"No school cleaner gambled billions
on the stock exchange - No home carer, no social worker,
no librarian. None of them created this recession. Why should
they be expected to pay for it?expected
to pay for it?" Dave Prentis,
UNISON General Secretary
UNISON's 'Public Works' campaign - we
all need to do our bit to defend public service jobs and services
Click here to tell us why
public services are important to you.
Branch joins 20,000 marchers to tell the Government "There
is a better way"
Aberdeenshire branch members joined over 20,000 people at
the STUC march and rally in Edinburgh on Saturday 23rd October,
with one clear message. There is a better way.
turnout exceeded expectations, such is the widespread anger against
the unfairness and savagery of the cuts. The anger at a government
that "blames the excesses of the privileged on the poor".
Our members joined activists from other local branches early
in the morning to travel to Edinburgh by coach, one of more than
100 buses from across Scotland which delivered marchers to the
Our bus got stuck under a low bridge en route. Luckily no-one
was seriously injured. "Like every big celebration, we're going
home on an open-topped bus", quipped Area Organiser, Lynne Duncan.
Winding its way from Waverley Station, down the Mound and along
Princes Street, the first marchers were cramming into the Princes
Street Gardens open air theatre while the last had yet to set
The riot of colour from almost every union, from students, from
the public, from churches and from community groups brought the
city alive under an autumn sun.
STUC President Joy Dunn, the ICTU's Jack O'Connor (a swap for
Scotland's Mike Kirby who was speaking in Ireland), Pensioners
leader Eleanor McKenzie and the Rev Ian Galloway from the Church
of Scotland addressed the rally along with STUC General Secretary
To see the photos from the
march and rally click here
more on the march and rally click here.
ORGANISING TO MEET
THE CHALLENGE - There is a better way
As the reality of the ConDem government's strategy begins to
hit home and the scale of the challenges become clear, your Branch
Committee, made up of branch officers and stewards, has begun
to look at how we get across the message that there is no need
for public service cuts.
The message that the cuts are driven by the ConDem government's
ideological opposition to public services and not by economic
necessity. The message that the cuts will, in fact be bad for
the economy and that if we allow the cuts in services to take
place they will be irreversible. The message that cuts in public
services will hit the private sector just as hard. The message
that these cuts will hit working people and the poorest in our
society far more than the rich. And the message that there
are alternatives - there is a better way!
These are serious times and we need a clear strategy as a
union and a branch to challenge the messages being put out by
the government and the media whenever and wherever we can.
What can the Branch do?
Promote the key messages
- Cuts are driven by ideology not
- There is nothing inevitable about
cuts - they do not make economic sense
- For every £1 earned by public
service worker 70p goes back into local economy
- The economy depends on healthy
public sector - cuts risk a double dip recession
- There is no private/public divide.
Private sector depends on public sector contracts. For every
1 public sector job lost, at least 1 lost in private sector.
- These measures hit the poorest
far more than the rich - we are not 'all in this together'
- After war deficit at least three
times (at peak 5 times) higher yet we built the NHS and the
Promote the alternatives
- Robin Hood Tax on the banks: a 0.05% transaction tax on financial
transactions NOT involving members of the public would raise
- Airline Duty = £3bn
- Tax Treatment of Pension contributions for the wealthy = £5bn
- Deal with tax avoidance = £33bn
- 25% of top companies pay no Corporation Tax at all but should
be paying around £285m (Google £1.6bn = 0 - Arcadia Phillip
Green £1.2bn = 0)
- A one off 20% tax on the richest 10% would give £800bn! (Greg
Philo guardian.co.uk, Sunday 15 August 2010)
- And finally, when the economy picks up tax receipts will increase
by well over £60bn
- The money is there - it's just in the wrong hands!
Yes we can save millions if we deal with benefit fraud but
if we deal with tax avoidance we can save billions. So
why does the government not concentrate on that?
What the experts say
- ALL of the G20 countries are dealing with the recession through
investment - except Britain and Argentina
- Most mainstream economists argue for postponing cuts to deficit
until a robust recovery begins o Plan to return to surplus by
2015 is 'pointless' especially when it could cost a million
Economists who previously predicted the crash are saying the
cuts will damage the economy……..
- In 2008 Prof David Blanchflower said "something horrible"
was going to happen with the economy. Of the Budget he says:
"this unnecessary and dangerous budget will push the economy
back into recession."
- In October 2006 Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz said there
would be a crash " within 24 months." Now he says : "we're now
looking at a long, hard, slow recovery…. if everybody cuts back
at the same time."
- Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman (who also predicted the crash)
recently said: "Spend now, while the economy remains depressed;
save later, once it has recovered. How hard is that to understand?"
So what can we do as a branch?
We need to have an eye to recruitment in everything that we do.
It is absolutely key that we increase our membership for the challenges
ahead. That makes us stronger and gives us more influence.
If every steward and contact recruited 2 member a month, that
would be more than 600 new members over a year.
here if you are reading this and want to join UNISON
Organise and educate
We need to have an organising focus to get the key messages out
to members and to the general public. Even when we are supporting
members we need to give the messages about our collective responsibility
to defend the public services that we all rely on.
Everything we do now should focus on communicating the key messages
to our members and challenging the myth that cuts are inevitable.
We need to put the key messages out in our newsletter and on
the website and we need to challenge the prevailing myths at every
We need to respond to articles which perpetuate the prevailing
myths in the local press and media using our key messages and
we need to use the media and local politicians to get these messages
across. Letters/ press releases etc.
We need to lobby local MPs to put our viewpoint across and use
this as an opportunity to publicise our key messages.
We need to link with other local branches to campaign on the
key messages and to challenge the myths.
We should watch out for opportunities to join forces with community
groups defending public services and with the other trade unions.
We need to discuss how best to involve all of you in this campaign
and how to get out and involve the wider membership.
There is a March
and Rally planned for 23rd October in Edinburgh,
co-ordinated by the STUC. As a branch along with our colleagues
in other branches we need to think about how best to promote the
widest possible involvement.
For more information look at the mythbusting section of the UNISONActive
http://unisonactive.blogspot.com and the STUC