With the results of the Unison General Secretary election due on
Tuesday 22nd June, we reproduce below an article by Left candidate Paul
Holmes which was published on the front page of the United Left paper:
Cuts, redundancies and the
need to organise
By Paul Holmes NEC Member and
Kirklees UNISON Branch Secretary (Personal Capacity)
The Tory/Liberal public
school millionaires are getting ready for the 22nd June
budget. How ironic that David Laws MP who portrayed himself as a “Mr
Clean” of politics has resigned over yet another MP’s expenses exposure.
These people want to cut our standards of living whilst maintaining
The cabinet is packed with
Tory public school boys sharpening their knives. They’ve been joined by
Liberal MP’s with the same ideas. All the 6 million plus people who
voted Liberal must be horrified at their party sustaining the Tories in
Across local government the
axe is poised to fall. My employer, Kirklees Council has already
announced that 13% of the workforce have to leave by March 2012,
starting with 1,100 leaving by March 2010. The council have only had 300
volunteers so far, so a further potential 800 are faced with compulsory
These cuts are not unique.
Most councils are talking about redundancies and cuts in terms of
conditions. Some councils talk about cutting waste and temporary jobs.
There is no waste (at least at the ordinary worker’s level). Every cut
in a job is a cut in already inadequate services. Every temporary worker
is a human being who wants a permanent job. “Natural wastage” is
wasting thousands of young people’s future.
We face the biggest battle of
our lives. But to win the battle we need to be organised, united and
strong. Hundreds of thousands of unorganised workers will join the union
if we give them a lead.
Workers look to a union that
is positive, organised and strong. Now more than ever, we need to be
organised. Leaders shouldn’t see political activists as opponents; they
should see them for what they are – people willing to give their time
and effort in organising our class against the onslaught which is sure
Make no mistake, this
government will be more vicious that Thatcher’s. In its own view it has
to be because of the economic chaos the bankers have caused – the
bankers who finance, drive and direct this government.
We need to make the political
and economic connection between the action of the bankers and the
future our members face.
There has been no crop
failure in Britain . There has been no plague. There have been no
mysterious, industrial and manufacturing technical problems. Why then is
there an economic crisis? Because the economic system we live under is
‘not fit for purpose’.
We need to replace it with
one that meets the needs of ordinary working people. This government’s
cuts can’t be fought by fancy words.
Thatcher was right – there is
no alternative. No third way. It is a workers’ agenda or a bankers’
agenda. In Kirklees we have already had a 61% yes vote in a branch-wide
ballot on the Council’s failure to implement an agreed single status
I have no doubt that we will
get a bigger Yes vote in a ballot on compulsory redundancies. Our
members are looking for us to get organised – lets show them that
together we can.