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

Saturday, 26 September 2009

South Wales health workers battle for back pay

UNISON members employed as caterers, cleaners and porters in Neath Port Talbot hospital are moving towards industrial action in a struggle to secure an entitlement to 4 years back pay. Neath Port Talbot is one of the few flagship PFI hospitals in Wales and under the terms of the deal in 2002 staff were transferred to the private employer Keir FM.

Shaping the Future of Care Together‏

On Monday 26 October the TUC is convening a consultative meeting to discuss its response to the Government's green paper on the future of social care in England. Public policy on social care has massive implications for service users and UNISON members in health and local government.

Blacklisting regulations - too little too late‏

In a speech to the 2004 TUC Congress the then Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "Over the weekend I got out the first speech I ever made to a Labour party conference not as leader but as Employment spokesman back in 1990. I said: a Labour government would introduce a minimum wage; a legal right to union recognition; sign the social chapter; restore trade union rights at GCHQ; improve maternity leave; introduce paid holidays; end blacklisting; and remove the power of automatic dismissal for those lawfully on strike. We have done every one of those things. But we only did them by being in government not in permanent opposition."

Friday, 25 September 2009

Tory cuts could mean 5 million unemployed

The Telegraph reports that an ex member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee has warned that Tory public spending cuts could push unemployment to over 5 million.

Poll analysis suggests working class and lower middle class are turned off by cuts agenda‏

FT analysis suggest that the Tories risk alienating the C1 ('lower middle classes') with a small drift of 1% back to Labour. The C2s - the skilled working class - also seem less convinced by the Tory agenda. Is there a 'clear calls divide' on spending issues.

Collapse of investment (not debt) is greatest threat to economy

David Cameron and George Osborne argue that the national debt is the biggest threat to Britain’s prosperity. By focusing on government spending they are ignoring the implications of the fall in investment. leftfootforward analyses an ONS report today.

Irish Behaving Badly? Referendum verbal jousting

Repeat Referendum 2 Nov: New poll has Yes side in lead in Ireland's Lisbon Treaty debate; A new poll for the Irish Times shows that 48% of people plan to vote Yes, 33% plan to vote No, and 19% are undecided in Ireland's Lisbon Treaty referendum next week. This represents a 2 point increase for the Yes side, and a 4 point increase for the No side since the last Irish Times poll in early September.

Ireland Votes on Lisbon Treaty 2 Nov - Outrageous free flights from YES campaign

People's Movement chairperson Patricia McKenna has slammed Europe for Ireland, a Brussels-based Yes campaign group, which has sent an email to EU officials in Brussels, offering them free flights to Ireland to campaign for a Yes vote. The name of the campaign is: "A Day in Ireland to Work for Europe - Free Flights".

Total Place or Total War?

Total Place initiative "...the trade union argument has to be carefully balanced. None of us are by definition against providing better quality or green public services nor saving money which could be ploughed back. But Total Place should not be used as a cover for privatisation and an excuse to attack the terms and conditions of public servants", argues John's Labour Blog

Solidarity with striking refuse collectors in Leeds

600 Leeds refuse workers, members of UNISON and GMB, employed in Leeds City Council streetscene’services, have been on strike for 3 weeks in a pay and grading dispute. The workers stand to lose £6000 (one third of earnings) in draconian pay cuts’ and are taking indefinite action to force the council to reconsider its position on the pay cuts (which come into effect at the end of a protection period in 2011).

PCS & UNISON working together

PCS and UNISON have announced a 'memorandum of understanding' on how the two unions will co-operate when dealing with the impact of public service restructuring on trade union organisation.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Million Voices on the Plinth film‏

This short film salutes UNISON's first plinther, Anna Berry, who promoted our 'Million Voices for Change' campaign this morning in Trafalgar Square. Anna was taking part in Antony Gormley's art project 'One and Another'. Kevin O'Neil is on the plinth on Monday

UNISON slams NHS Consultants private sector twin track

UNISON has slammed proposals from the NHS 'advisory panel on competition' that hospitals should not be allowed to bar their consultants from working for private providers of NHS care in their own time.

Unions press world leaders for a jobs G20

Fifty union general secretaries from around the world – including the TUC general secretary – will be lobbying world leaders in Pittsburgh over the next two days, urging them to put jobs centre stage during Friday's G20 Summit.

Defend Public Sector pensions‏

UNISON Health SGE today discussed the timetable for consulting health workers about the new NHS pension scheme. It is important for health workers to know about the implications for them before making a decision.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

UNISON Health SGE continues campaign against Transforming Community Services‏

The Government’s programme Transforming Community Services is about introducing wholesale competition, contestability and privatisation of NHS services. UNISON has been campaigning against the proposals, and engaging with activists to challenge privatisation threats locally.

Bill Speirs

Bill Speirs, ex general Secretary of the STUC died today at the age of 57. He was a great friend of UNISON and champion of working people the world over. Click the link for an 8 minute tribute to Bill on the STV website http://video.stv.tv/bc/news-090923speirsfull/ See also STUC

Health Service Group launches Million Voices for Change Campaign

UNISON’s health service group executive meeting on 23 September heard from the General Secretary about the union’s Million Voices for Change Campaign, taking our message into workplaces and communities.

Please circulate - Details of VSC Fringe Meeting at Labour Party Conference‏

Please circulate widely the below details (pdf leaflet) of the Venezuela fringe meeting at Labour next week (Wednesday lunchtime.) As well as speakers on 10 years in social progress in Venezuela, we will also now be hearing from a speaker on the emergency situation developing in Honduras following Manuel Zelaya's retun to the county.

New poll shows public don't want services cut‏

A new poll challenges media spin about people's views on public services. It confirms that if you ask people whether they think public spending should be cut they say yes, but if you ask if they think spending on public services should be cut they say no - and some are prepared to contemplate tax increases to protect them. See the RSA commissioned poll at http://www.ipsos-mori.com/newsevents/latestnews/newsitemdetail.aspx?oItemId=72

The G20 from London to Pittsburgh – ILO says global unemployment to rise to record levels‏

The ILO forecasts that continued labour market deterioration around the world in 2009 would produce an estimated increase in global unemployment of between 39 and 61 million workers relative to 2007, which could result in global unemployment ranging from 219 to 241million - the highest level ever on record.

UNISON Northern Ireland to fight health cuts

UNISON in Northern Ireland has come out fighting against plans to cut the number of beds by 150 in Belfast’s two main hospitals - with more cuts to follow elsewhere.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

New Blog about Honduras‏

Venezuela Solidarity tells us of a new blog about Honduras - http://committeeagainsthondurascoup.blogspot.com/ - which is being regularly updated as events unfold there.

Recommended – PSI blog on the financial crisis

Recommended – PSI blog on the financial crisis Peter Waldorf, General Secretary of Public Services International (PSI) collates information on the financial crisis and public services from a range of sources, including from UNISON. Today the blog reports that ‘rescued banks are returning to the 'casino-style speculation that brought us trouble in the first place'. http://financialcrisisblog.world-psi.org/

Making nuclear disarmament happen: ideas and action in a changing world‏

CND International Conference: Making nuclear disarmament happen: ideas and action in a changing world CND is holding an International Conference which is taking place on Saturday 10th October 2009 at Mary Ward House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9SN

Council budget cuts start to kick in‏

On a daily basis local authorities are making announcements on job cuts on a scale not witnessed since councils were subject to poll tax capping back in the early 1990’s.


MIAMI 5 US EMBASSY VIGIL: Thursday 1 October 2009 6pm-7.30pm US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London, with special guests from Cuba Adriana Pérez, Olga Salanueva, and Irma González - families of the Miami Five.

Standing ovation for President Jacob Zuma at COSATU Congress‏

Jacob Zuma, the South African President received a standing ovation from over 2000 delegates at yesterday’s opening session of the 10th congress of COSATU – South Africa’s national trade unioncon federation.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Anti SEIU campaign - the politics of envy fed by failure‏

There is an astonishing claim in Tribune that the U.S. trade union the‘Service Employees International Union’ is wrecking the American trade union movement and waging a war on other trade unions. Even worse that it is making agreements and partnerships with employers that restrict the rights of workers. Then to finally put a straight knife into any lingering respect there might be, there is a claim that the SEIU has offered to buy out one of the biggest trade unions in the UK in a form that would have been a take over.

The psychosis of cuts‏

A dire and sickening consequence of the economic crisis has been the quick emergence of a supposed political consensus that public spending cuts are required to bridge the UK budget deficit.

Burnham King’s Fund speech – seeing is believing says Dave Prentis

On 17 September, a day after an 'early doors' meeting leading health trade unionists in Liverpool, Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Health, had another breakfast engagement. This time he was at the think tank The King’s Fund where he set out latest Government thinking on health policy for England:

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Rights and scrutiny threatened by SNP watchdog reforms

Scotland's FoI chief, Children's Rights Commissioner and many more have lined up to oppose SNP Scottish Government plans to allow ministers to change or abolish independent watchdogs without recourse to Parliament, says a Sunday Herald. report.

TUC to consider electoral reform

TUC: An under reported but highly significant policy decision was made in one of the final debates of Congress. The PCS amendment to motion 83 on ‘democratic renewal’ (from the FDA civil service union) was carried on a show of hands.

AFL-CIO Convention says End economic embargo of Cuba

The largest US trade union centre AFL-CIO has made a decision of historic significance at its convention in Pittsburgh: http://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/thisistheaflcio/convention/2009/index.cfm

Scrap Trident - true cost an obscene £97bn!

At a time of economic crisis and plans by all of the main political parties to make public expenditure cuts, a new report by Greenpeace reveals the true cost of the Trident replacement programme, over its 30 year life span, to be £97 billion. http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/peace/trident-costs-are-running-out-control-20090917