Time for change in local government union?
There is an election for the role of Secretary in North Lincolnshire Local Government UNISON branch this week. Sounds pretty dull doesn't it. There are, however, serious issues at stake about the future of jobs and services in the town and serious debates about the type of union we need. I am standing in the election in the hope that we can build a union that genuinely represents and defends its members and is prepared to take a lead in defending local services. I spoke at a campaign meeting last night at Heslam Park and have been asked by several people who couldn't be there to post a copy of my speech. That would take up too much space so here is a slimmed down version....
Between 2011 and 2015, funding for local councils is being
cut by £7.6 billion, a 26% cut. So far less than 50% of those cuts have been
achieved and 12% of councils are at risk of not balancing the books. This is
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
not scaremongering, these figures come direct from the National Audit Office.
The argument that Cameron, Clegg and Co use is that
austerity is necessary, there isn't enough money in the pot, there is no
alternative to cuts. It is all lies!
In 2011, bankers bonuses totalled £7 billion, four UK banks
made £24 billion in profit last year. Add in all the unpaid tax from Vodaphone,
Starbucks, Amazon, Topshop, Boots and the picture starts to look a little
different. Reining in the banks and collecting the tax we are owed would make
all of these cuts unnecessary. Even Tory economists at Goldman Sachs now say
that austerity is harming the economy and have called on George Osborne to come
up with a Plan B.
We do not have to sit back and accept the cuts. When the
banking crisis hit in Iceland
in 2008 the people of Iceland
certainly didn't sit back. The Government was sacked, banks nationalised, the
constitution changed to stop the abuse from happening again. There have been two citizen uprisings, totally peaceful and now
200 bankers and executives face criminal charges. Has the Icelandic economy
been damaged by this? Actually quite the opposite. They have seen 7 consecutive
quarters of growth, averaging 2.5% per annum, and have an unemployment rate
below 5%, making them the envy of Europe.
On a local level we have a dogmatic Tory council led by
their masters in Westminster, determined to demolish, privatise or outsource
anything they can. The Youth Service is the latest victim, but before that
Childrens Services were attacked, Scotter House is rubble, De Lacy House is
being run down ready for closure. It is rumoured that they have set their
sights on IT and Leisure Services and are complaining about a large overspend
in Adult Services.
What has UNISON had to say? Well, in spite of there being
good shop stewards in the branch, the leadership has been silent.
In times when things are relatively peaceful, a union can
get away with defending individuals and making sure the council follows its
procedures. Expertise in casework is essential and we have a number of stewards
well able to represent members. The situation today, sadly, is far from
peaceful and individual casework will never be enough to defend us against the
sort of assaults we now face.
The union leadership has become detached from the members it
is supposed to represent and has failed to show any opposition. To behave in
this way is nothing short of colluding with council cuts.
I am standing in the election for Branch Secretary of UNISON
not to simply replace the current secretary. I am standing in the hope that
people will choose to build an effective, accountable, member led union that
can provide meaningful opposition. I am standing for a union that will defend
members jobs, terms and conditions and our services. We need union representation in every office
and depot, regular workplace meetings, an accessible open and honest union that
has a genuine voice and is prepared to take a stand.
The messages of support have been overwhelming. This
campaign is not a one man band but a collective effort to force change. It is
our union and we want it back.