LETTER : Criticism ignores Unison's skills

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From Mr Kevan Kelson

Sir: Your scathing criticism of Unison (Who's afraid of Rodney?, 8 November) is wholly unjustified. To suggest that Rodney Bickerstaffe - and by extension Unison - is "a leader of the old school, a product of declining culture" is not borne out by an analysis of Unison's internal organisation, its progressive aims and values or most significantly its dynamic campaigning approach at local, regional and national level.

This was most visibly demonstrated on 27 October by the "Public Service not Private Sleaze" national event; but perhaps the best example of Unison's strategic approach of allying service users, community organisations and public service trade unionists is our work in Northern Ireland, where the skilful deployment of resources and enabling support to disenfranchised groups has led to Unison securing an influence far beyond its membership size.

Rodney Bickerstaffe has been instrumental in these developments and far from the union's leadership policing members on behalf of government (Labour or other), Unison will continue to campaign robustly to defend and extend public services, as well as the pay and conditions of workers employed in them.

Yours sincerely,

Kevan Kelson

Branch Secretary

St Helens Metropolitan Branch


St Helens,


10 November