UNISON

NHS pay: debate the options!

As I write on 14 September, neither Unison or the RCN has issued the results of their NHS pay consultations, which closed on 10 and 13 September respectively. The other unions are still in process. The votes are likely to indicate rejection. Very few workers give positive endorsement to the award, although there is a lack of confidence that anything can be done. There are rumours of relatively low turnouts, unsurprising given generally poor workplace organisation and limited campaigning by the unions nationally. Even if this is the case, participation will vary between workplaces and sectors...

BDS policy blocks strike solidarity

At the National Executive Committee of the public services union Unison on 14 July, a full time official blocked a message of support to striking hospital workers in Israel on grounds of the union’s “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) policy. The official declared the motion invalid because the workers are organised by the Histadrut (the Israeli TUC), and Unison takes its BDS policy to rule out links with it. The Socialist Party, whose members moved the motion, points out that the lack of formal links should not have prevented a message. But the official got away with it, showing how BDS...

Solidarity with Paul Holmes

Around 100 people joined a solidarity rally for Unison Branch Secretary and national President Paul Holmes on Monday 6 September as his disciplinary hearing began. Holmes was suspended by Kirklees Council in November 2019. The council is not holding the hearing at council offices as would be usual, instead paying for a four-star hotel on the outskirts of Huddersfield. Though supported by his local branch, Holmes is not receiving support from the national union. Along with other Kirklees Unison activists, Holmes has also been suspended by Unison, with no hearings yet. It is unclear whether the...

Reject the NHS pay award

The trade union consultations on the NHS pay award are coming to an end. The Unison ballot runs until 10 September, the RCN finishes on 13th, GMB on 17th, and Unite on 24th. The next days and weeks are the last chance for members to vote and for activists to get out and encourage them to reject. The award doesn’t get anywhere near the claims of the unions. All have stated that it is not good enough. RCN, GMB and Unite have recommended rejection. It is likely that all the results will be to reject the deal. It’s obvious to all NHS workers that a lower than inflation pay award of 3% is...

Vote left for Unison Labour Link

With the success in June of the “Time For Real Change” left slate in the National Executive Committee (NEC) elections for the public services union Unison, the union’s Labour Link Committee, mandated to guide the union’s activity within the Labour Party, could for the first time be controlled by the left. Unison have election rules which ban slates in elections, but both right and left of the union have one candidate in each contested seat. (Some are uncontested). Voting runs from 7 Sep to 13 Oct. The left candidates are: East Midlands - Anjona Roy Greater London - Ruth Cashman Northern -...

Unison calls to reject local government pay offer

“Despite their courage and sacrifice throughout COVID-19, council and school workers have been offered 1.75%. With inflation at 3.9%, that’s a real terms pay cut.” With those words, the public services union Unison is launching a consultation with a strong recommendation to reject. On 27 July the Employers’ Side of the National Joint Council (NJC) wrote to the unions with a final pay offer for 2021. • An increase of 2.75% for those on pay point 1 • An increase of 1.75% for everyone else • Completion of the outstanding work of the joint Term-Time-Only review group • Discussions on joint...

Build from below against NHS pay insult

Following the government's 3% award to NHS workers, all the health unions will be running informal consultations of their members over the next month. The award falls way below the claims of each union, Unison ÂŁ2,000, RCN 12%, GMB and Unite 15%, and the current RPI rate of inflation, 3.9%, making it yet another real-terms pay cut. The fact that the government has met the Pay Review Body recommendation only shows how inadequate that body is.

NHS: beat the 3%, beat new privatising plans!

It looks like the government’s pay “award” for NHS workers will be 3%. Maybe only 1.5% will be a basic ongoing increase, and the other 1.5% a one-off payment. This falls way below all the claims the unions put into the Pay Review Body. Three per cent does nothing to address the real-terms pay cuts faced by NHS workers over the last 10 years, or the 100,000 vacancies that are taking many workers to breaking point and crippling NHS services. After a more than a year of extraordinary effort and current escalating pressures NHS workers will feel this as a body blow. The government are confirming...

Chance to shift Unison's Labour Link to the left

Nominations for the Labour Link Committee of the public services union Unison close on 14 July, and voting will be 7 September to 13 October. Labour Link works directly within the Labour Party and should take Unison’s policies into the party. In reality, historically, Unison has failed to push members’ priorities in the Labour Party. These elections come at an important time, just after the right wing in Unison have lost control of the National Executive Committee (NEC) for the first time ever. In principle the newly elected leftwing majority on the NEC can provide up to twelve of the twenty...

Tax the rich to restore the NHS! Pay the 15%!

On 3 July health workers and supporters across the country will be marking the 73rd anniversary of the creation of the NHS by protesting for patient safety, for pay justice and against privatisation: see here The official NHS Pay Review Body has still not made its recommendation for pay from April 2021. It was due in May. It was delayed until “mid-June”, then “some time in June”, and then... The absolute deadline seems to be 22 July. The Tories want to limit pay rises to 1%. NHS Workers Say No! and Nurses United demand a 15% rise with a minimum of £3,000. Across the NHS one-in-eleven posts are...

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