Saturday, 17 January 2009

Socialist Candidates Challenge Lambeth UNISON Bureaucracy

A group of socialist activists in Lambeth have produced a manifesto which they hope will politicise UNISON members and provide the platform on which to build a "fighting, member-led branch" based on clear socialist politics. The manifesto was the basis for candidates to contest elections at the Lambeth UNISON AGM on a "Lambeth Activists" platform.

The platform currently comprises independent socialists, members of Permanent Revolution, the Alliance for Workers Liberty, Workers Power and Green Left, the ecosocialist platform within the Green Party.

Policies include fighting against all redundancies and job losses, maximising participation and control of the union by ordinary members and ending automatic and uncritical UNISON support for Labour in building a left alternative.

For more information, visit:

James Caspell, a member of Green Left, won the post of Publicity Officer after making a speech in which he outlined a plan to "give members the confidence to fight the Council, fight the Government and ultimately fight capitalism". Rekha Khurana of Permanent Revolution took the posts of International Officer and Assistant Publicity Officer. Dan Jeffery, also of Permanent Revolution, was elected as a National Conference Delegate and Regional Council Delegate.

In his speech for the election of Membership Officer, which was lost by just three votes, Dan outlined that “we need to provide socialist answers to pay and job cuts”. He also highlighted the case of a colleague who because of privatisation had had her pay slashed and now had to work over 50 hours a week, while consultants for Lambeth in the same building get £1000 a day.

After the AGM, Rekha Khurana emphasised that far from being an electoralist front, the activists’ aim was to work with and engage all those who share a socialist political perspective and work towards rebuilding the union movement at the grassroots: “We need to coordinate our struggles with other local trade unions as well as with workers in other countries to win better rights for all”.

Other contested elections were narrowly won by the incumbent branch bureaucracy, though both the speeches and polices of candidates standing on the Lambeth Activists platform were widely supported amongst members, who welcomed the first set of seriously contested branch elections in a generation.

Notes to Editors

To see full platform, election results and list of candidates, please visit:

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