By a UNISON member
The National Executive Committee elections in Unison are now underway. The left in Unison has been split recently. Last year the Socialist Party walked out of the Unison United Left. In the recent election for the union’s General Secretary current General Secretary Dave Prentis won comfortably, as the left fielded two candidates, Jon Rogers backed by the UUL and Roger Bannister of the SP, who between them managed only a quarter of the vote.
In these NEC elections, the two left camps have managed to avoid standing candidates against each other, but more by default than design, and there is a danger that the poor result in the General Secretary election may have demoralised some on the Unison left. It has certainly emptied the coffers — far fewer leaflets have been printed this year than were done two years ago when these seats were last contested.
A number of current left members of the NEC are up for re-election, including Jon Rogers in one of the London regional seats, and Roger Bannister in the North West. In the seats reserved for particular work groups, Kate Ahrens is the only sitting left NEC member defending her seat, which is in the health service group. There are a number of other left candidates, from both the SP and the United Left, who could also do well.
The one region where the left are clashing is London, where the Socialist Party’s decision to stand Nancy Taaffe risks the seat of current NEC member and United Left activist Fiona Monkman. If Fiona loses her seat it would be an indictment of the left’s failure to take the elections sufficiently seriously.
With the union claiming to lead the public sector resistance to the Government’s pension attacks, the make up of Unison’s NEC is of vital importance. The split on the Unison left is very bad.
Solidarity believes Unison members should back all the left candidates in the NEC elections:
National Additional Members’ seats: Raph Parkinson (SP) for the male seat; Malkiat Bilku (WRP, one of the Hillingdon Hospital strikers) for the female seat.
National service groups: Kate Ahrens (UUL) and Frances Kelly (UUL) for the female Health seats, Adrian O’Malley (SP) for the general Health seat, Glenn Kelly (SP) for the Local Government male seat, Phoebe Watkins (UUL) for the Local Government women’s seat, Rahul Patel (UUL) for the Local Government general seat, and Tom Silverlock (UUL) in the Higher Education service group.
Regional seats: John Owens (UUL), Anne McMillan-Wood (UUL), Jean Thorpe (SP) and Catherine Mellors (Ind) in the East Midlands, Mandy Berger (UUL), Fiona Monkman (UUL) and Jon Rogers (UUL) in London, Diana Leach (UUL), Jessie Russell (UUL) and Mike Tucker (UUL) in the South East, Phil Jones (UUL) and Pat Rowe (UUL) in the South West, Dave Auger (SP) in the West Midlands, Roger Bannister (SP), Babs Hennessey (UUL), Alex May (UUL) and Karen Reissman (UUL) in the North West, John McDermott (UUL), Helen Jenner (UUL), Vicky Perrin (SP) and Diane Shepherd (SP) in the Yorkshire and Humberside region, Clare Wormald (UUL) in the Eastern Region and Yunus Bakhsh (UUL) in the Northern region.