Thursday, 6 October 2011

Of course, I'm voting YES to Protect my Pension!

'We took on board what you said and we did what you told us to do', was not something I was expecting to hear from the presidential team at the NEC on Wed, but well.... there's a first time for everything!

The point I was making - about the envelopes not being clearly a ballot for action, as I raised before at the Service Group Briefing and at the D&O committee - had apparently been listened to. So I'm glad to report there should be a 'VOTE YES' / UNISON logo etc on the envelopes that go out the million plus members in the next few days - so they don't get mistaken for junk mail.

We also discussed selective action, strike pay, and bringing in new sectors (eg members in SAUL), tactics for further action, among other things. See here for the official report for more details.

The first and most crucial task for now, is to win a massive YES vote and to get a strong, convincing turn out. This task cannot be overestimated - a million members need to be reached and convinced to vote before the ballot paper gets to them. To that end, the need for a reliable, easy-to-use calculator was again raised (as the NUT and PSC had in time for the 30th June strike), and members in the NHS scheme have a 'reckoner' online.

A UNISON LGPS calculator isn't ready yet because we don't know the precise details of when, and exactly how much an increase in contributions will be, and so on, for it to be reliable.

There was a palpable sense of unity and common purpose at the NEC - as Jon Rogers seems to tentatively agree. And those cynics - who had dismissed the left so rudely back in July, chuckling to themselves that we cannot possibly 'name a date' yet because we haven't exhausted scheme-specific negotiations - are of course now silent on that point.

Good, let's move on in unity.

Exciting times: let's concentrate on getting the vote out first, and then we can decide on the right tactics for winning after Nov 30th.

A message of support was also sent to Middlesex Uni branch, and to 20 others who are in dispute.

Our dearly missed comrade, Pete McGreal, was also mentioned in the obituaries at the start, when the NEC traditionally has a minute's silence, which was appreciated.

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