Thursday, August 06, 2015
I don't want to say I told you so...
The Guardian is reporting the Government's announcement that public sector workers are to lose our right to have union fees deducted from our wages (a change to be made, it would appear, by way of an amendment to the already published Trade Union Bill);
I truly wish I wasn't, so soon, in a position to say "I told you so" to the complacent consensus which crushed Lambeth's Emergency Motion One at June's Local Government Conference. My self-regard, and that of the Lambeth branch, is sufficiently robust that we could happily have withstood another year or two of isolation and ridicule if it meant that the Government didn't move to eliminate DOCAS (Deduction of Contributions at Source).
However, we won't have the opportunity to have that enjoyment. The Government is moving swiftly, as foreseen by the UNISON NEC Development and Organisation Committee in May (and subsequently downplayed or denied by officers and activists throughout the Union).
We must and will oppose this legislation. We need a massive presence on the streets (not only at the Tory Conference in October). We need online campaigning. We need vigorous Parliamentary opposition. We need lobbying from employers who never asked for this ideologically motivated assault upon sane employee relations.
Jeremy Corbyn's campaign teaches, more than anything, that nothing is impossible - and so we must fight to defeat the Trade Union Bill.
However, it would be irresponsible beyond belief not now to make the immediate preparations to sustain our organisation for which Lambeth called unsuccessfully at Local Government Conference - stepping up the pace of action to implement the action points of the Emergency Composite which was passed at National Delegate Conference.
If we leave these preparations until after we have finished campaigning to stop the Bill we will compound the damage the Bill will do us if it passes (whereas should we succeed we will be in a fine position to reassess).
From this point forward all new recruitment should be based upon members paying subscriptions by direct debit. This creates massive financial and administrative (and - most importantly - organisational) challenges for branches, Regions and the UNISON Centre. We simply have no choice but to meet these challenges.
I won't say more at this stage.
Just one last thing.
I - and others - told you so.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.