‘It’s time to make UNISON’s voices heard’

NEC hears call for ‘a massive show of strength’ on 12 May

It’s time to make UNISON voices heard with a massive show of strength on the streets of London, general secretary Dave Prentis told the union’s national executive council meeting in London today.

He urged a massive mobilisation of UNISON members for the TUC national demonstration planned for 12 May.

“This is our chance to show this government that austerity must end; the pay freeze for public service workers must end and we need to see the fairer society we all believe in,” he said.

“Let’s be ambitious, let’s aim to get huge numbers of UNISON members out on the streets.

“Anywhere we go, any group we speak to, we should be talking about why it is important to mobilise for this demonstration.”

Mr Prentis also told the NEC of his pride at speaking at the union’s Black members and women’s conferences recently.

“Proportionality and fair representation are the bedrock of this union and we need to make sure it stays that way,” he said.

“Our union’s colours are the colours of the suffragette movement and we are a women’s union. I’m proud to say that on a day when we are celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage.”

The NEC was invited to encourage branches to register to attend the celebration of the life of former NUPE and UNISON general secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe, which will be held on 12 April at Methodist Central Hall in London.

More details, including how to reserve your place

The NEC agreed proposed changes to the union’s rules around the political fund to bring the union in line with measures in the Trade Union Act, which will now go to national delegate conference.

The proposals were developed during a two-year consultation process and have been agreed by Labour Link forum and the general political fund committee.

The rule changes would:

  • harmonise the rates between Labour Link and the GPF for current members at 6.5% of their subs;
  • introduce a new rate of 5% in addition to core subs payments for new members who opt into either part of the political fund;
  • rename the General Political Fund as the Campaign Fund.

A new application form is being produced and sent to all branches, with instructions to destroy all old UNISON application forms to ensure the union complies with the legislation around the political funds as well as the new rules on data protection, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The NEC also agreed to put forward 12 motions for debate at national delegate conference

  • Reshaping and resourcing our union
  • Promoting the union as an organising union
  • Learning for the future
  • Workers’ rights in Turkey
  • Modern slavery
  • Public Service Champions 2018/19
  • The UK/EU withdrawal agreement and the future of the UK/EU relationship: campaigning for a new EU deal fit for workers
  • Cuts to our safety net
  • Education is a public service
  • The crisis in health and social care
  • Pay Up Now! Real pay rises for all public service workers
  • Tackling xenophobia and the far right.

The NEC agreed to send messages of support to striking Birmingham homecare workers and to UNISON members working at Northamptonshire County, which has recently invoked a Section 114 notice warning of an impending financial crisis.