Saturday, June 09, 2007


Well I got the results in the post today and I'm pleased to say I have been successful in the election for the NEC Young Members Seat. It's always a real honour when members put their faith in you and give you a mandate to represent them.

And represent them is what I'll do, over the next two years I promise to work hard for our young members across UNISON, those who voted for me as well as those who didn't. I will talk to you and I will listen and do my best to fight for what's right on our NEC.

I will always work with those who share our values and I look forward to working with all those on the NEC to achieve a strong union, fighting and winning for our members.

I would also like to pay tribute to Daniel Robertson, a candidate who I often agree with and who was a really strong candidate. I'm sure that Daniel will continue to represent young members and that we haven't seen that last of him.

I would also like to congratulate two members who have recently left the National Young Members Forum who have been elected onto the NEC, Angela Bowen elected in the North West Region and Fiona Smith elected in Scotland.

So now the hard work starts of steering the union for our members over the next two years.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ballot's closed - thanks for the support

A little late in posting with being away at the National Young Members Weekend and down in London at at Institute for Employment Rights seminar on the Gender Equality Duty (both of which were excellent).

The ballot for the NEC Elections closed on Friday. Whatever happens it's been a really interesting experience in learning about UNISON's democracy and getting to know even more people across the union.

I'd like to thank all those who have supported me during the election and all that's left to do now is to keep our fingers crossed and wait a month for the result.

I'll blog the results, which are due to be announced on the 11th June.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Only one week left

I can't believe how fast it's gone but believe it or not the ballot for the NEC Elections closes on Friday. I've enjoyed the campaign so far and it's vital that we get as many members (especially young ones) voting as possible. Election turn out in our NEC elections will always be used as a test of our democracy and it's one we a test we must meet.

So with one week to go we must make a last push. Make sure you talk to members in your workplace and ask them if they've returned their ballot yet.

Whatever happens we won't find out the results until the 11th June, which leaves us all in blissful ignorace for our National Young Members Weekend in Belfast which also starts on Friday.

So get those ballot papers in the post!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Health Conference

Well, Health Conference was a lovely week. I always enjoy spending time with other activists and conferences are a great opportunity to meet new people and get to know activists from your branch better.

This years health conference came at a key time for the NHS. The Government is continuing its policies of privatisation and marketisation in the name of choice and diversity of supply, while insulting workers with a below inflation pay award (cut) which they have the gal to stage.

There was a great deal of anger expressed on these issues, not least when Government Ministers addressed the conference. It was great to here that UNISON has called a National Demonstration on the 13th October. I will certainly be going and will be working with my branch to mobilise as many people there as possible. I will also be bringing the issue to the West Midlands and National Young Members Forums to discuss what we can do to mobilise young members.

On pay, Conference passed a strong position for industrial action if negotiations with the government fails to deliver an above inflation pay increase for this year, rather than the appalling award equivalent to 1.9%.

Conference was a good opportunity to talk to members about my campaign, though not as many young members as I would like. I was able to speak to some young members at the conference and let them know about ways to get involved in our young members structures.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ballot Now Open

Ballot papers have started to arrive at members homes from today (I got mine this morning). I'm really happy with my election address and my nominations (both published here today). It's really important that all activists are talking to their members (especially young ones) about voting and the NEC.

I'm sending out materials for people to use with young members to get them to vote for me in the upcoming election. I hope that as many young members as possible get enough information get to vote on an informed basis. If you would like copies of my election material please e-mail me at

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fighting Fascists

From the 24th March to the 7th April will be Anti-Fascist Fortnight. This is a crucial time for the anti-fascist movement with the threat of the BNP at local elections on May.

My first active participation in fighting fascists was in the run up to the last General Election. As President of the University of Birmingham Guild of Student I ensured time and resources were put into informing students about the fascist threat and making sure that they used their vote against the BNP. Knocking on doors across the student community we had the vast majority of student houses proudly displaying posters in their windows that 'we don't do fascism', a truly striking image which led to BNP activists trying to intimidate student campaigners.

At the local elections last year a counting error meant that Birmingham saw our 1st BNP Councillor (though their election has now been overturned by the courts). It's a real wake up call for me, when I think of a Councillor spreading BNP hate in my city.

That's why in the run up to the election, I'll be helping with the fight against fascists especially in anti-fascist fortnight and taking a message of 'Hope not Hate'. UNISON is a proud supporter of anti-fascism, and in the West Midlands UNISON will be a major player on the campaigning day in Sandwell on the 1st April. This promises to be a great day with the Mirror Battle Bus, community activities and Billy Brag entertaining the activists, as well of course as getting out there in the community and on the doorstep spreading our message of Hope not Hate. Some of us from the Young Members Forum will be there and hopefully some people from my branch will be coming along too.

Would be great to see you there, or joining with searchlight in other areas in the run up to the local elections. If your on facebook request an invite to the group ( or for details of all the anti-fascist fortnight events and searchlight's campaigns go to

Monday, March 05, 2007

Defending our NHS

On Saturday I was proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder with workers across the health service defending our NHS. I attended the Midlands NHS Together Rally in Birmingham, hearing a strong message from our General Secretary, that UNISON will defend the NHS and it's members. The announcement of appalling public sector pay awards really galvanized anger amongst those at the rally.

As we were in Birmingham, health workers and members of the public were participating in events all over the country defending our NHS. It's essential now that we continue to build support local and build for further action. If we are to call a national demonstration in the summer it's essential that it is done quickly and that branches are supported with appropriate resources and staff time to build for it.

I love a good demonstration, but more then that I love my NHS. I will continue to use my energies to defend it and the principles on which it was founded

Friday, March 02, 2007

My Nominations

Here are the nominations I've received from Branches and Young Members Forums.

Young Members Forums
  • National Young Members Forum
  • North West Young Members Forum

UNISON Branches
  • Salford City
  • Lancashire County Council
  • Manchester
  • Stockport LG
  • Omagh/Fermanagh Hlth & S.S.
  • Leicestershire Police
  • Ashfield
  • University Hospital Birmingham
  • Trafford Metropolitan
  • British Waterways Board (NW)
  • Durham County
  • Sefton Local Government
  • Central Manchester Health Care
  • Telford
  • West Midlands Police Staff
  • Bury St. Edmonds District Health
  • Wirral
  • City of Sunderland
  • Concorde Health
  • Crawley
  • East Somerset Health
  • Glasgow NHS
  • Newcastle City
  • Hampshire
  • North West Gas
  • Kerrier
  • Loughborough University
  • Northampton Borough
  • Northallorton Health
  • South Tyneside
  • Oxford City
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • Norfolk & Norwich Acute Hospitals
  • Norwich Community Health
  • University of Teeside
  • Southend On Sea
  • St Helens College

The following nominations were received but not accepted due to administrative issues
  • Hartlepool
  • North of Tyne Primary Care
  • University of Southampton

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Nominations have now closed

So nominations have now closed. Thanks to everyone that supported me and helped me get nominations!

I'm really proud of the nominations I've received, from across the union. I've been nominated by a real diverse group of branches from different regions (from the Southampton to Glasgow) and and different service groups (from police to local government).

I'm paticularly proud of the Young Members Forums that have nominated me, including the National Young Members Forum and North West Regional Young Members Forum. Unfortunatley most regions haven't had a meeting within the nominations period, including my own West Midlands Regional Young Members Forum. It's a shame that more Young Members Forums couldn't nominate, as it's the only way young members can autonomously take part in the nominations process. I hope in the next round of elections we can increase participation by Young Members Forums by flagging it up with regions well in advance when planning meeting schedules.

We now move to the next stage of getting the vote out in the postal ballot, which opens on April 16th. So plenty more support will be needed in the run up to and during the ballot, thanks again.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Election Address

James Anthony for the Young Members Seat on the NEC

I work in a Birmingham hospital, as a recently qualified Nurse. I'm standing to ensure that our voices are heard at the heart of our union, because I'm the candidate with the vision, experience and record to achieve this and with the support of the National Young Members Forum. Young workers are a vulnerable group: from the young mother struggling on the youth rate of the minimum wage, to the new nurses left debt-ridden and jobless due to NHS cuts.

As a union we must be committed to organising all sections of our workforce, and young members must be a priority within that. I joined UNISON when I got my first job at 17. Unfortunately the 'Got a job: get a union' idea isn't instilled into every young person. To organise these workers we must recruit them into a relevant and dynamic organisation that values members and enables us to stand up and win for ourselves and our colleagues.

I believe that 3 key challenges face the NEC young members rep:

  • Prioritising and listening to Young Members

The young members who elect me will remain my priority throughout my time on the NEC, reporting back and listening are essential. We must ensure united young members structures - only together will we have a strong voice within UNISON and beyond.

  • Young Members at the centre of our union and our campaigns

The Young Members Survey reveals that we, like all members, see our key issues being pensions and the welfare state. While it's important we continue to campaign on issues such as equality in the Minimum Wage and Votes at 16, it's vital that we put more energy into a youth dimension of campaigns such as ‘Protect Our Pensions’ and ‘Positively Public’.

  • Developing support for young activists

Young member recruitment has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years thanks to hard work across the union. Now the key is to ensure we can turn more of young members into activists. With tailored developmental support, more young members can go on to lead their branches and the wider union.

Supporting my election, Anne True (Chair, National Young Members Forum) said,

"Since meeting James I've been impressed with his
dedication and passion for UNISON and young members. He has really helped drive
the voice of young members as Vice Chair of our Forum. I'm confident James will
be an excellent voice for young members on the NEC."


  • Vice Chair, National Young Members Forum (2006 - present)
  • Chair, West Midlands Regional Young Members Forum (2006 - present)
  • Young Members Officer/Steward, University Hospital Birmingham UNISON (2005 - present)
  • President, University of Birmingham Guild of Students (2004 - 2005)
  • Management Committee, British Youth Council (2003 - 2005)

I've got a strong record for standing up and delivering change, with your support we can achieve so much more for young members. For more see

Saturday, February 03, 2007

National Young Members Forum backs me for NEC Young Members Seat

UNISON's National Young Members Forum is made of of two reps from each region (elected by their regional young members) as well as the NEC Young Members Rep. In their meeting today, they decided to support my campaign for election and formally nominate me. This is obviously a great honour, and a real testiment to the strength of my candidacy.

National Young Members Forum reps all work hard in their regions to promote the place of young members and their endorsement means a lot. When most nominating is done by branches without as much input from Young Members themselves it's great to get support from Young Members themselves.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thanks for your support so far

This is just a quick post to say thanks to all the support I've had so far in my campaign. It's really scary when you stand up and say 'please support me' and it means so much when people do.

I'm really glad that I'm getting support from across the union and especially from young members. So here's a little thanks for the help so far, and a request for further support.

If you've got a branch or Regional Young Members Forum meeting before the 16th February please try and get them to nominate me (forms from Otherwise please tell as many young members that you can that the elections are coming up and that I'll be a great NEC members.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Key Challenges

Here I set out what I'll do if elected. I believe that there are three key challenges that face the NEC Young Members rep, ensuring that Young Members are prioritised, ensuring that young members activity is at the centre of the union and that young activists are well supported.

I will set out here how I plan to tackle these challenges, working closely with other NEC members and the National Young Members Forum.

Prioritising Young Members and listening to Young Members
With so many demands on your time it's easy for Young Members being deprioritised. It's essential that all NEC members report back to and listen to the people who elected them and for me that would obviously be young members. I will be accessible to any young member to get in touch and tell me what they think. To that effect it's vital to stay in contact with all levels of the Young Members organisation. Working with the Young Members structures means that together we'll be able to have the most influence within UNISON and have a stronger voice for young members.

I will:
  • Attend National Young Members Forum Meetings and the National Young Members Weekend to report on NEC business and listen to members
  • Be available to visit regional young members events where invited
  • Use electronic media to publish reports on my activities and seek the views of young members

Young Members at the Centre of our Union and our Campaigns
Young Members must take their place at the centre of our union. The recent Young Members Survey commissioned by the National Young Members Forum reveal that, like all members, Young Members see issues such as pensions and the welfare state as key issues. And while it's important that as young members we continue to campaign on issues such as equality in the National Minimum Wage and Votes at 16, it's vital that we put more energy into including young members in union wide campaigns such as positively public and defending our pensions.

I will:

  • Work with others on the NEC to ensure that we use Young Members and a young persons perspective within UNISON's campaigning work
  • Work with the National Young Members Forum to put a young members perspective forward
  • Ensure that Young Members are not sidelined and just seen as the activists of the future, but as the activists of now

Developing support for Young Activists
Young member recruitment has gone from strength to strength in recent years thanks to hard work across the union. Now the key is to ensure we can turn more of these young members into young activists.

I will:

  • Identify good practice from across the union (such as the Young Members Development Programme being developed in the West Midlands) ensuring schemes are rolled out and included in the Code of Good Branch Practice where appropriate
  • Look at the development of a buddying scheme for new young activists
  • Ensure the recruitment and development of young activists is a priority for UNISON

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

TUC Speak up for Public Services Lobby

Yesterday I attended the TUC's Lobby promoting the value of public services. The day didn't start well for me as I got locked into my friends house (who I'd stayed with the night before) and ended up having to climb out through the window!

But I made it to the rally not long after it had started, to here a number of General Secretaries and the like making empassioned speeches about defending our services against the dogmatic privatisation and marketisation by the Government. Some were great, some not so great but with every TUC affiliated union speaking it was quite long. I stayed to the end of the rally though as my friend Wes was speaking on behalf of the National Union of Students, unfortunately by the time he spoke the room was a lot emptier than at the beginning when you couldn't get in it was so full.

I was able to lobby my own MP, Roger Godsiff. We met at 4 and had a good long chat. I'd only met Roger briefly before as I've not that long lived in the constituency. Roger was very supportive of the TUC lobby in general and the more specifics. Having voted against Foundation Hospitals and Top-up Fees he has a decent record as an MP. He also assured me that he had contacted and asked questions of the Department of Health around decisions such as outsourcing primary care services amongst others. We also shared a common belief in the importance of good involvement of front line staff in projects such as Connecting for Health.

Important for our Branch was a discussion on PFI, with our new PFI hospital under construction. Roger and I agreed that we need more creative ways of raising finance, rather than the expensive PFI schemes which are already hitting the NHS hard.

All in all it was a good day. I hope to take forward our relationship with Roger Godsiff as a Branch to build support for our cause locally as well as continuing the pressure nationally.

This sort of event is a great way of ensuring members remain engaged in the bigger picture and take our experience to decision makers, rather than just dealing with the problems that policies create on the ground. I was glad to see young members there and hope that over the coming years we can increase the involvement of young members in these events.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Embedding organisation and creating activism, a necessity if we're to defend public services

NHS Together - the coalition of Trade Unions and Staff Side NHS organisations, has decided to call for a day of regional activities rather than a national demonstration in defence of the NHS. This is reportedly due to concerns about poor turn out for a national demonstration based on branches feedback. While regional activity is all well and good, and very important, it is difficult to co-ordinate on one day and I believe is often more difficult to mobilise. People understand where power is, and maybe more important where the media is and that is, rightly or wrongly, London.

Having successfully led the mobilisation of local activists to Cardiff for NUS' National Demo stopping Top-up Fees for Wales and yet more activists to Edinburgh as part of the Make Poverty History Coalition I have some experience in mobilising for demo's. And I can understand the leaderships fears, a poorly attended demo can be worse than no demonstration at all. But the lesson has to be the importance of committing even further to the organising model and using this to create the activists we need on the ground to mobilise our members.

But to do this needs bold leadership at a national and regional level. To have a successful mobilisation of members, whether to national or regional activity, we need to be brave enough to focus the organisations resources towards building for the demonstration. This means all union officials deprioritising other work to get out their into branches, supporting them and going out and speaking to members.

All to often we talk about following the organising model, but then spend our time recruiting through freebies not through action, dealing with individuals cases rather than building for all of us. We must focus on building activists and activism within our branches, confident that when you get an activist members come with them.

If elected as your representative on UNISON's NEC I will ensure that the union receives this leadership from a national level. Then when the NHS or any other public service needs UNISON to lead its defence we're there and brave.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Defending the Labour Link

With the Tories on the attack over the trade union funding of the Labour Party there has been much discussion on role trade unions play within the Labour Party.

I strongly believe in the role of the unions in the Labour Party and pay into the APF (Labour Link) as well as the GPF (General Political Fund). I'm also an individual member of the party.

Rather than having less influence in the Labour Party, we need to increase the impact that our members make within the party.

Toward the end of last year I attended a Let's Talk event organised by West Midlands Young Labour and Labour Students. The whole 'Let's Talk' thing is a bit naff but this gave young people the opportunity to have their say to a Government Minister about child poverty in the world and at home. I was able to challenge Ed Balls on education policy, the national minimum wage and taxation as well as how we build momentum around eradicating child poverty.

This was also an important opportunity to promote unions and UNISON to other young socialists, able to explain the role unionisation takes in lifting people out of poverty with improved pay, flexible working, protection against discrimination etc.

From this I got into discussions with the Chair of West Midlands Young Labour about how young trade unionists and Young Labour can improve our collaboration. Hopefully this will lead to greater voice for young people within Labour in the West Midlands. This sort of activity, working with Labour's grass roots, is the way we improve our influence within the party.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Seeking nominations

So, I'm now seeking nominations for the young members seat on UNISON's National Executive Council. This is the sort of bit I hate when it's for my own election, telling everyone how wonderful you are doesn't come naturally. But I'm standing for the NEC because I do actually think that if I get elected it will be the best thing for UNISON and especially our Young Members.

I'm hoping I can use this election period to reach out to young members and hope this blog will become a really useful source of information about me and the election. If you'd like to offer your support please get in tough. If you want to get your Young Members Forum and/or Branch to nominate me please do, the more the merrier. Information on nomination can be found at

Below is the letter that I'm sending out to branches and regions and generally anyone who wants it. If you want a full copy please get in touch.

Sisters and Brothers,

Nomination for National Executive Council

I am seeking nominations for election to the NEC as the young members representative. The NEC is the keystone of our union's democracy and leadership and I feel that my passion, dedication and experience will ensure young members are heard. My vision is where young members are heard loud and clear at local, regional and national levels and where our union continues to fight for the diversity of our membership.

I have a breath of experience to be able to serve effectively on the NEC in political action, organisational governance and activism for young people, students and workers. Below I have set out this experience that I hope evidence the reasons why I hope you will consider nominating me:

  • On the Management Committee of the British Youth Council ( I was involved in campaigning on issues such as anti-social behaviour, lobbying for the national minimum wage for 16 & 17 year olds and overseeing the
    development and work of the organisation. This was my first experience of being a trustee and I gained insight into the constraints on organisational finances and how we must manage our resources to best be able to achieve our aims.
  • As a student I became hugely involved in my student union (, spending a year as full time President. I led the organisation in a direction of prioritising political action rather than service delivery and led campaigns on higher education funding, against the BNP and our local efforts as a members of the make poverty history coalition. This activism led to us taking the largest numbers of students outside Cardiff to the NUS National Demo in Wales, stopping Top-Up Fees for Wales in their tracks; and taking even more students to Edinburgh on the 2nd July for the G8 rally. This was a key experience for me in understanding the different tactics in achieving change (such as informal lobbying, formal mechanisms and direct political action) and the important role that everyone in an organisation plays.
  • As a steward and young members officer in my Branch, University Hospital Birmingham UNISON, I have been active in the activities of my branch. I was hugely involved in our recent successful dispute over Agenda for Change banding, ensuring members were fully aware of the situation and ready for action should it be necessary. On a local level, on top of the work with individual members, I have been leading staff sides involvement in a service reconfiguration.
  • Within the West Midlands I am the Chair of Regional Young Members Forum. Having recently launched targeted recruitment materials and activities, our regional forum is now going from strength to strength with increased involvement. We're starting to make our mark in the region with plans in place to ensure young members are listened to in the region.
  • As Vice Chair of National Young Members Forum I am leading on the development of our work to support the positively public campaign, ensuring young members have their place in the campaign and complementing the wider effort with young people focused activities.

I joined UNISON when I started my first job at 17, working as a carer in a residential home, becoming a member of my Local Government Branch. Unfortunately the 'Got a boss; get a union' idea isn't there for all young people, so UNISON at every level must engage with young workers and ensure this vulnerable group gets protection. We cannot do this by freebies alone, recruitment of young members must be backed up with strong campaigning on issues that young members care about, be that Votes at 16, equalising the national minimum wage or defending the public services of our future. Anyone that saw the huge numbers of young people marching for peace, free education and an end to world poverty in recent years know that lots of young people passionately care about our politics, so trade unions need to meet us young people in a dynamic and engaging way on issues we care about.

I'm standing for the NEC to ensure that over the next 2 years, UNISON not only recruits more young members but speaks and wins for us. This means a strong and democratic union that focuses on getting results over enforcing proceduralism. I would be grateful if you could give me your support in achieving this by having your branch or young members forum nominate me for the Young Members Seat on the NEC. For more information about the election and my candidacy visit

In unity,

James Anthony
Membership No. 8679650

NB. UNISON Branches and Regional and National Young Members Forums are able to nominate for the young members seat on the NEC. In order to nominate me the relevant committee would have to agree and submit appropriate nomination papers. Papers should be distributed from the 8th January and can also be obtained from The nomination period closes on the 16th February.