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

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

UNISON Health conference calls for mass action on pay

#uHealth14 After some infantile posturing by the ultra left who embroiled conference in a farcical row with standing orders committee about the structure for yesterday’s crucial pay debate, delegates finally got the chance to show their anger at the Con Dem's attack on NHS workers’ pay.

Christina McAnea, UNISON’s Head of Health moved the emergency motion ‘launch a national challenge to Hunt’s divisive pay strategy’. The motion calls for an emphatic rejection of the government’s pay package for 2014-15 and to make NHS pay the major focus of the Service Group for 2014. Christina announced that there will be a day of action on 5th June.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Moment of reckoning for UNISON in health

#uHealth14 There is a beautiful blue sky and the sun is dancing on the gentle waves lapping the Brighton shore line. All appears calm. But hundreds of UNISON activists are pouring into the Brighton conference centre for the national Health Conference. The delegates are angry and rightly so. It is clear from the off that this year's conference will be dominated by pay.
    Standing orders has admitted an emergency motion on pay from the SGE. Early speeches by the SGE Chair and the General Secretary set the scene and anticipation of the pay debate has hung over the proceedings as delegates appear itching to give the go ahead for a broad based campaign on pay within the service.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Collective bargaining a force for social justice

#stuc14 Collective bargaining is now essential for our economy, UNISON's Jane Carolan told the STUC annual congress in Dundee today.

In a 'back to basics' speech she called for a new manifesto for negotiating rights.

"These rights must be enforced and enforced together-we should not accept half measures or other attempts to distract us", she said.

NHS - A workplace powder keg

#uHealth14 UNISON's 2014 health care conference starts today in Brighton with members reeling from an unprecedented government onslaught. This month a two year 0% pay award was imposed with only a minority of NHS workers at the top of pay grades receiving a non consolidated 1% payment. And this year tens of thousands of health workers face transfer out of NHS employment under a much weakened TUPE regime providing limited protection to pay, pensions and contracts. Christina McAnea, UNISON head of health, writes in today's Morning Star that 'members are angry and that’s why we will be calling for a ballot for industrial action, because enough is enough. It is very rare for NHS staff to contemplate strike action because patients are their number one priority. But rarely have staff felt so strongly about they way they are being treated and rarely have they had so many reasons to feel that way.'

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The more you attack us, the stronger we become says Lenin of UNISON

UNISON members employed as cleaners at London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) are mounting a long running dispute to secure the same terms and conditions as other staff working at the University. They were outsourced to ISS and under the terms of their contracts they receive statutory sick pay instead of the occupational sick pay offered to SOAS employees. They also receive only minimum annual leave entitlement and do not have access to the university pension scheme. A video of the third period of strike action can be viewed here:

From Street To Street by Vladimir Mayakovsky

The boule-
of years
your faces
grow steely.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

PCS into Unite - what implications for UNISON & trade union unity?

For the trade union visionaries who promoted the formation of both PCS and UNISON in the 1990's the ultimate aim was always the creation of a single public service union in the UK. The emerging proposals for a PCS transfer of engagements to Unite (rather than merger) mark a tragic defeat for that impeccable trade union industrial logic. It could have been very different if recent history had taken an alternative course. At the TUC's 2010 Congress, PCS and UNISON agreed a statement on closer working welcomed by the national leadership of both unions but in the wake of the 2011 public service pensions dispute this was not progressed and the following year an almost identical statement (minus the anti Trident reference!) was agreed between PCS and Unite.

The Return by Muriel Rukeyser

An Idea ran about the world
screaming with the pain of the mind
until it met a child
who stopped it with a word.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Free Schools Fiasco

'The second largest group running free schools are faith organisations (26%), yet there are also a significant number ran by not-for-profit companies such as E-ACT, which operates 24 academies, including free schools. The involvement of such companies has raised the spectre of the privatisation of compulsory and further education in the UK' writes Andrew Dolan in a Red Pepper article about the destructive forces driving the so called free schools revolution:

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Faint pings detected in push for co-ordinated pay action

At yesterday’s UNISON NEC meeting the issue of pay was centre stage as reports were received on the union’s response to the abysmal situation in health and local government where over 90% of UNISON’s membership are facing pay rises of between 0% and 1% - 1.8% below inflation if you’re lucky. Members in local government are being consulted over the employers’ 1% offer with a strong national recommendation to reject and support strike action.
   In the NHS, the Government has disregarded the PRB recommendation of a 1% rise across the board, and has already imposed a 0% pay rise on ALL health workers. Only the minority who do not receive an annual pay increment this year will receive a 1% non consolidated cash payment. Next week’s UNISON health conference will decide next steps but the situation is crying out for an urgent move to an industrial action ballot so that the pay campaign can be coordinated across the public sector’s two main bargaining groups where we are the largest union. Anything less will be an inadequate and unacceptable response.
   As Dave Prentis pointed out to UNISON activists in Northern region last Friday the union has simply got no alternative other than to take a stand. “At the end of the day it’s the Government that decides what pay increases we get and if it takes co-ordinated action across our local community services, health services and all other employers where we’ve got members, we will seek to take co-ordinated action.”