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

Saturday, 28 November 2009

St Andrew’s Day Success

The annual St Andrew’s day march against Racism and Fascism took place today, the 28th Nov, in Glasgow. This is a long standing event in the trade union calendar, originating in a response to an attempt by the far right to co-opt the day for their own pernicious propaganda. Since then it has gone from strength to strength from the first march where fifty hardy souls marched from Kelvin Way into the city.

Newcastle UNISON Warns of Action Against Pay Cuts

Newcastle City UNISON is the latest branch to warn of a confrontation with the local authority as a result of proposals on Single Status. A leaked report suggest more than 1,400 workers could face a pay cut as a result of the introduction of a new pay and grading structure. 700 workers could face pay cuts of more that £2,500 a year.

Edinburgh facing 'biggest ever dispute'

UNISON, the largest union representing City of Edinburgh Council staff, has warned that 'bad faith' in consultation about cuts of £90m could lead to huge disruption as the union fights to save Edinburgh's local services.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Labour’s next 6 months in office‏

The Economist magazine has an interesting feature on the next (and probably final) 6 months in office of Gordon Brown’s Labour Government.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

PGFTU's position towards boycott of Israel.

Letter from Shaher Saed PGFTU General Secretary to Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Jewish Chronicle published an article by Leon Symons on November 12th 2009.  As the article do not reflect the real position of the PGFTU, we would like to emphasize the following:

Israel/Palestine response: BDS and PGFTU

In his comments, Terry McCorran is either misinformed or seeks to mislead others. He says he visited Israel and Palestine with TUFI, “in a personal capacity due to the UNISON Boycott”. Terry should read UNISON policy. Neither UNISON policy nor that of the TUC calls for an outright boycott, but of those companies involved in activities deemed by the international courts to be illegal, of produce from the illegal settlements or colonies and a review of trading relations between EU and Israel. http://cms.unison.co.uk/MotionText.asp?DocumentID=1000235

Israel/Palestine response

Response to The Israeli Lobby and British Unions Having just come back from a trip to Israel and palestine through TUFI. In a personal Capacity due to the Unison Boycott. I think it only fair and Democratic that people who dont agree with the calls for boycotts should be allowed to voice our thoughts and opinions.

VT, Capita and Serco join forces to push outsourcing model‏

VT, Capita and Serco, the leading support service providers in the UK, havebegun roadshows with local and central government departments to explain howoutsourcing works. "We have developed a co-ordinated approach with Capita andSerco to preach the model. Our industry is not the panacea but we can be animportant part of local and central government dealing with their problems."  http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/support_services/article6920675.ece

public services industry looks forward to 'outsourcing boom'‏

VT, the shipbuilder turned service provider, is preparing to cash in on a boom in outsourcing in the wake of future cuts in public spending. Paul Lester, VT's chief executive, has warned that public services will becontracted to the private sector "with a vengeance" after the next election, reports the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/nov/17/vtgroup-sercogroup

staff strike against Sodexo's failure to match Agenda for Change‏

UNISON porters, cooks and cleaners at North Devon Hospital have voted in favour of industrial action over sick pay. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/8377460.stm the Trust and Sodexo failed to to enact Agenda for Change

FW: new poll: public don't want cuts‏

Surprising and mostly encouraging new MORI results:
- 53% are willing to pay more tax to avoid cuts to public services, against 42% favouring service cuts
- 43% think there is ‘a real need to cut spending on public services in order to pay off the very high national debt we now have’ (up from 40% in June); 44% disagree (down from 51% in June); 10% are ambivalent (up from 7% in June)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Key questions on pension scheme governance‏

The TUC is right to welcome the Pensions Regulator's campaign on good pension fund governance, but the regulator must go further and install a requirement for 50% of trustees to be elected from scheme members by scheme members. It is still shocking to consider that the Local Government Pension Scheme member has no legal right to take part in it's governance.

Left Foot Forward on NHS marketisation‏

Lansley’s market dogma at odds with OECD health study: A key OECD report on “Value for Money in Health Care” has criticised as “zealots” those like Tory MEP Daniel Hannan who “adhere absolutely to the belief that competition offers an unalloyed solution to society’s more intractable problems” – especially in the field of health care, reports LeftFootForward

....more on Compass tax report‏

This latest Compass report puts forward a comprehensive analysis of the UK Tax system and offers a straightforward set of proposals which would start to make it fairer. The report entitled In Place of Cuts: Tax reform to build a fairer society was written by George Irvin, Dave Byrne, Richard Murphy, Howard Reed and Sally Ruane and produced with support from UNISON.

In Place of Cuts‏

The Compass report 'In Place of Cuts' has provoked a fierce debate between those in favour of progressive taxation and those against, and it is clear whose side the Tories are on.Compass is organising an event tonight in Parliament to continue the debate, click here for details and to register.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Irish public service unions strike over cuts in budgets and pay‏

Today Irish public service trade unions are taking 24 hour strike action against Government plans to cut pay and public service budgets in order to reduce the budget deficit which stands at 12% of GDP, following the banking bail out.

Leeds pay dispute settled after 12 weeks of solid strike action‏

After more than 11 weeks of continuous strike action 600 refuse collectors in Leeds City Council have voted overwhelmingly to accept a settlement negotiated by GMB and UNISON which will remove the threat of draconian pay cuts.

The Israel lobby & British unions‏

Last week’s Dispatches programme ‘Inside Britain’s Israel lobby’ was compulsive viewing. A wide ranging investigation by journalist Peter Oborne, its purpose was to ‘investigate one of the most powerful and influential political lobbies in Britain, which is working in support of the interests of the State of Israel’. The programme is available for viewing for the next 21 days on 4 on demand. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-42/episode-1

Monday, 23 November 2009

People's Charter complements Million Voices?

In a speech to the People's Charter Convention on 21 November‏, Mike Kirby argued that the Charter was not for 'a separate political party' but was "complementary to" the million voices campaign and gives "a platform to work with whoever shares our pursuit of common objectives".

NHS competition – the public services industrial complex launches a fight back‏

It was only a matter of time. The announcement last September by health secretary Andy Burnham that the NHS staff would be the ‘preferred provider’ of health services was warmly welcomed by UNISON and other health unions.

Communities ravaged by floods as profits soar for water firms‏

As in 2005 and 2007, hundreds of public service workers have been mobilised to defend communities in the North West of England ravaged by floods. UNISON members employed by Cumbria County Council, the emergency services, the Environmental Agency, the NHS and water companies are providing relief to residents whose homes, amenities and local infrastructure have been devastated by flood damage. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/22/cumbria-flood-cockermouth-relief

Northern Region TUC Reclaims the Night‏

On an inclement night over 200 people came together in Durham to Reclaim the Night. The march through the town had a carnival atmosphere, and members of the public showed their support. A packed rally of people from across the Northern Region heard from Durham City MP, Roberta Blackman-Woods, Bridget Philipson, Head of Women in Need, Sunderland, and Labour candidate for Houghton and Sunderland South, along with Clare Williams, Chair of the NTUC Women’s Group, and UNISON Regional Convenor and NEC member.

Uncovering the truth about Tory plans on Council Funding‏

This blog has reported on the devastating cuts being announced across the country here, here and here. The most savage cuts have been at Tory controlled councils, especially where they have take the decision to freeze council tax. This is a financially irresponsible decision, as in a recession, vulnerable members of our communities need their council services more not less. And this needs to be paid for.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Equal pay breakthrough for 200,000 community workers in Australia‏

The Australian Services Union (ASU) and the Australian Government have reached an historic agreement which will see the social and community services sector as the test case for pay equity in the new Federal Industrial Relations system.