Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Trade union leaders and the Tories - "business as usual or unite like never before"?
I don't know how grateful trade unionists should be to the dear old Grauniad for asking our leaders for their prognosis for the next five years.
If nothing else, the link above defends our movement from the allegation that it is a meritocracy.
Dave Prentis rightly foresees the harm that the Tories will do to our public services, and the impact of this on the morale of public service workers. Unfortunately an over-zealous sub-editor cut the section in which our General Secretary told us what he thinks we should do about all this.
TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, echoes Prentis on morale and says we must remind politicians that public services are essential to a strong economy. As to whether we should do this with post-it notes or industrial action, she does not say.
Brian Strutton of the GMB, presumed author of the appalling local government pay capitulation last year, wins the wooden spoon for the observation that life under this Government will be "business as usual" for the trade unions. Since they intend to obstruct the collection of the union subscriptions which pay the wages of our staff whilst seeking to ensure that our members can take no action which does not threaten our unions with massive fines, you have to wonder what "business" will be "as usual" for us?
Mark Sewotka stands out from the pack, as ever, for calling for some action. If support for the Peoples Assembly demonstration on 20 June and a call for the TUC to organise a mass demonstration does sound like where we started from five years ago (and it does) it is nevertheless streets ahead of the response from the other General Secretaries - and I hope those streets are full of people.
What is missing from these responses? Well, first there are no alarm bells to our members in the public sector (outside the civil service where this has already happened) that we have to shift our members to pay their subs by direct debit. That only threatens us with bankruptcy.
Then there is a glaring omission of a response (other than complaining) to the forthcoming attempt to all but outlaw lawful strike action. We have, at least, to acknowledge that this is happening.
We badly need, as a trade union movement, to show a bold response to the attacks we face. It's not yet in evidence.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.