This week’s Journal carries the news that Herefordshire Council is looking to lay off 100 staff.
Deputy council leader Philip Price was in the blue corner and on the attack: “Budget crisis, blah blah blah,” he said. Probably something else about difficult decisions that MUST be made. Pow!
And in the red corner for the workers is Steve Akers from Unison. Woop woop. Go Stevie! Go Stevie! Go Stevie!
“We have asked the council for the draft budget and all relevant financial documents. We want to do a forensic examination to see where other savings…” zzzzzzz.
Time out, Steve, sit down. Where’s the fire? We said ONE HUNDRED employees … to be made redundant! Have a listen how it’s done, Steve. Have an orange (‘arry, where’s that sponge?): “My view is that we should rule nothing in and nothing out. Every conceivable form of protest and action should be carefully considered, from civil disobedience through to co-ordinated industrial strikes. Everything should be considered in the face of the type of onslaught that we are looking at.”
Steve, that was Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary (speaking about a broader struggle—incidentally we’ve yet to see Len follow through with anything like what he spoke of). Can you can see the difference, Steve?
To us Herefordshire Unison always seem very tempered in their rhetoric. We’re not Unison members so we can’t comment on the quality of their service but based on their chat god knows how horizontal they actually are behind the scenes.
We have our own ideological criticisms of unions like Unison (that’s another story) but you would kinda hope that when faced with the threat of 100 employees losing their jobs—and possibly facing severe financial hardship—they would come out fighting, throw down a fiery, uncompromising position of resistance and sock it to the council.
We’d like not to be this critical about an organisation we see as moreorless on ‘our side’. But it’s clear that if there’s going to be a fightback against these redundancies it’s going to have to come (and indeed should come) from the workers themselves.
To Steve and Unison: let’s look a bit lively for round two, eh!
But to all the staff at Herefordshire Council: for the love of Malatesta, please don’t rely on Herefordshire Unison to save your jobs! This struggle is yours!