Tag Archives: Social services

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.

LABOUR’S BULLY BOSS UPDATE

Following our revelations last issue about Labour’s new councillor for Brislington West, Eileen “MEANIE” Means, and her notorious BULLYING boss past, a reader has been in touch to draw our attention to a couple of newspaper articles.

The first is from the ‘Get Reading’ website of the Reading Evening Post in Berkshire from 26 April 2006 and is headlined, “Investigation into town hall department”!

And the story goes: “The director of housing and community care in Reading has taken leave of absence while an INVESTIGATION into her department is carried out.

EILEEN MEANS took over the top job as director of social services in Reading three years ago …

” … The social services department under Ms Means’s management has hovered between one and two stars and currently rates a “POOR” one-star performance.

“This was blamed by Ms Means in January this year on incorrect statistics given by partner bodies.

“However, it is not thought to be the performance of the department that has led to the current investigation which is being handled internally.”

Dearie me, what can it all (Meanie) mean?

Well, an article in the Berkshire News dated 20 June 2006 and headlined ‘Social Services Chief Quits After ‘Style’ Criticised’ might be able to help us out here.

This story tells us: “The director of Reading Social Services has QUIT after her managing skills were criticised. Eileen Means, director of housing and community care at Reading Borough Council left her post “by mutual agreement” …

“Ruth Allman, spokeswoman for the council, said: ” … her approach to the management of people in achieving change was NOT ACCEPTABLE. As a consequence, Eileen has moved on by mutual agreement.

“And deputy leader of the council, Joe Lovelock, said: “It became clear that her style of management was not that acceptable to us …”

Blimey. What have those USELESS TWATS at the Bristol Labour Party foisted on us now? A notorious local authority bloody bully that’s what. And an incompetent one at that!