UNISON National Executive Committee Statement – Tuesday 26th July 202201/08/2022
The NEC wants to thank and congratulate all UNISON activists, members, and staff who ensured we had a tremendous turnout on the 18th June 2022 TUC Demonstration in London.
It was a great day and the level of engagement from our union, especially coming immediately after our National Delegates Conference, was deeply inspiring.
Demonstrations, however great they are, should never be stand-alone events. They need to lead to activity focused on delivering on our objectives – and there is no greater objective at the moment than defeating the cost-of-living crisis and ensuring fair pay for working people.
So, it was wonderful to leave the demo and find ourselves immediately thrust into activity to support the RMT dispute – a dispute which has focused everybody’s minds on the inequality that exists within our society and the power ordinary people have to fight for what’s right.
We congratulate everyone who made it to an RMT picket line or strike rally, or helped spread the message through social media that their fight is our fight.
We will continue to support the RMT and other unions approaching key disputes, including Unite at British Airways and the CWU in BT and Royal Mail to name just a few.
Not only are we proud to support other unions in dispute, but we are especially proud of UNISON members and branches fighting back.
We send our solidarity and support to OCS strikers in the North West, St. Monica’s strikers in the South West, University of Leeds strikers in Yorkshire and Humberside and all UNISON members everywhere demanding fair treatment and decent wages and working conditions.
At our recent National Delegates Conference, our General Secretary Christina McAnea made it clear that in order to secure the pay awards, we deserve, our union needs to be “strike ready”.
The NEC intends to do all we can to heed this call. As a National Executive Committee, we are committed to taking action on the motions agreed at National Delegates Conference and we fully recognise, the urgent need to tackle cost of living crisis.
Starting with our own NEC and committee meetings, we will ensure that every meeting includes an agenda item on “How we defeat the cost-of-living crisis”, in order to guarantee this question is a clear focus of the work we undertake and that we are able to throw the full weight of our union behind tackling this urgent challenge.
- Our Industrial Action Committee has already raised strike pay, but this is not just a question for that particular committee.
- Our Finance Committee will be doing all it can to make sure our resources are directed to organising for ballots and the action that may follow.
- Our Policy committee will be working with Christina and her team to ensure our communications strategy continually reinforces our need to be strike ready, offering best practice examples from branches that are well-versed in achieving strong ballot results and highlighting testimony from members who are struggling under the weight of low pay.
- The Development and Organisation committee are already undertaking focus work on organising, and this will be incorporated into ongoing work plans. They will also be bringing forward our experiences around organising from all corners and across all representatives within our committees, locally, regionally, and nationally.
- Notes that the Campaign Fund Committee has already committed significant funding to campaign on the cost of living crisis and encourages regions and branches to access the fund.
As an NEC we will play our part in showing UNISON members that we are up for this fight and we hope in turn that this will inspire branches to do the same, convincing members that when the ballots come, there is every reason to vote and every reason to vote for action if that is what is required.
We know that engaging and inspiring our activists will be vital if we are to succeed, so we intend to build on the activist rally we had last December and organise a similar (but bigger) event, a “Cost of Living Summit” with a clear focus on how we win on pay…and we want to use this and other initiatives to increase the number of UNISON activists because we know that makes us all stronger.
We aim to be as proactive as possible, and we want everyone reading this to feel the same way. We want service groups to know that we will help them to coordinate activity where possible and that if they want to organise activity in advance of ballots to capture the anger that exists over pay – lobbies of parliament, town hall meetings, online rallies – we will support them to do so.
In fact, we want branches, regions, service groups, self-organised groups and anyone else to know that if you have a plan, or even an idea on how we can strengthen ourselves to win for our members, the NEC will support you.
It is vital that we deliver for UNISON members and the NEC doesn’t intend to leave a single stone unturned to do so.
The time for action is now. Enough is enough.
We demand better and UNISON is ready to fight for it !