Unison members vote to strike - step up the fight for 30 November!

Submitted by AWL on 4 November, 2011 - 2:41

Unison members have voted to strike on 30 November against the government's attacks on pensions. The results are:

Overall: Yes: 245,358
No: 70,253
78% in favour

Local Government
Yes 171,428
No 54,500
76% in favour – Turnout 30%

NHS
Yes 73,930
No 15,753
82% in favour – Turnout 25%

The Tories, the NHS bosses and the right-wing press are making great play of the relatively low turn out, arguing that every member who didn't vote should be counted as a No. Of course this makes no sense whatsoever. And given the Tory anti-union laws which insist on postal ballots rather than workplace ballots or mass meetings, 25-30 percent is not a great turn out, but not bad either.

What is noticeable is that the Yes vote in health is even higher than in local government - destroying the commonly held notion that health workers are inherently less militant.

Statements from the leaders of the big unions (Unison, Unite, GMB), while for now they say the strike is still on, suggest they are preparing a possible way out. Unison workers' big Yes vote is very encouraging, but in fact it means we need to up the pressure - to make sure the strike happens, to make it effective and to make sure it leads to further action after 30 November.

For the AWL's model motion, putting forward ideas about how to step up the action on and after 30 November, see here.

Comments

Submitted by AWL on Fri, 04/11/2011 - 15:23

EIS members vote for teachers strike over pensions

Scotland's schools are facing the first strike in almost a quarter of a century.

Members of the largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), have voted overwhelmingly for a day of action.
It is likely to take place on 30 November.
Union leaders said the patience of teachers had been exhausted by a pay freeze, budget cuts and proposed changes to pensions.
The EIS said more than 82% of members who voted were in favour of strike action. Turnout was 54%.
The planned action is expected to be rubber stamped by the union's executive meeting later and is expected to take place at the end of the month when many other public sector unions are also taking part in a day of action over pensions.
Union leaders said concessions mooted by the UK government earlier this week were not concrete enough as yet to prevent industrial action.
Members of the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) have also voted in favour of a day's strike but leaders have delayed naming a day to allow time to consider the government's revised proposals on pensions.

Submitted by AWL on Mon, 07/11/2011 - 10:05

In the last general election, 65 percent voted - up from 61 percent in 2005. That is in an election which is talked about constantly all the time, and which for the few months beforehand is celebrated with great fanfare in the whole of the mass circulation press.

This result, 25 precent, is in a ballot which has hardly been talked about at all, outside the small circulation left press. Certainly Unison nationally has run no serious campaign (and it has been better than some of the other unions). Add to that the fact that workplace ballots, which usually result in a higher turn out, are illegal.

Why do you think the vote was so overwhelmingly for action? The very most you could claim is that a much bigger minority want to strike than oppose striking (4-1), while the majority is indifferent. Though in fact the idea that no one who failed to vote wants to strike needs justifying.

Sacha Ismail

Submitted by Bruce on Mon, 07/11/2011 - 22:34

A letter to the Guardian pointed out that if you multiply the proportion of people voting (the 61%) in the 2010 General Election by the proportion of people voting Tory you get a percentage that only differs from the Unison turnout by 1%.

And of course nobody voted for this coalition government!

Submitted by Matthew on Tue, 08/11/2011 - 14:10

Easy. Given no party got a parliamentary majority, the Labour government should have stayed in office, presented a programme of legislation - including bills to introduce PR and abolish the House of Lords - and if the Liberals joined the Tories to vote it down called another election.

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