Leamington & Kenilworth

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Local government pensions ballot - VOTE NO!

(August 11, 2012)

Pensions ballot for council workers


Members of all three council unions in Coventry and across the country, GMB, UNISON and UNITE, will have received ballot papers concerning the new look pension scheme. Socialist Party members and supporters are campaigning for a NO vote, to reject the new pension scheme. The new pension will see council workers work longer,pay more and get less – the very things we went on strike against on 30th November 2011.

We have been distributing Issue 13 of our bulletin for local authority workers ‘The Socialist’, which calls for a rejection, and also highlights the battle taking place inside UNISON. Below is page 2 of Issue 13. We urge council workers to reject the deal, and to consider joining the Socialist Party as part of the fight to build democratic, fighting trade unions.



  As pension ballot opens….Unison bureaucracy attempts to silence branches and activists

Report from a Unison member

As the Unison pension ballot begins, many members of Unison will be shocked to hear that branches and activists have been threatened with disciplinary action by the union for campaigning against the new look Local Government Pension Scheme. In the consultation that took place, only around 5 per cent of members responded – disappointing, but perhaps not surprising given the loss of momentum following the strike on 30th November 2011.

Despite the low turnout in the consultation many members and branches indicated that the new look scheme, which still sees us working longer, paying more and getting less, should be rejected. That was the case in Coventry, where a majority indicated the offer should be rejected. The national leadership of the union in Local Government however has recommended acceptance. In a worrying development, Unison branches are now receiving diktats and threats from unelected full time officials of the union, stating that any attempts by branches or shop stewards to put the case for rejection would mean that the union’s internal disciplinary procedures could be used.

Why are sections of the Unison leadership trying to stifle debate?

What are these officials in our union worried about? Is it that they fear democratic debate amongst the membership – who once given the facts may conclude that actually the deal being sold to them isn’t actually that good?

These bureaucrats,  who are on terms and conditions far beyond the reach of most Unison members, are hiding behind an interpretation of sections of the union rule book. However the rule book commits Unison

“to promote and safeguard the rights of members to have an adequate opportunity to participate in the initiation and development of policy making, through meetings, delegations, conferences or ballots, and to encourage the maximum democratic debate, together with the right to campaign to change policy, while at all times acting within the rules and agreed policy.” (rule B.2.5)

Through their threats which include the closing down of branches and by definition, of expelling activists, they are attempting to silence those who believe that Unison should be a campaigning, democratic union.  In fact we believe that they are possibly breaking Unison’s own democratically agreed policy. The following was passed at the National Delegate Conference  (the highest decision making body of our union) in 2008

“…the right of UNISON members, branches and other appropriate representative bodies to make and campaign within Rule for recommendations in member ballots" (extract from Motion 45 – Democracy – Review of Unison guidelines)

Unison must be run by the members, for the members

Socialist Party members and other activists in Unison will not be silenced and we will continue to campaign against this deal. All Unison members who want a democratic union, which is run BY the members, and FOR the members, need to discuss how we can transform our union. Election and accountability of all officials must be a key part of this.

A democratic and fighting Unison would be a key weapon in the campaign against austerity.

We encourage all of those who agree with this aim to contact us and join with us in this battle.

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Details of the dates for the ballot for ‘new look’ Local Government Pension Scheme 2014

Unite – 23rd July – 24th August

GMB – 23rd July to 17th August

Unison -  31st July – 24th August

If you have not received a ballot paper then contact your union. 

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