The Unison union did a terrible deal for workers at Blackpool council this week.
The union has agreed to a pay freeze—including suspending all pay increments—as well as four days’ unpaid leave and a reduced mileage rate.
The “cash for cuts” deal reflects a debate that is raging across the trade union movement about whether we should make sacrifices in order to “save” jobs.
But if we accept the logic of giving up what we’ve fought for in order to keep our jobs, it is far too easy for the bosses to threaten massive job losses and then say they will back off slightly if we accept other cuts.
Worse, when the bosses see there is no fight over cuts, it will just encourage them to come back for more, cutting jobs faster and deeper, whatever “promises” they may have made.
Tory-run Blackpool council planned to cut 1,000 jobs—one in four of all jobs.
Unison claims the deal has “saved” 100 jobs!
Unison regional organiser Mike Booth told the local press, “Nobody wants to lose things they have fought for, but when it came down to it members made a three-to-one majority decision that it was worth doing it in order to save 100 jobs.
“We don’t know where those 100 jobs will be saved but it will be 100 less.”
In truth the union’s only real contribution has been to make sure that the situation is also dire when it comes to pay and conditions.
It is true that members voted for the deal—but that’s not surprising when it was the only thing that the union’s leadership put on the table.
And 1,004 out of the 1,885 union members balloted did not vote at all.
We need to fight for every job—and oppose every cut.