Sunday, April 06, 2008

UNISON Local Government Service Group Executive Elections (London region)

Following my last post on the UNISON London Health SGE elections (in support of Layla, Bill and Rachel). Here is a copy of a flyer that Irene and I are sending out for the London Local Government SGE elections.

In the picture left Irene is seen receiving a prize for being the top trade union recruiter for 2007 with Gordon. You all know by now what I look like.

If you are a member of UNISON Local Government in London, please copy this flyer and email to any other members you know. UNISON branch funds and distribution lists should not be used. Ballot papers are due to be sent out tomorrow to members home addresses.

Irene is a traditional Labour Party supporter and is a care assistant in Newham. She is standing against a SP candidate. While I am standing against the incumbent United left candidate (David Eggmore) as well as a high profile Socialist Party candidate (Glenn Kelly) and Oreleo Melvin Du Cann. My candidacy has in the recent past caused discord amongst the comrades. Shame.


Vote Irene Stacey and John Gray for the UNISON London Elections April 2008

Dear UNISON Member

You will shortly get ballot papers from UNISON for important London wide union elections. These ballot papers will be sent to you at home.

The elections are important since the people who you elect will directly represent you and all other London UNISON members nationally.

Irene Stacey has worked in schools and home care for over 20 years and is Newham Branch Secretary. She has represented London in UNISON for many years. John Gray is a housing estate officer in Tower Hamlets, branch health & safety officer and the elected London UNISON Finance Convenor.

Irene and John are standing as UNISON London representatives because they believe it is time for change. They want London to send representatives to National UNISON who put ordinary members interests at heart and put members concerns first.

They also want the union to listen to London and help us fight low pay, privatisation, poor health & safety, and inequality.

Irene and John are also UNISON Labour Link members. They want to use our influence in the Labour Party to work for and promote UNISON aims and values. Protest or gesture politics are a luxury we cannot afford.





Anonymous said...

Good luck, John!

Anonymous said...

I thought Irene Stacey was and has been for a longish time on full time secondment to her branch for which she gets an honorarium or something from the branch to up her pay? And isn't she on the NEC so is already representing us at National Level? I just have a problem with any NEC emembers standing for national seats -it just seems a bit greedy? Wish you well John.

John Gray said...

Anon 2 thanks as well...but, I don't know whether Irene gets a honorarium or not but I think that active low paid staff fully deserve such payments. It is simply wrong that all UNISON seconded lay officers are expected to carry out the same work and responsibilities when there are often huge salary differences.

John Gray said...

Anon 1 Thanks!

ian said...

What is 'protest' and 'gesture' politics?



Sean said...

John so who is the socialist party candidate? Are there three candidates as the only other one I know isnt a member of that party? Do look forward to your response and an admittance of wrong if you are speaking about Sonya Howard

Anonymous said...

So how are Irene and you proposing to fight low pay privatisation,etc? Or is that gesture politics too? UNISON's response to the Darzi report -which seems to recommend privatisation in health which will impact on all - hasn't been challenged by either candidate but it is about privatisation and of course that will mean an attack on pay too!

And if Irene stacey campaigns against low pay what has she done in her time as the long term low paid NEC member for this region? But then perhaps it is all gesture and nothing concrete? If someone can direct me to something that Irene stacey has done or taken to the NEC from this region and reported back /done on behalf of low paid members I may be tempted to vote for her but I ain't seen nothing yet!If you stand on behalf of a group then fight and speak for that group and let us know what you are doing! If you don't do that then just go away.

John Gray said...

Hi Ian
Good point. “Irene and John are also UNISON Labour Link members. They want to use our influence in the Labour Party to work for and promote UNISON aims and values. Protest or gesture politics are a luxury we cannot afford”.

Personally, I think that while it is perfectly legitimate, right and proper that trade union members can criticise the Union and the Party about particular policies and decisions. I think that if people want to actually influence and change things then they must surely have to consider whether or not the way they express their views will have the desired effect or not. I do not want to belong to any "debating societies".

It’s really easy at some trade union meetings to get cheap laughs and applause by simply attacking the Party or the trade union leadership. What is more difficult is actually trying to change things. This “difficulty”, in a Party which is not anymore (if it ever was) the “Political wing” of the trade union movement, is made even more difficultly by some activists who don’t care whether or not their views will harm the Party or the cause. Since they must surely realise that they are not doing anything positive by their attacks. I must conclude that they must just enjoy their “grandstanding”.

Now, I recognises that “anti-trade unionists” within the Party (and they of course exist) will tar all criticism with the same brush. There is to my mind a huge difference between constructive criticism on points of principle and the utterly, utterly vile bilge that comes out from certain folk.

John Gray said...

Hi Sean
Of course profuse and very sincere apologies (“no insult intended”) to Sonya if I got this wrong. I thought that someone said she was? However, thinking about it, SPEW is not a member of the United left, so she can’t be a member?

Also the first time I think that I really met Sonya was at a “Labour Friends of Iraq” meeting at the House of Commons a few years ago. So now doubt she is a good and loyal Labour Party member just like your good self? But why is she standing against our Irene?

John Gray said...

Hi Anon
Actually I think that UNISON contribution and response to the Darzi report is a pretty good result. If people actually bothered to read the report they will realise that UNISON has helped stop the Blairite wholesale privatisation of the NHS. Recently, thanks to Brown singing from a different song sheet, the senior NHS management in London have moved away from their “if it moves privatise” stance. Maybe get your facts rights before having a go? Typical example of gesture politics?

I notice that critics of Irene on low pay from the far left, tend to hold much better paid “SO: senior officer or even Principle Officer: PO ” grade positions themselves, so I tend to find such criticism a little rich (pardon the pun).

Irene is perfectly able to defend herself of course, but it is difficult to defend herself from attacks from someone who obviously knows her, but prefers to have a go at her without having the courage of their convictions to identify themselves.

However, I think that we can see in London, at long last, low paid members benefiting from single status and equal pay increases.

The Far left toy town revolutionaries, of course, never gave a damn about low paid women. Far too much work to organise.

Finally, with regard to "going away" I’m due in the next few weeks to go away to Devon for a few days? Is that what you mean? Is that what you mean?

Sean said...

hmmmm so its that old far left toytown revolutinary thing again! Would love to know who fits into this mythical boogeyman category. Personally I recruit anywhere I can and around 40% of our branch work in areas like cleaning, catering, smsa's, teaching assistants, residential workers,and homecarers. Hard work but work which pays dividends when it has allowed us to force up terms and conditions and be on the verge of completing a single status deal. Hard work certainly but rewarding both in sense of fairness and justice and the loyalty and commitment of those who work in such fields to their union.

Andrew Berry said...

Why are you standing against our David?

Sonya Howard said...

Hello John,

we've never been introduced and so I was surprised to hear that you had made reference to me in your blog. So a big hi to you and hope to speak to you at the next UNISON event or committee that we are both at.

So with the formalities out of the way, Sean has already mentioned to you that I'm not a member of the Socialist Party. For absolute clarity, I'm not a member of any political party which I believe I state in my election address. I have never been a member of the Socialist Party and have not been a member of the Labour Party for many years. I am one of many who support the United Left and who are not members of any political party.

The specific reason for my canditature is that the current incumbent, Jean Geldhart is standing down this year. I would not of considered standing if Jean was standing. Therefore the seat is a vacant seat. Colleagues in UNISON persuaded me that I would be a good candidate though I do think Jean's shoes will be very hard to fill.

I've got a strong track record in UNISON. You clearly don't know my history within the trade union movement but I'd be happy to disuss this with you though I'd rather do it face to face rather than over these new fangled computer things.

Anyway, this is my first ever comment to anyone's blog so I think I'll end it now.

John Gray said...

Hi Sean
I’m surprised you don’t recognise the (admittedly) stereotypes? I could name names I suppose? You of course had made it clear in the past that you come from a proper working class background so I accept that this does not apply to good self. However, I think you must have come across many similar characters as me in the past.

Keep up the good work with recruiting and representing “manual” members. Not that sure that I agree that these members are necessarily any better than other members? But I think I know what you meant.

John Gray said...

Hi Andrew
Yes, but is he “your David”. I have never actually spoken to David about UNISON politics (so this is just speculation) but my impression is that the old school NALGO London branch activists do not have a very high opinion of “United Left” at all. However, for some unknown reasons some still seeks UL support at internal elections? Why?

John Gray said...

Hi Sonia
Welcome to blog land! Apologies for suggesting that Irene was standing against a SP candidate. That must have been quite shocking to you I must admit. However, I was repeating something that I was told in good faith.

It was actually my old mucker, Sean who actually mentioned your name on this blog! However, please be formally “introduced” to me at the next UNISON meeting.

Quite rightly you point out that I know very little about your trade union record, and I would interested in learning more. I really do not understand how non Trotskyite trade unionists can support United Left. So very keen to learn.

Andrew Berry said...

Indeed and she is your Irene I was being sarcastic about your somewhat daft comment as to why someone could stand against "our" Irene.

John Gray said...

Thanks for that Andrew – you know, I would never have guessed you were being sarcastic!