Monday, September 15, 2008

UNISON London Regional Local Government Committee

The joy, the joy....having done something awful in a previous life I must now atone for my sins by being a delegate to this committee.

While I think it is important this committee has some representatives who actually reflect the wider membership of the union and recognise that they live in the here and now, it should really be subject to some sort of a preservation order.

Some delegates (excluding myself obviously) actually made some well founded and even articulate arguments (which I may or may not have agreed with). But most of the contributions were from a past golden age in the Labour movement when Trotskyite ranting and postulating actually meant something (not a lot even then).

As someone who loves political history, I revelled in the passionate tales told of duplicitous full time trade union officials, a sell out elected national leadership and numerous accounts of very, very "angry" and very, very "disgusted" members. All of whom want nothing more than strike, after strike, after strike.

Wake up comrades.

In particular I will treasure the contribution by one I know well, who addressed the meeting on a motion regarding the Labour Party. He confidently assured the audience that there was no-one present who thinks that the Labour Party will win the next general election. Hello? Comrade grayee of course made clear his views that the Party can indeed win, even if it is going to be difficult. It is fair to say that most present did not of course concur. But if we had to rely on their votes – Deus, adiuva nos.


Anonymous said...

They speak well
shame that less than 20% of their members were on strike during the

last strike unlike in Scotland

its the historic role according to Trotsky for full time officers to sell out members so what is their problem

Anonymous said...

They said McCain could not win

so much for the ultra left

sign the petition to stop the coup in the SWP and stop the witch hunt

Anonymous said...

If labour doesnt win who will ????

The Tories

just ask them in Hammersmith how good that is

Charlie Marks said...

You don't believe it, do you? Even if Labour wins the public vote and is the largest party, you can bet that the Tories will be invited to form the next government in coalition with the liberals...

ian said...

Cant the ideas of moderacy and New Labourism organise to take over the committee? Or cant they find enough people amongst all the 'ordinary' trade union members?

'Trots' is a term of offence often used by a section of a trade union very much set in the partnership brigade of the late 80s and most of the 90s. Nowadays partnership is a view that has been completely discredited except in the minds of a tiny group of ex stalinists and new labour officials who dont want to confront the employer.These are the people who tend to throw the term 'Trot' about when they hear uncomfortable truths and realities.

It is best to steer well clear of these people and let ordinary members remove them when they become on obstacle to their demands.



Anonymous said...

Ian - what the hell is the point of 'confronting' the employer with a handful of members from a less than 30% density? I personally wouldn't use the term 'Trot' (it smacks of the idea of an adherent to a possibly coherent, if wrong, ideology based on the philosophy of Leon Trotsky, whereas the truth is the ridiculous faction, fractions, spliters and splitters are anything but coherent). I think that 'idiots' is more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I see Cde Rogers says what the difference between Scotland and London re the Local Gov strike

and that London was mandated to call for a strike not a general strike

and this call came from Islington

yet Islington only had 200 people on strike out of 5,000

its just like reading Pravada crop results

Cde Rogers you didnt even get 50% of your own members out

Andrew Berry said...

Dear Anonymous. even the management figures beat that figure by about a factor of 4

Anonymous said...

I heard Lambeth council claimed only 600 were on strike ??

either way hardly a revolution

unlike in scotland were over 50% were on strike

thats the problem with trots...pass great resolutions but no one actually follows them

name me one council in London that got 50% of the staff out on the last strike day
not one

their a laughing stock

Charlie Marks said...

We can argue about numbers - the direction the economy is heading in that more people will be getting angrier about real-terms cuts in pay.

Ian, John isn't exactly New Labour - but sadly he does use language that is ultimately divisive to our movement. At a time like this with the threat of the Tories getting in and slashing public spending with the Liberals, thus getting us deeper into economic difficulty - it's not wise to be name-calling. We all do it, mind. I know I do, but it's got to stop.

ian said...

Anon said

'Ian - what the hell is the point of 'confronting' the employer with a handful of members from a less than 30% density?'

What are the 'mods' doing about building the union if the 'trots' have got it so wrong? Opposition is built through organising in the workplace and while we can go on and on about turnouts, the fact remains that there is a lot of opposition to the governments pay limits which is in effect a pay cut. The Union has to build on this turn out. Give it time.


Anonymous said...

I would ask Islington to reproduce the manangement figures

it said in the local paper 200

so lets see your figurers

oh and how many you claim were out and how many services closed (ie Libraries, schools) etc

and a council in London were 50% of members were out

dont make me laugh

because your councillors are

Anonymous said...

Its if you believe you can ever win a national strike

The RMT under Bob Crow have never had a national strike and the miners only three

why would "militant" workers have so few national strikes ???

Think Global act local

Anonymous said...

shock horror Islington get 1 in 5 people out on strike

Revolution starts when the pub closes

ps dont forget to sell the paper

Anonymous said...

Ian - absolutely the union has to organise to build but while irrelevant slogans take pride of place over workplace issues, non-mebers won't join and members won't become activists. And OK we had some membership increase during the period leading up to the pay strike action, but that is not a sustainable basis for growth and organising. You cannot keep calling a strike every time the membership figures are looking dodgy. It won't work because you exhaust the patience of those who sometimes might like to think they actually got something tangible out of taking the action.

Yes people are pissed off with the way they are losing out to inflation, but they are also sensible enough to know that a two-day strike loses them two day's pay and a 0.2% increase in the offer (if we even get that much) probably doesn't make it worthwhile.

So what do we build on? "Hey we had a two-day strike, now we need more!"

No - what we do is say let's learn a bloody lesson for once and really represent our members and not charge off on a strike based on a ballot that showed up our lack of enthusiasm (to put it mildly) that only came about because a handful of regional reps either spoke for themselves rather than their members or were looking to protect their seats.

John - sorry about the intemperate language.

Jon Rogers said...

It was a pleasure to see you at the Committee John and only a shame that you did not have the time to spell out that "Plan B" you offered about how we fight a pay freeze without industrial action.

Perhaps you will be posting further details here soon?

Andrew Berry said...

To anonymous once again. Please either reveal who you are and I will send you the figures or email me if you know how to contact me (which I suspect you do)and I will forward then to you that way. Please note that early figures given by management doubled from figures immediately given out, because shock horror some managers are a bit rubbish and did not give there sections figures to HR. Also we have 4 payrolls so just relying on one figure from one section will mislead you comrade.

John Gray said...

Hi Charlie
Yes, I do still believe that the Labour party can win an overall majority at the next election, although it will be tough. I think once an election is called then people will properly assess the Tories and just say NO. If John Major could win in 1992 despite the economic disaster he presided over, then I think Labour still has a very good chance.

These present economic difficulties are pretty much imported.

Eventually of course there may well be a time when there is no overall majority in British elections, so I assume that the LD will insist on a firm PR commitment for support. But..who knows in politics.

Thanks for your support Charlie – the trouble is that Ian is right in one way but wrong on the whole. “Trot” is used as a general term of abuse. But the supporters of the SWP, SPEW, et al they are proud to be revolutionary Trotsky supporters who believe in a violent uprising. As stupid as that appears, they do want to use the unions as a vanguard for their bonkers beliefs.

John Gray said...

Hi Jon
The dispute is still on – so I think it is best that we do not debate these issues on these forums yet(not that I think the employers are actively tracking our every post).

I did make what I thought (if no body else) a number of considered comments, analysis and proactive suggestions during the debate this morning before you arrived (happy 7th birthday to JR junior BTW) at regional committee.

Once this dispute is over I fully intend to share thoughts about plan B, C, D , E.....(as you know I am no wallflower)

I must admit from the depressing tone of your posts recently about such action that you would have welcomed some thoughts about a plan B? Are we an one trick pony? Is this it? Nothing else even considered?... And we call the Tories “the stupid party”? (which of course they are)