1. Get technical – get on top of budgets.
2. Get political. There has been a lot of disengagement by branches in politics - especially in England. Nowadays a lot of branches do not think they should engage politically but I think we should be doing this. We have to use the local elections to give the coalition a “bloody nose” if we can. This is essential. Certainly not everything was rosy under a Labour government and Labour councils, we all know that, but just think of the difference between now and then. We have to undermine them.
UNISON branches are doing an amazing job day in and day out. We may not stop every redundancy. But we have seen success by taking councils on over finance, equality impact statements and campaigning. We have had successful industrial action and I am sure we will continue to have more. This is a government who despite being hard nose bastards can be forced to backtrack and do a “U turn”. Have seen this over Forests but also plans to cut housing benefit for those who are unemployed. There was a partial victory over EMA and the “break” over plans to privatise our NHS. It can be done. Got to be very canny about the way we do it.
So what to do? March 26th was a great day. In itself it may have affected the NHS proposals. They, the government, would love us to wear ourselves out by constant marching and industrial action. How do we build on March 26th? How to keep the pressure up on the government and coalition councils? Develop a massive movement against this government from the bottom up. There is no other alternative. We can have another March 26 and this would not change the governments mind. We in housing have to work with tenant and resident groups, voluntary organisations and others and not just fight for pay and pensions. The groups who are taking action against tax corruption such as London Citizens and UK uncut. Important social movements that are born of the same feelings as us. They are different from us. We in the unions are big organisations and are use to leading, but we have to work with others. There are problems with the politics. But by working with other unions and peoples who feel like us - we can derail this government".