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

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Beyond Crisis: Dave Prentis to address major TUC/Guardian conference‏

Beyond Crisis: A Progressive Future for the UK Economy: A free one-day TUC conference to be held on 16th November 2009, other speakers include The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Dr Rowan Williams, Pat McFadden, Business Minister and TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber. More information and register online at www.tuc.org.uk/beyondcrisis

The IMF says privatise health and erode pensions – cheered on by the Tories‏

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) http://www.imf.org/external/about.htm is once again serving notice on the UK to ‘reform’ healthcare and pensions - to repair the long-term damage to public finances caused by the global recession.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Climate change: the ETUC launches a campaign for new low-carbon industrial policies‏

Looking ahead to the Copenhagen Summit on climate change this coming December, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and its federations are launching a campaign calling for policies that take account of protecting the climate, from both an environmental point of view and a social point of view. http://www.etuc.org/a/6547

UNISON Northern Ireland on health service crisis - time to tell the truth‏

"All the rumours of wholesale bed closures are true. They impact not only on the Belfast Health Trust but right across Northern Ireland", says UNISON Northern Ireland Secretary Patricia McKeown, as she pledges UNISON action against cuts.

Leeds refuse collectors dispute - 4 weeks of solid strike action forces talks‏

Official talks are to take place on Monday 5 October between unions and the council to try to resolve the Leeds bin strike. Meanwhile, the GMB and Unison have announced that a benefit concert is to be held in Leeds on 18 October to raise money for the striking workers, reports the BBC news website

Wirral libraries saved after Council u-turn‏

A major victory for Wirral UNISON branch. Wirral Council is to revoke its decision to close 11 libraries, a move that has been welcomed by library campaigners reports 'bookseller.com'

More tributes to Bill Speirs - 'STUC giant'

Many more tributes have appeared online to STUC ex-general secretary Bill Speirs whose funeral was held in Renfrew on 1 October. Read on for links to over a dozen articles...

No-win no-fee lawyers 'exploited' women workers

As measures to allow councils to borrow from the Treasury for equal pay settlements was extended to Scotland, one MSP has branded no-win no-fee lawyers as having "exploited these (low paid) women just as much as the councils or anybody else".

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Cuts in home carers' pay will end up as profit for private directors

Speaking in a debate on the Equal Pay in Local Government Debate in the Scottish Parliament on today, Labour MSP Sarah Boyack warned that some of our lowest paid women care workers are losing out badly.

World Day for Decent Work, 7 October‏

The World Day for Decent Work will be held on 7 October. This is an unparalleled opportunity for trade unions and organisations interested in Decent Work all around the world to join a broad global mobilisation involving a large number of people and a wide range of activities.

Labour’s not finished yet...

...says Heather Wakefield, UNISON's national secretary for local government, in her upbeat Public Finance blog direct from the Labour Party conference.

Labour, the corporate elites and the march of time‏

In today's Guardian Seumas Milne assesses the Sun's repudiation of Labour. He describes Blair's mid-90's courting of the Murdoch empire as a 'calculated demonstration that the appeasement of corporate muscle and rightwing populism would be at the heart of New Labour politics'.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Irish referendum - anti union Ryanair says 'vote yes'‏

The Price of Irish Sovereignty is a Ryanair Flight. Ryanair Chief Executive admits he is campaigning for a Yes because "I need to persuade them to sell me Aer Lingus"; The Times reports that Ryanair has spent nearly €500,000 on advertisement and free flights, campaigning for a Yes vote in Ireland's Lisbon Treaty referendum on Friday.

Gingerbread warns on 'misleading rhetoric about young parents'

Single parent charity Gingerbread has called on the Government to steer clear of misleading rhetoric about young parents. Responding to the Prime Minister's Conference speech, Chief Executive of the charity Fiona Weir said:  "Damaging myths abound about young parents, and it's vital that politicians don’t reinforce these.

Murdoch's Sun backs Tories. Anything to do with Labour hint that rich may have to pay their way?

Well at least in fighting this election the Labour Party will know who their enemies are. No sooner had Gordon Brown finished his speech than Daniel Finkelstein of the Times was in the BBC studio determined to rubbish the prime minister’s speech. Now The Sun has declared that it backs the Tories on its front page today. Well at least Rupert Murdoch is off the fence.

Million voices on the Plinth

Students on the TUC's 'Lights, Camera, Action' course have made a timely short film on the public's feelings about cutting public services to meet the bill for bailing out the banks. The film features footage of UNISON's Kevin O'Neil whose stint on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square was on Monday afternoon. See the film at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxCVEGIQTVc&feature=channel_page Add your name to UNISON's Million Voices campaign at www.unison.org.uk/million

AFL-CIO mobilises against health insurance lobby

In the past week the AFL-CIO reports that more than 10,000 activists across the US have contacted their insurance companies to demand that they stop denying care and stop using the premiums of scheme members to lobby against health insurance reform.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Public service cuts will mean that everything solid melts into ice

UNISON delegates took time to chill out with the union’s specially commissioned ice sculpture of a school crossing attendant at the Labour Party Conference. http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=1590 The basic message was speak up for public services before its too late and they’ve ceased to exist – in other words everything solid will melt into ice (to paraphrase Marx)…..

Labour: The speech as heard in the living room...and judge it for yourself

Well it sure beats Brighton. Sitting back in a comfy chair, coffee at the side, fag in hand is the preferable way to prepare for THE SPEECH THAT WILL SET THE SET THE LABOUR PARTY ALIGHT. So far the BBC Parliamentary channel has so far NOT succeeded in showing a conference ready to fight for its principles and for power. Instead the overwhelming sense has been of apathy and disillusionment.

Mandelson and the madness of crowds

As far as taking leave of collective senses, yesterday’s conference standing ovation for arch neo liberal Lord Mandelson was on a par with the infamous 1992 pre-election Sheffield Rally. The vainglorious Neil "Well, all right! Well, all right!" Kinnock and a loyal mass hysterical audience deluded themselves that a Labour victory was inevitable. But they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheffield_Rally

Milburn wrong as usual

Seeing headlines that Alan Milburn has called for the cancellation of Trident and ID cards as appropriate cuts for the Labour Government causes a certain frisson within the Left. Is there one more new labour sinner about to repent?

Memo to Andrew Marr – and some help with your questions….

UNISONActive was probably as surprised as any other observers of the BBC to find that Andrew Marr used the blogsphere when preparing his questions for Gordon Brown the Prime Minister last Sunday. (on Sunday AM) The basis for his questions on the prime minister’s health on this occasion was the Guido Fawkes website, run by Paul Staines, quoted in the Guardian as hailing the inquisition with the words ”bravo Marr”. Presumably if preparing to question Barack Obama, Mr Marr would use Fox news as his preferred source.

Impressions from Labour Party Conference.....

A Brighton view: Observing Labour party conference is a bit like being at a family wedding. You know what’s going to happen during the ceremony, you recognise all the familiar faces, and you don’t need a detailed programme to be able to predict the notable events.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Drag into Tory debate about cuts is recipe for defeat

The FT reports that UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis 'punctures bid to rally round Brown' at Labour Conference. "Too many in our party think the answer to the polls is to ape the policies of the Tories, to match their cuts pound for pound. To those who say this is the only way, I say you are wrong. It’s a recipe for defeat.”

And the Lord Spake…Unto Conference. ..

The Master regenerates? The headlines and the TV coverage tell us that Labour party conference today gave a standing ovation to Peter Mandelson, Peer of the Realm, Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister.

ITUC says - G20: Progress in Pittsburgh, but Still Far to Go

The ITUC has described the results of the Pittsburgh G20 Summit as representing progress on the outcome of the April Summit in London, but has warned against complacency and highlighted crucial areas where little or no progress has been made.

UNISON opposes privatisation proposals in North Somerset

UNISON has expressed concerns about proposals emerging in North Somerset Council to privatise in 2010 IT and finance support services, transport and a crematorium.

UNISON raises the banner of public services at Labour conference

This week in Brighton UNISON will be calling on Labour to protect public services and to not give in to pressure for spending cuts. The union's contemporary resolution states that ‘the Conservative Party is pushing for service reductions and more privatisation. For Labour to win back the support of core voters it needs to demonstrate that, by contrast, it will protect public services that are fundamental to advancing economic recovery and a fairer society’ http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=1586

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Labour fringe: Reclaim, reform, rethink the state

Democratic alternatives to privatisation: UNISON, War on Want, Red Pepper and Other Tax Payers Alliance Labour Conference fringe meeting Wed 30 September 7.30

Agency workers rights are overdue – it’s time for Labour to deliver

In September 2007 Brendan Barber argued at TUC Congress "Now is the time to think again about employment agencies. It is time for another minimum wage moment - time to stop standing up for the bad agencies who undercut the good and threaten the reputation of all." http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/sep/10/politics.socialexclusion