Monday, 16 January 2017

In UNISON? Vote for Grassroots Fighter Roger Lewis #UNISON NEC Elections

Dear Branch Secretary 
I am seeking nominations for the Disabled members General seat on the National Executive Council 2017-19.

Who I am:

I have been a member of Lambeth UNISON Local Government Branch for over 25 years.

I have been a Shop Steward in Adult Social Care for this entire period and have been Branch Disabled Members Officer for many years and Branch Equalities Officer for 2016/17.

In seeking your branch’s nomination I would like to outline my reasons for standing for this position.

I believe that for the past seven years we have been experiencing the most serious attack on our jobs, pay and pensions and services in the history of our union.

As Disabled people we face seeing all the advances we have fought for and won in the past undone.

During this time Disabled people have been at the sharp end of attacks by the current government.

We have seen Disabled people scapegoated, portrayed as work-shy scroungers and benefit cheats.

With the imposition of the Work Capability assessments and sanctions, cuts to social care support and cuts to the voluntary sector Disabled people have been hit nine times harder than non-Disabled people and those with the most complex needs nineteen times harder.

For the past 7 years I have been a member of the National Steering Committee of Disabled People Against Cuts, DPAC.

I participated in the occupation of the Head Office of the DWP on the opening day of the London Para Olympics to highlight the scandal of the games being sponsored by ATOS and have lead on many of the other high profile direct action protests that have become the hallmark of DPAC’s campaigning against Disability cuts and against austerity.

Last summer we organized a 70 ft banner drop from the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital with the slogan No More Deaths from Benefit Cuts clearly visible from the terrace of Parliament while we simultaneously blocked Westminster Bridge.

This action was timed to pressurize the government to acknowledge the findings of the enquirey that was partly triggered by DPAC by The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which concluded that there is reliable evidence of grave or systematic violations by the UK government of the rights of “persons with disabilities” due to welfare reform.

DPAC has received huge support and solidarity from Trade Union members and individual branches of Unison but sadly we have not had any support from Unison’s national leadership.

DPAC has campaigned alongside Unison members taking industrial action to defend jobs and services including supporting the 2012 national day of actions to defend pensions.

I was a leading Lambeth Unison activist in the campaign to Defend the Ten Lambeth Libraries last year and supported the National Day of Action to defend Libraries, Galleries and Museums.

I believe this represents the sort of coordinated solidarity we need right now but which I feel has sadly been missing from our own Union.

I will bring the same level of determination that I put into DPAC to defending our Disabled members to my work in the NEC should I be elected.

We need a Union leadership which stands up for our members and which is determined to defend our jobs and services.

I support all movements which aim to develop the struggle against Austerity – from organizing against racism and the shocking rise of anti-immigration rhetoric over the last years to standing in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. 

I hope you agree with me and support my nomination request.

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