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

Nominations Nominations

You may be forgiven for not noticing that prospective NEC candidates are currently seeking nominations from Branches for the forthcoming NEC elections. The hard-left faction, although trying hard not to fly the unison action broad left flag, are fielding about 50 candidates, if the list they are peddling in their begging letters are to be believed. The most recent of these was circulated at the Black Members Conference.

The list of demands on the leaflet are somewhat confusing, because it looks like they are demanding it of themselves. But let’s be generous and look at each one.

We demand unison action against racism (obviously slotted in to appeal to Black Members) Difficult to understand exactly what they are demanding, as UNISON’s record on challenging racism is pretty solid. Interesting they make this demand, given the fact they allowed racist material to be displayed on their face book page. Hypocrisy of the highest order.

We demand unison action to save our jobs Presumably this is a call for more strikes, as they are clearly failing to recognise the hard work of branches, activists and officers. As a lot of those named are officers and stewards of branches, are they suggesting that they themselves are doing nothing? Well, they are probably not putting the work in were its needed. If your response to everything is strike, you are bound to miss other oportunities.

We demand unison action for decent pay This suggests that UNISON has done nothing on pay, the last time I looked UNISON members voted on pay deals. The hard-left faction do not respect the decisions of members who make democratic decisions. Don’t they trust members to do this? You would think not.

We demand tories out now and a general election Straight from the SWP playbook. This call can be heard at the paste tables of the SWP and Socialist party in most cities. Interesting that they are not demanding this of UNISON, in fact it is not clear who they are demanding it of?

Let’s have a look at some of the comments contained within a unison action broad left nomination request.

The way the nec works must change and It must reach decisions member’s want.

The union works in a democratic way, so by default not everyone is going to be satisfied, It is of course right and proper that democratic decisions are supported by all members of the NEC by virtue of collective responsibility, something the hard-left faction are not keen on.

Given that this individual prefers to segregate themself from the NEC by sitting in a different room, I think I may agree with this one; yes turn up and get involved!

Not content with continuing austerity, members in this region are being forced to work for no pay.

Now forgive me if I am wrong, but isn’t what is described here slavery? Wouldn’t you expect this individual to be reporting this to the police? At the very least you would expect them to do something about it it?

The rule  book states we  are a member led union. But are we? Or are we led by  unelected  paid officers, the  majority of whom are NOT unison.members. And what about the majority  of the  current nec? Can  they  really be  trusted to defend our  member’s.?

This is a long running claim by the hard-left faction that has no basis in fact whatsoever. It does emphasise their total ignorance of how the union works and given this individual has been a member of the NEC for a number of years, it clearly demonstraits that they have not been paying attention. Paid officers of the union are employees of UNISON, who are free to join a trade union. There are a number of trade unions recognised by unison who make up the staff side just like any progressive employer. Some of them are UNISON members mainly for reasons of solidarity. If UNISON did not employ people it would not be able to function.

Can the current NEC members be trusted? Well I don’t think I would be trusting this individual. I am sure that this sort of rhetoric is the cause of great offence to current NEC members who do work hard on behalf of the members.

There must be no more polical witch hunts. Both  branches and members must  have the  right to campaign against  national policy- including  opposing  pay deals – free from faceing  suspension and free from the interference of unelected  of paid officers.

Please read my previous blogs on this subject. To summarise, an individual is currently suspended from UNISON and is under investigation. The hard-left faction are claiming it is for speaking out against UNISON policy. The truth of the matter is that they don’t know what the person is suspended for or what the allegations amount to. They have mounted a campaign of support for a reason that is nothing more than fantasy. I am sure that the truth will leak out once ever the formal process has ended. UNISON has specific rules relating to the conduct of its members and where allegations of a breach of these rules are made, it has a duty to investigate. UNISON employs staff who are trained and able to conduct these investigations. The decision as to wether the allegations are upheld is made by lay officials.

The time has come for members to take control of thier union. Yes  there has been industrial action but these have been grass roots level action and only belatedly received national backing, what we need is an NEC that leads and not follows. No more letting branches  fight alone.

Another old chestnut this one with a touch of the Brexit missive. All industrial action must be approved by the National Industrial Action Committee, having been first approved by the Regional Secretary concerned. There has been industrial action and it has been supported by the wider union and the Regions concerned. If they believe that there has been no industrial action, they must have been living in a bubble.

As I have explained many times before, all industrial action has to abide by legislation to provide protection to both members and the union. The hard-left faction keep ignoring this vitally important point. What they mean by “fighting alone” is that they want secondary action which is unlawful.

What is meant by “an NEC that leads not follows” is beyond me, as to its meaning, perhaps someone could explain it?

Most of the requests that I have seen cover the same territory, some in a slightly different way and many are obviously cut and paste from the same template. The template has probably been penned by the shadowy characters who associate themselves with unison action broad left, obviously fuelled by the SWP/Socialist party.

Having been declared as an outside organisation, unison action broad left are struggling to leave their fingerprints off the campaign, however the cracks are forming. You don’t have to be a forensic genius to to see this.

My advice to you reader, would be to support anyone other than the people that appear on the list. If you care about the union and everything it does, don’t give these people a bigger foothold on your union. They claim they do not want to take over the union; the evidence proves that they do.

Thanks for reading.

GI Jayne

 

 

 

Shameless Showboating Exposed

The hard left-faction couldn’t make its mind up over the reasons for some strike action over the weekend. The attempts to build a molehill into a mountain were sadly scuppered by an informed user.

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This was posted on Saturday (17th November 2018 23:59) Which clearly informs the the reader that members in the branch have voted YES for strike by 74% in a consultative ballot, which apparently is a record turnout over proposals to move from 4 weekly pay to monthly pay. “Members have had enough” it goes on to say.

It’s not exactly clear what members have had enough of though? Have they had enough of being paid? have they had enough of being used as pawns to satisfy the ego of the person posting the information?

A conversation ensued… The below was posted in response.

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So we see the usual defensive mechanism at play here, that someone who points out the obvious flaws is branded an anti-trade union, tool of the bosses. Interesting that they say members understand the issues as they clearly don’t. Perhaps it would have been helpful if they had spoken to the members rather than at them. Our conversation continues…

PH3_LI

The person responding points out the flaws in the argument and the absolute absurdity of resisting something that virtually every worker in the UK experiences. They also take the time to point out how keeping a 4 weekly pay structure will be damaging to workers on universal credit. They also point out that efforts would be best put into negotiating transition arrangements, rather than trying to get them to strike.

Well it didn’t end well for our strikemonger, they were clearly outgunned intellectually and therefore had to withdraw by removing the conversation, probably fearing that their members may read it and realise that they had been duped.

Sometime later, the post was amended…

 

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As you can see by the amended post, the reason for the ballot has changed to be dismissal and re-engagement notices being issued. Now I don’t know about you? but this seems a little disingenuous. If the employer was going to dismiss its workforce, you would have expected a little more noise over it. Words such as “sacking the workforce” would have been used, which is very valid reason for going on strike. It is of course doubtful that there would need to be dismissals as a consequence of changing pay frequency, as it would not be seen as a significant change to the contract. From the employer’s perspective, the administration and legal challenges would not be worth the trouble of dismissal.

There is clearly something not quite right about all this and having been found out the person decided to delete the conversation. Creating a dispute for the sake of it is a despicable thing to do. To do it so you look good and to feed your own ego is also reprehensible. Effort should be in supporting members and resolving issues, not the pursuit of self aggrandisement. You have been caught out and your subterfuge exposed, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Make up your own mind reader, this is just one example of many that shows the hard-left faction for what they are; egotists and charlatans.

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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