We’ve Saved Our Steel

 

We’ve Saved Our Steel

 

 

Following months of pragmatic campaigning TATA (formally Corus) Teeside has been saved.

 

TATA have announced (22 October 2010) that, subject to an agreement being concluded between TATA Steel UK Limited and Sahaviriya Steel Industries Public Company Limited (“SSI”) and Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK Limited (“SSI UK”), TATA are proposing to transfer their Teeside Cast Products Business to new ownership.

 

This deal will save steel making on Teeside and support jobs into the future.

 

The unions have campaigned vigorously for many months to retain a steel making capability at Teeside and through careful lobbying and debate, supported by the members, have played their part in attracting SSI to take over this facility.

 

A knee jerk reaction to the problems faced on Teeside would have ensured the end of steel making on Teeside; pragmatic campaigning has secured its future.

 

Congratulations to all those involved in the campaign.

Unite GS Election Timetable

Notice of election and nomination forms sent to branches/chapels and Regional Secretaries: June 2010

Nomination Period: July/August 2010

Eligible Voting Membership registration date: 9th August 2010

Closing date for nominations: 12 noon on 6th September 2010

Closing date for Acceptance of Nomination; candidate messages for special candidates mailing and election addresses to accompany ballot papers: 12 noon on 17th September 2010

Special Candidates Mailing and email week commencing: 11th October 2010

Ballot enquiry services for Members opens: 8th November 2010

Ballot period: 25th October – 19th November 2010

Count: 20th – 21st November 2010

Declaration: 24th November 2010

A Crisis to Bash Us With

Now that they have seized power, with more than a little assistance from the Lib Dems, the Tories are getting ready to start their attack on worker’s and workers rights.

For those that can remember the previous Tory governments, the sight of David Cameron welcoming Margaret Thatcher at the door of 10 Downing Street is a chilling reminder of the devastation inflicted on people and their communities when they last had power.

Margaret Thatcher was not welcomed back to number 10 for sentimental reasons; she was welcomed back to send out a clear message.

To the Tory hierarchy the message is that David Cameron has not lost his roots and remains committed to the Free Market philosophy of Milton Friedman and will continue where Thatcher left off.

To the Lib Dems the message is thanks for giving power back to us, now sit back, be quiet and watch you implode.

To the people of this nation the message is we will look after the few at the top at the expense of the many who are not as privileged.

The Tories need a crisis to push forward their ideology “Free Market Capitalism”.

As Milton Friedman wrote “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change.

Thatcher’s “crisis” was the Falklands War. Cameron’s “crisis” is national debt.

As with Thatcher, these Tories will argue that structural adjustment is required to save the economy from crisis and that will require transferring, in their view, inefficient public services into private hands.

This week the Chancellor, George Osborne, will deliver a tough austerity budget. They are already lining up the arguments to persuade us that things are worse than they thought and therefore the cuts that they were proposing will have to go deeper and over a longer period.

We are being lined up to believe that the economic problems that affect us are not the fault of the banks, who have quickly returned to their old ways; instead they will argue that it is the fault of the public sector.

We can anticipate that they will then lay out their initial plans to cut jobs and services in the public sector and we will have to listen to some very wealthy people telling us that public sector pensions are too generous.

I hasten to add that they will not say that the public sector pensions paid to MP’s are too generous.

This will just be the beginning of the attacks and we can anticipate that they will then roll out attacks on all working people and their families and communities.

We’ve already seen the Tories auction off BT, Steel and Public Utilities. Next up will be Royal Mail (Letters), Health, Education and other parts of the public sector that they have not yet got their private sector hands on.

Let’s make no mistake about it. The Tories have learnt from the past and have had 13 years to develop their strategies for pushing forward their “Free Market” dream.

As a union, we also must learn from the past and not be drawn into the errors that some trade unions made during the Thatcher years.

We will have at least 5 years of a Tory Government and it would be folly to even think about our initial response being to march the members up to the top of the hill and leaving them there and suffering a glorified defeat.

We need to develop our response to the attacks that are coming in a far more pragmatic way.

Before we contemplate responding to the attacks through a programme of action, we need to ensure that our members understand the politics behind the attacks, to articulate the arguments against the extension of the “Free Market” and persuade our members that there is an alternative.

The time for action, if it is to be successful, will only come when we have articulated the arguments to the stage where our members, their families and communities and the general public support the need for change.

Les Bayliss understands this and that is why his first task will be to unite all elements that go to make up our union and to ensure that we have an organisation that will support all members, officers and staff and that is why I am supporting him in the election for General Secretary.

“It’s not me – it’s us who will make a difference”

 

  A UNITED UNION

It’s not me – it’s us who will make a difference”

is a principle that I have set out during our election campaigns and one that I believe will help us to take our union into the future.

During the past months I have been in detailed discussions, aimed at building a strong, efficient and effective union, with Les Bayliss.

I can advise you that both Les and I have shared views and a shared vision on how to take our union forward with all the elements that go to make up our union united through the common objective of giving the best possible support and service to the members.

This will include giving the best possible support to our Workplace Representatives, Officers and Staff and have the structures in place to help them to develop their full potential.

We cannot escape the fact that the Conservatives have seized political power through their coalition with the Lib Dems to form a ConDem government and that worker’s and workers rights are set to be attacked in a way that we have not witnessed during the past 13 years.

Neither can we escape the fact that some may see this political change and the election for General Secretary as an opportunity to seize power within our union to fulfil their own narrow political objectives or to satisfy their own personal ambitions at the expense of the members.

The ambition that I hold is to ensure that we collectively do what is right for our union and our members.

The need for our union to be united has never been greater; the need for our union to be able to defend our members, their families and communities in the future could never be greater and the need for me to put into practice “It’s not me – it’s us who will make a difference” could not be greater.

Colleagues, I believe that Les and I have the vision, with your support and participation, to help make the difference necessary to unite our union and take it forward united and not divided.

It is for these reasons that I have decided to withdraw as a potential candidate in the election for General Secretary and will put my full support behind Les Bayliss.

I am confident that all those who share my views and vision for the future will also put their full support behind Les.

Best wishes and in solidarity

Paul

Our joint statement can be seen and down loaded from

below

 A Strategic Alliance

Joining the Labour Party

We at “unitegselection” have, on numerous occasions, mentioned that we need to reinvigorate the Labour Party so that it reflects the aspirations of our members within Unite. One way to do that is for our members to join the Labour Party and then become actively involved in both local and national politics.

Therefore, Unite members may wish to download a joining form here…Labour Party Joining form

Regards,

Elect Paul Reuter 4 Unite GS – A unifying candidate

A Joint Statement…

Letter Published in the “Guardian” 22 May 2010

You report “Bafflement over Post Office bank plans since one exists already” (21 May). What the Post Office has is a set of financial services which are popular and growing, but do not constitute a full bank – what we at the Post Bank Coalition have been campaigning for. The Post Office does not offer a full current or business account. Its financial services are not universally available. And because the Bank of Ireland provides most of the financial services, 50% of the profit of any transaction leaves the country. Further, the Bank of Ireland has its own difficulties which mean that the innovative expansion of financial services appears to be beyond it. The Post Office needs new revenue, more customers and a sustainable business plan. That’s why there is such wide support for a wholly publicly owned Post Bank which can sustain our post office network. Post Banks are a modern concept – New Zealand, France and Italy, among others, use and profit from them. We should have one too.

Andy Furey Communication Workers Union 

Robert Gray Countryside Alliance

Clive Davenport Federation of Small Businesses

Lindsay Mackie Nef

Dot Gibson National Pensioners Convention

Paul Reuter Unite

Government “ConDems” Royal Mail

On the day that Royal Mail announced that all of their four businesses remain profitable and that the Group operating profit increased to £404 million – a 26% improvement on the previous year, the ConDem government announce the start of their intention to privatise parts of the Group that turned in £332 million of that profit.

Despite strike action by the CWU at local and national level in Royal Mail Letters during 2009, the operating profit for Letters has more than doubled to £121 million (£58 million 2008-09). This is in despite of an overall fall in revenue and a reduction in the Groups headcount by almost 8,000 people in 2009-10 and with record target-beating performances being delivered by Royal Mail’s postmen and women in the spring of 2009.

Donald Brydon, Chairman of the Royal Mail Group said:

These are good results achieved against a backdrop of harsh economic conditions and relentless reduction in the number of letters sent by customers, not just in the UK but around the world. However, huge challenges remain, including the need to find a resolution to our historic pension deficit, and the need to reach agreement with Postcomm on a regulatory regime more suited to today’s changing marketplace.”

So why would the ConDems want to privatise a very successful publically owned business?

We at “unitegselection” would suggest that there are two basic reasons why they would.

 

  1. It follows the Friedman philosophy of “Public bad – Private good” a philosophy that led to the selling off of other publically owned businesses such as Steel, BT and Public Utilities by a non-Labour government.

 

  1. Mail volumes around the world are falling and privately owned mail operators will soon have greater difficulty in competing with a publically owned Royal Mail that continues to modernise with increasing efficiency.

In other words, it is a decision that will underpin the class divide that is being reinforced by the ConDems, one that will benefit the minority at the expense of the majority.

So what else can we expect from the so called progressive ConDems?

All the signs point towards further privatisations and the contracting out/loss of public services, putting further pressure on jobs, pay, conditions and pensions – underpinned by a review of employment and workplace law that will make it even more difficult for people and their trade unions to defend themselves, their families and communities.

If the ConDems have their way, then we will have at least five more years of even greater freedom for private businesses to exploit working people, less fairness in the workplace, and our society and the public sector will be accused and used as a punchbag for the economic mess that the heads at the top of our global banking and financial systems have got us into.

We cannot sit by for the next five years waiting, as the far left will, for a revolution to appear. We need to elect a Unite General Secretary that will fight to free our members of the shackles that the ConDems will seek to tie them down with, for fairness in the workplace and our communities, and for the return of a listening Labour Government that will take their responsibility for all of the people seriously, one that will not act subserviently to a small minority whilst mobilising and using power against the majority.

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