We found out today that Unison are accepting the local government pay offer, without putting up a fight, even though it’s below inflation, which makes it a pay cut in real terms. Most disappointing is that Unison’s members actually voted to reject the offer, but the union branches themselves voted to accept it. Unison’s usual excuse for not standing up to the bosses is that the members don’t have the stomach for a fight, but it looks like the opposite is true. Unison claim to speak for public sector workers but in reality they are ignoring us and blocking us from taking action.
This is particularly upsetting because our colleagues in the NHS are right now being consulted on their own pay deal; this could have been a great opportunity for NHS and social care workers to show some solidarity and stand together against the government. Instead, Unison gave up on us without even trying.
BCWN has always been critical of the big, bureaucratic trades unions in the TUC. Even though the unions claim to represent us, we believe there is a real conflict of interests between what is good for the workers and what the people running the union want. Joining a trades union might offer the bare minimum protection at work, but it’s no substitute for getting together with our workmates and fighting for ourselves. Real, militant unions need to be grassroots, and run by the workers, for the workers.
To read more about radical alternatives to mainstream trades unions, check out: