Socialist Worker

Unison left prepares for battles to come

Issue No. 2487

Longstanding general secretary Dave Prentis

Longstanding general secretary Dave Prentis (Pic: Unison)

More than 50 members of the Unison union met in Birmingham last Saturday to discuss the way forward for the left and all who want to fight austerity.

The meeting also discussed union democracy in the wake of the general secretary election.

Incumbent Dave Prentis was announced as the winner. Yet some union employees were caught on tape allegedly breaking union rules.

Members were furious that the result was announced before dozens of complaints had been investigated.

With a 10 percent turnout, and less than half the vote, many questioned how much of a mandate that gave Prentis.

There is also disquiet that the returning officer has still not published their judgement.

Activists called on members to flood the union, the returning officer and the certification officer with complaints. “We cannot let them get away with it” was a popular message.

Many argued it was also important not to get bogged down just on internal union matters. Public sector cuts keep coming and activists need to stoke resistance to them.

Organising for left slates in forthcoming service group elections and coordinating to raise conference motions is only part of the left’s task.

Raising solidarity for striking junior doctors or for refugees can help strengthen workplace organisation to fight the battles to come.

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