nick venedi

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Unison politics

Unison is perhaps the most dynamic and successful Trades Union in Britain. It represents 1.4 million workers in the public sector with structures that allow for freedom of expression and for democratic accountability. Unison strives to be a member led union and it has mechanisms that allow members to participate and be involved with shaping the future and deciding policy. Our strength, in my opinion, comes from the near robust structures that have evolved over the years with Self Organisation which is, in some way, a progressive form of devolution. Self Organisation allows for separate but compatible development and ideas are fed into the mainstream.

The above statement coincides with what most of us would like Unison to be. But,like any other large organisation, there are those who would like things to be done differently and those who would like the union to take a different direction. There are some on the far left who think that Unison is too close to the Labour party and those who feel that we should not be affiliated to any political party. That debate will no doubt continue and discussions will be happening at every conference every year. We should in my opinion be making strategic and tactical decisions allowing us as a movement to derive the maximum benefit and that way protect the interests of our members.

I am not that keen on some of the policies that the current government has been following but I am clever enough to know that the alternative to a Labour government is not a very good one. I would challenge anyone who thinks that a conservative government will do anything other than try to undermine the viability of the Trades Union movement. So my answer to those arguing for killing the link with Labour is for them to consider joining the party and fighting to change it from within and that applies both on national and local level. I do not accept, for one minute, that the Lambeth Unison Branch did not gain by building a closer relationship with the local Labour party and I am proud to say that I was the founder of that movement back in 1994. The Labour party can do better but we can influence that process and be part of that change by getting more involved. So go back to your constituencies and join the Labour party!!

Nick Venedi

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