Here is the text of a letter of support written to The Leader of the Labour Pary Jeremy Corbyn MP. It has been copied to Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON. At the time of writing our National Labour Link Committee are considering UNISON support for Jeremy. I understand social media reports suggest this will continue.
Dear LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY Jeremy Corbyn MP,
At our branch committee held on the 5th July 2016 a unanimous vote was taken asking me to write to you in support of your continued leadership of the Labour Party.
Our branch committee were appalled by the badly timed and badly executed coup attempt to depose you as leader. We want you to remain strong and stand up to these attacks. We do not hold your leadership responsible for the EU referendum result. We put the result down to previous government policies which abandoned large numbers in former industrial areas to insecure low paid employment and lack of investment in housing, at the same time transferring wealth from the many to the few.
We believe that since you were elected as Leader of the Labour Party, membership has increased tremendously, democracy has been reinvigorated at ward and constituency level and we dare to hope that the ground swell will lead to election victory. We note electoral successes at by-elections and in the London Mayoral election. Our branch is committed to supporting your campaign to win the next general election in 2020. We know this will be tough, that Murdoch and Dacre will conspire against you. That is why we also urge our UNISON national leadership to provide what support and assistance they can to this campaign.
With all our support and best wishes
020 7525 3600
I know you've been going through some tough times if you work for Southwark Council. I thought the article in Southwark News might cheer you up for a minute. The satirical comparison of our (to be appointed) Director of Modernise with the "Director of Better" from the sitcom W1A, reaffirms the submissions we made to Cabinet. I told Cabinet it would be impossible to find anyone who was an expert in HR, IT and Premises management all at the same time and that they would end up with someone who was an expert in none of the above. Gerri Scott and Eleanor Kelly however aren't concerned about expertise. At the Cabinet meeting they countered UNISON's arguments by saying technical expertise at the top level wasn't necessary. Of course we know this from looking at the current COT. No names no pack drill... So no surprise to see the job pilloried in social media as a very highly paid non-job. I invite you all to apply, professional qualifications are not a requirement for any of the new top jobs in Housing and Modernise.
At the end of this month all those coming and going to different divisions and business units will have had a "lift" and shift" and I trust not "lift and shit" as I saw in one consultation paper! I want to thank everyone of our brilliant stewards who have held meetings and met with members - the scale of activity has really stretched us to our limits.
I have heard tales of people not meeting their new managers until a week after the transfer and some members who didn't know they were being transferred. They didn't take part in the consultation exercise because they didn't think it was happening to them! I appeal to you all to keep your eyes and ears open. The "senior management" reorg is just the overture. Act One will be starting shortly. It would really help the branch if you would set up a My Unison account - you can do this with help from the UNISON free phone number 0800 0857 857. You can update your personal details, which will include your department and workplace. Encourage your colleagues to join UNISON. You are the union and we need everyone to do their bit to get new members.
TUC Rally 2nd November Parliament Sq
As if things weren't bad enough unions are being attacked like never before by the Tory Government. https://www.tuc.org.uk/get-involved On Monday 2nd November join with us and take a days leave and attend the Rally against the Trade Union Bill. Southwark UNISON will be meeting at the bus stop outside St Thomas Hospital with the branch banner at 12.30pm. The legislation is outside International agreements but the Tories don't care. They are newtering Trade Unions because they know we'll be fighting government on austerity over the parliamentary term and so they're moving the goal posts. Most of the proposals are frankly absurd and unnecessary - however they are very damaging. The TUC has been lobbying very hard and has identified a list of Tory wobblers such as David Davis Tory MP who described the new rules around picketing as a kin to Franco's Spain. It's clear that the bill will get a very rough time in the House of Lords. So we must do our bit to keep up the pressure. If you live in a Tory Constituency please try and meet with your MP on this issue. If you get a result please let the branch know we will support you in your meeting and make sure your message is heard and understood. We're told that if an MP receives three pieces of correspondence relating to parliamentary business they get worried and start asking questions. Many MPs will be ignorant of the contents of this bill.
Cuts to Tax Credits
If you currently claim Tax Credits please be aware of the massive Tory cuts that will apply from 1st April 2016. This is at the same time as our National Insurance contributions will also increase. Some of you will be loosing as much as £2500 p.a. UNISON has produced figures showing the loss at each spinal point depending on household. It's too big a folder to post on this website but I will email the spreadsheet to those who request it. Southwark UNISON has lobbied our Council to run some advice sessions for council employees. Some of whom are in for a very nasty shock. None of the uplifts to the national minimum wage will help them. It's been calculated that nationally 3.5million workers are affected and millions of children will be poorer across the lifetime of this parliament as a result.
Pay Claim 16-17
A claim has been submitted and we are waiting for the employers response. We have asked for Living Wage as a minimum with £1 phour for everyone else and a review of term time only working. We expect to be called to negotiations sometime in November. "How will this be any different from the last pay campaign and what's in it for us? we already get the London Living Wage" I hear you ask and quite rightly. This has been raised at our National Joint Council Committee. The pay campaign is likely to be overtaken by the measures in the TU Bill so it's all a bit unknown.
General Secretary Elections
The ballot opens on 9th November. The General Secretary is elected every 5 years. Please participate and use your vote! Thankfully there isn't a threshold (yet) on General Secretary elections as usually only 10% of members take part. Southwark UNISON nominated John Burgess. More than that I am forbidden to say by UNISON national rule - please google the candidates, there's loads of information out there. It will be interesting to see if the Corbyn effect translates to this election.