I am in favour of resisting the government’s attempts to make us pay more, work longer and get less. The current attack on members of the Local Government Pension Scheme and other proposed downgrades of pension rights are attempts to make working people pay more for a pension that will be worth less. I welcomed the magnificent strike on 30th November which united millions of trade unionists to defend our pension rights and saw people joining UNISON like never before. Standing together to defend all our pensions is the only way to defeat the government and give confidence to our members, both old and new, that collective action can win results.
I think that to accept the current “offer” is a mistake, since it not only means protracted negotiations on a position hardly better than that before the strike, it leaves UNISON isolated from the other unions. We need maximum unity and a clear, fighting strategy to defeat the government’s plans.
The latest “cost of living” increase of £150 for 2011-12 falls well below inflation and will push many of our members into further financial hardship. A failure to deliver significant pay awards that at least match the real cost of living will leave many of our members questioning why they joined us. I stand for a settlement in 2012-13 that catches up for the years of derisory awards and uses the unity in strength we saw on 30th November to achieve it.
Cuts and Privatisation
Our sector faces changes like never before with the introduction of astronomical fees and the dramatic scaling down of government grants. We will see course closures, restructures and universities forced to outsource essential services to private providers. We should resist all changes detrimental to our members’ interests and support local action where necessary, and national action where effective, to defend our members’ jobs and conditions.
Accountability within UNISON
All UNISON officials should be employed to carry out the decisions of ordinary members at every level of the union. Senior officers and elected representatives should not be paid huge salaries – their pay should reflect the pay rates of ordinary members.
Many of our members will be disappointed by the stance of the Labour leadership, in supporting cuts whilst failing to support working people taking action in defence of pension rights. I would like to see UNISON supporting political candidates whose policies will directly benefit our members. We stand for the millions, not the millionaires.
For a fighting, democratic UNISON
I’d like to see UNISON use its strength to achieve real gains for our members and become a fully democratic body where ideas and tactics can be discussed at all levels. When UNISON is seen to be fighting back, as we have shown, people will want to join us. We need to make sure our actions live up to their expectations and provide effective leadership.
If the South East female seat is contested, I’d urge you to vote for Shona McCulloch.
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Vote for Ivan Bonsell South East General Seat, HE SGE Election 2012
Ivan Bonsell comes from Brighton Uni Branch, which has a high density and a strong, fighting track record. For example, Brighton Uni was closed down on Nov 30th last year, and in 2010 when many other nurseries were closed, Brighton successfully campaigned to keep theirs open and it's still going strong thanks to the organising efforts of UNISON. In my view, we need energetic new blood from people like Ivan, who can bring the positive experience of Brighton onto the Service Group Exec. In his own words, Ivan stands for: