Scab union that has no ‘Voice'

Scab union that has no ‘Voice'

A brief introduction to the little known teachers union, Voice.

Several comrades have introduced me to a trade union that I was not previously familiar with. They are called ‘VOICE’. I use the term ‘trade union’ in the loosest possible sense as they are far from worthy of the title.

They are an amalgamation of various small groups, and represent around 34,000 people. Their corny sounding name and lack of public profile despite have 34,000 members, conjures up images of a managers union or a boss created staff association. I was not to be disappointed.

There are many trade unions who do not strike very often, or who are generally against strikes in most circumstances. However, VOICE are the first trade union I have ever come across that have a ‘cardinal rule’ (a term that sounds dubious to say the least). The cardinal rule is that they will never ever strike in any circumstances. The website launches into a nonsensical tirade about striking being damaging an counterproductive. At best it is embarrassingly naïve, at its worst it gives me the impression that the organisation is an establishment set up.

Most trade unionists do not like industrial action, some, like me, who may have political or revolutionary aims view them differently. However, surely everyone, whatever their view must acknowledge that at some point there may be no alternative?

VOICE claim that they will just keep negotiating, and list some other things that they would try, which to be honest are pitiful, they include:

libcom arrow for bullet points openly seek opportunities and elected positions to promote Voice policies
libcom arrow for bullet points collect petitions
libcom arrow for bullet points exploit local and national media and the Internet
libcom arrow for bullet points create public platforms
libcom arrow for bullet points lobby MPs and councillors
libcom arrow for bullet points demonstrate outside working hours
libcom arrow for bullet points invoke parental pressure and support
libcom arrow for bullet points seek support from governing bodies
libcom arrow for bullet points persuade employers to declare their position on issues
libcom arrow for bullet points use employment law to register official disputes
libcom arrow for bullet points monitor the efficiency and performance of employers
libcom arrow for bullet points use your contractual rights to protest against employers which sanction disruption of the children’s education or care.

I thought that these were tactics that are usually tried and failed before industrial action is taken?

On their website they discuss the government concessions in the on-going pension dispute. Do they think those concessions were offered because of negotiation or because massive strikes have been threatened. Like all workers, VOICE enjoy sick pay, holidays, weekends off, maternity pay, paternity, bank holidays, the NHS, the welfare state, and employment law and tribunals. VOICE , the union itself, enjoys the right to be recognised as a union, facility time, and protection under law. DO they think that all these rights were happily given by the ruling class because of the cut and thrust of a well-honed negotiator? They were snatched away and won from the boss class on the picket lines, and in the streets, not in a fucking board room.

Am I to assume that whatever victories we win through strikes that VOICE do not want to benefit from them. Of course they fucking do. They do not want to do the dirty work, but will reap the rewards if other people do it.

Anyone who joins a union like VOICE is an absolute fucking disgrace. They are traitors to their colleagues, traitors to the learners that they teach, and traitors to their class. They don’t even pretend to be neutral or passive, they are actively against us. They are not a trade union, they are scabby black leg shit houses. After reading their website it is clear that USDAW really are going to up their game if they want to match VOICE. If you know anyone in VOICE, encourage them to go elsewhere. In fact, they would better off be in no union at all than with these bastards.

Posted By

working class s...
Nov 12 2011 23:05

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Entdinglichung
Nov 14 2011 12:08

34000 members sounds very much but I wouldn't be surprised, if some of the "members" probably do not know about their membership, there was a case in Germany were several hundred workers at a recruitment agency were automatically declared members of the christian scab union CGB without ever having signed a membership application, the employer deducted the membership fees from the workers' wages

Chilli Sauce
Nov 14 2011 17:30

To be honest, everything they suggest is pretty similar to every trade union I've ever been in. At least they're honest that they always want to avert strikes; most trade unions talk tough but then do everything in their power to avoid striking. Maybe the advantage VOICE has is that no militants will join which means that it's members are far less likely to agitate for industrial action...

Choccy
Nov 14 2011 21:38

Yet to meet a member of them or the old PAT in 5 yrs since I qualified. Never seen so much as a flyer in a staffroom or anything.

Most a-political teachers will still join a larger union, for basic protection/casework should they get accused of something or end up oin capability or whatever. I can't imagine anyone having much faith in Voice even in those terms. Those that are slightly more anti-strike tend toward ATL, though even they're striking over pensions, but so are the heads so that tells you summat.

Steven.
Nov 14 2011 22:51

Yeah, I hadn't heard of this lot before, but I'm not surprised they exist - in any big industry there will be a market for a union which won't strike, and probably has cheap membership dues. Because there will always be a small proportion of people who want the protection of a union in case they get sacked (or accused of being a paedo), but won't want to be called a scab if they strike. The GMB effectively functions like this in much of local government, although it's not as bad as this admittedly

georgestapleton
Nov 15 2011 09:00

It says on the website they've existed for 38 years. And nobody has heard of them! I wouldn't worry about them too much. Still pretty shocking - Cardinal Rule!!!!!

gypsy
Nov 15 2011 13:37
Choccy wrote:
Yet to meet a member of them or the old PAT in 5 yrs since I qualified. Never seen so much as a flyer in a staffroom or anything.

Most a-political teachers will still join a larger union, for basic protection/casework should they get accused of something or end up oin capability or whatever. I can't imagine anyone having much faith in Voice even in those terms. Those that are slightly more anti-strike tend toward ATL, though even they're striking over pensions, but so are the heads so that tells you summat.

Last year I was a Voice member. But I was also a member of every other teaching union going(student teacher). wink

Fall Back
Nov 15 2011 17:20
Choccy
Nov 15 2011 21:27

'I hope those who use post-watershed language to describe Voice or wish our violent demise are not responsible for, or training for, the care or education of children. '

Ramona
Nov 16 2011 15:26
working class self organisation wrote:
They are not a trade union, they are scabby black leg shit houses.

I concur

plasmatelly
Nov 16 2011 19:44

Breathtaking that some tossers out there actually pay money to be a part of something like this outfit of clowns. Chilli's right about them bearing resemblance to every other reformist union - but will their members cross the line? There may be ideologically committed conservatives in there - plenty right-wing euro unions - but it may be that some poor saps have signed up unwittingly. It'd be nice to find out if they do cross the line.

Choccy
Nov 16 2011 20:15

It's highly unlikely that 'poor saps' have just fallen into this union, honestly. For the reasons I've stated above it's much more likely the case that Voice members are confirmed scabs who have either sought-out that union after being disaffected with the 'too political' unions or were already ideological right-wingers.

If there are any 'poor saps' left, they will have already been confronted with the picket issue on June 30th, in which case if they haven't jumped-ship already (and accoridng to Voice, some have) and they're still a member, they have picked their side.

plasmatelly
Nov 16 2011 20:20

Fair comment - anyone clapped eyes on them? I'm guessing they don't bang any drums..

Chilli Sauce
Jun 28 2012 04:43

Wait, dude, are you posting that same thing on various threads? I think that sort of thing is covered in the posting guidelines...

Uncreative
Jun 28 2012 12:52
iexist wrote:
I don't know about over the pond, but education here is indoctrination, and even if you teach from a leftist perspective your indoctrinating people with leftism, making you no better than Stalinists.

3 jobs no anarchist should take: teacher, politician, cop

I can't think of anything that's held the working class back from revolutionary consciousness so much as learning to spell, do long divison, or speak the thoroughly bourgeois language of French.

the button
Jun 28 2012 13:13

Damn right. They *invented* the word bourgeois, ffs.

Steven.
Jun 28 2012 18:19
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Wait, dude, are you posting that same thing on various threads? I think that sort of thing is covered in the posting guidelines...

that's right. You've already made that exact same off topic comment on another thread, and you have copy and pasted it here. Please don't derail topics and don't post the same thing across multiple topics.

jef costello
Jun 28 2012 18:20
Uncreative wrote:
I can't think of anything that's held the working class back from revolutionary consciousness so much as learning to spell, do long divison, or speak the thoroughly bourgeois language of French.

First they came for the English teachers...
Luckily they weren't sure what to do after an ellipsis so in the end they wandered off and the most fascistic English teacher invented French just to make the penalty for the crime of youth even harder.

communal_pie
Jun 30 2012 06:44

How many other scab unions are there?

Is there a centralised list we can refer to on libcom? If not, there really ought to be!

PS: lol at the mind jailers BS, on such an important topic as well..fucking jesus christ.

jonthom
Jun 22 2013 22:52

wasn't sure if this needed a new thread so put it here for now - couldn't find anything on libcom after a quick google. maybe not a scab union per se but bills itself as an individually-focused legal advice source specifically to provide an alternative to unions.

edapt | Why subscribe to edapt

Quote:
We launched in 2012 as the only alternative to the trade unions providing teachers with support in individual employment disputes and allegations.

[...]

3. It's free from politics and industrial action

We know that many teachers do not want to work-to-rule or go on strike. It is important not to deny the right to strike to any teacher, however independent research suggests that 38% of teachers did not think the right to industrial action was important in their role. Edapt is not a trade union and we do not organise, or take part in industrial action. For guidance about industrial action in school click here.

The guidance in question can be found here.

Apparently Michael Gove thinks they're "marvellous". So, you know. There's that.

Ablokeimet
Jun 23 2013 10:48
Uncreative wrote:
I can't think of anything that's held the working class back from revolutionary consciousness so much as learning to spell, do long divison, or speak the thoroughly bourgeois language of French.

Oh, so that's the reason France didn't have a revolution in 1789, or in 1830, or in 1848. And there was no Paris Commune in 1871. It's because everyone in France speaks French.

When I first visited Britain, in 1988, I was struck by the difference in attitude towards France between Scotland and England. In Scotland, everyone I spoke to was critical of the French Government, particularly over its then current program of testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. In England, however, whenever the topic of France came up, I was treated to a stream of vitriol against the French. This was across the board - from conservative middle class people through to established identities in the Anarchist movement.

My suggestion is for the Anarchist movement in England to have a look at itself, with a view to identifying and purging national chauvinism.

Chilli Sauce
Jun 23 2013 11:44

I think you missed the point of that post Abloke. It was more about the role and nature of state schools--which on one hand surely do attempt to form a complacent, disciplined workforce. On the other hand, they also give the working class certain intellectual skills that are no doubt useful for waging the class struggle, ya know, like reading and writing.

The thing about "thoroughly bourgeois language of French," it was taking the piss out of the exact same attitudes you somehow oddly believe characterize the UK anarchist movement based on some conversations you had 25 years ago...

Choccy
Jun 23 2013 11:59
jonthom wrote:
wasn't sure if this needed a new thread so put it here for now - couldn't find anything on libcom after a quick google. maybe not a scab union per se but bills itself as an individually-focused legal advice source specifically to provide an alternative to unions.

edapt | Why subscribe to edapt

Quote:
We launched in 2012 as the only alternative to the trade unions providing teachers with support in individual employment disputes and allegations.

[...]

3. It's free from politics and industrial action

We know that many teachers do not want to work-to-rule or go on strike. It is important not to deny the right to strike to any teacher, however independent research suggests that 38% of teachers did not think the right to industrial action was important in their role. Edapt is not a trade union and we do not organise, or take part in industrial action. For guidance about industrial action in school click here.

The guidance in question can be found here.

Apparently Michael Gove thinks they're "marvellous". So, you know. There's that.

Sounds like an independent professional association. I imagine they will remain irrelevant, given Voice already caters for scab teachers, and ATL already does it's best to win the who-strikes-least award.

Chilli Sauce
Jun 23 2013 12:32

Not too harp on the point, but if anything, I think if anything the UK anarchist movement fetishizes the French and the mass breakouts of struggle in that occasionally happen France. It's explained as something in the French character, a vestige of 68 or whatever. But it's certainly not vitriol, that's for sure.

I mean, we even saw this during the massive student movement in Quebec--'oh those Quebecois, it's because they speak French, it's that French influence that makes them so militant'. This was given as an explanation instead of looking at the years of hard, on-the-ground organising that occurred in the run-up to to CLASSE.

Entdinglichung
Sep 3 2013 12:07

scab union of the "English Democrats" got state recognition: http://searchlightmagazine.com/archive/workers-of-england-gains-trade-un...

Joseph Kay
Sep 3 2013 13:17
Entdinglichung wrote:
scab union of the "English Democrats" got state recognition: http://searchlightmagazine.com/archive/workers-of-england-gains-trade-un...

Twice the size of the IWW sad

That said, the searchlight write-up is a bit misleading. All organisations meeting the statutory definition of a trade union have (in theory) the same rights and obligations, whether or not they're listed or certified. The main advantage of a certificate of independence is access to the statutory recognition procedure, which requires reaching 10% membership of a bargaining unit and winning 50% of the vote in a ballot for recognition.

I'll go out on a limb and say there's zero chance of that happening anywhere except small firms run by fash. Afaik employers don't have to give them time off for union duties unless specified in a recognition agreement, which they're not likely to get (even as a scab union, for employers looking to block a real union, why use fash when you can just 'recognise' a company union?).

Plus, anything fash might like to do - industrial action against immigrants say - would likely break equalities law. It's theoretically possible to engineer a trade dispute that's de facto racist but technically lawful, but I doubt that's their intent as it's a legal minefield.

onurmarx
Sep 14 2013 03:07

You fail to mention the cheap cinema tickets via their rewards scheme.

twolegsbad
Sep 14 2013 20:26
onurmarx wrote:
You fail to mention the cheap cinema tickets via their rewards scheme.

Hey thanks Bro. I checked it out and as a Voice member you can get a 9 quid Cineworld ticket for £6. That's me switching Unions already; I get naff all with the EIS.