Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Don't Panic?

‎Our General Secretary has told the North West Regional Council that, had he been at the Development and Organisation (D&O) Committee of the UNISON National Executive Council (NEC) last week he would have advised us differently.

Seemingly he thinks our decision to crack on with transferring membership subscriptions to direct debit in anticipation of the coming assaults from the Tory Government may have been premature.

He is, of course, entitled to his opinion - but since I can't recall his presence often (if ever?) in twelve years on the Committee, his advice might not have carried much weight.

In any case, the NEC has delegated authority to the D&O and the opinions of a General Secretary have no status in Rule - and certainly not compared to the unanimous decision of a Strategic Committee of our NEC.

To suggest that we wait and see whether there is a reference to the collection of union subscriptions in the Queens Speech is the worse form of dilly-dallying informed by crass political illiteracy. The Government doesn't need legislation to impose the withdrawal of DOCAS on UNISON members in the civil service - and it won't need that in the health service either. A predictable political steer from the Government will see an attack on DOCAS that might not come for a year or two - but could start tomorrow.

Hoping against hope that a vicious Tory Government with a small majority‎ won't hastily mount every attack they can upon their major adversaries in civil society takes wishful thinking way too far.

The General Secretary may think it looks wise and reassuring to tell people not to panic, but to err on the side of indolence (as those wishing to avoid acting on the clear decision of the D&O Committee clearly wish to do) will simply ensure that we do have to panic when the attack we can now foresee, but for which they would have us fail to prepare, is upon us.

This Government has already declared war on the trade unions. Our only decision is whether we try to defend ourselves - and our members - with an organising response.

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.


Employmentwrites said...

Aside from the potential attack which will doubtless come there's a more fundamental reason - why even risk having a union's finances in the control of employer with whom you are sometimes in dispute.

Jon Rogers said...

On balance the organisational benefits to the Union from DOCAS have exceeded the risks in the past. Direct Debit isn't a positive choice, it's a practical necessity.