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Organising to Meet the Challenge Presentation by John Stevenson to Branch Committee Seminar Sept 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Organising to Meet the Challenge Presentation by John Stevenson to Branch Committee Seminar Sept 2010."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Organising to Meet the Challenge Presentation by John Stevenson to Branch Committee Seminar Sept 2010

3 Challenges we face from the Coalition Government are fundamental:- Cuts and privatisation. Ideological opposition to public services Co-ordinated lobby to cut pay and pensions Concerted plans to undermine trade union rights and organisation. Explicit rolling back of the welfare state. Strategy designed to make changes irreversible Organising to Meet the Challenge

4 Compiled by UNISON City of Edinburgh Branch With information from Scottish Committee Seminar And thanks to a presentation by UNISON East Midlands Region

5 Key terms National debt The net total borrowing by government, i.e. the total amount owed by government Deficit If government spends more than the money it takes in during a fiscal year there is a deficit Gross domestic product (GDP) The total value of a nation's output, income, or expenditure produced within its physical boundaries Organising to Meet the Challenge

6 Budget June 2010 Deficit reduction of £52bn by 2015/16 Made up 85% spending cuts, 15% tax increases 25% cuts (over 4 years) across gov’t depts - apart from health and overseas aid which are “protected” In Scotland between 12.5% and 20% (40% on capital spend) next year depending on health settlement. LOCAL CUTS WILL BE GREATER! Organising to Meet the Challenge

7 The Chancellor said the Budget was…. Unavoidable Progressive And “we’re all in this together” Let’s see if that is true……. Organising to Meet the Challenge

8 Progressive? The poor suffer most Organising to Meet the Challenge

9 Q: Is the national debt too high? A: No, not compared to historic levels Organising to Meet the Challenge

10 How to lie with statistics –making the debt look worse Organising to Meet the Challenge

11 How to lie with statistics –making the debt look worse Organising to Meet the Challenge

12 But no-one would really do that, would they? This was from Daily Telegraph 18 June 2009 Note the graph only shows ONE YEAR along the bottom Organising to Meet the Challenge

13 Another way to look at what The Telegraph did……. Organising to Meet the Challenge

14 So, we’ve seen that the right wing media distort the facts about the national debt and what it means. Now let’s look at the deficit …… Organising to Meet the Challenge

15 What is the deficit? Current deficit This was around £156bn for 09/10 (in the 2009 budget it was predicted at £175bn so it is better than expected) Why has this happened? Is it too much spending and not enough income? Or Is it the right amount of spending but not enough income? Organising to Meet the Challenge

16 Deficit got bigger in 2009/10 by £132bn

17 At least health is protected! Not really…….. Health – Scottish govt say 2.5% real terms growth But health inflation 4–5% Cuts already happening. BMA survey of doctors in June 2010: 24% said redundancies were planned 62% said there was a recruitment freeze 42% were limiting prescribing 40% were limiting access to treatments Organising to Meet the Challenge

18 So what do the cuts mean? Some areas of public sector will vanish, other areas will be slashed Around 20% job losses across public sector over 4 years Huge impact on private sector as the public sector (and the sacked workers) spend less in economy We won’t get out of recession and then more cuts will come We face the biggest cuts to public services ever seen. Designed to be permanent reduction in public services. Could take to 2025 to get back to 2009 spending The cuts are politically driven – the deficit can be cut with a fair tax system, investing in services and by waiting for the economy to pick up Organising to Meet the Challenge

19 What do the experts say? ALL of the G20 countries are dealing with the recession through investment – except Britain and Argentina Most mainstream economists argue for postponing cuts to deficit until a robust recovery begins Plan to return to surplus by 2015 is ‘pointless’ (New York Times) especially when it could cost a million jobs Organising to Meet the Challenge

20 Economists who previously predicted the crash are saying the cuts will damage the economy…….. In 2008 Prof David Blanchflower said “something horrible” was going to happen with the economy. Of the Budget he says: –“this unnecessary and dangerous budget will push the economy back into recession.” In October 2006 Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz said there would be a crash “ within 24 months.” Now he says : –“we're now looking at a long, hard, slow recovery…. if everybody cuts back at the same time.” Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman (who also predicted the crash) recently said: –“ Spend now, while the economy remains depressed; save later, once it has recovered. How hard is that to understand? ” Organising to Meet the Challenge

21 There is an alternative – raise income Robin Hood Tax on the banks = £30bn Airline Duty = £3bn Tax Treatment of Pension contributions for the wealthy = £5bn Deal with tax avoidance = £33bn 25% of top companies pay no Corporation Tax at all but should be paying around £285m (Google £1.6bn = 0 – Arcadia Phillip Green £1.2bn = 0) A one-off 20% tax on the richest 10% would give £800bn! ( Greg Philo guardian.co.uk, Sunday 15 August 2010)guardian.co.uk And finally, when the economy picks up tax receipts will increase by well over £60bn The money is there – it’s just in the wrong hands! Organising to Meet the Challenge

22 Key messages Cuts driven by ideology not economics Nothing inevitable about cuts – does not make economic sense For every £1 earned by public service worker 70p goes back into local economy Economy depends on healthy public sector – cuts risk a double dip recession No private/public divide. Private sector depends on public sector contracts. For every 1 public sector job lost, at least 1 lost in private sector. Hit the poorest far more than the rich – we are not ‘all in this together’ After war deficit at least three times (at peak 5 times) higher yet we built the NHS and the Welfare State Organising to Meet the Challenge

23 Obstacles to campaigning:- Survey: Most members believe there is waste in public services Half believe huge cuts needed because of national debt Despite LG pay ballot, it is likely many members believe pay restraint needed because of financial situation While membership levels holding, density not good enough Lack of activists and lack of engagement/ involvement Diffuse campaigning ConDems winning the propaganda war?

24 What we face in Edinburgh Up to £100m in cuts (10%) over three years – might even be 12.5%-20%, ie almost double! Service prioritisation – whole services withdrawn, compulsory redundancy a reality – and that only saves £16 million over three years Possible 3,500 jobs to be privatised Scale of cuts almost unimaginable. How do we get the message through to members? How do we build confidence to act together? Organising to Meet the Challenge

25 What can we do? Organising to Meet the Challenge Recruit – resistance/action no good without strength in the first place Organise – how do we get stewards and get them organising members? Educate – what are the tools we need for the job? Involve – how do we get members involved in campaigns and ready to take action?

26 Recruit Organising to Meet the Challenge Edinburgh Branch membership up 61 since Lothian Health Branch up almost 1,000 Last figures show UNISON has recruited highest number of members for 5 years – but also lost the highest number We have 140+ stewards but only 55 accredited at June 2010 Need 70+ new members a month to stand still If every steward recruited one member a month, we would have almost 10,000 members least 60% density – real power!

27 Organise Organising to Meet the Challenge Steward’s role Staff role – can we move focus from admin to organising? Do we need all the meetings we have? Do we need all the circulations we have? Balance between representing and organising How do we make meetings more relevant – only 2 or 3 stewards’ committees actually meet With time-off issues, when do we have them? How do we get more face to face with members?

28 Educate Organising to Meet the Challenge Getting the key messages across to members Supporting stewards/reps/contacts Investing in our stewards. More local courses/seminars. Better surroundings – provide lunch etc. Skills, confidence

29 Involve Organising to Meet the Challenge Getting members involved in campaigns/action Getting stewards involved – less time at meetings, more for organising Stewards meetings as part of Branch Committee? Branch Officers going out regularly to stewards meetings and to workplaces?

30 Now let’s get on with it! Organising to Meet the Challenge


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