Upstairs Downstairs

Well this certainly was a revelation; I had no idea that the majority of those NEC members who align themselves with the hard left faction, don’t even meet in the same room as the NEC. They choose to inhabit a room on one of the lower floors. Even though provision is made for them to join the NEC; they just choose not to. They claim to be showing solidarity with another member who has medical issues. It seems very odd that 15-20 of your NEC members don’t even engage at probably one of UNISON’s most important meetings. They are mic’d up to the chamber so they can take part and I am told that the start of the meeting usually involves a cacophony of noise and claims that the tech isn’t working, for the purpose of causing disruption.

It seems absurd that people who have been elected to represent members behave in this way; self segregating so they don’t have to take part fully with the NEC. UNISON members would do well to remember this in the forthcoming NEC elections. One would expect that a commitment to fully engage with the NEC would be mandatory if not an obligation.

There was a presentation on recruitment for the forthcoming Grovember initiative. The faction asked about servicing members who work for private contractors, suggesting that unison probably shouldn’t recruit them unless they are serviced by the centre. The response from Dave Pentis was that it would have been sorted if the review motion had been passed at National Delegate Conference. Hmmmm, wonder who was responsible for bringing that down?

A discussion followed on direct debit subscriptions, with a faction member claiming that a number of members don’t have bank accounts. This may be true, but you have to wonder how they get paid. It was clear that they were angling for direct cash collection, for reasons we can only speculate on.

Of course the NHS pay deal came up. As you will recall reader, I have reported on this previously and outlined the hard left faction’s plan to undermine it by making claims that UNISON mislead members on the deal. This is categorically untrue! This of course cannot be said of the RCN who recently issued an apology to their members for misleading them. The faction have tried to lump UNISON with the RCN on this matter, but the evidence and ballot result tell a very different story.

Using RCN issue to whip up trouble when our members made a democratic decision on the offer is unacceptable.

It was reported that the NHS pay deal had brought thousands of staff within the living wage threshold, which is a good news story. Not seen the hard left faction celebrating this achievement and I doubt we ever will.

Another previous reported issue was discussed, that of the Dave Prentis article in the New Statesman regarding UNISON’s Labour Link decision to support the IHRA definition on anti semitism. As you will all know, the definition has now been re-adopted by the Labour Party after much furore. The President made it clear that the business of Labour Link was not for discussion at the NEC as not all NEC members are levy payers or members of the Labour Party. The point was made that if people wanted to be part of the debate they should join the party.

Dave Prentis explained that he had written the article in the New Statesman in a personal capacity. He had been referred to as the General Secretary of UNISON because that’s who he is. A faction member said that they had not received a response to the letter they had written to Prentis on the article. It transpires that Prentis had responded on the 23rd August. Strangely enough, an apology from the faction member was not forthcoming. I not that the individual has put the response on the hard left factions facebook page. Of course they had neglected to to supply the full facts or offer an apology.

Dave Prentis pointed out that he had said nothing different than others had said. UNISON has adopted a policy on anti semitism not the IHRA. The IHRA definition was Labour policy in 2016 and it does not impinge on the work of the union with regards to Palestine. UNISON continues to work with trade unions in Palestine. UNISON’s policy is and has always bee a two state solution. He said go back to conference if you want to change it. He is proud of the fact that UNISON came out against anti semitism, it is blight of the party. We need a labour government and that is what we should be focusing on. The NEC had agreed at a previous meeting that anti semitism is racism and therefore they would denounce it. This was a unanimous decision.

The faction want to discuss the general Secretary election of 2016, particularly on the Certification Officer report. The president gave his commitment that the report would come to NEC, but all processes have not been completed and the matter can”t discussed until process is done. This is a matter that has troubled no one outside of the unison action camp. It is quite clear that they want the opportunity to bully and make accusations against staff and lay leaders. This for all intents and purposes is a dead issue. The world has moved on considerably and it certainly is not an issue that is of any importance to UNISON members, not that it ever was.

If you are having trouble sleeping, I suggest you look it up, it’s freely available online. Quite interesting that those who are named from the faction in the document don’t exactly come out smelling of roses. These observations will no doubt be ignored.

I have never understood why they are so keen to beat up our union and make claims that it is corrupt in some way; that certainly is not the case. Spending valuable time on this kind of incessant navel gazing is pointless and prevents the union from getting on with work that actually makes a difference. I suppose if you are self obsessed, you may not want to move the spotlight.

My contact told me that a lot of these arguments are brought up over and over again, and valuable time is wasted by this perpetual hate of our union. The hard left faction claim that UNISON is not a fighting union; apparently a number of branches taking industrial action were discussed at the meeting. Interesting to note that most of them were branches that don’t associate with the faction.

Sounds like NEC meeting are somewhat convoluted due to the constant time wasting of the hard left faction. Is this really what we want from our leadership? Remember! Unison action broad left is brought to you by the same people who created militant (now the Socialist party). We all know how that ended.

Thanks for reading.

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