Unison members are voting this month and next for the union’s national executive, and in almost all the contests voters face a very clear choice between supports of the present leadership and activists who want change.
Whoever wins the general elections attacks on public service jobs, wages and conditions are likely to continue. Unison’s leadership have time and again mobilised members to fight, only to then accept shabby compromises – over pensions and most recently over pay in health and local government. But the recent local government special conference, which overturned the leadership and demanded a new pay claim for this year, is only one of a number of signs that members have had enough of losing.
Reclaim the Union is a broad umbrella organisation which brings together activists from across the oppositional left. They are standing on a platform of break the pay freeze; defend the NHS – cancel PFI debt; no public service cuts; only supporting politicians who back action against cuts; bringing all privatised services back in-house; say not to racism, fascism and Islamophobia; and defending women’s rights. Most importantly, they stand for a member-led, fighting union, which will oppose attacks from any government or employer whether Labour, Tory or SNP.
Electing a better National Executive won’t in itself transform Unison – we need to build from the bottom up, involving more members in branches, recruiting more stewards and activists, supporting cross-union rank and file initiatives like SE1 Healthworkers, and supporting all groups of workers who fight back.
But the more people on the National Executive who will support all of those things, the better. The leadership-supported candidates want Unison to carry on with the current disastrous strategy – if you want to see change, vote for the Reclaim the Union candidates. A full list can be found here.
(No Unison resources were used in writing this post)