Ballot papers in the Unison General Secretary election will have now arrived with members. The election closes on 4 December.
Workers’ Liberty members and supporters in Unison are backing John Burgess, and so is the majority of the Unison Left NEC caucus. John is Barnet Local Government Branch Secretary; he has an impressive record of leading a series of fights against the so called “easycouncil” in Barnet and in defence of public services. Other candidates are incumbent Dave Prentis; Heather Wakefield, who represents a section of the bureaucracy split from Prentis; and the Socialist Party′s Roger Bannister.
John was nominated by 68 branches across the country and by the Unison South East Region, and has the backing of the majority of the left. Roger Bannister scraped onto the ballot paper with just the 25 nominations needed. We think that it is a shame that he did not step down in favour of a unified left candidate. Dishonestly, Roger Bannister′s leaflets are designed to look like the materials from the Corbyn campaign, despite the Socialist Party′s position on unions disaffiliating from the Labour Party!
There is an enormous democratic deficit in Unison that will not be mended just by electing left-wingers to the NEC or as General Secretary. As part of the election campaign it is important we continue to raise demands including rank-and-file control of disputes, elected strike committees, defeating the anti-trade union laws, democratising the Labour link and then taking the fight to the Labour Party, pushing for greater branch resources and being creative in our action. John Burgess has been raising these issues in his campaign. Activists, even those not in Unison, should help get the vote out for John. They can leaflet large workplaces like council offices and hospitals, or taking leaflets into schools, colleges and universities.