Tag Archives: Libraries

UNISON: THE SORRY STATE by The Dwarf

Despite being the union that campaigned for an end to tribunal fees and won. Despite being the union that strikes for hospital workers, wins equal pay claims for cleaners and tries to prevent the outsourcing of care workers everywhere except Bristol. Despite having nearly all the cuts in this round of austerity aimed at those areas only they really have members in – Bristol Unison still refuse to do anything to oppose the cuts. That is, unless Mayor Marvin asks them to go on a demonstration against his own cuts. In which case out comes the banner in what could only be described as a giant blow struck for irony.

The cuts are coming in social services, children’s services, libraries and community services. All areas that are almost exclusively Unison and all are areas where member engagement, information exchange and political activism are non-existent. Meetings with unions have been cancelled, barrack room lawyers silenced in staff meetings, management have denied a plan to outsource libraries but then put out an email about mutualisation.

Does anyone remember the battles of the past? When disabled residents and unions lobbied noisily on the ramps of the Counts Louse? Where day centres were occupied and workers broke the blockade passing them fish and chips through the windows? Where library workers struck for the right to a family life? Where have the activists gone? I’m reliably informed that Unison hasn’t enough activists to fill a Renault Espace when they once numbered in the hundreds. They’re voting with their feet comrades … Wake up and get a grip.

I was told that regional officers consider the cuts to have been democratically arrived at and that is that, nothing more can be done. We at The BRISTOLIAN reject that sort of democracy. We want an engaged, participatory democracy of mutual solidarity and so should the unions. If we don’t get it then protest and actions must rightfully take place.

But here we come to the nub of the matter and that is the risk social and industrial agitation poses to the electoral prospects of the Labour Party. Occupying day centres and striking for work-life balance is OK as long as the Liberal Democrats or an Independent is in charge but not when it’s Labour.

Last year there was a scandal at Unison’s AGM as to whether Unison should affiliate to the anti-cuts groups – a no-brainer in anyone’s world assolidarity with people against the cuts should be ingrained. A self-appointed standing orders committee, which no one knew existed because it didn’t, ruled the motion incompetent. This year, the union’s members ruled their own representatives’ incompetent over a scandalous redundancy pay cut ballot stitch-up. And this was in front of a firebrand assistant general secretary, from head office, who was so embarrassed he didn’t know where to look.

Sorry, Roger McKenzie, that you had to see the union in such a sorry state.

“MAKE BRISTOL SHIT AGAIN”

Those of you who’ve spotted these stickers around our fair city, are probably wondering what this is all about. Well rumour has it that it’s the new initiative from the Right Asshole Reverend Marvin Rees …

Following his ingenious idea to get people to march against the cuts he’s making and even having the front to get up on a stage and complain – about himself we suppose? His next wheeze is to try to justify his cuts to libraries and our other public services. Is he trying to make Bristol shit again?

Some of us think Bristol is a grand old city and it’s only twats like Rees and his elitist mates that are shite. Because, now, our wonderful Mayor is going to make our more cuts, leading to homelessness, social services in freefall, no childcare places, parks in a mess, traffic jams, low wages – you won’t even be able to take your kids to the libraries any more. We could go on, but congrats to the Rev, his plans for our city really will make it shit.

Perhaps he’ll plan another march for the people of Bristol to celebrate just how shit he’s made it? He can lead a march of suicidal residents through the streets of Bristol and encourage boisterous chants of “what do we want?” – “more shit”; “when do we want it?” – “now!”

Meanwhile, our glorious leader, the Reverend Make-it-Shit is planning to spend £150k on a grand summit of Mayors from around the world just to rub his shit in our faces. We need to get busy and show these bastards that we want our city and our lives to have hope, with services and leisure facilities for all, not just for some canape crunching elitist mayors and their hangers-on hell bent on pissing on us.

To the fucking streets and rub their noses in the shit.

ROTTEN COMRADES

It’s all been kicking off amongst the council’s sleepy unions who appear to have been rudely awakened by problems that don’t seem to be solvable by business-as-usual toadying.

Showing a surprising turn of speed for reps normally found dozing with their heads up management’s arse, the council’s comrades have suddenly realised they themselves are facing the chop and have started some frantic, if clumsy, lobbying.

One council union, Unison, has discovered that the recently completed  public consultation proposes devastating cuts in areas where only it has members. Libraries and Community Links are supposed solidly Unison and have traditionally supplied the union with its (in-)”activists”.

Unison have belatedly woken up to the fact that they chose the path of least resistance when the Labour Party and council bosses were planning their latest cuts. While their opposite number, Unite, spent a lot of time lobbying the Mayor when he was first elected. Unison reps were reported to have said they didn’t see the point of lobbying anyone. Quelle Surprise, the latest cuts seem to have fallen disproportionately on them then.

This comes weeks after there was muted Unison laughter aimed at the GMB for fading so drastically in numbers that management were mumbling about de-recognition. Facing possible decimation in the coming restructures, Unison is no longer laughing. After all, with de-recognition comes going back to your regular job and actual work.

So, blowing dust off old copies of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist (which some real socialist left in a box, years ago), our rotten comrades have been frantically lobbying, campaigning, actually talking to members and – heaven forfend – threatening disputes! There is hope yet.

Rumours are that disputes are brewing in Reablement, Night Care and the Community Links. Meanwhile library workers have been warning darkly that their strike in 2016 supported by Marvin and Labour when they were seeking votes in the mayoral election was never resolved by Marvin once elected and as far as they know their original ballot is still live.

Mobs have been reported stalking the corridors of Temple Street looking for customer services managers. Even the city’s team managers are looking for an Arthur Scargill-type character to lead them out the gates due to overwork and stress.

Meanwhile, Unite has been seen cheering it all on, shouting ‘fight, fight, fight’ from the sidelines. Cheerful in the knowledge that someone’s going to get it and it’s certainly not going to be them.

-Cheerful Dwarf