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11 June 2021

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Right lose control in Unison national executive council election

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The election results have been announced for the national executive of public sector union Unison, the body that controls and leads the union between conferences. It is this body, that over many years, has been used to block any real fightback over jobs, pay and conditions and the body that has been used to witchhunt good, fighting socialists.

The right has lost control of the national executive council with the 'Time for Real Change' group and the Socialist Party taking 41 of the 68 seats, not including those elected who supported Roger McKenzie in the general secretary election. The result shows that the active membership who voted want a fighting and democratic union.

This is now the opportunity to show what a left leadership can do.

The first test will be the immediate election of the presidents of the union which are elected by the national executive council. Socialist Party members on the NEC call for the left to immediately come together to discuss putting up a full slate for the elections due to take place in just over a week's time to ensure that the executive council is run democratically and not left in the pocket of the bureaucracy.

The executive council also elects its delegates to the Trades Union Congress general council, the highest union body in the UK. Too often Unison has filled too many of its seats with highly paid unelected full-time officials. That should end, and only elected officers and members should hold those seats.

This would give the opportunity for the union to link up with other fighting trade unionists in the likes of transport union RMT, where together they could begin to draw up a fighting programme to ensure that workers are not allowed to continue to pay the price for Covid-19 in terms of their jobs pay and conditions.

The third set of elections is to vote out those who have tried to control the policy and democracy of the union through the executive council sub-committees by electing chair persons that will act in the interest of members not the bureaucracy.

Unison and PCS conferences Zoom fringe meeting

Fight the public sector pay freeze campaign
For coordinated action by public sector unions

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 11 June 2021 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

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Article dated 11 June 2021

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