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

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Italian workers strike against Government economic and immigration policies‏

A million workers from the public and private sector took part in a 4 hour general Strike yesterday in Italy. The protest led by the CGIL trade union confederation was called in opposition to the economic policies of the reactionary Berlusconi led Government. Italian workers are facing rising unemployment, punitive taxes. An end to the victimisation of migrant workers was a major demand at rallies held across many Italian cities.

TUC explodes public sector pay myths‏

The TUC has published a timely briefing for trade unionists 'exploding public sector pay myths' which looks at the implications of pay freezes in the public sector. It also takes on the pundits who say that pay restraint is justified on the grounds that public sector wages are outstripping the private sector: http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/speakuppay.pdf

Being a Human Being by Tom Leonard‏

(for Mordechai Vanunu)
not to be complicit
not to accept everyone else is silent it must be alright

Friday, 12 March 2010

Support Notting Hill housing staff action‏

On Monday, UNISON members in Notting Hill Housing Group are taking industrial action, regarding changes to terms and conditions being imposed by their employer. The changes will save the employer very little money and appear to be ideologically driven - their chief exec is a Tory adviser.

Global e-petition on financial transactions tax‏

A global electronic petition in favour of the financial transactions tax addressed to G20 leaders is currently underway. Many trade unionists in different countries have signed on. The English version is below. The petition can be accessed in 12 languages and signed through the following web site: http://www.makefinancework.org/

TUC: International Inspiration – Joyce Moloi-Moropa

ANC MP, Chair, Parliamentary Committee on Public Services, Deputy chair, South African Communist Party:  Joyce was the international speaker at the Women’s TUC in Eastbourne, and spoke of the part that women played and continue to play in restructuring South Africa.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Venezuela: Another View‏

Letter carried in Scotsman yesterday in response to critical comment on Venezuela: In your vitriolic attacks on Venezuela, you seem incapable of accepting that another world is possible.

Women's TUC condemns far right misogny and racism‏

The Women's TUC condemned the BNP and other Far Right parties, such as the National Front and English Defence League's, politics of hate and division. The BNP's views on women are horrying - BNP London Organiser, Nick Eriksen says "rape is simply sex. Women enjoy sex so rape cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal. It's like being force-fed chocolate".


One of the traditions of the TUC Women’s Conference is the final evening social. Every union delegation graces the stage and performs a song. Anxious to ensure that the brothers don’t miss out on this experience, we print the words of the UNISON ditty below. You all know the tune, don’t you? So at nine o’clock tonight, sit in front of your laptop and join in, wherever you are.. You will be singing for socialism…..

Powerful protests against austerity measures in Greece‏

For the third time in a month, a 24 hour general strike has taken place in Greece – the FT reports that ‘the latest strike marked an unusual show of solidarity between ADEDY, the public sector union; GSEE, a federation of private sector unions; and PAME, the communist-led union, which together represent almost half the country’s 5m workforce. Public sector workers face across-the-board pay cuts of about 7 per cent this year including an unprecedented 30 per cent reduction in Easter, summer and Christmas bonuses’.

MP's call on their pension fund to support the BP/Shell tar sands campaign - You can do the same‏

UK Members of Parliament (MPs) today (March 11) demand that their own Parliamentary Pension Fund backs a growing investor campaign to force oil giants, BP and Shell, to report on potential investment risks associated with controversial tar sands projects. http://www.responsible-investor.com/home/article/tar/

The human cost of the economic crisis‏

'The Great British Economy Disaster’ is the title of a superb article by John Lanchester in the current edition of the London Review of Books, in which he outlines the human impact of the economic crisis:

The Policy Exchange recycles shopworn neo liberal nostrums‏

"The unions won’t like it – but they should remember that the point of public services is to serve the public – not the unions." So asserts rent-a-quote Neil O'Brien Director of the right wing lobbyists Policy Exchange.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

TUC: Women Demand Change!!

TUC Women’s Conference opened today in Eastbourne to discuss the Women’s Agenda, and how we should campaign for it with a general election coming up.

TUC warns - women will bear brunt of public spending cuts‏

On the first day of the 2010 TUC Women’s conference, TUC has issued a stark warning that deep public spending cuts would lead to heavy job losses for women and substantially reduce their income in retirement. http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-17673-f0.cfm

The neo liberal slash and burn approach to public service will worsen inequalities‏

Today Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP will make a much trailed speech on the economy. The Guardian reports that Brown ‘is expected to confirm a cap on public sector pay rises despite civil servants gearing up for strikes in the run-up to the election.Brown is expected to use a speech on the economy to reaffirm the government's position as set out in last year's pre-budget report.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Hard-hitting campaign film now online‏

The Million Voices campaign moves up a gear with the release of this hard-hitting film about who could be hurt by public service cuts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGeZ6Z9hTcE

We need as many people as possible to see this film and speak out for public services before it's too late. UNISON activists are being asked to share and forward the link to members,colleagues, contacts, friends, and family.

The Transatlantic Public Services Industrial Complex‏

The British Medical Journal reports on research work being carried out by Workers Uniting (the formal alliance between Unite and the United Steelworkers of North America) to expose the activities of US health care companies touting for NHS contracts while at the same time lobbying against President Obama’s health care reforms. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/340/feb10_2/c792

Monday, 8 March 2010

UNISON Northern Region backs striking PCS members‏

UNISON Northern Region gave its solidarity to striking PCS workers at a rally in Newcastle city centre today. Regional Convenor and NEC member, Clare Williams, spoke at the rally to send a message of support to PCS workers on strike in defence of their terms and conditions. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8554345.stm

Solidarity with PCS‏

250,000 civil servants from across the UK will be taking 48 hour strike starting today (8 March) in a dispute over unilateral changes to redundancy terms. The strike follows an industrial action ballot last month in which 63.4% of those voting backed strike action and 81.4% supported an overtime ban. For more information and details of rallies in all regions go to:  http://www.pcs.org.uk/

Greetings to all women on International Women’s Day‏

101 years on from the first International Women’s Day (which was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States) today will be marked worldwide by the theme of "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All" and this year marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Sheffield Supports Compass School Meals Workers!‏

Over 100 people attended a public meeting on Saturday morning to hear women from the School Meals Service launch their petition to the Council over their working conditions. 400 women working for the multinational Compass Group provide meals for pupils in 129 schools. Half of them do not receive sick pay, are only paid for 43 weeks of the year and are all on the wrong hourly rate.

UNISON Illuminations‏

The UNISON million voices campaign will this week shine a light on the threat to public services. Public buildings in Liverpool, London and Manchester be lit up to promote a campaign against public service cuts. A 60-second advert will be projected on to prominent buildings and tourist attractions. The union will also launch a web facility where people can enter a postcode and find out what local services are at risk.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Bearing the Burden - the inequality of climate change‏

Yesterday women came together in Northern region to celebrate International Women's Day (8 March) to debate how climate change and the decisions being taken to tackle the environmental challenges the World faces disproportionaly impact more on women in society.

UNISON General Secretary election & voodoo density figures - a response: It's all in the numbers‏

UNISONActive has posted before about the worrying uses of statistics by Paul Holmes and his supporters. The main gripe was about the fact the claim of 86% density was not set in any context and it was misleading to quote it isolation. In response Holmes' supporters said that the analysis was “pointlessly obscuring the clear evidence that Kirklees UNISON has a very impressive membership density in its lead employer."

UNISON draws a line in the sand on Cardiff Council services hive off‏

UNISON members in Cardiff have voted to oppose council proposals for large scale privatisation of council services. Last year Indian firm Tata Consultancy Services was the first company to win a 15-year partnership last year - to streamline the council’s IT services. There are plans to bring in four other private-sector partners over coming years.

Greek unions escalate resistance to cuts in jobs and pay‏

Next week Greek trade unions are planning more strikes and rallies in protest at austerity measures. A 24-hour general strike will be held on Thursday 11 March.

Because We're Women by Joyce Stevens‏

Because women's work is never done and is underpaid or unpaid or boring or repetitious
and we're the first to get the sack
and what we look like is more important than what we do
and if we get raped it's our fault