James vs The Trade Unions

I got a little offended when I read that one of the trade unions (who I fully despise), Unison, threatened war against the country (see link in title).

So I decided to vent my anger…

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Dear Sir

I note that somebody called Dave Prentis, who is the general secretary of Unison, has threatened ‘a prolonged and sustained war’.

I am a pretty average person in the UK, earning the average salary, with no property or car, etc, and I find this deeply offensive – in fact this compares to me to the threat from the IRA or Al-Qaeda.

I would have expected that the theory of trade unionism is to look after the average working person – not cause them a lot of problems through industrial action against a Coalition government that is trying its hardest to correct 13 years of mis-rule under Labour.

About 80-90% of the people I know share my views, and I am gravely concerned for the peaceful future of our country, and our economic prosperity, if such provocation continues.

I would like the trade unions to start speaking to ordinary working people to find out their views, and not makes threats of war, that I find deeply disturbing.

I am not expecting a response, this is not the first time that I have written a letter of complaint to a trade union, and I have never had a response from one, but I would be pleased if you could show the courtesy of explaining those comments.

I received this quote via this news story http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8488924/Unions-warn-of-massive-protests-over-government-cuts.html

Kind regards
James Winfield

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I actually got a response, though they haven’t exactly answered my concerns.

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Dear Mr Winfield,

Thank you for your email. Dave Prentis, the General Secretary of UNISON, was commenting on the position facing public sector workers in relation to government cuts. The strong language which you feel is offensive reflects the feeling held by a significant number of our 1.3 million members that the government is unfairly cutting public services without due consideration of the consequences to the general public, communities and public sector workers. The theory of trade unionism as you put it is to represent the views and concerns of their members which as you say are generally the ‘average person’. I would also like to point out that UNISON’s membership is made up of public sector workers. Individuals who have dedicated their careers to supporting communities and the general public. It would be counter-intuitive to assume that these individuals would wish to in any way damage these communities or the general public. In fact their anger is in response to the potential damage that the government will do if these cuts are carried out. Dave Prentis’ statement reflects this when taken in the full context of the statement ‘”This will not be a token skirmish, but a prolonged and sustained war, because this Government has declared war on a huge proportion of the population. The government has made it clear that it intends to continue cutting public services, the conditions of those who work in the public services and the resources available to those who volunteer to help their communities.

Recent surveying conducted by Ipsos MORI is also showing that an increasing proportion of the general public are concerned about the government cuts to public services. The TUC March on the 26th March this year in which 500,000 people demonstrated in London is another example of this sentiment. UNISON, amongst other trade unions, has built numerous coalition community groups across the country since the campaign began many of which are constituted of cross-party, cross-community concerned parties and individuals. We also hold a large number of public meetings and are active participants in consultation with government, authorities and the wider community.

UNISON is proud of its democratic values and both the General Secretary and the policies which they promote are decided upon democratically by our membership every year at our annual conference. Industrial action is a legal means of conducting industrial relations as a last resort and UNISON does not enter into it lightly or without due consideration. The decision to conduct industrial action is balloted upon by our membership within the full constraints of the law.

I would like to thank you again for email and would encourage you to engage with the debate around these issues further whether with ourselves or other concerned parties.

Yours sincerely,
Phil Wood
UNISON South East Regional Secretary

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