Wednesday, December 20, 2006

“Yo ho ho!......Season of goodwill” - A Christmas Carol Fremantle version

…not if you are working for Fremantle. Last weekend our UNISON Fremantle workers received a letter through the post, unfortunately it was not a christmas card. It was a letter from Fremantle giving them an ultimatum (sign by the 31 December 2006) to sign away their terms and conditions in exchange for poverty wages, and before Fremantle complain and boy do they like to complain……£7.05 is the acknowledged living wage target for the GLA and decent employers. Now there is a challenge!

Yes there there has been a lot of bad feeling since Fremantle first approached UNISON with these draconian proposals , but sending down their managers to all the settings this week is not helping matters. Indeed the resolve of our members to resist their threats is quite humbling.

I am sure Fremantle thought that by issuing the new contracts just before Christmas our members would just crack and sign away their employment rights.

Well Fremantle put away the champagne…..our members are not giving up just yet. We never asked you to take up the contract, if you got the sums wrong when you bid for this contract don’t take it out on our members. If you have an issue take up with the Council,... they signed the contract.

Just in case you hadn’t noticed…you are not just dealing with Barnet UNISON… we belong to a National union and
word is spreading of your actions...

But to be fair to Fremantle this is not just about them….the problem of attacking public services is being felt across the public services in health,higher education, further education, energy. It is good to see that our union along with the TUC are organising an event to highlight these attacks on 23 January 2007. It will be good to see UNISON branches across all service groups standing side by side on this issue.

But apart from politicians who live in their own peter pan world…..who is actually seeing the benefit from this outsourcing?

In the past the unions were often attacked for being too dogmatic afraid of change. Yet the “privatisation is best” dogma being promoted by this government is being seriously exposed as contracts are being cancelled as services fail to deliver. It is important for UNISON members paying contributions to the Labour Party are aware that there is a Labour politician John McDonnell who has thrown his hat into the ring to challenge Gordon Brown. I suggest UNISON members have a look at what he is proposing....he supports UNISON policies something a lot of Labour MPs seem to be ignoring. He needs enough Labour MPs to officially challenge but if he does it will certainly mean issues that fundamentally affect UNISON members both at work and at home will be up for debate within the Labour party.......and he is coming to our Fremantle workers Public meeting on 16 January 2007.

Fremantle, do you really believe that by cutting terms and conditions you will generate good quality services? Fremantle we know you are not a London based organsiation but can you really believe that it is possible for staff to work and live in London on the terms and conditions that you are proposing?

So, while we send our members good wishes and promise to stand side by side with them…..please send messages of support to the Fremantle workers to or turn up at our public meeting at Hendon Town Hall on 16 January 2007 for 7 pm

1 comment:

John said...

Good luck to all your members at Fremantle. It's a nasty thing to happen at any time of the year, but especially low to make people worried like this at Christmas.

I wanted to ask a favour too please. I'm having a go at putting together a blog aggregator for unions' and union activists' blogs at

It's aimed at getting more union people out of the woodwork and blogging.

Would you mind if I include your blog in the aggregator? It will scan it every hour or so for new posts and then add the title, opening sentence and link to a list which people can subscribe to by RSS, letting them directly into your blog's latest story.

If you're happy with this idea, could you please let me know (and any other comments) at ?

Cheers, John