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

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Two in five part-time jobs pay less than the living wage

Excellent research by the TUC highlights the prevalence of low pay across the UK, north and south, with women workers bearing the brunt of poverty pay: 'In West Lancashire for example, almost three-quarters (73.9 per cent) of women working part-time earn less than the living wage. West Somerset has the next highest proportion of low-paid, part-time female workers, where more than two-thirds of women earn less than the living wage'
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economic-issues/labour-market-and-economic-reports/labour-market/equality-issues/living-wage-out

Travel Tickets by Samih al-Qasim

On the day you kill me
You'll find in my pocket
Travel tickets
To peace,
To the fields and the rain,
To people's conscience.
Don't waste the tickets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samih_al-Qasim

Friday, 29 August 2014

Overcharging by private contractors – the great NHS rip off

The Independent has revealed that a company set up by Serco has overcharged NHS hospitals millions of pounds for diagnostic tests. Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee said: ’After a series of high profile failures, Government claims it has a grip on contracts with private companies to deliver our public services. Clearly it hasn’t. This is not just about ripping off the taxpayer, but about a failure to provide acceptable quality in a service that is vital for diagnosing what in many cases are serious or even life-threatening illnesses. It is also not the first time that serious concerns have been raised about Serco and its track record, including in other parts of the NHS where last year our Committee reported on substandard service and data manipulation in a contract to provide GP out-of-hours services’.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-overcharging-by-outsourcing-giant-serco-costs-nhs-millions-9695342.html

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Government must share responsibility for repeated child protection failures

The Rotherham child abuse inquiry is the latest in a long line of investigations which have undermined public confidence in child protection services. Government ministers past and present waste no time in apportioning blame and calling for heads (of anyone but themselves) to roll. Local failings by social services and police are undeniable but the blame also lies with central Government – those politicians responsible for cutting funding of council and NHS services including essential outreach support for young people in particular; those politicians who have slashed social security benefits, those politicians driving a public service reform agenda based on competition rather than cooperation, those politicians responsible for inadequate regulation and standards.
     Professor Ray Jones wrote presciently on this subject last year: ‘What about the remit and responsibilities of government itself, and of politicians in Parliament, for child protection? How well have they been doing? Many might think that their contribution has not always been helpful..... Allocating blame and shame may not be the most constructive activity, and maybe social workers are not the most appropriate target anyway’
http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2013/jul/18/how-is-government-doing-on-child-protection

Sunday, 24 August 2014

TTIP and the duplicity of the European elite

The Critical Thinking blog has published a useful update on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). EU denials that ‘standards on consumer protection, on the environment, on data protection and on food are not up for negotiation’ are blatant lies. So too are purported assurances that the NHS is excluded from the scope of the proposed Treaty:
http://freecriticalthinking.org/daily-pickings/1047-ttip-update-status-and-resistance

The Dead Angels by Rafael Alberti

Search, search for them:
In the insomnia of forgotten conduits
In gutters blocked by the muteness of litter.
Not far from the pools incapable of retaining a cloud,
A lost eye
A broken ring
Or a trampled star.
For I've seen them:

Saturday, 23 August 2014

FSA strike to go ahead as pay scraps rejected

A strike by workers employed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will go ahead on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week after the FSA refused another offer by UNISON to try to settle the dispute through independent conciliation. UNISON is in dispute with the FSA following its decision not to pass on a 1% cost of living pay rise to its staff. Instead, a 0.75% rise was imposed, while the remainder was distributed to a selective part of the workforce, despite the concerns of trade unions.
http://www.unison.org.uk/news/food-standard-agency-strike-to-go-ahead-after-employer-refuses-offer-to-try-to-settle-dispute

The Lilacs and the Roses by Louis Aragon

O months of flowering months of metamorphosis
May without a cloud and June lacerated
I will never forget the lilacs or the roses
Nor those spring’s folds have consecrated

I will never forget the tragic illusion
The procession cries crowd the sunlit clarity
The tanks laden with love the gifts from Belgium
The air that quivers the road this buzzing of bees
The rashness of victory that primes a quarrel
The red blood that a carmine kiss prefigures
And those about to die at the turrets, mortal,
Covered in lilacs by intoxicated watchers

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Who benefits from union bashing?

Jane Carter, of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee (AFSCME), addressed the 2013 UNISON conference in Liverpool about the relentless and well funded attacks on unions in the USA. Here she is interviewed by Thom Hartmann on The Big Picture and discusses the forces behind the anti union psychosis in many US states. Jane highlights the continued existence of a union wage premium despite decades of membership decline.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhJ1BrjnPNU&feature=youtu.be

Stand up for Gaza Edinburgh Comedy Gig

Wednesday 20 August at 22:00: New Empire Bingo, 50 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DT
MC: Imran Yusuf
* Josie Long
* Paul McCaffrey
* Nick Revell
* Rob Deering
and more!!!
   FREE event. Donations accepted at the end of the show.
War on Want https://www.facebook.com/events/712696162158186/