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

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Union activists are the flesh and blood of the Labour Party‏

Kevin Maguire, writing in this week's Tribune, calls on Labour leadership to raise its game and says that 'union activists... are the flesh and blood of the Labour Party'. He assesses the political situation ahead of the General Election, noting the early returns' for the Murdoch empire of declaring for the Tories, and concludes that Labour leaders who fail to pull their weight deserve to pay the price of losing.

In Cameron’s world it’s all the fault of the public sector‏

Madeleine Bunting writing in the Guardian berates the ‘extraordinarily incoherent speech’ of David Cameron in which he set out his thinking on public services. ‘Replace his frequent and dismissive references to the "big state" and think instead of thousands of teachers trying every day to tell children to share, and respect each other, thousands of nurses trying to care for the frightened and frail, or thousands of park keepers and street cleaners trying to create liveable environments. It is all their fault.’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/nov/12/david-cameron-conservativism-richard-layard-spirit-level

The warped logic of attacking public service workers‏

Larry Brown of Canadian public service union NUPGE, in a powerful defence of public services, says tax cuts benefiting mainly the wealthy are the cause of current government deficits and it will be unfair and damaging to the economy if public sector workers become scapegoats and are forced to pay the price in lost jobs and pay cuts. http://www.nupge.ca/node/2672

Friday, 13 November 2009

Banning public sector strikes - Lib Dem's get in on the act‏

The UK's anti trade union laws are so comprehensive - famously described by Tony Blair in 1997 as the most restrictive in the western world - that it takes some ingenuity to further fetter the right to take industrial action.

Leeds refuse collection dispute – employer delays talks‏

UNISON has expressed disappointment after Leeds City Council delayed talks to resolve the long running dispute abut pay cuts.
UNISON regional organiser Tony Pearson said: "It means that there is yet another delay to negotiating a fair and just settlement to this strike, but they are adamant that they have to seek top-level legal advice before they can respond to the unions' proposals on grading of posts in the service. Our members and the people of Leeds will just have to wait even longer to get this service back into operation and cleaning up our streets”

Increasing the Corporate Grip - Failing the People on Health Care‏

On the Counterpunch website Ralph Nader is critical of the health care proposals carried by the US House of Representatives which now require Senate approval. ‘House Democrats were determined to pass any bill with a nice sounding name, such as "The Affordable Health Care for America Act". Single payer, full Medicare for all was never on the table even though a majority of citizens, physicians and nurses support that far more efficient, free choice of health care professionals, system.’

Thursday, 12 November 2009

UNISON Active ANALYSIS - 'John Lewis' v 'easyCouncil'‏

"Any modern democracy that fails to keep at its core an essential state capacity to deliver will become quickly inept.": UNISON Active analysis of today's Guardian report on the future of public services following David Cameron's recent speech to the Institute of Governance. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/nov/11/gordon-brown-david-cameron-institute-governance-speech

Middle Britain's shrinking wages helped cause finance crash

The growing pay gap - particularly between middle income Britain and the super-rich - was a crucial but overlooked ingredient in the financial crash, according to TUC research published today (Thursday). http://www.tuc.org.uk/newsroom/tuc-17227-f0.cfm

New alliance criticises government's care proposals‏

The National Pensioners Convention, Britain's biggest pensioner organisation, GMB and a major charity tackling elder abuse have joined forces to respond to the government's green paper consultation on the future of care which ends today 13 November.

Let social workers speak out

On the anniversary of the Baby 'P' verdict, UNISON accuses councils of "fuelling suspicion and undermining public confidence in social workers, by barring them from speaking out in the media" - and calls for them to be allowed to speak out to let "the public see what front-line social workers achieve every day"

New Link

Hi, read your website and found it very informative and we will add a link to our UNISON website: Please feel free to link to us at: http://www.eastlondonmentalhealth.com/

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

UNISON opposes £33m budget cuts in Nottinghamshire‏

Nottinghamshire County Council recently announced savage budget cuts of £33m for 2010/11. Below is an a column by Ravi Subramanian, UNISON (East Midlands) Regional Head of Local Government published in The Nottigham Evening Post on 10 November 2009.


UNISON at the FORE: ‘Scotland United’ is holding a rally to celebrate multicultural Glasgow on Saturday 14th November in Glasgow Green with assembly at 12pm at Nelsons Column, followed by speeches then a march through our city centre at around 1pm. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and politicians representing all the main parties will speak in support.

Urgent investment required in social housing says UNISON‏

Millions of families are forced to live in poor quality homes that are not suitable for their needs and Government housing finance policy is to blame is the conclusion of a new report by the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE), commissioned by UNISON as part of the million voices for public services campaign. http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=1644

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Election 2010….. It’s going to be a dirty one

Mon 9th Nov 2009 and today we get the first indications of what to expect in the next general election. Both the BBC and GMTV included in their headlines round up that Gordon Brown was “in the dock” over his letter to the mother of a fallen soldier. Mrs Jacqui Janes was said to be “furious” over the letter that she received.

Swingeing and unkind cuts‏

The Daily Telegraph reports that public services across the country are being hit by unprecedented spending cuts as the Government bids to save £100 billion over the next two years. Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, is quoted in the report: “the mounting toll of job cuts in local government and across the public sector, is already damaging local services and it is set to get worse.

Speaking up for Public Services‏

The TUC has published a timely pamphlet – ‘Speaking up for Public Services – the vital role of the public sector in and beyond the recession’ http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/speakingupforpublicservices.pdf This excellent resource, written by APSE, makes a compelling case against public spending cuts and explains the public sector’s vital role during the current recession and beyond.

Macroeconomic dialogue: ETUC says "no" to wage and social spending cuts‏

Brussels, 9 November 2009: At the Macroeconomic Dialogue (MED) today, John Monks, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) insisted that there is already strong pressure to pronounce the end of the crisis and cut public spending. That EU Governments act prematurely and choke off the recovery is the ETUC’s biggest worry.

The state of the unions‏

Reading the Daily Telegraph is one way of keeping up with the Tories true intentions. Their in-house paper always provides the best idea of conservative thinking, so if you want to know the enemy then the Torygraph is compulsory. A headline of “The State of the Unions” is a must read. Written by Philip Johnston, an assistant editor and published on the Public Finance website, it provides an insight into their trade union strategy. http://opinion.publicfinance.co.uk/2009/10/state-of-the-unions/

Monday, 9 November 2009

Response to the virtuous circle of state investment‏

The picture on the right is of a stone wall plaque commemorating a major public construction project in 1922/23 in the Scottish town of Kirkcaldy (birth place of the current Labour Prime Minister). The sea wall along the Firth of Forth was constructed to 'relieve unemployment during a trade depression'.

UNISON high court challenge to NHS foundation hospital private patient income‏

Last week the High Court began hearing UNISON’s legal challenge, inthe form of a judicial review, to the independent regulatory body for NHS Foundation Trusts, Monitor.

The lives of others UK style – power workers asked to spy on colleagues‏

The lives of others UK style – power workers asked to spy on colleagues
Part and parcel of the ideological offensive accompanying the restoration of capitalism in eastern europe from 1989 onwards was the incessant stories of a surveillance society. Films such as ‘the lives of others’ by West German aristocrat Henckel von Donnersmarck were heavily promoted to discredit the positive reality of life for working people in countries such as the German Democratic Republic

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Leeds strike – talks underway‏

The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that the first talks since the strike started on September 7 took place last week between the trade unions and the political leaders of Leeds City Council. http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/Leeds-binmen-strike-Hopes-of.5800025.jp

Trade union density around the world 1960 - 2007‏

Last week the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released an analysis of union density - the percentage of workers belonging to a trade union - in OECD member states.