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The Demise Of Unions.


bobby47
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They'll take your monthly subscriptions from your wage packet, they'll send you shiney glossy little booklets telling you that they are on your side. They'll even vow to fight your corner whenever you need help whilst your battling your employer and they've no problem in encouraging their membership to go on strike every so often because you've had no pay rise to keep up with the growing cost of living crisis that has impacted upon the working classes of our Country.

They'll do all these things. They'll even grasp your hand, shake it firmly, smile sympathetically and say, 'we feel your pain', but, when the going gets tough and the so called tough stand up and fight their corner, do the representatives of Unison really want to stand shoulder to shoulder with someone who ain't getting treated fairly in the public service sector?

Me? I've got serious doubts. I ain't so sure that our Trade Unions haven't gone the same way as our once great Labour Party, who, nowadays, thanks to the liar Blair, are a shadow of their former selves.

Me? I actually believe that Unison have lost their way. Swallowed up by the madness of New Labour and becoming increasingly isolated from their membership, I believe that Unison no longer care enough about the little guy. The little guy who's perhaps getting a kicking in the workplace.

It's easy to stand on a box and shout fiery rhetoric to the membership proclaiming, 'we'll fight your corner and we'll never forget our purpose', but are they really capable any longer of walking into a room full of 'suits' and defending one of their own and have the skills and the power of personality to trade blows with those who seek to demean, bully and undermine their staff.

I fear Unison have had their power and purpose diluted by past political events and I no longer believe that they are deserving of our faith. In short, for whatever reason they've lost their teeth, lost their way and lost their ability to properly fight the corner for the little guy.

As for more recent events within the public sector, namely the bullying issue that took place within Plough Lane, Id like to think that Unison fought the good fight and gave comfort to their membership, but realistically, I think they may have ducked it and left the bullied staff to fend for themselves.

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Hi Bobby hope you are not as unwell as I feel, but you have cheered me up reading your blog.

I left Labour Party because I could not stand any more middle class intellectual rubbish claptrap being spoken and not enough care for ordinary people.

 

Unison were involved and assisted the bullied and have since kept a watching brief. I have a meeting before Christmas with Unison so will check that things ok in this area. The problem for the unions at grass roots, is that the membership do need to show their support when asked to demonstrate against bullying, low pay etc.

 

Unfortunately in Herefordshire, the forelock syndrome is still more powerful than the will to speak out. Which is why you, and everyone on Hereford Voice are so important to keep me and other Councillors alert.

 

Best regards,

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Hmmm.

 

Very interesting post Bobby.

 

What happens, if for example, Union reps don't want to tread on toes?? Or rock the boat??

 

What happens, if for example, (with Hereford and Herefordshire Council being relatively small worlds to move in) everybody kind of knows each other, and therefore nobody wants to upset or offend??

 

Is it not easier to "side" with management (off the record, naturally)??

 

If this happens.....who is standing up for the little guy then??

 

Yes Bobby - reading your post has thrown up lots of hypothetical questions.

 

It would be good to have a debate, and perhaps come up with a few hypothetical answers.

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Here's a tale from Spring 2003 when I was suspended from Wirral Council for 5 months before resigning.  This is how bloody awful Wirral Unison were even back then.  And I've heard tales from all over the country to evidence the fact that they've plummeted downhill very quickly.  I've heard sorry tales from umpteen people who've been dumped when they called upon Unison to do what it says on the tin - defend them.

 

http://wirralinittogether.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/how-wirral-council-disposed-of-me-in-2003/

 

There are many reasons why I personally cannot trust Unison and the following list is not exhaustive...

 

  • last time I checked, General Secretary Dave Prentiss was a non-exec director of the Bank of England (!!??) living in a gaff worth £2 million +
  • managers are free to join and will pressurise fellow members (in dispute) from within, for their own selfish ends (Cheshire County Council was famed for it).  I won my case here because I was in Unite.  I would have been crushed otherwise
  • at Brighton City Council (the heaviest offender in my 2011 compromise agreements / gagging clauses survey) Unison's rep works from a desk inside the Town Hall
  • Wirral Council's CEO is a former Unison full-timer who, seeing an opportunity for advancement, made a seamless transition across to 'the enemy' some years ago and has prospered ever since
  • Being around in the day, I see Unison ploughing members' money into countless expensive daytime TV ads seeking inflows of new membership cash and promising good representation.  But the truth is very, very different
  • Wirral Unison sat there and did nothing when Social Services were abusing learning disabled people and accrediting serious organised criminals over a period of nine years. Whistleblower Martin Morton, a Unison member, was dropped like a stone and forced out of his job
  • Wirral Unison sat there and did nothing when Social Services ran a 4 week delay on drawing up emergency care packages in order to save money.  People died as a result.  Whistleblower Andy Campbell, a Unison member, was dropped like a stone and forced out of his job
  • Countless similar situations exist, where names cannot be given because the cases never went public, but employees were routinely sacrificed, the public money purse raided, and the cracks were papered over by management, in close collaboration with Unison
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Very good Paul. Very, very good. Imagine for a moment that John Smith hadn't died so young. The liar would never have emerged, Unions would never have become infected with this ethos of no accountability and so many bad things wouldn't have happened to our remarkably great Country.

Well done Pal.

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It is a sad reality that the comments made above all carry a ring of truth. It is no secret that one lady tamed the unions. Once the blackened faces left the picket lines and eventually their jobs we moved into a period of change where all the colours of the different standards changed in pursuit of the middle ground and sadly that is where the unions nestle today playing political pontoon holding onto a few decent cards though even their control over the Labour Party is waining. To be honest who is the Labour Party now. The Unions survive on membership but even the working class lad or exhausted healthcare worker knows that the best he/she can hope for is a little free employment advice now and then. You cannot tell the difference between the political grey suits or the union grey suits only perhaps their choice of words separates them. Both groups claim to carry the voices of the people but to be honest they carry nothing because they have chewed away the spirit of what was. Perhaps they dream of Scargill and Thatcher .....We could choose a side then but now it's all the same. Everyone's a manager in an appropriate suit.

The Councillor is correct as is Dippy in that this is a small county where everyone knows everyone and everyone has an agenda. This breathes fear and suspicion which results in forelock syndrome. Is there a treatment for it..Well yes there is. The minority who have the right ideals need to wake the silent majority and clear their minds of the sludge that is thrown at them on a daily basis because if it's got a political taste then it's tainted.

 

If the Unions want to halt their demise they must reinvent themselves to all classes rather than take the easy option and back slap what they see is an old friend. Unfortunately that old friend died some years ago ...some spiv wears the jacket now and I simply can't tell you what his name is.

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Greenknight brilliant post!

 

Anyone paying Unison subscriptions in the current climate is totally bonkers! Payments are around £11/ 12 pound a month and could actually be put to better use. You'd get more protection from a DFS sofa, £11 pounds a month for three yours and at least you'd have something to sit on for those three years!

 

Most members will never ever need the Services of their Unison rep and most members will never ever go out in support of any type of industrial action. So what I'd like to know is exactly why people are throwing away £11 a month?

 

I was a member of a Union for over 20 years and never called on their services once, although I did strike a number of times in the 80s. In the 80s Union stewards were mostly tough men who stood fast and had strong moral codes, they were feared and respected equally. They didn't deal their members down the river and members stood with them because they trusted them and respected them!

 

Unison will make all the right noises but they won't actually achieve anything, unless it's in their best interests! Herefordshire Council Unison branch is probably one of the worst, judging by the stories I've heard! Trust me they aren't kicking anyones a*se!

 

I would urge anyone in Unison, Unite or any other Union to stop wasting your money, if you need some advice try a Which magazine subscription its a third of the price and their Solicitors are top notch! You get a years subscription for half the price, a cracking magazine, full of interesting facts and unlimited free legal advice on all legal matters.

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Having never been employed by a "Company " that has a Union it was really interesting to read the above Comments .

I can , of course remember the Miners Strike and recall my friends and I talking about Unions - we decided that it would end in tears - which ,,as we know , it did . Similar to a dispute earlier in , I think Birmingham , the name has slipped my mind but I believe started with S .

I am sure that some employees have received very good support from Unions but it appears from the above posts that the majority of members have not . I also get the feeling that a large number of Union members do not want to go on strike but for a number of reasons ( which I can understand ) do .

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Perhaps we should set up our own Hereford Voice Union??

 

If I was ever in need of representation at work, I would much prefer to have Bobby fighting my corner!

 

Seriously, there are many members with a great depth of knowledge, and many years experience. If I wanted advice, I think I would have more faith in the talents of the bloggers of Hereford Voice!

 

It's a sad day for unions when the motives of reps are questioned.

 

They seem to have forgotten who they are there for.

 

As do most politicians.

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DIPPY said ......

Seriously, there are many members with a great depth of knowledge, and many years experience. If I wanted advice, I think I would have more faith in the talents of the bloggers of Hereford Voice!

 

I have already taken advantage of one of the leading Researchers on the Hereford Voice relating to a matter of no real interest to the Members on HV but it was important to my son and his wife . Within about 15 minutes of asking this member to assist with research this member emailed me with a number of relevant websites , papers and other relevant matter . If / when we meet up I will certainly be buying a drink or two for this member . So I must agree with Dippy on this one .

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Paul, I read your link above. I thought the Whistleblowing blowing policy protected people making disclosures? How did it turn into an investigation about you?

Back then I'd never heard of PIDA. I didn't know I was whistleblowing, and I think my rep may have missed it. As for the employer, while I was off suspended, they colluded to bring "bullying and harassment" charges. If they were aware of PIDA they weren't saying.

 

So all my efforts were focussed on refuting their dreamt up charges

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From BBC DEVON today .......

 

Plymouth City Council is to formally dismiss almost 200 staff and then rehire them on new contracts after talks with unions broke down.

 

Unite has accused the authority of bullying over the move which will mean more flexibility over working hours.

 

The council said the move comes after contract negotiations broke down

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This sounds suspiciously like the debacle that occurred in Herefordshire, some years ago.

 

Job Evaluation negotiations went on for a whopping eight years, with the council always proclaiming it would be "cost neutral."

 

Thus commenced a game of what I like to call, Council Snakes and Ladders. With some higher up the pay scale going up a ladder, whilst those employed at a lower grade, slid all the way down a snake. Quite a few dropped off the board all together.

 

Eventually...the council grew tired of trying to justify the rules of this game,(Herefordshire Council were the only council to try to implement TWO separate evaluation schemes.....there was a huge gap in the middle, but that of course, did not matter) and told the minions they had twelve weeks to sign up to new terms and conditions of employment.....or face the sack.

 

Nice.

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http://www.herefordvoice.co.uk/topic/1577-outsourcing-of-council-services/?do=findComment&comment=18430

 

From BBC DEVON today .......

Plymouth City Council is to formally dismiss almost 200 staff and then rehire them on new contracts after talks with unions broke down.

Unite has accused the authority of bullying over the move which will mean more flexibility over working hours.

The council said the move comes after contract negotiations broke down

 

The local Unison branch calculates that Barnet council will shrink from having 3,200 staff in September 2012 to just 332.

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