Where was Robin?

As I arrived at the Town hall today I spotted Mr Symonds holding a petition, tied up with a red ribbon.

With him were six or seven union supporters.

As per news item on Local TV, Mr Symonds had the photo op, with him and Roger shaking hands, Photo op over and off they went.

Why did they not go in to the chamber and ask questions of the Cabinet ???.

Was this just another cynical Union stunt of “look at us working for you” ??.

Credit must be given for the collection of the 6,000 signatures, but to be honest, it was a total waste of time because no one looked at them except Roger when you handed them over.

But there again we cannot have Unions “bashing” the Labour Party can we?

Stuart Thornton

12 thoughts on “Where was Robin?

  1. I’m glad you at least have the good grace to acknowledge the effort that it has taken to collect 6,000 signatures. As for your question why I did not go into the Cabinet meeting, the answer is I was busy representing UNISON members at a meeting elsewhere. I hope you will have some sense of the scale of the challenges we, as union representatives face trying to ensure our members receive representation in individual and collective meetings arising out of the relentless cuts that are imposed on places like Rotherham by central government. It would not have been a good use of my time sitting in a Cabinet meeting. As for asking questions of the Cabinet, we have (perhaps unwisely) entrusted that responsibility to those who purport to be the official opposition party on Rotherham Council. Regarding your skit about what you perceive to be a cynical union stunt “Look at us working for you”, may I remind you that I work for UNISON members; it is the elected politicians who work for the public, including the 10 UKIP councillors who are yet to find their voice (you know, those who you campaigned to get elected)!

    You can scoff all you want but when I look around to see who else is speaking out against the proposed closures I see nobody; I honestly expected some of the UKIP councillors to be stood with us. I can only interpret their absence and silence on this issue as agreement with the cuts. And, the “Unite supporters” you refer to were actually UNISON and NUT reps. I would like to thank all those who have supported our campaign via the petition and contacting their councillors. For us as a union the real work starts now; fighting to ensure our members are treated fairly and that the inevitable job losses resulting from the closures are kept to a minimum.


  2. @maltbyblogger Just out of interest what has been your contribution to the campaign to keep children’s centres open?


  3. Robin, I would have thought it was ultra-important for you to attend that cabinet meeting to strengthen the unions opposition to the Sure Start centres. I fear that Stuart must have hit the nail on the head with the “Look at us we’re working for you” comment.


    • With all due respect, we’re not working for you (unless you are a Unison member). It isn’t necessary to strengthen our opposition to the closures in a Cabinet meeting; we have regular consultation meetings with officers and elected members within the Council’s collective bargaining framework. Our opposition is well-known and our position has been spelled out to the Council leader, the cabinet members, the chief executive and other senior officers. We have lengthy discussions (and disagreements) with the Council, the likes of which we would not be able to have in a Cabinet meeting.


  4. rmbc and signatures dont work , once handed to council am sure the paper is used in the toilets, what with the cuts and all .


  5. Dear Mr Thornton,
    Being a Unison member I can assure you that Unison members and officials have undertaken countless hours meeting with, and putting the case forward to RMBC to help try and sort the closure of the Children’s Centre’s and more. I just wish more had done the same.
    Not all campaigning is about fighting at meetings and shouting. Indeed I have found over the years that simply serves to do things. Nothing at all and personally promote the one with the loudest voice.
    I would have thought you would have welcomed all contributions, from all sections of society, in the fight for council services. Sadly it seems not.
    You have said yourself council meetings are a waste of time; although for some they are a good .opportunity for some to grab the limelight. However, please take note: jaw – jaw takes time, effort, consultation, negotiation, hours of meetings with members and officials. It’shard work. Anyone can shout – anyone can get ejected form a meeting.it takes no effort at all.
    Try for once to realize there are voices other than yours.And as fort ‘photo ops’ I’m sure you got the one you desire at the council meeting but please try to recall.:
    : “It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.
    Edmund Burke


    • Well said Sally. There are far too many grandstanders in Rotherham, who seem to have their own petty vendettas to fight, rather than act in the interest of the community.
      I’d rather see a well organised union/community campaign that fights for our services in a constructive way, rather than hear from some loud mouthed ranter, who just wants to make a political point for their own narrow interest/ self-promotion #youknowwhoyouare


  6. @Sally Kate Taylor
    “not all campaigning is about fighting at meetings and shouting”, your probably right, but skulking away to meetings behind closed doors, and striking deals, is also not the way to be held accountable to the Public . My point was well done for putting in the effort, but why then have a Photo op and then not hold the Leader to account in Public.
    I too stood up against the Council to stop the closures, I was proud to stand up and bring to task Cllrs Atktar and Lakin at the Consultation meetings and I also emailed RMBC with my objections and contributed to the so called Consultation. Unison do not have a monopoly on the Closure of Sure Start centres, in fact they failed in their task because the closures went a ahead anyway.
    I struggle to understand the comments regarding “my” photo op, I did not have one, that was your Unison Pals.
    As for shouting the loudest, are we to let the meek inherit the world, I don’t think so, one thing all Cllrs hate at RMBC is to be held to account in Public.
    I grew up in the 1970s so don’t expect me to be sympathetic to the unions, If you don’t agree with “shouting” maybe you could ask them to turn down the megaphones when they disrupt society and stop our children being educated when they have their days off (whoops I mean strikes)


    • The photo op as you term it was in fact BBC Look North, who have followed our campaign with keen interest, filming the handing in of the petition. Do you think we should have done that behind closed doors or do you agree that it infact raises the profile of our campaign if it is filmed by regional TV news? Do you think Roger Stone would have felt comfortable receiving the petition in front of the TV cameras? My guess is it is one “photo op” he would rather have avoided.
      And by the way the “photo op” was accompanied by audio…of me telling Roger Stone that it was disappointing that 6,000 signatures wasn’t enough to trigger a debate in full council and that a decision of such magnitude should be made by full Council and calling on Cabinet to agree a 3rd option i.e. to keep all the centres open.


  7. Dear Mr Thornton,
    I stood up to RMBC (And Lakin, Kimber and more) and initially sacrificed my career for it. My health too. But I didn’t do it through standing up and shouting at public meetings (and still don’t) I gathered legal and practical evidence, and with the support of my colleagues and Union I have engendered real change in CSE policy.
    I too grew up in the 70′s (and 60′s – damn showing my true age) and I guess that I have a different view on Trade Unions though to you. I also grew up a little more in the 80′s when Thatcher started attacking working people and their representatives and worker’s rights and the loss of livelihoods (unemployment) became an acceptable price worth playing for the right wing zealots.
    As for strikes against the cuts disrupting society.I think you will find its the cuts that are destroying society. It wasn’t Unions that used the capitalist meltdown and crisis to impose austerity as a tool to grind down ‘the meek’. It was this Condem (hate the meek) Government taking the chance to make the rich a lot richer and the poor a lot poorer. As is their way. Why it could be argued that without the Unions, and the meek of many hues, rising and joining together you, or I, wouldn’t have the right to protest in any way in any shape or form. Hint hint hint – you don’t get rights or change without the people joining together to point out wrongs.
    As for letting the meek inheriting the world – you say no – but why not? It seems the powerful have made such a mess of the world it already – especially the bankers and greedy predators of the ‘city’. A bit more of the meek’s right’s and well being seen to be important wouldn’t be a bad thing – rather than that of the powerful and those with the power. Are you saying, as a so called Independent, you believe the meek should just accept their lot? Please clarify. I’m sure many voters would love to know. How very enlightening your statement is.
    SKT xxxx


  8. The problem the unions face in the councils is that they are fighting the very party they support, some of the Labour councillors will have been selected and elected by the unions. They seem incapable of separating the fact that yes it is government policy to cut the money to councils, but Labour councillors are sacking workers with out any fight against the Government. Look at the bedroom tax without councils implementing it it would have been virtually impossible for the government to bring it in. There has not been one dissenting voice in the Rotherham Labour group against any of the cuts and sackings all they have said is “Ii is not my fault gov”. Who is Robin Symonds relying on to fight the workers corner not the unions, not Labour but UKIP. Get real Robin this is just an excuse for not forcing the Labour councillors to do what they should have done a long time ago, SAY NO TO THE GOVERNMENT and fight to protect the very people that these highly paid money grubbers pretend to represent.
    Dave Smith


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