Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Southampton strikers need our whole union to rally round

Really good to see plenty of coverage for the strike in Southampton: the BBC, the local paper, as well as of course the left press and UNITED Left bloggers. So I'll just add our message of support, below and my tuppence worth on this.

At our 'We are London Met event' recently, discussing UNISON in a really good session on the Hidden Workforce, a colleague raised the issue of our union's reluctance to take strike action. Roger McKenzie, who'd attended to speak later on the Living Wage, responded that actually a large number (approx 80,000) UNISON members were currently either balloting or on strike at that time.

Whilst this may be true what struck me was 'that's the first I've heard of it'... (did I even hear right?)

One of our issues with UNISON when we took three days coordinated strike action in 2009 was that there was no UNISON publicity about it and we bitterly complained that our press release was dropped from the website without explanation.

"We should be shouting from the rooftops when our members take action to defend themselves", I said at the next HE conference about this.

So I'm delighted to see the current Southampton strike, led by fellow NEC member Mike Tucker (leftist and all-round good bloke), get good coverage from UNISON here:

UNISON News | The public service union | Southampton steps up strike action

I hope those larger, richer branches can dig deep - they need our support.

Our branch sent this message of solidarity yesterday, and I hope many others do the same especially following the plug on UNISON's website/ newsletter:

"We salute the courageous and exemplary stance your branch has taken, and we wish you all the best in your fight - an attack on your members is an attack on all our members. Your success will be ours too.

"We look forward to learning about a successful outcome to your ongoing strike action and we hope that our small donation goes in a small way to helping. Sorry it cannot be more at this stage - I hope that other larger UNISON branches will also dig deep.

In comradeship,


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