Thursday, February 09, 2012

UnisonActive take on defeat of London trots

Check out UnisonActive report : "UNISON London Region's existing leadership team, led by Convenor Gloria Hanson, saw off an attempt by the SWP and its sympathisers to take over at yesterday's Regional Council AGM. This is the seventh victory in a row for London grass root union activists who soundly defeated the challengers at the ballot box.

UNISON President Eleanor Smith was a keynote speaker together with Labour Party candidate for Mayor, Ken Livingstone. A motion attacking Boris and supporting Ken and Labour Assembly members in the election in May was passed unanimously. Motions calling for "Secure and Affordable Housing" and "Why income equality at work matters to everyone" were passed and prioritised as regional motions for National Delegate Conference.


nick venedi said...

Hello John,

The reality is that the existing team did not defeat those on the united left who contested the elections, that would be a very simplistic analysis. A small majority of delegates voted against what they perceive to be the UL based on information floating around so anyone standing against the UL will probably win an election right now.

It doesn't make sense that people like Jon of the Rogers who is of course a leading member of the UL and not in the SWP keeps winning elections for the NEC but then again we have one member one vote for the NEC elections so that explains that.

I think that the UL has not done themselves many favours by starting a fight against the Regional Secretary and of course this started years ago. Regional delegates feel safer knowing that a regional Secretary has some degree of control so the UL made a mistake to take this position against my advice at the time of course. I profoundly disagree with this 'tactic' (if thats what it is)

But on balance the UL has shown true and real resolve in putting a lot of effort and energy into fightin the pensions dispute they have therefore shown real leadership.

I am also not too keen on the SWP but to keep scaring members off (the 3 that read our blogs) by going on about how nasty they are isn't productive. There are activists in the SWP who do much more work to protect members interests than many others so they should not be the target of constant attack. People like P Watkins, for example, has put so much effort and energy into several disputes.

At the end of the day if regional elections were conducted more democratically and all London members got a vote the story would be very different. The UL should try and work with the 'office' and the office should reduce its level of interference..

Call me old fashioned but thats what I think. More details on my blog..


John Gray said...

Hi Nick
I understand some of your points (not all?) and to be clear I do acknowledge that some ultra left activists do a very good job representing members (some don’t – you and I both remember a former branch secretary who use to moan at members coming to him for “grievances, grievances and grievances” when this kept him from fighting the revolution!).

However, my big beef is actually with real democratic socialists such as yourself who stand on the same platform as people who genuinely believe in Trotskyite revolutionary politics. They do not believe there is a Parliamentary road to socialism and think they will only come to power by “bloody revolution” (killing people who don’t agree with them).

I also don’t understand how you can support someone who belongs to a political party that believes in Democratic centralism? In a trade union dispute they have to do what their central committee tells them regardless of what they or their members think is best or they will be expelled. Reformists such as yourself would be the first against the wall “come the great day”.

I also think Nick you are completely and utterly wrong about the result of union elections if they were more “democratic” (whatever that means). You know how moderate our membership actually is compared to many of our activists. Ordinary working people will have no truck with political extremism. Never had and never will. If we had a 50% turn out in union elections there would not a single Ultra left candidate elected anywhere ever in the union.

Anonymous said...

Unison leadership found guilty of "unjustifiable discipline" against four Socialist Party activists

Victory for the Unison four!

Once again, the Unison leadership has been found guilty of "unjustifiable" disciplinary action against four activists for producing a leaflet protesting about the exclusion of resolutions from the 2007 Unison conference.

Today an Employment Appeal Tribunal (Judge Michael Supperstone QC) upheld the unanimous judgment of an earlier Employment Tribunal (Employment Judge Ms H Grewal, 27 January 2011).

That ET judgment last year rejected false allegations of racism against the four and found that the real reason for disciplinary action was that they had issued a leaflet criticising the Standing Orders Committee and the union leadership for preventing discussion on the issue of union democracy.

Today's EAT rejects all five grounds on which the Unison leadership appealed against last year's ET judgment.

The four activists who were disciplined by Unison were banned from holding any union office for up to three years.

The four are Glenn Kelly (formerly Bromley branch secretary and NEC member), Onay Kasab (formerly Greenwich branch secretary), Brian Debus (formerly Hackney branch chairperson), and Suzanne Muna (formerly Housing Corporation branch secretary).

The judgments of the ET and the EAT completely vindicate the four's struggle to defend union democracy.

The unjustified sanctions against the four are part of a wider witch-hunt being carried out by the Unison leadership against activists fighting for union democracy and effective action to defend public services, jobs, pay and conditions.

There is now a rising tide of discontent within the union at the ineffective policies of the leadership when faced with a tsunami of attacks on the public sector.

The Unison leadership unscrupulously tried to bolster their disciplinary charges with allegations of racism.

This related to a cartoon on the leaflet protesting about the Standing Orders Committee's suppression of over 50 resolutions that used the well-known image of three wise monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.

The ET judgment forcefully rejected the allegation of racism: "All four Claimants are committed anti-racists and have fought against racism.

"They quite reasonably assumed that anyone who saw the leaflet would understand the cartoon to be saying that the SOC was out of touch in closing its minds to and ignoring issues that concern the membership."

"Looking at the context in which the cartoon was used (i.e. to depict the attitude of the SOC towards controversial motions) it cannot be said that any reasonable person would or should have realised that it would cause racial offence, and that not doing so was somehow 'careless'.

That is reinforced by the fact that [it] never occurred to many people who saw the cartoon before its publication. These individuals included an Equalities and Diversity officer and black members."

It is estimated that the Unison leadership must have spent at least £100,000 on the disciplinary hearings and tribunal cases.

At a time when the focus should have been on fighting public-sector cuts, the four have been dragged through four years of tortuous, money-wasting investigations and hearings.

Anonymous said...

shock! horror! ...court upholds complaint under anti-union tory legislation...I hope the SPEW scabs are pleased...Thatcher will will be so happy with them.