UNISON

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...

Unison: challenges after stilted conference

The new National Executive Committee (NEC) of the public service union Unison, with a left majority for the first time in the union’s history, will face an uncooperative staff who will not want to relinquish control of the union just because their lay allies have been defeated. Within the union structures the NEC must prioritise democratising, including rewriting the industrial action handbook so it is no longer a block to lay control of disputes. At a virtual NEC meeting after the Unison conference held online 15-17 June, left-winger Paul Holmes was elected president, with left-wingers also...

Left wins Unison NEC

The left has won control of the national executive committee (NEC) of public services union Unison for the first time since its formation in 1993. Left candidates took 41 of the 68 seats. The Time For Real Change slate, formed out of the campaign to back Paul Holmes for general secretary, and supported by Workers’ Liberty, took 37 seats. A further four were won by Socialist Party candidates. The Time for Real Change group said in a statement, “This majority for change on the Unison NEC must now enable a positive transformation of our union. We are determined to change Unison into a force that...

NHS pay: on the streets, 3 July

Within the next few weeks, the issue of NHS pay will be sharply back on the agenda. The NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) is due to make their recommendation on pay for England and Wales in “mid-June”. That will be followed by an offer from the government. After 18 months of the Covid response which has stretched NHS workers to their limits, proved fatal for over 800, and left many more physically and mentally scarred, the offer will certainly bring disappointment and anger. The immediate focus of campaigning is the well-timed day of action called by Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together, NHS...

"This is about the kind of world we want to live in"

Ali Treacher is a care worker, Unite the Union activist and workplace rep, and Secretary of the Care and Support Workers Organise! network (CaSWO!) She is also a supporter of Anti-Capitalist Resistance. She spoke to us about care workers' fight. CaSWO! has been meeting throughout the last year, since the start of the pandemic, after a Unison-organised call which brought together care workers around issues like workplace health and safety and PPE. The initial focus was basically offering each other solidarity and advice and sharing information. Government guidelines were so vague that we had to...

NHS pay after Scotland

As expected, the majority of NHS union members and trade unions in Scotland have voted in consultative ballots to accept the 4% pay offer. Members of Unison, Unite, and the smaller profession-based unions such as the RCM and CSP voted to accept. 85% of those voting in Unison, the biggest union, accepted. GMB and RCN members rejected in line with their leaderships’ recommendations. The Scottish government quickly announced it would be implementing the deal with no further negotiation, and it looks unlikely that the rejecting unions will seriously oppose this. Although not quite meeting the...

NHS protests set for 3 July

Ballot results on NHS pay in Scotland are due in the next few days as we go press. Unison has recommended the 4% offer to its members; RCN and GMB are advising rejection. There has been minimal campaigning during the ballot and so the turnout is likely to be low. Whichever way the vote goes, work will be needed to involve members and raise the activity levels in workplaces. In England and Wales activity on pay in health has gone into a lull as the drawn out Pay Review Board process continues. The Pay Review Board is now expected to report in mid to late June, rather than May as previously...

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