Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. (William Morris - A Dream of John Ball)

Friday, January 08, 2016

2016 service group executive elections - a chance for UNISON to step forward?

Next Tuesday nominations open in the biennial elections for the directly elected seats on UNISON's Service Group Executives (SGEs), the bodies which direct our Union's activities in relation to the pay and conditions issues which are the main reason why workers join trade unions.

Several years ago our National Delegate Conference rejected plans to vary the responsibilities of our Service Groups so as to further devolve responsibility for bargaining to (smaller) "sectors" (a sensible step in my view as SGEs can - at least in principle - be held collectively to account by annual Service Group Conferences as Sector Committees cannot).

Therefore it is the members of each SGE who are, collectively, responsible for the bargaining on pay and conditions, and campaigning on workplace issues, which together comprise the work which is most important to trade union members.

As a member of the Local Government Service Group in the Greater London Region I have been fortunate to be represented by three excellent SGE reps, Helen Steel, Sue Plain and John McLoughlin, all of whom have been committed to seeing UNISON fight in the interests of our members.

I hope that activists in every Service Group in each Region will be considering how best to use these elections to sharpen UNISON's work to defend jobs, pay and conditions.

Our leading Committees cannot engender struggle where there is not both the will and the organisation to fight for a better deal, but they can be obstacles in such circumstances unless a clear majority of members are clear that their loyalty is to those who elect them and that their role is to encourage and support those members who are willing to fight.

If you are a UNISON member, make sure you engage with the SGE elections.

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.

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