See the latest National Pay Surrender / Bulletin Number 52.
Branches were told the consultation on the pay proposals would start on Monday 20th October. We were told this on 10th October.
Apparently it now starts tomorrow and will finish on 12th November for Branches who need to tell Regions the consultation results the following day.
We are told that even though it covers the half term period this tight deadline is absolutely required as that’s when the National employers conclude their consultation on whether to make the ‘offer’.
Our members are being consulted on whether to accept or reject an ‘offer’ that the employers have not even decided to make!
And we now have to stick to their deadlines!
That is bizarre and surreal on its own and is something no sane Branch would ever do in respect to ‘non offers’ made by local employers after members have taken strike action.
But appallingly a section of our National leadership are so desperate to secure members agreement to a ‘non offer’ in advance of one being made that they are now prepared to stoop to a new low to scare members.
We are now told that on 9th October the NJC decided members must either accept the proposals or be prepared to vote for ‘all out indefinite strike action’!
Amazingly that stark ‘decision’ of the NJC has never even been mentioned before in any communications.
It is astounding that this has not been referred to till now. A week after the national meeting!
Our Branch has now been made aware the statement attributed to the NJC Committee in this bulletin was not the statement agreed by the committee at its meeting on 9 October.
We are told that the NJC Committee merely agreed (by a majority) a statement expressing their view that the proposals are ‘the best achievable by negotiation’.
Bad enough, but miles away from the statement set out in this bulletin.
Though of course, at its next meeting the majority of the NJC Committee may well agree a version of the minutes from 9 October that includes this extended statement….
Which would be in keeping with their new tradition of having subsequent meetings overturn their own previous decisions….
We have not been told the ballot question in the consultation that we are told starts tomorrow but this stark and nonsensical scenario is now bound to be at the centre of the question asked.
There was no NJC meeting arranged to agree the timetable for consultation.
This leap from members taking a single day’s action to their being told there is no possible alternative to taking any further action other than all out indefinite action is a cretinous and cowardly attempt to frighten members into accepting further pay cuts.
Normally the union would take steps to consult with Branches and Regions on the potential basis and nature of further action at any stage of a dispute, not issue a stark ultimatum to members.
Whose Agenda are this element amongst our leadership working for?
It certainly isn’t for the interests of UNISON members. How often in its history has UNISON asked any national service group to take all out indefinite strike action?
It is a disingenuous, spineless and cowardly move to try to quell the growing move in Branches to urge members to reject the proposals and actually try and get a decent pay offer.
National bulletin 52 goes to great lengths in setting out a sequence of events that when you look a bit closer, and talk to people who’ve been closely involved, is at best a misrepresentation of what’s actually happened over the last month.
In reality this bulletin reads like a child looking for a way out when explaining a bad school report. As any parent knows, an honest apology is better than a protracted excuse.
The only sequence of events that really matters is the succession of NJC pay awards that have delivered a 20% pay cut for us over the last five years (not national officials leading and orchestrating the retreat).
These pathetic and insulting proposals about to be rammed down our members throats are another pay cut. So to break the sequence, to stop the succession of pay cuts becoming a continual procession of pay cuts, we need to reject this abject surrender.
As the weather turns cold and we contemplate rising heating bills and falling wages with ever decreasing real incomes, we can print off this latest bulletin and put it to some use.
By burning it.
Manchester UNISON Branch urges all Branches to redouble their efforts to encourage members to reject these disgraceful proposals which are not even a formal offer and to support calls for a Special LG Service Group Conference.