Thursday, 12 January 2017

Vote 4 Grassroots Fighter - Helen Davies UNISON NEC Elections

Dear Branch Secretary,

I am seeking nominations for one of the female seats on the National Executive Council, representing Greater London Region 2017-19.

Who I am:

I am the Chair of the Barnet Local Government Branch and have served on the NEC since 2011.

I have been a representative on the Regional Committee for Greater London in previous years.

On each occasion I have sought your nomination I have outlined the desperate circumstances under which our members are providing services and I have outlined the need for our union to organize a coordinated fightback. I do not believe it is good enough for our union to simply “survive” as an institution. It must thrive and deliver results for its members. We have many branches which have been able to deliver positive results for their members but this is often in spite of our national leadership – not because of it. Right now teaching assistants in Durham and Derby are struggling heroically to prevent their pay being moved to Term-time only pay which will result in a 20-25% pay cut. However, it is our union’s policy to campaign for an end to term-time pay for all our teaching assistants. The union could and should be organizing to bring all of our teaching assistants into a national dispute on this question. What a recruitment and organizing opportunity that would be!

My branch united with PCS, UNITE and community activists to initiate and organize the only national demonstration to take place in defence of Libraries, National Galleries and Museums there has been. This is a sector which has seen thousands of job losses and wholesale service closure. The demonstration showed what we all know: that there are thousands of people wanting to see resistance coordinated and happy to take part in such a demonstration. I think this shows, along with all the disputes I have supported over the years and the ones I have led in my branch, that I do not just wish it could be different – I organize to make a difference.

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 have also been part of a group of activists who have brought a claim to the Certification Officer regarding the General Secretary election campaign of our union 2015. The result on this case is outstanding. I was shocked to hear the recording of our regional paid staff seemingly involved in a meeting to subvert the union’s rules in order to secure the re-election of our current General Secretary. I, with 2 other Greater London NEC reps wrote to the then president of our union requesting an independent investigation as the recording indicated our General Secretary may have been aware of the meeting or the nature of that campaigning. I raised the matter at NEC meetings. This year Barnet Council was involved in poor organization of the mayoral election. The Chief Executive Officer resigned and an independent investigation was commissioned. If a Tory Council responds in this way to electoral wrong-doing I expect my union to do no less. Only when it became clear my union was not prepared to do what I think was best, did I go with others to the Certification Officer.
We pay money to our union to organize the fight for a better future for our members and to protect us – not to have its resources cynically used to undermine our democratic structures. I hope you agree with me and support my nomination request.

I would ask that you also support the nomination requests of Sean Fox and Sonya Howard in the other Greater London seats.

Nominations need to be made at a quorate meeting of your branch or your branch committee and notified to the union by 10th February 2017 5pm.

Please contact me if you would like to ask me anything further:

Helen Davies -

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