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:
:arrow: openly seek opportunities and elected positions to promote Voice policies
:arrow: collect petitions
:arrow: exploit local and national media and the Internet
:arrow: create public platforms
:arrow: lobby MPs and councillors
:arrow: demonstrate outside working hours
:arrow: invoke parental pressure and support
:arrow: seek support from governing bodies
:arrow: persuade employers to declare their position on issues
:arrow: use employment law to register official disputes
:arrow: monitor the efficiency and performance of employers
:arrow: 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.