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

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Culture: The Dictators‏

The Dictators by Pablo Neruda
An odor has remained among the sugarcane:
a mixture of blood and body, a penetrating
petal that brings nausea.

Get ready for the Tory attack‏

As Professor Keith Ewing said at UNISON's national pay seminar on Wednesday "Labour filled its parliamentary programme with constitutional issues and criminal justice. The Tories are not interested in the constitution so an easy win would be employment rights.

Prentis to celebrate decisive Sodexo victory‏

220 UNISON members voted overwhelmingly to end their strike action today after Sodexo and the North Devon Hospital Trust agreed to UNISON terms on the implementation of Agenda For Change. The strike has been a spectacular success - after 2 days action last week the workers were preparing for further escalating action to win the terms that they have been denied for over 3 years. http://unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=1696

Friday, 15 January 2010

Scottish Government bans the Right to Buy

UNISONActive welcomes the new Housing Bill to be introduced by the Scottish Government that will end the Right to buy for new council and housing association tenants.

Gaza One Year On - 19 January Conway Hall London‏

End the Siege of Gaza - Bring Israeli War Criminals to Justice
Tuesday 19 January 2010 - 7pm
Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL, London: Organised by PSC, STWC, CND and BMI. Reporting back from the Viva Palestina / PSC Aid convoy just back from Gaza!

Electoral reform - time to make every vote count‏

Back in September an under reported but highly significant policy decision was made in one of the final debates of 2009 Trades Union Congress. The PCS amendment to motion 83 on ‘democratic renewal’ (from the FDA civil service union) was carried on a show of hands. The amendment stated that: ‘democratic renewal also requires elected politicians to be properly representative of, and accountable to, their constituents and therefore calls on the General Council to instigate a debate within the trade union movement on change in the current parliamentary electoral system towards a system of proportional representation.' http://www.congressvoices.org/2009/83-democratic-renewal/

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Haiti's tragedy - solidarity is vital‏

The truly horrendous scenes of devastation, destruction and death in Haiti cannot fail to touch our hearts‬‪. The first large earthquake in 240 years, this enormous richter scale 7.0 quake's effects are only barely understood at this time.‬‪ Thousands have though been killed and tens of thousands left homeless. Nothing could be more worse for a country with problems of‬‪ poverty on a grand scale.

Gaza: End The Blockade - Let The Aid In

"Doctors are doing a fantastic job, but they are having to improvise in circumstances that are almost impossible. The only way for the situation to get better is to lift the siege, otherwise there's no hope." Dr John Beavis, Primary Trauma Care training in Gaza: Read more and donate on line at medical Aid for Palestinians http://www.map-uk.org/regions/opt/news/view/-/id/541/

Harman's hard work and godliness‏

Helping my daughter at newly joined senior school with a homework project for geography I was tasked with looking for internet history links to the local area. Despite its now ‘village’ status (which probably stretches the imagination of the most ardent estate agent!) this suburban nirvana was in fact originally a coal mining area set at the foot of the Pennines and deliberately populated to provide labour for the cotton mills and the local coal mining industry. Dig a bit deeper and it was commonplace for children as young as eight to work in the mills and by 12 many boys were fully fledged miners.

Public service cuts court disaster - Corbyn‏

UNISON member Jeremy Corbyn MP uses his Morning Star column to condemn ‘the unseemly auction between the leaders of the three parties on who will cut the most, where and how fast’

Economic Recovery or Relapse?‏

"We simply cant go back to business as usual economics. The old ways of doing things have simply failed and there is no point in repeating those same mistakes because, as sure as anything, we will suffer the same consequences", Roger McKenzie's blog reports on the union's 2010 pay seminar. http://rogermckenzie.blogspot.com/2010/01/economic-recovery-or-relapse.html

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Local Government Pension Funds - Vested Interests on the March‏

Consultants from Manifest, a company that makes its money from voting our company shares, have come out against the merger of LGPS funds, but in favour of merging administration. Funny that, as the biggest savings from fund mergers will come from fund management charges and from advisory services.

Ma, Pa and Vince - outrage at banker bonuses grows‏

The outrage about this year's banker bonuses is on the boil, even the parents of Stephen Hester, chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said his package was worth a potential £9.6m and that even his parents thought he earned too much. Vince (cut public sector pensions to pay for the bankers bail out) Cable is once again bleating about the bankers, he claims breaking up the banks and extra tax on banks profits will end the feasting.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Invitation - The Future of the Left‏

The Global Policy Institute Politics Series: The Future of the Left: Social Democracy after the Crash . The discussion will be led by Dr. Jon Cruddas MP (Labour MP for Dagenham), Professor Stephen Haseler (Director, Global Policy Institute), Neal Lawson (Chair, Compass) 9th February 2010 at 5:30pm London

Ten Skills of Organising‏ - Response

Communication - the balance between accountability and risk-taking and Knowledge - especially political education - are the key to organising, says young member Graham Smith on his blog at http://grahaminunison.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-is-organising.html

Monday, 11 January 2010

Ten Skills of Organising‏ - Response

I think that Clare is spot on in putting motivation at the top. This is really the key to being a good organiser. The really effective organiser will work with workers to help them answer the 'Why' question.

Opportunistic Tories are snow joke‏

Responding to the emergency rationining of salt and grit to councils the Tory shadow local government secretary, Caroline Spelman, called the grit measures "an admission of utter failure" saying that "The lessons of last February's extreme weather have not been learnt," and that the "...government has failed to build up a strategic Highways Agency reserve and Labour ministers have sat on their hands instead of putting measures in place to safeguard grit supplies. The government appears to be rapidly losing control of the situation."

US unions in battle over labour rights‏

As if running through the mud over Health Care Reform was bad enough, progressives in the US are now facing a similar experience over proposed legislation to make it easier for trade unions to organise.

10 skills of organising‏ - Response

There is one important factor missing and that's HONESTY.

Purnell on capitalism today - right diagnosis wrong cure‏

Former Labour Cabinet member James Purnell MP sets out his policy alternative in today’s Guardian – in a damning critique of Labour Party political inertia he asks ‘where is the vision and vitality to win?’

in-house services better at coping with weather, says Tory council director‏

The Western Mail reports that the weather chaos affecting Welsh roads would have been even worse if council services had been privatised, according to a senior officer at a Conservative-controlled authority. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/01/08/privatised-council-services-wouldn-t-have-been-able-to-cope-says-senior-officer-91466-25551745/

Scottish police blame outsourcing for poor gritting‏

Scotland's major roads have become more dangerous for motorists since contracts for gritting services were privatised, Les Gray, chair of the Scottish Police Federation tells Scotland on Sunday. http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/news/Police-warning-over-road-gritting.5969641.jp

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Response - The ten skills of organising

In addition to the excellent contribution by my surname namesake I would wish to add my own thoughts on the skills of organising:

Latin America/US relations - Obama fails to meet expectations‏

Just eight months ago, President Obama was calling Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva "my man" and suggesting that this Latin American country could become a leading U.S. partner in the region.

The ten skills of organising - a response‏

All of the ‘ten skills of organising’ item listed are key attributes of an effective organiser but I’d like to add a few other characteristics which are important:

The £40bn question - How Do You Stop Bankers Bonuses?‏

The world's biggest investment banks are expected to pay out more than $65bn (£40bn) in salaries and bonuses in the next two weeks, reinforcing the view that it is business as usual on Wall Street and in the City barely a year since our bailout of the banking system. Remember what the cuts in our living standards are for? Yes bailing out the bankers. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jan/08/bonus-time-city-banks