UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Building the fight for fair pay in the NHS

#NHSpay This week has seen UNISON lead the NHS trade unions into industrial action over pay for the first time in 32 year, the first time coincidentally since the year I was born.
    Monday's four hour stoppage by UNISON, Unite, the GMB, and most notably the Royal College of Midwives, saw disruption across the health service. Appointments and operations delayed or rearranged, wards and departments not cleaned, non-striking managers pushing beds around instead of porters. But more importantly perhaps it got huge and mostly supportive media attention and a huge amount of public support, be that people coming and talking to the picket lines, on radio phone-ins or social media.

Thou shalt always kill by Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip

Thou shalt not steal if there is a direct victim.
Thou shalt not worship Pop Idols or follow Lostprophets.
Thou shalt not take the names of Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer,
Johnny Hartman, Desmond Decker, Jim Morrison,
Jimi Hendrix or Syd Barrett in vain.
Thou shalt not think that any male over the age of 30
That plays with a child that is not their own is a paedophile.
Some people are just nice.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Public service strikers are standing up for the real Britain

'After years of real pay cuts public service workers are fighting back' writes Seumas Milne of the
Kingston UNISON midwives on NHS strike
Guardian in an article taking stock of the upsurge in public sector strike action since July. Milne rightly identifies the toxic mix of austerity and privatisation as the key factors in the squeeze on the pay and job security of Britain's public services workforce:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/16/public-service-strikers-standing-up-for-britain

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

European Commission offensive against workers' rights

The TUC's Stronger Unions blog reports on the final report of the European Commission's so called 'High Level Group on Administrative Burdens' which recommends a range of deregulatory measures including 'calling for targets for reducing regulatory costs, ensuring that any new costs are balanced with reductions elsewhere and a “think small first” principle exempting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from EU obligations as far as possible.' Alongside the Commissions REFIT programme which is blocking any new health and safety directives and the UK Tory EU reform agenda, the neo liberal direction of the 'European project' is becoming clearer by the day:
http://strongerunions.org/2014/10/14/the-dead-hand-of-the-european-de-regulators/

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Still the Enemy Within reviewed - remembering the lessons of 1984/85 Miners Strike

#stilltheenemywithin In yesterday’s NHS strike, soldiers were deployed to ambulance stations in some parts of the country, as England’s Chief Nursing Officer claimed that ‘robust plans’ were in place to counter the industrial action. Such a disproportionate state response to a 4 hour stoppage in public services shows that nothing much has changed in the industrial landscape since the 1984/85 miners strike.

The new documentary film Still the Enemy Within is a powerful reminder of the extraordinary struggle of the National Union of Mineworkers to defend their communities and livelihoods in the face of a calculated attack by a ruthless Tory Government. Using a combination of personal testimonies, archive footage, photographs and re-enactment, the film reflects on what the strike achieved in terms of solidarity and struggle but perhaps more importantly why it ultimately resulted in defeat. An important fact highlighted early in the film is that only 16,000 of the NUM’s then 160,000 membership were active on the frontline during the strike.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Solidarity with the NHS workers strike!

#Oct13 #NHSPay Monday 13th October will see the first national pay strike in the National Health Service in England for over thirty years. UNISON, RCM, Unite and GMB members across the country will take strike action for 4 hours from 07.00 until 11.00.
   Nurses, Health Care Assistants, Paramedics, Midwives, Occupational Therapists, Porters, Security, Technicians, Administrative and Clerical staff will stand shoulder to shoulder to show their anger at Jeremy Hunt’s decision to single them out for the worst pay settlement in the public sector. Hunt rejected the miserable 1% recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body and instead imposed an unconsolidated 1% only for those on the top point in each pay band.

An Ode to a Committee by Anon

Oh give me your pity, I’m on a committee
which means that from morning to night,
we attend and amend, and contend and defend
without a conclusion in sight.

We confer and concur, we defer and demur,
and reiterate all of our thoughts,
we revise the agenda with frequent addenda,
and consider a load of reports.

We compose and propose, we support and oppose,
and points of procedure are fun
but though various notions are brought up as motions,
there’s still very little gets done.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Workers’ rights under attack in Italy

‘We want to eliminate the poison that kills investment’ said Italian politician Giuliano Poletti in a debate this week in the Italian senate. Poletti, the labour minister in the supposed centre left Democratic Party led Government, was referring to redundancy protection and other employment rights long enshrined in Italy’s labour code. The main Italian union centre CGIL is pledged to fight the so called Jobs Act and will be holding a national demonstration in Rome on 25 October:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/09/italy-pm-matteo-renzi-wins-confidence-vote-labour-reforms

Never Forget by Attila the Stockbroker

I remember my stepfather moaning
In the first strike in ’72
‘Miners holding the country to ransom…..’
I was fourteen. I thought about you.
You worked underground, often in danger.
Hewed the coal we depended upon.
He earned more checking tax forms in Brighton.
I knew then just whose side I was on.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Individualisation of the work relationship

'Among the most striking features of the new forms of work organisation, in both the public and the private sector, we draw attention to demand-driven supply networks (DDSN), to management’s increased detachment from the practical aspects and details of work performance, and to an intensification of labour that contributes tremendously to the isolation of employees.' Articulating and representing the individual and collective views of workers in this new environment is a major challenge for trade unions writes Philippe Davies on the ETUI blog:
http://www.etui.org/Publications2/Policy-Briefs/European-Economic-Employment-and-Social-Policy/Individualisation-of-the-work-relationship-a-challenge-for-trade-unions