Wednesday, 20 February 2013

“There is power in a Union” - "If you go, we'll go!" - Action at last? - JERSEY TRADE UNION RALLY - Fort Regent - 19th February 2013

The mood of last night's Rally was for action. On the platform were leaders from public sector trade unions representing civil servants, manual workers, teachers and nurses. They gathered in Fort Regent to express their discontent against the unilateral decision of government to withdraw from pay negotiations. The common theme was that government intransigence should be met with preparedness for industrial action.

Speakers from the platform included Nick Corbell, Unite the Union; Alain Traynor, Civil Servants;  Anne Southern, National Union of Teachers, Marina Mauger, Jersey NASUWT; John McNichol, Nurses Union; Steve Preddy – Unite South-West Regional Coordinating Officer.

Here are a few of those speeches.

Alan Treanor – Civil Service Union

Anne Southern – National Union of Teachers

 John McNichol -  Nurses Union

Steve Preddy – Unite South-West Regional Coordinating Officer

It has to be said that the union movement has been here before. Two years ago there was a well attended rally at Fort Regent calling for united action and an impressive march held by teachers from Howard Davis Park to a meeting at the Opera House, yet the outcome was, well, nothing much. Last night's meeting alluded to that failure and promised to do better. Clearly there is a need for the leadership and membership to work together. Leaders must lead and members must provide support as well as direction. Unions are about democracy.

A speaker from the floor, aware of the disunity in the past within groups and across unions, was concerned  if this time there would be unity. When asked about coordinated strike action alongside the NASUWT teacher's union, Anne Southern, representative of the National Union of Teachers, reaffirmed "If you go, we'll go".


  1. And if the unions decide to strike, what do you honestly expect this to achieve ? Were you blind to the reception the bus drivers received after their recent industrial action. Strike action will only inconvenience the very people who pay public sector wages, and there is enough discontent at current economic conditions to make the public really turn against those they perceive as demanding more from their pockets.

    Let's face it, for the public sector employees to receive more, taxpayers must get by on less, and in the current climate, that will be a pretty hard thing to sell to your employers, especially if it is demanded with the menaces of strike action.

    If public sector employees are unhappy with their situation and the states refuse to accede to their demands, they should use their democratic right to seek alternative employment. Obviously if they feel their talents are so badly rewarded, they will have no problem receiving a fairer wage elsewhere.

  2. It is just so sad and predictable.
    What happened next....well the meeting broke up and the several hundred fired up people drifted home to their beds and sleep.

    There is no threat to the status quo here and the establihment knows it.
    There is simply no evident post war organisation. No memory - no political provenance to draw upon.
    If Dick Shenton's ghost had appeared on the stage these people would have cheered and followed him blindly and he could have mouthed the same old empty promises full of emotion.

    The political education of Jersey has still not even begun. Where is the leadership? Where are the teachers?

    The only motivation here as always is wages.
    The speakers spoke about some wider issues but the wider message always falls on deaf ears.

    Organise? You must be joking.