a clear choice in the election for the Greater London male seat between an irritating, arrogant critic of indolent authoritarianism and a stooge of the Regional Office.
I'll respect that choice.
Read more here later.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.