Tuesday, 9 July 2013

UNITE IT & Comms National Industrial Sector Committee

Today's meeting covered a range of issues.  In this short report I will focus on two.

Firstly, the NISC decided the sector's response to the Executive Council consultation on reorganising sectors.  The response is the same as in this post, which had been edited since it went up to incorporate various comments.

Recognising that part of the reason for the consultation was that the IT & Comms sector structures weren't working well, the NISC is asking active members, branches and RISCs from the sector to add their names if they support the response, so that it is clear to the Executive Council when it makes its decision in September that the response has widespread support across the sector.  If you want to add your support to the response please send an email to this address saying so.

The IT & Comms NISC wants, through a subgroup, to have discussions with the GPM sector prior to the September Executive Council meeting to ensure any potential issues are ironed out.

There was also a discussion about the controversy around the Falkirk by-election.  The NISC agreed to send the following emergency motion to the Executive.  A special meeting of the Executive Council meeting can be called when the General Secretary or a majority of the Executive Council considers it necessary - based on the views from the NISC I will be seeing whether there is support for this from other EC members.

This NISC notes:

1)The selection process for the Falkirk by-election has caused a deep crisis in the Labour Party and has seen Labour's right wing mobilising to attack Unite.

2) The crisis opens up serious questions about the trade union movement’s relationship to the party and where that relationship is headed. 

3) Ed Miliband’s treatment of Unite has rightly led our union's general secretary Len McCluskey to condemn the “stitch up” and “scandalous” attempt to smear the union.

4) The suspension of potential candidate Karie Murphy, along with Falkirk Labour party chair and leading Unite activist Stephen Deans is a an outrageous attack on democracy in the party.

5)  Unite, particularly as Labour’s biggest financial backer, has the right to encourage and organise its members to play a role in the selection of candidates.

6)  Recruiting union members into the party is not a crime. It is hardly equitable with the the wining and dining of  bankers and businessmen that shapes Tory policy and has shaped Labour’s in the past.

7) Unite is being treated by Ed Miliband as an “enemy within”.

8) Miliband and Co should be directing their fire against the Tories, against the attacks on the NHS, against the bedroom tax, not against those who are at the sharp end of resisting austerity. 

This NISC believes:

1) Working people deserve political representation. The massive yes vote in the recent ballot in Unite to retain the union’s political fund is proof that workers want a political voice.  

2) Every activist should defend the union against the attacks from Ed Miliband.

3) We need a wide-ranging debate about how workers can secure a political voice. That debate should look at what's happening in the Labour party and the left alternatives. It would be a huge contribution if Len McCluskey initiated such a debate.  

This NISC resolves:

1) To call for an emergency EC to discuss our response to the crisis.

2) To initiate a debate across the union on the fall out from Falkirk, the union's political strategy going forward and the question of political representation.

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