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

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Roll back the corrupting intersection between private accumulation and public service!‏

How’s that slogan for a variation on ‘people before profit’? Hard on the heels of the COSATU Congress the SACP has launched its 2009 Red October Campaign in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

Cardiff council and union set to clash over IT

Cardiff council UNISON is set for a showdown with senior officers over a controversial plan to bring in a private company to run the city’s IT department. UNISON has issued an ultimatum to the top brass at County Hall, saying: “Talk to us or you will lose our co-operation when you need it most.” http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/10/09/cardiff-council-and-union-set-to-clash-over-it-91466-24887966/

East Midlands region says - cut waste not services‏

UNISON's East Midlands region has launched a hard hitting campaign to save local government jobs and services. The first priority of a union in a recession is to defend the livelihoods of members. There is now added urgency as cuts proposals surface in all parts of the UK.

Bath and North Somerset: UNISON challenges outsourcing proposals‏

UNISON has expressed concern over draft proposals to outsource many services provided by Bath and North East Somerset Council (Banes). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/8299475.stm

Friday, 9 October 2009

Leeds refuse collectors dispute – GMB & UNISON unity in action

The Leeds refuse collectors dispute is about to enter its sixth week of continuous action. Today’s Morning Star reports on a strike rally held yesterday and addressed by GMB leader Paul Kenny:.

UNISON Active ANALYSIS: The Tories in Manchester- the Foul stench of Hypocrisy

Well after their conference in Manchester, one thing is perfectly clear. The Tories have a good conceit of themselves. They are fit for government, ready to be tested, and prepared for the way ahead. Every speech had some variation of that self reverential boasting.

Private caterers look forward to more contracting out‏

Caterers 'upbeat' with healthy portion of public sector work A multinational catering firm remains upbeat about its public sector work,despite the squeeze on government finances, reports LocalGov.co.uk

Johann Hari: Britain's not bust. So don't use it as an excuse to impose cuts

The move to slash public spending is based on a faulty reading of economics. "... we are about to dramatically slash our public spending – in a way that will cause real harm, rather than the phantasms conjured by Cameron", says Johnann Hari in the Independent.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Axe Trident & ID cards – public spending cuts waiting to happen - Ken Livingstone

An excellent analysis by Ken Livingstone, writing in the Guardian about the Conservative Party’s economic prospectus. “Public sector pay and pensions have literally nothing to do with the deterioration in public finances yet the Tories want to make them the scapegoats.”

NHS secretly wooed private firms over polyclinics‏

Revealed: NHS secretly wooed private firms over polyclinics 07 Oct 09 By Steve Nowottny Exclusive: The NHS secretly courted private companies at a series of high-level meetings to encourage them to compete for the new wave of polyclinics and GP-led health centres, Pulse can reveal. See Pulse

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

UNISON NEC votes for democratic accountability and trade union collective responsibility

After a robust and comprehensive debate at today's NEC (the most senior lay elected lay body of the union), UNISON's leadership voted to strengthen democratic accountability and the trade union principles of collective responsibility. The arguments put forward by a minority that this was about stifling debate and reducing democracy just did not hold up under scrutiny and were not supported by the majority.

A danse macabre on public sector pay‏

It was only a matter of time before a bidding war commenced on holding down or cutting the pay of public service workers. We now appear to be heading into a frenzy of self styled 'austerity measures'. UNISON’s NEC meeting today is confronted with an unprecedented and rising onslaught against our members.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

New Report Finds IMF Agreements Have Included Policies That Could Worsen Economic Slowdown in 31 of 41 Countries‏

A new discussion paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research finds that 31 of 41 of countries with current International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreements have been subjected to pro-cyclical macroeconomic policies that, during the current global recession, would be expected to have exacerbated economic slowdowns.

Osborne – of the rich, for the rich, to the rich

We’re all in this together’ says George Osborne Shadow Chancellor. Our pay and our pensions are in the firing line. Bullingdon boy George insists that he doesn’t want to put the poorest on the line. Oh really!

Tories adopt a Janus-like approach to NHS‏

Andrew Lansley, Tory Health Secretary, yesterday gave a conference speech which faces both ways on the NHS. Of course if there was a genuine commitment to support the high quality healthcare delivered by the NHS it would be welcomed. The reality is that if you look closely at his speech it was littered with criticisms of what is widely seen as a world class healthcare system.

Jack Jones - cold warriors besmirch man of great integrity‏

October 5th saw a great memorial meeting in London’s Royal Festival Hall for Jack Jones the ex -TGWU general secretary. Born into poverty in 1913 and brought up in the docklands of Liverpool, James Larkin Jones (Jack) fought, and was wounded in Spain in 1938 during its civil war against fascism. He led his great union to a peak of 2.2million members, and was a force for good in the land. The champion for pensioners in the last 31 of his 96 years, he was the quintessential working class hero.

Hague speaks...and says nothing‏

Shadow Foreign Minister William Hague delivered his speech to the Conservative Party Conference yesterday and said nothing of substance.

Monday, 5 October 2009

NGO report finds little flexibility in IMF loan conditions‏

Three European-based NGOs -- Solidar, Eurodad and the Global Network --today released a report on the compatibility of current IMF loans with decent work objectives. The 32-page report examines three recent loan programmes in El Salvador, Ethiopia and Latvia.

ITUC - IMF and World Bank must support an employment-focused recovery‏

ITUC says IMF and World Bank must support an employment-focused recovery In a statement prepared by the ITUC, Global Unions Federations and TUAC for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (Istanbul, 6-7 October), the international trade union movement has urged the international financial institutions to put job creation at the centre of their country strategies and programmes, as the global economy struggles to emerge from the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/No_52_-_statement_imfwb_1009.pdf

Private sector reacts with outrage to Burnham commitment to NHS as ‘preferred provider’

Andy Burnham MP Secretary of State for Health has signed a letter to the TUC which confirms the NHS as preferred provider for healthcare. Although we might still have policy differences and will continue to argue for the end of the market in the provision of healthcare, it is welcome news that Andy Burnham, is backing the NHS as the provider of choice.

Inconvenient truths for the neoliberals

No apologies for featuring Scottish Left Review again with this piece by Andy Cumbers that explodes the myth about the private sector being the only 'wealth creators' when there is no evidential base for 'crowding out'. http://www.scottishleftreview.org/li/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=263&Itemid=1

Tories should crack down on tax cheaters, says UNISON

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis has slammed plans by the Tories to cut sickness benefits for hundreds of thousands of claimants.

Another throw of the neo-liberal dice

UNISON's Dave Watson argues that it is the Public Sector that has had to pick up the Private Sector mess in the Scottish Left Review

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Local government jobs carnage worsens‏

UNISON branches across the country tell of the cuts they are facing: In his immediate response to Gordon Brown's leader's speech at the Labour Party Conference last Tuesday, Dave Prentis was rightly sceptical on BBC Radio 5 about Gordon Brown's differentiation between 'essential frontline' public service jobs and those non-specified other jobs which are presumably deemed dispensable. 'We need confirmation from the Government that the public sector will not pay the price for the economic crisis' said Dave in the official UNISON response: http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=1591

UNISON challenges understaffing in West Country ambulance service‏

The UNISON branch which organises the Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) in the South West of England has voiced concerns at the absence of trained paramedics on front line ambulance services. Instead the employer has relied on emergency care assistants who cannot adminster drugs unlike a paramedic or technician.

'Privatisation means profits come before people' - Prentis on the out-of-hours GP scandal‏

The Health Service Journal reports that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has called on primary care trusts to review out of hours services over widespread concerns that some private GP companies do not meet basic standards when working in England under NHS contracts.