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

Saturday, 12 December 2009

TUC calls for a ban on Israeli goods from illegal settlements‏

In response to the publication on Thursday of Government's advice to retailers on produce from illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories, Brendan Barber, General Secretary said:

Friday, 11 December 2009

38,000 EU staff to strike for 3.7% pay rise

Quote of the fortnight: "Eight years after its conception, the Treaty of Lisbon will finally come into force on the 1st of December. But through it, Europe will neither become more effective nor more democratic, neither more transparent nor more open...The political elite has failed." Article in German newspaper Die Welt, 30 November

PPP Industry gives thumbs up to Infrastructure UK‏

Members of the public services industrial complex are licking their lips - its fee and deal time.

Pensions, one size fits all…‏

Alistair Darling has been busy telling us how we were going to pay more in pension contributions and that pensions had to fall in line with the rest of the economy, does he mean defined contribution benefits?

Predictable cuts clamour from the know-all IFS‏

The cuts thirsty right wing think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is predicting a further £36b cuts from 2011 and claims a £15b shortfall in the cuts announced by Chancellor Alistair Darling earlier this week.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Drive for shared services and 'back office' staffing reducations stepped up‏

Key to government promises to "protect the frontline" (http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page21634) from the impact of spending cuts are"efficiency" plans for "back office" operations across central government, local government, schools, the health service, police services, and all other public sector bodies. Cabinet Office papers released this week to accompany the Pre-Budget Report provide more detail, building on the Operational Efficiency Programme launched by the Treasury earlier this year:

Councils already cutting social worker training and recruitment, finds survey‏

Councils are cutting recruitment and training budgets for social work and other social care roles as they grapple with recessionary pressures, an exclusive Community Care survey has found. http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2009/12/01/113300/councils-plan-training-and-recruitment-cuts.htm

Stunning legal victory for UNISON as High Court enforces private work cap on FT’s‏

Yesterday the High Court ruled upheld a challenge by UNISON that foundation trust regulator Monitor had undermined the provision of NHS services by failing to produce and enforce accurate guidelines on the levels of income derived from private patient services.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

NEC report - UNISON standing up for public services‏

NEC meeting 9 December 2009: UNISON is on course to achieve 1.5 million members by 2013 the NEC heard today. Excellent recruitment figures in October and November underpin Dave’s view that we are now starting to see the fruits of activist and staff engagement with ‘Meeting the Organising Challenge’.

Oh No Darling!

UNISON members will be less than delighted to find that today’s pre-budget report places their income and pensions in jeopardy. Darling proposes a two year 1% pay cap and a pensions cap on public sector workers.

Pre-Budget report pay freeze - No way‏

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis has come out fighting against proposal to restrict public sector pay rises to 1% for 2 years from 2011.

SOLACE/CIPFA study predicts transformation of local government‏

The FT reports on a joint study by Solace, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, and Cipfa, the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accounting..... What lies ahead.......

Cuba tops the class in UN development report‏

UNISON members through their unfailing solidarity have always understood that Cuba's achievements are inspirational not only in this country but the world..... Cuba tops the class in UN development report  http://alainet.org/active/34510&lang=es

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The bigger the pension funds the better for benefits!

The shape and size of the LGPS in England, Wales and Scotland is quite unique in that there are 89 funds in England and Wales and 11 in Scotland. All to serve two sets of national benefits.  If you look across the channel to the Netherlands there is one fund for local government, the civil service, teachers, the military and the judiciary.

Goodbye to rat infestation‏

It started back in August 2008 when Hilary Armstrong, the former Local Government Minister decided that her mantra of ‘what matters is what works’ should be applied to her retirement plans. Ms Armstrong, opponent of CCT and architect of Best Value, decided that there was no better value for her than to accept a paid position as chairman of the advisory committee for French-owned environment company Sita, nicely positioning herself for a cosy retirement; Unlike of course the millions of low paid public sector workers who face poverty in retirement.

Future Jobs Fund‏

The TUC has published a useful guide to the Government’s Future Jobs Fund (FJF): http://www.tuc.org.uk/welfare/tuc-17271-f0.cfm Britain currently has the highest rate of youth unemployment in Europe, and the FJF is part of the Government’s ‘Backing Young Britain’ package, providing £1bn for 18 - 24 year olds, as they come up to 12 months of unemployment.

Putting Irish unity on the agenda‏

A major conference is taking place, of interest to all UNISON members who want to put Irish unity on the agenda and encourage a debate in Britain, in the context of the Good Friday Agreement of self determination.

Monday, 7 December 2009

How FT sources compromised its Venezuela coverage‏

Further to the Latin America 2009 conference interested readers may be interested in this article - How Financial Times’ Limited Sources Compromised its Venezuela Coverage by Justin Delacour.

UNISON International Conference on Capital Stewardship

“Yes we can” attitude demonstrated by SEIU: At the UNISON/PSI conference on Capital Stewardship, held in London on Dec 3rd & 4th, conference heard of the efforts made by the SEIU to use workers capital within pension funds to successfully lobby large corporations, to ensure that they were persuaded to take a positive view of the Health Care legislation being proposed by the Obama administration. From a resolution at their 2000 convention, the SEIU now has grown to a position where it actively intervenes as a shareholder through the pension schemes, calling major companies to account.

Scottish PFI and the LGPS‏

Hot on the heels of the Local Government Association in England and Wales, the Scottish Executive has announced its intention to explore the use of UNISON member's money to be invested in potential privatisation deals. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/ministers-hope-to-tap-council-pensions-1.990222.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Latin America 2009 'Facing the Challenges' - conference report & pictures‏

With over 500 delegates and 50 speakers Latin America 2009 ‘Facing the Challenges’ was by far the most successful conference ever in this now annual event at the TUC. A packed congress hall heard speakers from across the continent, solidarity campaigns, politicians, journalists, academics and trade unionists.

Rhetoric or reality - the relevance of ILO standards‏

The Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV) at the International LabourOrganisation (ILO) has published the outcome of a recent symposium on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining in the 21st Century. The symposium noted that full respect of the right to organise and collective bargaining, including the right to strike and protection against anti-union discrimination, is the pre-condition for the realisation of democracy at the work place and in society: http://www.ilo.org/actrav/info/docs/lang--en/docName--WCMS_118115/index.htm

Other Taxpayers Alliance calls for FOI extension to private contractors‏

Power2010, the campaign to revitalise democracy, has been asking supporters to send ideas for political reform. The TaxPayers' Alliance has sent two ideas, and, with pleasing symmetry, so have we, says The Other Taxpayers' Alliance. http://taxpayersalliance.org/news/two-submissions-to-power2010/