Brief Report on Branch Meeting held last week


UNISON members in Waltham Forest were treated to a powerful personal account of the impact of trade union black listing from our guest speaker at the Branch meeting last week. Christian Clark told the meeting about the blacklisting of trade unionists in the construction industry. Speaking from personal experience and on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group, Christian described how huge construction companies such as Kier and Carillion subscribed to the Consulting information to provide and obtain information regarding individual trade union activists in the construction industry. This information would be used to refuse employment and prevent active trade union members from being able to get work. Those individuals and their families suffered as a result. As the Support Group’s campaign has gone on they have found that police officers were also actively engaged in infiltrating trade union groups and meetings and reporting them to the Consulting Association. These activities are and were illegal and have caused great suffering and hardship. In Waltham Forest we can support the campaign by trying to get our Council to boycott the use of companies that blacklist trade unionists. So far, Waltham Forest Council has refused to do this and it does employ Kier, a leading firm in the blacklisting scandal. Our branch will therefore be seeking to communicate our concerns to Council members and will be pushing for a motion to boycott those firms who engage in such immoral and possibly illegal practices.


Len Hockey, Branch Secretary of UNISON Waltham Forest Health, also spoke at the branch meeting. He informed us of the crisis facing our local hospital. The UNISON branch chair is facing disciplinary measures, the hospital is running on a £2 million a week deficit and £78 million is required in savings over the course of this financial year. Price Waterhouse Cooper, the well-known consultants for cuts, and Donald Muir, the well-known executive director of the financial disaster  that is Rangers Football Club, are now leading the National Review of the NHS. They will certainly be recommending swingeing cuts in public expenditure on the NHS whilst advocating privatisation so that individuals can make personal gain out of the care of the sick, vulnerable and elderly. Whipps Cross largely faces these severe financial pressures because of the imposed merger with Barts Health Trust that has seen Whipps Cross have to take on part of the £115 million pounds PFI debts. Whipps Cross expects proposals for cuts and re-organisation including wage cuts for its staff. The campaign has a public meeting on Wednesday 23rdOctober at Leytonstone School, starting at 7pm. Please get along if you can.


The meeting heard about the pay campaign and UNISON is looking to secure a pay rise that will bring all of its Council employed members up to the level of the Living Wage. The increase required would then be put across all scales as a percentage pay increase. It appears likely that industrial action will be needed to achieve this modest pay award.

In pensions UNISON needs to find members willing to represent UNISON on local Pension Boards and Committees when new governance arrangements come into force in April next year. Any member interested in getting involved should contact the UNISON branch office.

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