Monday, 1 February 2010

Request for nomination for General Secretary

Mr P Holmes

9 Hawthorne Terrace


West Yorkshire


Dear Colleague,

Paul Holmes

Nomination for General Secretary

For a General Secretary on a worker’s wage, in touch with the branches and their members.

I am seeking your Region’s support in the forthcoming General Secretary election. I am Branch Secretary of Kirklees Unison (a branch of 10,000 plus Unison members) and a National Executive Council member. I have been a steward for 35 years. I am also a member of the Local Government Service Group Executive and the National Joint Council for Local Government. I have much experience in service conditions, organisation, representation and negotiations.

Where I stand:

1. Budget cuts - Whichever party wins the forthcoming general election – budget cuts in the public sector will lead to attacks on pay, terms and conditions and pensions. We need to know who will fight with us against those in Government and the Employer. As a UNISON Branch activist I have always stood up to employers making cuts – and as your General Secretary you could count on me to stand up for members

2. Organisation - Kirklees Unison has a union density of over 80%. There is no reason why this can’t be achieved in every branch. I have spoken in branches all over Britain. The issues everywhere are the same – cuts, pensions, terms and conditions and pay, stress etc. We need to organise the activists at the grassroots. You must inspire the activists in order to advance the cause.

3. Pensions – I led the campaign in Local Government for a special conference on pensions to ensure that our members decided how we defended the LG Pension scheme. There is no doubt that there will be further attacks on public sector pensions as the Employers/Government/Bankers seek to raid our pensions to pay for their banking crisis. We need to prepare our members for a massive campaign to defend pensions. The General Secretary campaign is an opportunity to send a "shot across the bows" of those who seek to attack our pension schemes. We need a united campaign across the public sector to defend our pension schemes As General Secretary I would work to ensure that members again take the lead in deciding how we fight to protect our pensions.

4. Resources - The resources of the union need to be devolved to the branches – money, full-time officials, printing etc. The majority of the resources need to be nearer the members.

5. Democracy – I support the election of the General Secretary. I also support the election of the Deputy General Secretary, Regional Secretaries and the Heads of the Services Groups.

6. Opinions - there are a wide spectrum of opinions in the union - this is healthy. Anyone should be free to express their opinions - unless they are sexist, racist, homophobic etc. Difference of political opinion should not lead to disciplinary action. The rules of the union should be changed to allow appeals from disciplinary hearings to an appeals panel that is elected by the National Delegate Conference.

7. Anti-Fascism - there is no place for racists/ fascists in our union, Members of far-right groups should be 'kicked out' of the union. There should be no climate of fear for any of our members.

8. Labour Party - we are a trade union not a political party. I have been a Labour Party member for 30 years (joining the party straight after Thatcher was elected). We need to change our relationship with the Labour Party to one where the union's policies are pursued in the Labour Party and not vice-versa. For too long Unison has largely been a source of finance for the Labour Party. Unison delegates should be taking Unison's policies into the Labour Party and promoting them. We should have one Political Fund. There should be a wide-ranging, unrestricted debate at Unison National Delegate Conference on the Political Fund and a member's ballot on affiliation, with a recommendation from the National Delegate Conference.

The union and its members must be placed first in the priorities of all representatives of the union. The members come first - not the union bureaucracy, not the Labour Party or the Employers. I ask for your nomination, I promise my every effort and my honesty in return.

Paul Holmes

Branch no: 13325

Membership no: 1787781

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