This year the fight for an alternative response to austerity and delivering a real grassroots leadership for workers across the whole of the public sector, including those outsourced services has begun again.
I refer not to the Unite general secretary election but the UNISON NEC elections which you can read online here https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2016/12/nec-election-notice/
There are 65 NEC seats.
Whoever controls the NEC has control over the direction and leadership of our union.
If we stick to the Austerity Years 2010 to present there have been 3 NEC elections, this will be the fourth.
If you are a UNISON member or UNISON rep or a former UNISON member who has retired or made redundant, what do you think of UNISON’s response to the brutal austerity cuts, the mass outsourcing, the failure to deal with Pay and the attacks on our pensions?
If you think that the NEC reps did a good or bad job then seek out the names of the reps on this link and make sure you find out about all the candidates for whom you can vote.
Had a look?
Below are a couple of links to some hard working grassroots UNISON reps who I believe will want to change the way we fight austerity.
In UNISON? Vote 4 Grassroots Fighter Claire Dixon http://bit.ly/2jMFX6z #UNISON NEC #Vote4ClaireDixon
In UNISON? Vote 4 Grassroots fighter Andrea Egan #UNISON NEC Elections http://bit.ly/2jAAW0V #Vote4AndreaEgan
In UNISON? Vote 4 Grassroots Fighter Helen Davies #UNISON NEC Elections http://bit.ly/2jAsPkO #Vote4HelenDavies
In UNISON? Vote 4 Grassroots Fighter Roger Hutt #UNISON NEC elections #Vote4RogerHutt http://bit.ly/2iC1NJE
The fight is on, but it will only be delivered if members and reps take part in the democratic process.
I understand just under 5% of the membership voted in the last NEC elections.
That is appalling, but also a challenge.
Clearly for members, elections are not having a meaningful impact on their working lives. Morale is low, in my view the inability of the union to mobilise nationally against austerity has seen almost a million jobs lost without a national fight.
As the late Bob Crowe said: "If you fight you won't always win. But if you don't fight you will always lose."
Over the next few months there should hopefully be workplace discussions about what they really want from their union.
My view is that we can't continue as we are, we need to focus on building grassroots participation within the workplace and the communities that our members live.
We can't leave Durham & Derby TAs behind, we can't leave the Kinsley 3 behind we can't continue with appeasement and managed decline.
Solidarity to all grassroots members and reps.