On 13 April, Unite’s National Industrial Committee for the health sector voted to join in with the planned 30 June strike action over pensions.
Since then very little as been heard, at a time when the union should be preparing to ballot its members in the NHS. No ballot date has been set.
National Industrial Committees are notionally fully autonomous. If an NIC votes to ballot, then the union should ballot. However, it seems there have been delays in the executive deciding on how to implement this. Time will soon run out to give legal notice to ballot before the planned strike day.
The Unite leadership’s response to the government has been less than inspiring. At the ATL conference, Gail Cartmail (an Assistant General Secretary), turned up to dissuade ATL members from voting for strikes. In Lambeth, Labour councillors were leaned on by local Unite officials to vote for cuts.
If an industrial committee of our union takes a decision to ballot for strike action, that should mean something. Otherwise all talk of “fighting back” is empty.