The public sector union, Unison, has once again found itself in the ridiculous position of having to defend Leicester and its workers from a Labour Council carrying through Tory cuts.
By planning to slash (they say ‘save’) £600,000 from our city’s library services, services will suffer and jobs will be lost: Unison says “this is nothing more than the abdication of responsibility by Leicester City Council to provide community services.” (August 21, Leicester Mercury)
Our hands are tied, pleads Sir Peter Soulsby. The government says cuts and we say how high! And although these are not Sir Peter’s words, they do surmise Labour’s under-girding commitment to austerity, albeit a diet version.
When Sir Peter sermonises that Unison “have not acknowledged the changing world we are in,” what he really means is that the union has not completely capitulated to the Tories austerity lies, as has the majority of his Party’s leaders (not their members).
But Unison, along with most other unions, do recognise that the government’s attacks on the working class must be opposed, which is why they are actively backing Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity campaign for the Labour Party leadership. Such socialist fighting policies, however, clearly do not sit well with Sir Peter’s elastic political ideals.
Yet despite Unison’s reluctant support for Corbyn, such left-wing ideas do not rest all that comfortably with their General Secretary, who has generally proven himself unwilling to represent the demands of his million plus members… members who have demonstrated their willingness to take the fight to the Tories.
Change however is on its way, and Unison has thrown its weight behind Corbyn precisely because the unions members demand a political alternative to poverty-inducing gruel being offered to them by the other potential Labour leaders, all seemingly cast in the mould of Sir Peter.
But as with the Labour leadership campaign, Unison elections are also taking place this year. So union members will have another opportunity to support Corbyn by electing a new General Secretary, who has a proven track record of fighting against cuts.
Having come a close second in Unison’s last leadership election, Roger Bannister, like Corbyn, is a proud socialist who advocates the far from controversial idea that his union should fight the Tory cuts agenda.
Furthermore, Bannister believes Unison should withdraw their support from politicians like Sir Peter who continue to implement crippling cuts that harm ordinary Unison members.
This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on 25th August.
Get involved in the campaign to elect Roger Bannister:
Twitter – @Roger4UNISON
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