NEC backs the right to strike emergency protest

Industrial action and the defence of the right to strike continue to be priorities for the union

UNISON sign at the union's centre in London

UNISON’s national executive council (NEC) has encouraged as many members as possible to attend the TUC-organised emergency protest in Westminster at 6pm on Monday (22 May) and defend the right to strike.

The strike-busting legislation is returning to parliament on Monday and UNISON, along with other unions, believes that the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, is a full-frontal attack on working people and the trade unions they organise within.

Details of the demonstration can be found here.

Separately, at its meeting this week, the NEC also heard that the union is in the midst of taking the government to the High Court over their new rules to bring in agency workers to break strikes.

General secretary Christina McAnea said: “UNISON is clear that bringing in unqualified and ill-experienced agency workers during strikes doesn’t address the root causes of why people are striking, and it only puts the public in danger. Our legal team spent two days giving evidence earlier this month.”

A decision is expected over the next few weeks.

Elsewhere the general secretary highlighted that the NJC pay ballot is opening on 23 May and that the recent success with health pay did not include Northern Ireland where UNISON is still campaigning to make the deal a reality with action short of strike for the whole of May “to try and force ministers to get through the political impasse that is blocking any pay increases”.

Christina also highlighted that nine universities had voted for strike action and that the union was still pushing ahead with its national care service campaign, “pushing the Labour party to adopt as many of our priorities as we can.”

The NEC also:

  • continued to make preparations for national delegate conference in Liverpool in June;
  • received an update on UNISON’s race discrimination inquiry;
  • unanimously accepted the ‘organising to win’ strategy report which deals with the recruitment and retention of members and the streamlining of national whole-union organising priorities;
  • sent a message of solidarity to Environment Agency members currently still taking action on pay – and all other members currently taking industrial action; and
  • agreed to review the future of U magazine and will report back to branches.