Socialist Worker

Building a reps' network

by ken Muller, Islington NUT member
Issue No. 2272

“Several unions met in Islington, north London, last week to prepare for united strikes on 30 November. Myself and a few other workers called the meeting.

We took the initiative after the TUC signalled that we were about to enter into the biggest wave of class struggle in decades.

We visited, phoned and emailed reps and officers in several unions in the area. It helped re-establish the tradition of visiting workplaces and asking to speak to the union rep.

The idea was to have a small meeting that represented different unions and could establish a network of union reps.

It was important that we did not turn up with a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude to what we wanted to propose. We wanted to make sure everyone had ownership of whatever we decided to do and maximise involvement in activity.

When I arrived at the meeting, a local FBU union rep was already there. I had never met him before. He came after I got his number from the London FBU website and left a message on his mobile phone.

Ten other union reps and officers joined us at the meeting. Unison local government, Unison health, Unison London Metropolitan University, the GMB, UCU, NUT and PCS were all represented.

We agreed very quickly to call a public meeting with the title Pensions for All—Public Services for All later this month. We agreed to invite an electrician (see page 14), to bring public and private sector workers together.

Reps from Unison, the GMB and PCS agreed to invite senior officials to speak. We will be holding a follow up planning meeting next Monday which will be open to any local union rep or officer who can make it.”

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Article information

Tue 4 Oct 2011, 18:02 BST
Issue No. 2272
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