Monday, 28 July 2014

NEC - 4th June 2014

NEC 4th June 2014 - This was the last full NEC meeting before National Delegate Conference June 17th -20th 2014.
Cliff Williams, Assistant General Secretary was welcomed back after a long illness as was fellow NEC member Polly Smith after a short but serious illness. Condolences were given regarding those who had passed away since the last meeting including Bill Berry from the North West Region.
No emergency motions had been received to National Delegate Conference (NDC) in Brighton but we agreed a statement against the racist UKIP party and agreed to launch a targeted campaign against them. It was agreed to invite Theresa Griffin MEP to NDC who had recently defeated the abhorrent Nick Griffin of the Nazi BNP in the European elections.
UNISON had recently won a legal victory following being sued in connection with an Israeli speaker being invited by a branch which was then rescinded following checks on his background.
A new TV advert has recently been launched to assist recruitment and retention as part of the ‘Worth it’ campaign.
Dave Prentis in his General Secretary’s report stated that UKIP were a racist, anti public service party there for the wealthy not our people.
I asked that leaflets be sent to branches in good time before the Saturday October 18th ‘Britain needs a pay rise demonstration’ – this could be a very important demonstration with several live disputes ongoing.
We heard that the Local Government pay ballot ends 23rd June 2014. I asked that Industrial action in relation to pay be co-ordinated rather than sectors/service group having to fight on their own.
UNISON Health members would be balloted in August. Details would be finalised at the forthcoming Service Group Executive.
The Meat Hygiene sector may take action in the main BBQ season – August.
All UNISON members of whatever sector and service group were urged to go onto the UNISON website and send a message to their local councillor asking for support for the pay campaign and to keep up pressure over the summer quiet period. The current plan was for 2 consecutive strike days in September if there was no movement from the employers.  
It was stated that the Local Government Association will become Labour controlled from September which might provide more of a response from the employers.  
The Higher Education section of UNISON has accepted an improved offer after 3 days strike.

Coordinated strikes - One of the national officers reported that there would be “punctuated strikes with different sectors, sections out on a rolling programme of action” instead of the coordinated united action we had previously spoken of. There was strong opposition to this as it was felt people felt stronger and remembered the feeling on
November 30th 2011 during the pensions dispute of being all together.

The Doncaster Care UK workers continue their fight and the NEC again offered support to them, to Barnet Local Government UNISON (who have just had a 100% yes to strike vote in similar massive cuts to pay) and anyone else currently in dispute. This includes Unison members at Lambeth college who are joining UCU members on strike.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

I was pleased to be one of the speakers this evening in Manchester at the emergency rally called by Stop the War calling for Israel to stop its attacks on Gaza.

One of the other speakers noted that practically every trade union in Britain supports the Palestinians cause as Trade Unionists recognise injustice when they see it.  The disregard shown by the Israeli military for the humanity of the Palestinian people and the lack of concern shown by the leaders of the Western powers challenge all trade unionists to respond.

UNISON has issued a statement today
- Which also pins the escalation of violence on the illegal occupations by Israel of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and refusal to enter into any meaningful talks on the creation of a Palestinian state.  

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War coalition  have organised a national protest this Saturday 19th July – assemble Downing St. 12 noon.
It would be great to see as many trade union banners as possible at the demo this Saturday.

Elementary internationalism calls for an immediate end to Israel's military assault on Gaza and an immediate end to the blockade and siege on Gaza.
We should also be demanding this of our elected politicians.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Strike day rallies 10th July 2014
Our members are making a stand now on pay in local government and schools.  Pay has fallen by a fifth since 2010. If you are not a Local government member you can still visit a picket line near you to show your support and attend a rally this Thursday.
12:30pm – 1.30pm Rally at Piccadilly Gardens
Chaired by Angela Rayner – UNISON NW Regional Convenor
UNISON Speaker: Sue Glithero – Vice Chair UNISON NW Local Government, National Chair UNISON NJC Committee
10:30am – March assembles at the Pier Head.  Moving off at 11am
12:30pm – 1.30pm Rally at St. George’s Hall Plateau
UNISON Speaker : Glen Williams – UNISON NW Vice President, National Chair UNISON Local Government SGE 
11:00am – March assemble at the Corn Market, Lune Street.  Moving off at 11.45am
12:00pm – 1:00pm Rally at Flag Market
UNISON Speaker : Chris Lomax – Lancashire County UNISON, Chair Preston Trades Council
11:00am – 12:30pm Rally at Town Hall Square
UNISON Speaker : Paula Barker – UNISON NW Deputy Regional Convenor

12.30pm Gather for Rally at the Bandstand.  Speakers from 1:00pm.
Chaired by Dave Armstrong - UNISON NW Regional Organiser
UNISON Speaker: Paul Lloyd – Cumbria Branch Assistant Branch Secretary
My speech to UNISON National Delegate conference 2014 #uNDC14 that didn't get heard (too far down the agenda in the rule amendments debate).

As members of the Development and Organisation (D&O) sub committee of the NEC we are allocated speeches as NEC members on proposed rule amendments by the UNISON Presidential team. This was a rule amendment (D&O committee is responsible for recommending policy on Rule amendments to the full NEC) that was opposed by the NEC and that I was happy to speak against.

Tony Wilson, NEC speaking against proposed Rule amendment 10 which seeks to extend the requirements of nominations for Service Group Executives by changing Rule number D3.5.10.

Currently anyone can be nominated to stand for election to the Service Group Executive and be a candidate if they have been 'nominated by at least one branch from within the Regional Service Group or by a Regional Self organised Group'.

The proposed change would mean that the bar would be pushed a little higher that is to say someone seeking nomination would need either 2 branches from within the Region OR nominations from one branch and one self organised group. It also clarifies that only members within that service group can vote within the self organised group.

At first glance this can seem reasonable, however this could prove problematic for some members of smaller service groups in some Regions. It is possible due to changes and mergers some service groups and sectors only have one branch within a Region. Therefore for someone in that one branch they could only get a nomination if nominated by a self organised group and no service group can guarantee they have members on that Regional self organised group.

The NEC believes an unintended consequence could be that if passed this rule could become unworkable in some areas and restrict democracy in the union by making it harder for candidates to put themselves forward. It can be difficult already for members with the time and energy required to take up higher office within the union. We don't want to make it still harder for members.

We believe as a union it's important for the democracy and participation within the union that ordinary members are encouraged to be part of the top table whether it's the NEC or Service Group Executive. None of us are there by right.

Also it is not the case that that Service Group Executive seats are often contested by multiple candidates.

The process of election to Service Group Executives and NEC can be complicated and we don't want any additional complications.

Conference, the NEC believes this rule amendment if carried could create difficulties for smaller service groups and would be detrimental to the democracy of the union. Please oppose. Thank you.