Analysing the unison action broad left manifesto

Before anyone says that the document is not produced by the hard left faction ‘unison action broad left left’, let’s just be clear, they have produced it.

This is a short analysis of the document that is accompanying the hard left faction’s slate. If you disagree with this analysis, I welcome your comments. I would also welcome any comments from the candidates themselves. I very much doubt they will. As they have been whipped not to respond to this blog for fear of being exposed.

The National Executive Council Elections are very important for the leadership of our union. Every 2 years, we the members elect the leaders of our union. The NEC works in a democratic way on the principles of collective responsibility and accountability. They are a diverse group who represent the entirety of our union and make major decisions through discussion, debate, consensus and democratic process. The NEC employ staff to assist in delivering its work program and maintain its structures, including operating within the rules and values of the union. The governance of the union is overseen by the NEC who are lay members just like you.

FOR A LEADERSHIP THAT LEADS

We need a serious national leadership for joined-up strike action against the government & employers.

The hard-left fact believe that the response to any issue must be strike action. Driven on by their SWP/Socialist party sponsors, their intent is to use industrial action, not to better the working conditions and pay of our members, but to politicise disputes with the aim of overthrowing the government. In these circumstances the views and needs of members will become a means to achieving this primary aim. They do not care about what happens to members or the issues that arise out of conflict. They are very often no where to be seen after a dispute or be involved in the work required in rebuilding good industrial relations.

What this statement actually means is that they want to remove the legal safeguards and protections afforded to members, so they can initiate strike action whenever and for whatever they want. The hard-left faction care nothing for the consequences, legal or otherwise. They choose to shout it down claiming that the union is undemocratic and blairite. Nothing could be further from the truth, the final say on strike action is always that of the members.

ACROSS THE SECTORS

We must support members in every sector – including the private and community sectors, fighting to win collective bargaining rights.

This is an attempt to gain votes from the private and community sectors. The suggestion that UNISON does not support them is ridiculous. Hard working activists in both of these sectors are fighting to gain agreements with employers supported by the union. Of course the hard-left faction’s approach is to use strike action to try and force employers to their will.

FOR UNITY

UNISON must take a high profile lead, alongside other trade unions in fighting racism, as well as working with organisations opposing racism and fascism. For an anti austerity message of jobs, homes and services – not racism.

This one somewhat misses the mark as well as being offensive in the suggestion that UNISON does not fight racism or have a high profile in the fight. Of all the trade unions, UNISON’s record on fighting racism and fascism is solid. UNISON does have many affiliations with anti racism groups such as Hope not Hate, an arrangement that goes back to their inception. Let’s not forget that the hard-left faction wants to put in a motion to prevent Hope not Hate from attending our conferences.

I am not quite sure because of the way it is written, that they aren’t saying that UNISON is not putting out messages of anti austerity, jobs homes and services and putting out racist messages. If this is the case, they should be ashamed of themselves. Let’s remember, they were content to share racist materials on their facebook page. They refused to remove this material, which is there to this day. They attacked Dave Prentis for showing leadership and taking action against anti-semitism. Check their social media output and you will find nothing that attacks anti-semitism.

They were repeatedly asked to give their position on anti-semitism, they never responded!

FOR A SOCIALIST, ANTI-AUSTERITY LABOUR PARTY

No more members’ money should go to support MPs/Councillors attacking Jeremy Corbyn. We must support any Councillors making a stand against cuts and call on Labour Councils to stand up against the cuts now.

The right to criticise the Labour leader or indeed any labour politician is the right of all Labour Party members where there is justification. To cut off support for people that share our values and provide a voice for us in parliament and local councils is naïve. It’s a bit “pot calling kettle” this one, given the amount of abuse they have given Dave Prentis and other officials of our union.

Labour Link have the responsibility to make decisions about financial support, which is actually limited in its operation. The fact the SWP/Socialist party members believe that they can dictate UNISON policy outside of rules beggars belief. The issues that surround Labour councils and austerity are very complicated and that is as much as I will say in this critique.

As far as I am aware, the Labour Party are a socialist anti austerity party, or am I mistaken? What they really mean is a SWP/Socialist party influenced Labour Party.

FOR A GENERAL ELECTION NOW!

We should be using our influence in the TUC for a national demonstration to kick this government out.

Anyone who believes that work is not being undertaken by UNISON through the TUC and Labour link does not know our union. UNISON and the TUC could call for a national demonstration, but in reality what would it achieve at this time? Time effort and resources would be better utilised in creating a credible alternative that is electable and supports UNISON’s aims and objectives.

Is having a demonstration really what is is important to UNISON members who are struggling with the cost of living, the threats to jobs and services and the uncertainty of Brexit?

FOR DEMOCRACY

Members and activists must have full transparent, democratic control over the union.

These elections are a transparent democratic process and members will make the decision on who represents them on the National Executive Council. The NEC has governance on all things which are moderated through the rules of the union and the agreed protocols and processes. What the hard-left faction mean by this is not actually about democracy or indeed transparency. What they want is to be able to ignore the rules, processes and procedures that do not fit their objectives. They want to overturn democratic decisions and scrap collective responsibility. Those that are currently on the NEC don’t even sit with the NEC. They prefer to be in a different room and not to engage fully with the democratic process. See my previous post  Upstairs Downstairs 

FOR FAIRER BRANCH FUNDING

Put the money where the work is!

The issue of funding is always going to be an issue as the resources of the union are not infinite. What they mean by putting the money where the work is; is linked to their attitude towards strike and funding of the SWP/Socialist party. There have been too many examples of monies being spirited away from branches preventing much needed work and functionality. There are strict rules surrounding the use of members money for good reason. Doubtless there will be much debate at National Delegate conference on this subject.

DEFEND THE RIGHT TO DISSENT!

Branches and members must have the right to campaign against national policy – including opposing pay deals – free from interference of unelected union officers.

This really does demonstrate their anti-democratic, anti-rules, separatist stance. One of their number was suspended from office and they perpetuated the myth that it was for speaking out against the Health pay deal. This turned out not to be true; the individual concerned was put under investigation because of their behaviour towards a member of staff. Sadly I don’t know the precise details, but is was sufficient to warrant an investigation. The matter has since been dealt with through the appropriate process. The decision to suspend the individual and the subsequent investigation was made by Lay officials of the NEC who have responsibility for these matters.

The NEC employs staff to undertake certain duties and on its behalf and work within the rules and direction of the NEC. All decisions are made by elected Lay officials. In the example given, the individual concerned appeared before a panel of elected Lay officials who made the decision based on the evidence presented under the a process of natural justice. Having heard the case, the decision was made to lift the suspension and as far as I am aware, no obvious sanction was imposed. Of course none of this was mentioned by the hard-left faction or on the individuals campaign facebook page. The hard-left faction continue to perpetuate the myth that their comrade was a victim of of over zealous paid officials.

Taking all of the above into account, what exactly is the relevance to ordinary subs paying members? Well not a lot really. As a member I want the people we elect to operate within the rules, support our union and most importantly support them when they need it. Unison action broad left work on an SWP/Socialist party agenda; they take a parochial view of the world based on their own agenda.

Reader, I ask you to seriously consider what a vote for anyone on their slate will mean for our union. We need strong voices to represent us and we need people who are interested in the issues that matter to us and that put our union first. It is perfectly ok for people to have different political view points but bring our union’s aims and values into those politics, not those political aims into our union.

The elections start on the 15th April 2019 and run until the 17th May, please choose wisely and continue to keep our union something to be proud of.

Thanks for reading.

G I Jayne

Season of the Idiots

Here we go again, the hard left faction making allegations that democracy is under attack within the NEC. Well in fairness that is true; but its from them not the union. I covered the issue in this submission https://guest-informant.com/2018/12/18/claims-that-unison-is-anti-democratic-are-bogus/ By and large, my comments are unchanged.

Of course claims that the Socialist party are not pulling unison action broad left’s strings, are dashed by this article from the nations favourite cat litter liner https://m.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/28645/06-02-2019/unison-democracy-and-the-right-to-speak-out-are-under-threat The usual suspects including the shady characters feature large on this one. They do seem to love a self made martyr!

So here we go again; the hard left faction are ratcheting up the rhetoric, painting themselves as the victims of an overbearing union bent on destroying democracy and gagging the Socialist party heroes who are standing up for the right to speak. This of course is utter tosh, no one is prevented from speaking, but there is a reasonable expectation that members of the NEC will respect collective responsibility. This is something they have no intention of following.

I note with interest that the hard left faction has presented a motion on the NEC election procedures that they will no doubt submit to national Delegate Conference and encourage others to follow suit. Of course what is behind this is the fact that they are an external organisation, something that they either don’t understand or that they refuse to understand. All sorts of bogus claims are made in support of the motion. I have no doubt that the standing orders committee will rule it out of order as it is beyond the remit of conference at the very least. Clearly it has been penned by the Socialist party who seem to think they are the experts on UNISON’s rules, obviously they are not.

I hear on the grapevine that Skippy has been found, I think I will notch that up to my successful campaign. Just for clarities sake, I don’t think they were found in a mineshaft.

Thanks for reading

GI Jayne

The faction that refuses to accept that it is a faction

The hard left faction otherwise known as unison action broad left, who are backed by the SWP/Socialist party, received a cold dose of reality at the recent NEC meeting (6th December 2018). Now officially recognised as an outside body by UNISON, they have not taken the news well. They are claiming that this designation is anti democratic and an abuse of human rights. This of course nonsense!

They claim that they should have the right to organise against our union and actively campaign against the democratically decided policies of the union and to bully and intimidate officials, both lay and paid, in pursuit of their aims. They also believe they should have the right to campaign on behalf of the SWP/Socialist party within the union, putting their political allegiances before the union.

The NEC debated the procedures for the forthcoming NEC elections and were of the strong belief that outside bodies and political parties should play no part in the elections. Candidates should not be backed or supported financially or otherwise by these groups.

As you would imagine, the hard left faction spoke against the procedures, they even stated that they did not support collective responsibility, which is a fundamental democratic principle and central to the ethical process of the union. I am sure you will agree that this is astounding hypocrisy from the hard left faction who claim to be a democratic organisation. This is clear evidence that they are not.

They procedures were agreed in draft form at the NEC’s Development and Organising committee, having gone through legal scrutiny. Members of the hard left faction were present at the meeting and are bound by collective responsibility, this didn’t prevent them from voting against it at the NEC meeting.

I note that they have put out a statement on Facebook signed by Socialist party members, the statement most probably penned by one of the shady characters who associate themselves with the faction.

They are claiming that the election procedures are outside of UNISON’s rules against the democracy guidelines and a breach of Human rights, namely freedom of association. Theses allegations have no basis in fact and could be considered as pure fantasy and wishful thinking.

I welcome the decision of the NEC and congratulate them on showing true leadership in standing up to the bullying and corrosive hard left faction. This is not before time!

I am sure this won’t be last we hear of this as there is nothing more than a futile campaign to make them feel as though they are valid. They do like to whip up a storm and drop it as soon as the terrain gets a little difficult. You will no doubt hear all sorts of allegations and threats from the hard left faction, but they cannot hide from the truth, they are not part of UNISON, they are an external body who work outside the rules of out union for their own political ends supported by the SWP/Socialist party.

Our union should always come first and we should always support collective decisions wether we personally support them or not, that is the grown up responsible thing to do.

Thanks for reading.

GI Jayne

Rumor, Speculation and Intrusion

A recent posting on the hard-left faction’s Facebook page linking to a story in the Nursing Notes Blog, illustrates attempts to link UNISON to the indiscretions of the RCN over the Health pay deal. It makes claims that UNISON Staff were threatened with disciplinary action for encouraging Health members to reject the offer. The sub heading of the story reads “An astounding 84% of Unison members voted to accept the pay deal which the union sold as a 6.5% increase over three years”, suggesting that Health members were duped by UNISON into accepting the deal.

The information provided by UNISON was factual and members voted on that basis. Unlike the ballot, the hard-left faction did not communicate with all members subject to the deal; the members spoke, and it was a resounding ‘Yes’. Time to accept that members make the decisions not unison action.

Apparently a “leaked email” provides evidence that staff were threatened and suspended for speaking out, suggesting that their motivation was one of whistleblowing rather than misconduct. It may be a reasonable assumption as to origin of the “leaked email” given previous posts by the faction on this subject. It would of course been helpful if the full content of the email had been provided, thus giving context and identifying its origin.

It is not for me to comment on an internal disciplinary investigation regarding any member of UNISON, other than to say that the process must be completed as per the rules of the union and the all evidence tested before any determination as to the culpability of an individual.

On reading the comments on the thread, there is a sensible response outlining the responsibilities of those that hold and executive position and the meaning of collective responsibility. Of course, this is attacked by certain individuals who have no interest in the democratic processes of UNISON.

Collective responsibility is the bedrock of any trade union and any attempt to undermine it is an act of anarchism. It is a reasonable expectation from trade union members that the people they elect to represent them will actually represent their views and not the views of a faction or political party.

I do hope that UNISON will be challenging the story and its content as it gives an inaccurate portrayal of the facts. Clearly its purpose is to add fuel to fire on the alleged conspiracy relating to the Health pay agreement. It is also worth pointing out that UNISON is not the RCN, no matter how badly the faction wants it to be.

Thanks for reading.

GI Jayne

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