As many of you know I have held this seat since 2010. During my time I have represented the views of branches and the region alike and if elected I will continue to listen and represent our branches putting their concerns, ideas and views forward to the NEC.
Since the Coalition Government came into power we have seen attack after attack against the Public Sector generally, particularly so in the North East as the North-South divide becomes more apparent and we see falling living standards for working people.
This problem is being felt more acutely in the northern region. UNISON has thousands of members across the region who provide essential services to vulnerable people and groups. Our members have never been under so much pressure as the commissioning and procurement system forces all public organisations to cut costs to a bare minimum in order for services to survive.
In my role as an NEC member, I offer my practical skills and experience to help develop alternative strategies in order to protect our members.
I believe our primary concern has to be saving, defending terms and conditions and using our campaigning and negotiating to recruit more members.
This year is an important year for our union with major challenges ahead. Our union is in a strong position to continue to meet those challenges and make the case to promote an alternative economic agenda.
In the community and voluntary sector I will continue to campaign for employers and public-sector commissioners, to make sure that the living wage is established as an absolute minimum pay level.
Our NHS members will be out on strike on 29 January, escalating their action.
It will be the third day in dispute at the government’s arrogant and harmful attitude towards the NHS.
Their decision to reject the 1% pay rise recommended by the
independent Pay Review Body is a callous and unnecessary action against a workforce that is hard working and compassionate.
They won't be alone in their battle. The threat of strike action by police staff has brought the employers back to the table, while the probation service deals with a new era of privatisation.
Local government, which includes schools staff will once again be under enormous pressure, so it's vital branches are well equipped. I believe we need to share some of our skills and knowledge so that we deliver a resourceful and effective union ready to respond to anything and be ready to help each other in difficult times.
My aim this year is to continue to grow and build our union as a fighting force -to work with our communities as a campaigning organisation and work with sister trade unions across our region. There needs to be an end to the relentless attacks on public services, the use of zero-hour contracts, the rise of in-work benefits and the reliance on food banks and pay-day loans to make ends meet.
The choice between eating and heating should not exist in Britain in 2015.
Many of our members have worked tirelessly over the festive period to keep vital public services running and it will be these services that come under further attack if a new Tory-led government gets the chance to ramp up austerity for another five years.
May's general election will give all of us the chance to vote for what we want our country to stand for.
We cannot afford another government that fails to get a grip with the soaring cost of living, while running public services into the ground. Let's make sure that we send a clear message that our vital services will not be eroded and that the hard working people who provide them will not be taken for granted.
The Northern Region are at the forefront of organising in a way that shares good practice and responds to cross service issues supporting one another at rallies, demonstrations and strike days.
I believe in democratic accountability and as such attend Regional Committee and Council to provide updates and take comments from Branches to the NEC. I am also committed to making myself accessible to Branches so that you can regularly receive updates and have contact with me throughout these elections and beyond.
I urge every Branch to send me your email address so that I can update you throughout this campaign or follow me on twitter at ianfleming1973. I am currently Joint Branch Secretary of the Northumberland County Branch, a position I have held for the last 6 years. I have gained a vast amount of experience which I have taken into my current role as an NEC representative where I represent our region on the International Committee and Industrial Action Committee.
In my role as NEC representative I hope to continue to influence the national policy of UNISON by continuing to push the Northern region’s campaigning model, which has proven to be successful.
We must argue and campaign for progressive policies which represent the views of our members. I believe these are avoiding compulsory redundancies, protecting pensions, defending terms and conditions, promoting health and wellbeing and fighting for fair pay. In addition to this, I believe that in order to promote an economic alternative agenda we need to Invest in social housing, tackle youth unemployment and negotiate a fair wage for apprentices. I'm against the privatisation of the NHS, against the Bedroom Tax, against tax evasion and tax avoidance, Pro-credit unions, against the blacklisting of trade union officials and against Workfare. I believe one of our biggest challenges is to have a Social Care sector adequately funded.
If elected I will stand up for all Branches as it’s important your views are listened to as we fight against pay freezes, attacks on our terms and conditions, pensions and the cuts in the services we provide.
My Northern Region NEC colleagues, are Josie Bird, Sue Forster and Paul Gilroy who are members that understand and support the approach of UNISON Northern. As a team we work with the Regional Convenor and Deputy to ensure the region is at the forefront of influencing national policy and it is essential that we have NEC members who can continue to take our region and the union forward.
The official closing date for nominations is 15th February 2015 therefore could you please table this letter for consideration at your next Branch Committee meeting.
I hope you will be able to support me by nominating me as your candidate. If your branch would like me to attend a branch committee please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.