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

PERCEPTION! a confusion of facts

Here we go again, the hard left faction making a mountain out of a molehill or rather a reality out of a perception. The latest lunacy from unison action broad left is a ridiculous attack on the perception many people have of trade unions and which are perpetuated by anti trade union politicians (otherwise known as the government).

So let’s be clear what we are talking about; the dictionary definition “perception”- the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. The hard left faction definition “perception” – this is the truth, the reality, the actual facts.

What they are saying? This was posted on their twitter feed, “There is so much wrong with it. It denigrates battles fought by previous generations. It implies that militant struggle is only the property of men. It erases Grunwick. It ignores the current battles in Glasgow & Birmingham. It’s shameful”.

It would be so easy to insult their crass stupidity on this matter, but I will refrain; a bit… They actually prove the point of the caption in their comment. This is the “perception” P E R C E P T I O N… For crying out loud!

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Of course perception does not reflect the facts as it is based on assumption. Do a google search for NUPE strike and you will see many sisters involved in strike action, so I am surprised that they reference Grunwick (http://www.striking-women.org/module/striking-out/grunwick-dispute) and how “perception could erase a well reported documented dispute by Asian women. Also worth remembering that they lost the dispute, something the hard left faction claims as a success.

This is fact not perception. If the only pictures of strike are of the Miners Strike or Longbridge etc. Then your “perception” will be exactly as described. Of course the real reason for this faux outrage is to have another go at UNISON, their favourite target. They of course know best, they of course can run the union better. The Grunwick dispute ran for two years, can you imagine any public service workers taking sustained industrial action for that length of time? Also worth noting that the Grunwick strikes were not in any of UNISON’s partner unions.

As with all things, the hard-left faction’s ideology is rooted in the 1970’s when life was a little simpler economically for working people. The law enabled trade unions to act in a more militant way and to offer support in a very different way. The world has moved on and deindustrialisation, globalisation, technology and the nature of debt has changed communities for ever. The economic stresses and strains on modern workers is completely different.

I am told that a number of people that associate themselves with unison action are independently wealthy, so they would be able to survive the financial impact of industrial action far better than the people they encourage to fight their politically charged disputes.

As I have said before, I am not anti strike, it has its place and when used effectively can be successful. The hard left faction wants strikes all of the time, it is there first line of attack. Well let me tell you, I have been involved in organising industrial action, I have taken part in industrial action and the work involved does not finish when the dispute has ended. It can take a lot of effort, time and pain to rebuilt a relationship with you members and your employer. Funny how these people are never around to help with that heavy load. The move onto the next dispute so they can make themselves look good and massage their own egos. I have seen it many times, they just abandon the members and the activists.

The childlike affectation of unison action broad left is to be pitied, how sad it is that adults can behave in a way that is detrimental to our members and our union. Their SWP/Socialist party fuelled outdated fantasy politics is tired and impotent and best left in the 1970’s where it belongs. The absurd dick swinging and pissing contests is pathetic, they really need to grow up and put away their childish fantasies.

The piece in the UNISON activist magazine identifies that we need to wipe away the perceptions of what modern trade unionism is about. It seeks to encourage members to get involved and get active. It most certainly is not about reinforcing stereotypes or attacking disputes of the past. UNISON recognises that trade unionism has had to change, that our tools have had to be adapted to deal with 21st century situations. People have changed and so have their needs. This latest attempt to rubbish UNISON is most likely out of fear, because the hard left faction know its days are numbered.

Thanks for reading.

GI Jayne

We want you to sign this, but we don’t know why?

The hard-left faction is encouraging people to sign a petition to end the suspension of an NEC member, but they don’t know why other than they want the suspension to be lifted saying “We do not know if these views and her suspension are linked”. I did have to giggle at this as it reminded me so much in its absurdity of the “Judean People’s Front” or if you would prefer “the People’s Front of Judea”.

Not knowing the facts of any situation is a trait of the faction, often ignoring the evidence to perpetuate a pointless campaign. When confronted with the facts they will usually ignore them or accuse the person giving them the facts, of being a Blairite or right wing. I am not sure that this petition will be of any benefit to the person they are seeking to support. I don’t know if the person themselves has sanctioned this petition, if this is the case, I would imagine that it would not support their case.

The facts of the case are unknown to me as they are to them, so anything in the absence of these facts is only speculation, rumor and wishful thinking; they do love a martyr. Of course, given the hard-left faction’s trope of UNISON being a corrupt evil empire run by right wing demagogues, it is not surprising that they jump on any bandwagon that they believe supports that view.

Looking at the comments on the post, pledges of solidarity are made, there is outrage and disbelief, my favorite being “Absolutely disgraceful. They cannot be allowed to get away with this”. I do have to smile as the person posting the petition and the petition itself makes it clear that they do not know why the suspension is in place and as they say, “We do not know if these views and her suspension are linked”.

It is worth noting that the petition says that signatories are signing in a personal capacity; if that is the case, why have they included their branch/national positions? That is not a personal capacity, is it?

If you were to ask them why they want the suspension lifted what would they say? What would be the rational for the request? What if the suspension has nothing to do with speaking against the health deal? What if the reason for the suspension is more sinister? For all we know, the suspension may be for dancing naked in the moonlight at national delegate conference; this is the ridiculousness of this document.

No doubt details of the outcome of the investigation will leak out, and without doubt, the facts will be ignored or manipulated to support the hard-left faction’s mania.

I have always believed that if you are going to put your name to something, you must be sure of the facts, particularly if it is in the public domain. In an age of post truth, fake news, you can’t help thinking that the unison action village idiots are taking a leaf out of the orange numpty’s handbook.

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

UNISON Faction Inaction

UNISON members often find themselves at the forefront of major events, being first responders when communities are under attack. Our paramedics, Nurses, Police Civilians, PCSOs, Council Workers to name but a few put those in peril before themselves. Many UNISON members were directly involved in the terror Attacks, such as the Manchester Arena bombing, the attacks on Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. These members were dealing with victims, victims families and the aftermath of the atrocities. The UNISON members involved showed courage and determination in providing services to the public in the worst of situations. All these members are worthy of our thanks and admiration for working beyond the call of duty.

I know that many UNISON Branches gave thanks to their members for doing such a good job, reflecting the gratitude of the public and authorities alike, and quite right too. What annoys me intensely, is that the hard left faction did not even acknowledge one single member, or acknowledge that anything had happened. No messages of support, no messages of thanks and definitely no messages of solidarity.

Being a public service worker can be a very difficult job, working in areas that the others would shy away from. I for one believe that UNISON members are brilliant and mean so much more to us than fodder for strike action in support of an SWP/Socialist Party political agenda. UNISON members deserve our respect, acknowledgment and our support. The hard left faction want to take over UNISON and turn it into what they call a fighting union; they don’t have an ounce or respect for UNISON members or the work they do, they are a single issue pressure group backed by the SWP and the Socialist Party. If we allow them to get a grip on UNISON, you will see it collapse and members much needed support will be eroded in favour of their political agenda. Shame on them and their political masters.

I say thank you to UNISON members and all the work you do on our behalf, I notice you, I acknowledge you, I believe in you and I am proud of you,

Thanks for reading.

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