Thursday, 10 January 2013

Request for nomination to the UNISON National Executive Council

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to ask your branch to consider nominating us to the following positions in the forthcoming election to UNISON’s National Executive Council (NEC):

Greater London Women’s Seats (two seats)

Helen Davies; Membership number 1224335

Marshajane Thompson; Membership number 8115644

Greater London Male Seat

Jon Rogers; Membership number 1189543.

Who are we?

Helen is Chair of the Barnet branch and has served on our NEC since 2011, having previously served on the Regional Committee.

Marshajane is Secretary of the Havering branch, and a member of the Regional Committee, to which she was first elected in 2006.

Jon is the Secretary of our Lambeth local government branch and has represented London on our NEC since 2003.

Why are we asking for your support?

We would expect everyone reading our request for nomination to contest elections for the Greater London Region’s NEC seats to be horrified at the extent of cuts and attacks the ConDem Government has levelled at working class people and the Welfare State.

At a branch level you will also have had to deal with an onslaught of job cuts, cuts to services and terms and conditions of colleagues. You may have had the added pleasure of dealing with privatisation of public services. This is nothing new - it has been going on since the late 1970s. The difference now is the pace and depth of the attacks. It is overwhelming for our activists and our members to cope with, never mind fight – where do you start?

We believe UNISON should be motivating members to fight cuts, privatisation and the pay freeze. Contrary to what the media would have you believe the general public do not agree with what the Tory-led coalition is doing - the 80,000 who booed George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the Paralympics, for example. Many people have been pushed to feel angry about the grotesque injustice Osborne and his Government are enforcing. We should feel encouraged by this as it shows the widespread hatred for much of what the Government is doing.

We should be leading a general battle against austerity, not firefighting attacks on the back foot all the time. A coalition, which has made 37 U-turns, is not a strong government and we need to start fighting back in earnest.

Who would deny the action our union and others took on 30th November 2011 over pensions was anything other than inspiring?

Of course, it wasn’t enough to defend our schemes in full and, unfortunately, our union led the way in signing an agreement, which has fallen woefully short of what we believe we could have won. As a consequence of this climbdown on pensions by the current leadership many activists are demoralised. Jon Rogers and Helen Davies, current members of the NEC, voted for the union to consider, through its Service Groups, additional industrial action in the defence of Pensions. Marshajane Thompson also backed this position.

The pay freeze is hitting our living standards hard, but members need confidence in our leadership in order to challenge the long-term erosion of our pay. Our members are struggling because of the austerity and pay freeze and we need to inspire them to fight back. We are proud that our union signed up to exploring the possibility of a General Strike by all trade unions.

We need more coordination in fight backs throughout London. We have been involved in supporting campaigns such as: Barnet local government’s branch battle against mass privatisation; Camden NSL workers fighting (successfully!) to improve their pay; London Met in defence of overseas students; Lewisham Hospital staff and service users in their fight to save their A&E department. We need to be sharing the lessons of these campaigns so that we can learn from and better support each other.

If elected we will:

  • report regularly and transparently to London UNISON branches about what happens at our NEC’s meetings. We will circulate full reports by email, and also report regularly to the Regional Council and Committee. We believe that it is your right to know what elected representatives say and do on your behalf.
  • speak up for UNISON to be the fighting and democratic trade union which we need it to be in order to face up to the massive challenges posed by this Tory-led Coalition Government, which is mounting a deliberate ideological assault upon our Welfare State.
  • argue support for the strongest action against attacks on our jobs, services, pay and pensions. UNISON needs a confident leadership who will encourage our members to be prepared to campaign actively, including industrial action.
  • support a united front of all the trade unions, together with students, pensioners, the unemployed and community groups. The Trades Union Congress has called for support for united action. Our members know we need this unity and UNISON needs leaders committed to building this;
  • continue fighting for equality. Equality is more important than ever. The cuts are falling hardest on women, black and ethnic minority, LGBT and disabled people, as well as the old and the young. Our fight for equality and opposition to discrimination must be at the centre of our united opposition to cuts. 

Our NEC is responsible for providing leadership to our trade union between our Annual National Delegate Conferences. We believe that the massive challenges we now face require a more effective and energetic NEC.

Nominations need to be made at a quorate meeting of your branch or branch committee during the nomination period which opens on Wednesday 9 January and closes on Friday 22 February. More information can be found at 

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