UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Guardian takes the pulse of UNISON

As the Con Dem Government passes the halfway mark in its term of office, Andrew Sparrow, the Guardian's political correspondent, has conducted a wide ranging interview with Dave Prentis which includes strong criticism of Labour's front bench - "They are avoiding all the big issues. There's no doubt whatsoever they want to avoid a discussion on privatisation. They want to avoid a discussion on public service pay. We won't let them"

UNISON's concern about Labour's failure to project a clear alternative to Con Dem austerity is shared in the current editorial of Tribune which states that 'the coming year will decide the outcome of the next election...(it) will depend not on whether Labour advances to an unassailable lead but what the party decides it is for and who it stands for'

In the Guardian interview Dave Prentis outlines the big choices facing Labour:

'You get taxation from growth. You get money from a fairer taxation policy, where you make the wealthy contribute far more than they are doing. You deal with tax avoidance and tax evasion. You bring in a financial transaction tax. You do question whether or not we need to replace Trident and nuclear weapons. All of these things together are the alternatives to an austerity agenda, and Labour has got to adopt that alternative.'

Will Labour's leadership take notice and adopt a clear alternative to austerity? Will the 'Big 3' unions (UNISON, Unite and GMB) and the 12 other affiliated unions secure firm policy commitments for Labour's 2015 manifesto? These are clear yardsticks to measure the effectiveness of the Union Labour link over the next two years.

The Tribune editorial ends with a despairing plea 'let us hope that the children born in 2013 will not have to tell their children what the Labour Party was.'

The day of reckoning will come much sooner as far as UNISON's GS is concerned: 'We need to talk this year about what we are going to do in 2015. I am not waiting, and my union is not waiting, until three months before the election, when they want us to do all the running around and it's too late to get any agreements on these issues.'