NEC urges final push for 20 October

UNISON’s national executive council urged members to make the most of the next two days to build even more for Saturday’s marches For a Future that Works in London, Glasgow and Belfast.

Assistant general secretary Liz Snape told the meeting that “we’ll be biggest, brightest and noisiest – we’ll certainly make our presence felt.”

We have “two days left to build for this big, big event,” she said. “It’s our message that will be seen.”

She emphasised that a “big, high-profile campaign, starting with political advertising,” had begun, and that “this will underpin our organising and recruiting activity.

“The time is right for us to push the view that it’s UNISON that is challenging this vicious government,” she added.

General secretary Dave Prentis stressed that Saturday’s events are not an end in themselves.

“It’s a launch pad,” he said, that will “continue, at local and regional level, the work we’re doing.”

And he reiterated how, in coming months, the continuing pay freeze would grow more and more as a major issue for an increasing number of public service workers.

Wendy Nichols from Yorkshire and Humberside highlighted just how important UNISON’s work is.

“From my recollection, there’s over 30 U-turns the government has made”, with UNISON and the union’s Labour Link being heavily involved in that.

Steve Warwick from the South West said that it was important to recognise just how much work UNISON is doing and how effective that work is.

He pointed out that, at the Conservative Party conference, Eric Pickles was talking about attacking facility time and dues paying methods for a reason: he was primarily thinking about UNISON and, if UNISON is not being effective, there would be no desire to attack the union.

Isobel McVicar from the North West said that activists “need to reach out to the community – and talk to the people who don’t think there is an alternative”, because so many really don’t know that austerity is not the only way.

Kim Silver stressed that the TUC has also organised a shorter march for disabled people, which will be starting from Green Park.

Details for Saturday’s March for a Future that Works are available on UNISON’s March for a Future that Works web pages. ../../../20102012.

Mr Prentis gave a brief report of the recent TUC and Labour Party conferences.

He then handed over to vice president Maureen Le Marinel, who stressed the vital nature of every UNISON member and branch campaigning to ensure that anyone elected to the role of a police and crime commissioner at the police and crime commissioner elections on 15 November is opposed to privatisation of the police.

Mr Prentis invited Mr Warwick to comment further on the Labour Party conference, and he emphasised the commitment by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham to repeal the coalition’s legislation on the NHS, and gave some commitments on the issue of regional pay.

The NEC also:

  • discussed recruitment and the union’s new advertisement campaign;
  • heard an update on pensions from Glyn Jenkins;
  • heard a report on November’s pay seminar;
  • heard a report from the organising and membership working group;
  • heard updates on the union’s Living Wage campaigning and successes across the UK;
  • welcomed progress toward justice for the families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, and congratulated the families and campaigners on their work do far;
  • heard that the union has just launched a “substantial” local government pay claim for 2013, covering workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.