Saturday, February 13, 2010

Who will put members first?

With every candidate seemingly claiming that they are about putting the members first it's worth looking at who can really claim that?

Paul Homes?

The bloggers supporting Paul seem thrilled by the support he's getting. But not from ordinary UNISON activists through their Branches, Regions, Service Groups, etc, but from one Labour MP? That doesn't sound like putting the members first. Or how about Paul's track record on the NEC? Paul failed to even complete his first term on the NEC, choosing to resign rather than sitting with the NEC at Conference were delegates elected by members in their Branches hold us to account as their NEC. Sound more like putting your own interests first rather than the member.

Roger Bannister?

This one is even more cut and dry. Roger is the candidate of the Socialist Party, a revolutionary party who operate 'Democratic' Centralism. For those not in the know this means that he is at the behest of the Central Committee of the Socialist Party. His candidacy itself is all about promoting the Socialist Party and their agenda rather than about winning. That is clearly why the Socialist Party have even refused to work with other extreme-left groups in the election, it's all about them and their sectarian interests. UNISON members and our interests don't seem to come into it at all!

Dave Prentis?

Dave's support does not come from outside parties or cults, but from UNISON members. Dave's website details the members the ones working in our public services, the stewards working on the ground, the Branch Secretaries leading local organising, and UNISON's lay leaders at Regional and National level.

Dave's nominations and endorsements are coming in from across the union; Branches, Regions, Service Groups, the Retired Members, Young Members, Self Organised Groups and of course the National Executive. At all of which he's been supported by UNISON activists and shop floor public service workers that know Dave's record of working hard for our members and always fighting for our interests first and foremost.

That's why I'm backing the candidate that puts members first: I'm backing Dave Prentis

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The only real choice - Dave Prentis for General Secretary

So nominations are now open for UNISON's General Secretary.

Now I'm sure it won't come as a surprise that I'm supporting the re-election of our current General Secretary, Dave Prentis.

Over the past 9 years I think Dave has done us proud as General Secretary. Not only because he's well respected, passionate, and dedicated to our members, but he's got the instincts and experience to steer a massive organisation like UNISON to continued success.

You only have to look at Dave's record, membership increasing year on year (particularly healthy Young Member recruitment which I know Dave is very committed to), the unions resources increasingly been shifted towards directly organising our members, high profile campaigns which have successfully got the public on board from Keep the NHS Working to our current Million Voices campaign, in Health our historic Agenda for Change agreement putting all our members in the NHS on an equal footing, developing our commitment to the international agenda supporting sisters unions across the world, and the list goes on.

And Dave is a strong and effective voice for our members to Government. You just need to look at what happened in the summer when the NHS Co0operation and Competition Panel produced their guidance that only a quarter of local health services could be retained by the NHS otherwise it would 'damage the markets', Dave's personal intervention (including leading a delegation of NHS Together unions to meet the Health ministerial team) meant that position was more than reversed with the Health Secretary announcing the NHS was the 'preferred provider' of services.

When you look at the ragtag bunch also seeking nomination, it'd be easy to think there's no contest. As my Branch Secretary put it, 'There is no other choice, it has to be Dave.' But there's no room for complacency.

Our union is about to enter the most important and most difficult period since we came together as UNISON. Public spending is set to be squeezed whoever wins the next election, with our members in the public, private and community sector set to bear the brunt of the pain if we let it. But with a Tory Government (heaven forbid) those cuts will come quicker, be deeper and they've already indicated would come hand in hand with attacking our ability to resist from cutting facility time to further restricting our right to take industrial action.

And in this tough time ahead, UNISON doesn't just need a steady hand at the tiller. We also need and strong determined fighter who can truly serve the interests of our members and not their own factional interests.

That's why I'll be supporting a nomination for Dave at the NEC, my Regional Council and my Branch AGM.

Join us and give your support:
  1. Find our more about the campaign and sign up
  2. Get in touch with your Branch and ask them how and when they're making their nomination (Dave's letter seeking nominations)

  3. Support Dave at the nominating meeting (either Branch Committee were your' represented by you steward who you should ask to vote for Dave or Branch Meeting where you can go along and vote)

You can also follow the campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr