Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Monday, 22 February 2010

Mike Tucker NEC pc Why I am supporting Paul Holmes for General Secretary

I have been a member of UNISON for 32 years. I was first elected on to the Nationa lExecutive Council in 1987. This election is the most important UNISON has faced since the union was established in 1993. Paul is standing on a programme which will take our union forward. He stands for a union which would respect a diversity of opinion, which listens to its members and honestly explains the challenges we face. That Paul is a realistic alternative is demonstrated by the campaign of misinformation and distortion being conducted by supporters of the current General Secretary against him on a variety of websites. If I ever had any doubts about supporting Paul, these were dispelled by the condut of the supporters of the current administration.

To quote Paul's hero, Bob Dylan, we need a 'new morning' in UNISON and with Paul as General Secretary we will get one.

Mike Tucker (Personal capacity)
NEC Member, South East Region

Secretary, Southampton District Branch

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Single Status

2,200 Kirklees UNISON members at a branch meeting on single status in December 2008 at Huddersfield Town football ground.

I have been a Branch Secretary of Kirklees UNISON for 20 years. Of the 10,000 Kirklees Council staff affected by Single Status, 8,600 are Kirklees UNISON members. The branch has achieved:

1) Maternity Leave
Kirklees Council Conditions
6 weeks at 90% of full pay
33 weeks at 1/2 pay
Compared to: -
National Conditions
6 weeks at 90% of full pay
12 weeks at 1/2 pay
21 weeks statutory maternity pay
2) Holidays
Kirklees Council Conditions
23 days
(28 days after 5 year's service)
plus 12 1/2 days public holidays.
Total paid holiday: 35 1/2 ( 40 1/2 after 5 year's service)
All staff, irrelevant of grade, get the same holiday for the same service.
Compared to: -
National Conditions
21 days
(26 days after 5 year's service)
plus 10 days public holiday
Total paid holiday: 31 (36 after 5 year's service)
3) Part-time workers
Receive time and a half for any time worked more than half an hour either side of their contracted hours (irrespective of whether they've worked 37 hours in that week).
4) Premium payments
Any staff contracted to work 5 days per week will get, if they are asked to work at less than 6 weeks' notice, a minimum of double time (more if they earn less than £10 per hour) for working on any Saturday, Sunday , public holiday or their 6th or 7th day (even if this is not a Saturday or Sunday). The premium rate for at the above times at morethan 6 weeks' notice is time and 2/3rds.
5) Disturbance Rate
The same rate for all staff irrespective of grade or whether they are a car user.
6) Casual Working
There is a joint agreement with the council that all casual working will be be removed and replaced by staff on a minimum 10-hour contract.
7) 'In-house' Provision
Kirklees Council has had a Tory Council for most of the last 5 years. In the last 5 years millions of pounds of work has been brought 'in-house' ( including some work that has never been previously in-house). No service remains outside of the council as a result of CCT. Grounds Maintenance, Catering and Cleaning, Highways Construction, Transport Services, Building Maintenance, Parking Enforcement and the Bins are all provided in-house. Consequently Kirklees Unison has 4,000 members who are (former) manual workers.
8) Cars
No employee can be compelled to provide a car for work. All employees are paid a car user allowance rate of 61p per mile.
9) Pay frequency
All staff in Single Status on less than £35,000 per year can elect to be paid weekly or 4-weekly.
10) Stand-by/call-out
All Stand-by is at a minimum of £136 per week. Call-out is £58 for the first two hours and time and a half thereafter.
11) 'No losers'
No worker to lose a penny because of Single Status.
These terms and conditions are not perfect but show what can be achieves at a time when Council's are trying to cut terms and conditions. The branch have recently agreed to ballot all our members for strike action because of the Council's attempt to get rid of the 'no losers' clause .

Monday, 15 February 2010

John McDermott - why i'm supporting Paul Holmes

My support goes to Paul Holmes who I think has all the characteristics of an excellent General Secretary, he is a trade unionist and worker through and through, believes in democracy, wants a fighting union for the members,believes in a ballot of all members on the issue of disaffiliation / affiliation to the Labour Party and is sick of UNISON attacking its own left wing activists rather than throwing out BNP members who have no place in a trade union.

I have known Paul for many years and his activities and record speaks for itself including the highest membership density of a UNISON Branch and forcing a special conference on Local Government Pensions.

Paul is a great speaker and inspires any meeting he attends. He would be a great General Secretary and would not pull his punches when it comes to attacking employers and Governments who attack our members.
I would urge all branches to nominate Paul.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Bernie Gallagher NEC pc Why I am Supporting Paul Holmes for General Secretary

The General Secretary election is about the future of the union. It is a vital election which will determine the direction of UNISON for years to come. It is important that whoever leads our union is open, honest and can be trusted.

I am of the firm belief that Paul Holmes has all the characteristics to lead UNISON. He is a visionary who doesn't 'do small'. He is an inspiration to the activists in Kirklees UNISON and I have no doubt that as General Secretary he will give confidence and hope to members and activists, inspiring them to organise and fight for better pay and conditions.

He has a proven track record of supporting workers in struggle. He is not afraid to debate at any forum where he is invited. Paul is able to accomodate a wide range of political differences without resorting to Machiavellian tactics to stifle dissent.

I am proud to support Paul for General Secretary and have every confidence that he is able to win and become the first leader of UNISON prepared to do the job on a worker's wage.

Bernadette Gallagher NEC (personal capacity).

(Of the 33 women elected to the Regional seats on the NEC in the last elections, Bernadette Gallagher polled the highest number of votes.)

Saturday, 13 February 2010

John McDonnell supports Paul Holmes for General Secretary

Labour MP John McDonnell welcomed the candidacy of leading Yorkshire trade unionist, Paul Holmes, for General Secretary of UNISON, the largest public sector trade union. "Paul epitomises the strength of our movement," said Mr McDonnell, "he the elected Secretary of a union branch where more than eighty per cent of workers are in the Union and he has a track record of fighting for workers rights." At meeting with Mr Holmes at the House of Commons, John McDonnell MP, speaking as a UNISON member, emphasised his support his for the candidacy of an ordinary UNISON member to lead the union; "Just as Mark Serwotka has shown how a rank and file civil servant has been the best leader for the civil service trade union, PCS, so I beleive that an ordinary local government worker like Paul Holmes can be the best leader for UNISON, the largest public service union." "With threats of job losses and attacks on pay and pensions throughout the public sector, UNISON needs a stronger and better leadership to meet these challenges. I know that Paul Holmes offers our UNISON members this strong leadership," said Mr McDonnell.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Marshajane Thompson Why I am supporting Paul Holmes for General Secretary

Paul has got a high profile amongst the rank and file in UNISON especially in Local Government.

Paul is also a very influential NEC member and an excellent branch secretary with a membership density of 86% - Paul led the successful call for a special conference on Local Government pensions when Prentis et al were disregarding democracy - it is thanks to Paul that members decided how we defended the LG Pension scheme. It's estimated that 40% of Local government branches backed Paul's call for this special conference.

As a candidate Paul offers a clear choice between a rank and file workerstanding to lead a fight back (on a workers wage) and an incumbent who is standing for continuity with the immediate past.

Marsha-Jane Thompson

Chair of Unison United Left

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Brian Mulvey Leeds LG Why I am supporting Paul Holmes for General Secretary

I'm supporting Paul Holmes because he is an uncomprimising fighter for the working class. There is nothing "new", gimmicky, trendy or slick about Paul. What you get is someone who stands for, and espouses, good traditional socialist and trade union values and principles. He practices what he preaches. During our recent 11 week long Refuse and Street Cleaning workers strike in Leeds to protect pay and privatisation, Paul was the first to visit our picket lines to offer support; his branch was the first to send much needed money for our hardship fund; he attented and spoke inspirationally at several mass meetings and rallies during the 3 month struggle; he lobbied nationally for greater support within UNISON; he was there at the victorious end. Even after the strike was over Paul was organising branches in Yorkshire and Durham for money to buy Xmas toys for the strikers' families, providing over £2,000 worth of new toys, something for which our members were extremely grateful. Supporting workers in struggle will always be 1st, 2nd and 3rd on Paul's agenda, no other considerations will ever come in the way of that, and that's what is needed in our General Secretary.

Brian Mulvey,
Branch Secretary,
Leeds Local Government Branch.
(in a personal capacity).

10th February 2010.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Jon Rogers NEC PC - Why I am supporting Paul Holmes for General Secretary

Jon Rogers, Unison NEC ( personal capacity) said:
"I'm supporting Paul Holmes for General Secretary because we need strong leadership as our members come under attack from the Government and the Employers. Paul's branch Kirklees Unison, with over 80% of the Council's workforce in the union, is a model of organisation for all branches to aim for. We need that level of organisation in branches across Britain in order to respond to the attacks that are undoubtably coming."

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Why stand for election?

Shades of 1979. An unpopular Labour Government, a Tory Party waiting in the wings and an economic mess. What awaits us?
The Labour Party don't think they can win the election, the Tory Party are scared to win it and the Liberals know they can't win it. Nobody is promising anything but misery. Our cuts won't be as bad as theirs. Where's the vision, where's the hope?

30 years ago there were many speakers who inspired us. Speakers who hundreds queued to see. Who would you queue to see now? And there is the rub. Because those activists who are the fundemental backbone of the union are moving into middle/old age. Who is inspiring the next group of activists? All those thousands of stewards who give their time freely to help others. Those people who the members in the workplace look to for support, advice and aid. Because it is the activists who require inspiration. Everyone has something to offer. You don't have to agree with them. You have to encourage debate, dialogue, and even disagreement. You learn from debate, not from orthodoxy and monotony. 'Don't write people off lightly, it's not the mark of a good organiser'. If we keep our heads down, who benefits; What is a union? 'An instrument of fight and the guardian of economic concessions. Every worker who joins a union understands this instinctively. The worker wants an improvement in their conditions, but also wants security in their job while fighting for those improvements. That is what recognition of the union means'.

The workers' reaction to the 0% pay offer in local government could be 'what is more important pay or job security?' But it is not as simple as that. Organisation and fighting for pay improvements, strengthens the union and actually increases job security. If you think that this is untrue, look at the low-paid, non-unionised sections of society. Have they got more job security?. British Airways cabin staff got a 90% yes vote on a 80% turnout. That's why British Airways went to the courts, because the employer had lost the propaganda war with their own workforce and the courts were their only hope.

So we have a General Secretary election in the union. A vital election. An election which will lay a marker down. Will affiliation to the Labour Party be such a big issue if the Tories win the general election? Whoever wins the general election needs a 'shot across their bows'. They need a message that unions are ready to organise. Very few public sector workers are anti-union. Some have had bad experiences in other unions or in this one. Some feel that the union is powerless or not there for them. It wouldn't take much to change that. Thousands of employees are frightened, worried and fearful. We need to give them confidence and hope. Then they will join a union in their thousands.

Where does that confidence and hope come from? From MP's on the fiddle or trade union leaders waiting to to get into the House of Lords or the City? No, leadership is 90% example. The General Secretary election is about the future of the union and our members. Let no-one be in any doubt that there is no feeling as good as the support of members. They have every right to be cynical. They see all around them the rewards of society going to parasites, while they struggle to make ends meet. Our inspiration should always be - what can we achieve for working people? If the Labour Party loses the next election - watch some Labour MP's running for jobs in the City and big businesses or with companies they have worked with whilst in government.

If we unite working people for the common good in the trade union we will acheive all those things that our policies demand - prosperity, job security, anti-racism, decent housing, trade union rights, decent pensions etc. If we don't, these policy aims will be impossible. Our leaders have to be honest, open and trusted.

'The purpose of leadership is to inspire - what more can you do for someone than to inspire them?'

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Day 4 of the campaign

Nominations open tomorrow.

"A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at"

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Facebook group

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