Socialist Worker

Unison conference recalled in revolt over local government pay

Issue No. 2433

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis promised to smash pay freeze

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis promised to smash pay freeze

The rank and file of Unison has forced the union’s leadership to hold a special recall conference for the local government sector.

Such a move requires the support of a quarter of the local government membership. 

Unison’s national executive confirmed last week that it had received the necessary votes. Union activists believe the final figure could be over 30 percent.

The conference is likely to take place in the spring.

Members are angry at the pay sellout and the leadership cobbling together a rotten deal with GMB and Unite union leaders. 

The Labour Party’s priorities cast a shadow over the way the three unions conducted the dispute. 

Its election strategy did not include strikes at local councils, a majority of which are Labour controlled. 

A second strike, involving more workers than a previous strike in July, across England and Wales was suspended. 

The dispute was settled with a two-year pay deal which gave little more than the 1 percent pay deal that members overwhelmingly rejected and struck over.

Party conference protests called in Scotland

The Unison union’s Scottish Council voted last Saturday to lobby major political party conferences next spring against the cuts. 

This decision came just a day after a motion from Glasgow arguing for the union to promote industrial action to resist cuts had been watered down.

Sections of the leadership opposed Saturday’s motion.Gray Allan from Falkirk branch, speaking on behalf of the Scottish Committee, argued that delegates should not support it unless they could guarantee thousands would attend.  

During a passionate debate national executive member Gordon Mckay argued that the union should not be distracted from ensuring Labour wins the general election. 

Despite this opposition, the vote to lobby the party conferences was carried by 71 to 69.

In November several Unison branches, together with PCS Scotland and anti-poverty campaigners, lobbied the Scottish National Party (SNP) conference in Perth. 

As Brian Smith from Glasgow City branch argued in the debate, the union should take its “No Cuts” message to all the political parties irrespective of whether they are Labour, Tories or SNP.

Glasgow Unison steward

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.