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


Anonymous said...

I think ragtag is unfair.

Paul Holmes is a good branch secretary - the problem for him is that he is in no way a credible candidate for managing a multi-million pound trade union organisation. He even refuses to have information technology in his own branch (NO email, etc.), but suddenly discovers the internet a couple of weeks ago for his election campaign via Marsha Thompson (who is chair of the extremist UNISON United Left, and also a convicted fraudster lest we forget).

Roger Bannister is a three-time loser who is in thrall to the demands of the Central Committee of the Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW) whose main aim is violent revolution and whose own members have forced an independent employment tribunal to say that their views are not worthy of respect in a democratic society and that they deprive individuals of dignity and freedom. No thanks.

On Delroy Creary it's difficult to know what to say as he has almost no national profile whatsoever, even being a bit of a no-mark/lightweight amongst his 'constituencies' of Higher Education and Black members. He also has no idea of what collective responsibility means and made himself look entirely foolish at the black members conference in January by stirring up complaints and confusion on the floor about a matter for which he and another member had failed to report upon to their regions.

No, maybe you're right - ragtag is about the mark!

Of course at least one of this bunch - none of whom actually believe they can win, but want to 'have the arguments' - give a toss that a pointless contested election is a compelte waste of the members money. We have the arguments at NDC every year and every year we see their 'arguments' supported by an ever-dwindling band - and that's among the politically-aware activists who attend.

(Actually it's rather depressing seeing all that energy wasted scuttling round from clique-to-caucus-to-secret meetings in order to try to win some marginal deating point that can gain them brownie points with their central committees.)

As you may have guessed I'll be backing Dave!

Mary Locke said...

I couldn't agree with you more. You say it all so succinctly. We cannot rest on our laurels. It is an important time. The best person to lead the union is Dave prentis no question of that. He is the voice of all members. We have difficult challenging times ahead. Especially if the Tories win the general election. Branches, Regions, SGE's SOG's members vote for Dave Prentis

Jon Rogers said...

You'll find yourself in the majority on our NEC I don't doubt James - but as one of his supporters have you asked Dave why he left it until 20 January to tell us of his commitment to our democracy and that there would be an election?

I'd go easy on the publication of anonymous comments making a series of personal attacks too it cheapens the Union (and does also look a bit silly when an anonymous commentator tells us who they're backing - we don't even know if they are a Unison member!)

There is a positive case to be made for Dave and - to be fair - you make it in your post. Negative campaigning won't help anyone (and the argument that we should save money rather than have elections is one that really doesn't belong in a democratic movement!)

Martin said...

Jon - What's not true in the anonymous comment at 9.12AM?


Anonymous said...

More on the split and low-wattage extremist opposition here:

Andrew said...

Meanwhile I suppose Dave Prentis writes all his own emails and letters! James Perhaps you could say now what your view is on personal attacks that have been posted on your blog. I assume if you don’t comment I can only assume you are happy with those campaigning for Prentis descending such personal attacks.

Keith said...

I have never read such a lot of garbage. dave prentice is running this union like a dictatorship. Anything he doesn't like is ruled out of order. There is no democracy anyone who holds a different opion is subjected to disciplinary action and you don't have to be a left winger to see that. I am not a member of the Socailsit party but you can see what they are sayoing is true. Why do we continue to support the labour party when it continues to shaft us. Chairman Dave is just waiting for his gong.

Anonymous said...

Jon - I ask again - What's not true in the anonymous comment at 9.12AM?


Mary Locke said...

UNISON first and foremost is member led. Dave Prentis is not a dictator that is an insult!!! All I will say is that Dave is the best person for the job he has a proven track record. Also our members are facing cuts the best person to steer us through is Dave Prentis

James Anthony said...

On the issue of personal attacks, the comments don't seem that personal to me. In fact they seem to be critiques of candidates in an election for General Secretary of a trade union with 1.4 million members!

As all comments relate to pertinent issues related to their political work they will not be deleted. Especially as there has been no protest over the truth of the comments.

Anonymous said...

Earth calling Jon Rogers...come on what's not true in the anonymous comment at 9.12?

And it's not at all convincing that bluster on your blog complaining about attacks, disingenuous even, and I'm sure 'honest' Paul Holmes can tell you what disingenuous means.


Keith said...

Dave Prentice deserves to be attacked. He has led this union through single status and many workers have been shafted losing thousands of pounds and what has this union done, nothing.No fight whatsoever.
"The best person to steer us through when members are facing cuts is dave prentice" don't make me laugh! try telling that to my members who are losing thousands.
I stand by my comments Prentice is a dictator and he and his kind are destroying this union its becoming a joke just to call it a union.
Lets have a change and elect someone who's not in bed with labour the very same party thats shafting the working people.

Anonymous said...

Mate, it's Prentis, not Prentice. If you can't even get that right....

Anyway, where's Jon Rogers with a cogent refutation of the content of the first comment?

Brian said...

What do you meen, theres no room for complacensy. Complacensy is exackly what we want in our grate union.

Jon Rogers said...

Sorry to have been missed here comrades ;)

I don't have as much time to blog as I would like.

The point I was making was that personal attacks demean the Union - there is enough to criticise in the political platforms and track records of all four declared candidates in this election that no one (least of all those hiding behind anonymity) needs to resort to such personal attacks.

I have comment moderation on my blog because I try to weed out that sort of childishness (I remember having to censor personal attacks on a previous UNISON President on more than one occasion because the comments - whilst accurate - were simply personal and spiteful).

I think the whole "ragtag" comment reveals the level of political critique to be expected from this blog.

Which is a shame.