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

Saturday, 17 April 2010

UNISON 2010 Health Conference - Preview‏

Responding to the Challenges - Defending the NHS
UNISON, the largest Health union, meets from 19-21 April for the annual Conference which comes at a critical time for public sector workers.

The Doctor and The Minister by Hugh MacDiarmid‏

What, said the doctor,
Little children at work
In factories and coalmines From daybreak to murk
I cannot see, he said,
With his notable charm
Seven days a week of this Can do them any harm
- Of course it crooks their backbones
And spoils their eyes
And whitens their blood
But it's all right otherwise:
And the minister agreed Keeps them from mischief he said.

Hugh MacDiarmid

Friday, 16 April 2010

Northern TUC speaks up for public services

Unions North, The Northern TUC magazine shows the positive role of regional TUCs as it covers the 'Speak Up for Public Services' campaign launched last month by high profile union leaders, the Hope Not Hate campaign and union learning initiatives across the region. Click the link for more http://www.unionlearn.org.uk/about/learn-3336-f0.cfm

The View From the Sun…….Election day 8

No signs of policy life here today. Anticipation of the Great Leaders debate is everything. The entire election is seen to hinge on who blinks first, or who sweats the most, or breaks down in tears.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The View from the Sun. We boldly go so you don’t have to….ELECTION DAY 5-7

Watching the election coverage on this far way planet, there seems to be a pattern emerging. Don’t bother with facts, and certainty not with policies. There will definitely be no Tory policies. Concentrate on personalities, and above all keep it minimal. In todays 68 page paper, two are devoted to the election campaign, and at least a third of that space is devoted to photos. Those pages are relegated to further back in the paper to make way for the woes and tragedy of Celtic FC, a priority many UNISONActive (not me ed) readers would agree with.

Cameron's "toy-town democracy"‏

“Cameron says: give people the right to veto council tax rises. How about people having a right to veto public services – their services, paid for by their money – being outsourced to the high-cost, low-quality private sector? (For a useful source on the damaging sources of outsourcing see UNISON's Positively Public campaign.) How about people being able to veto rises in their gas and electricity bills when companies are making massive super-profits?” says Hilary Wainwright, co-editor of Red Pepper, in a blistering critique of David Cameron’s “toy-town democracy”.
From the Guardian’s Comment is free General Election coverage:

Tories target employment rights and access to justice‏

Unelected Tory grandee Lord Hunt has published a prospectus for Tory reform of employment rights – much of which was trailed last year in the Conservative Green paper ‘cutting the burden of red tape on business.’

Defend public sector workers in Jersey

The island of Jersey has one of the highest per-capita GDPs in the world - but that isn't stopping the government there from imposing an arbitrary pay freeze on public sector workers whose right to strike is heavily restricted. Unions there have called a demonstration and rally on Saturday 24 April, and the TUC is calling on British trade unionists to support their campaign by emailing Jersey's Chief Minister. http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-17838-f0.cfm

BP under pressure from global public sector pension funds‏ - a response‏

Colin Meech, UNISON's National Officer for the union's Capital Stewardship Programme, highlights the significance of our action at BP's AGM today...you can view the AGM live on the company's webcast starting at 11.30am here - http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.docategoryId=9032414&contentId=7059464

USA Rio Tinto miners bring fight for jobs and families to London

Miners locked out of Rio Tinto’s site in Boron, California for refusing to give in to demands by the company that could threaten their ability to work and support their families are highlighting their plight as shareholders attend the global mining giant’s AGM at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London today.

Anti-strike injunctions are becoming commonplace‏

Over the past 6 months two high court injunctions – at BA and Network Rail - have overturned union mandates for industrial action. These are widely seen as opportunistic abuses of trade union legislation by employers using spurious technicalities in biased courts – a case made emphatically by Professor Gregor Gall in a recent Morning Star article:http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/88946

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

UNISON joins global delegation in US for Sodexo week of action‏

A small delegation of UNISON members joined other Sodexo workers from France in Washington, DC, in preparation for three days of activity in support of the campaign by Sodexo workers in the U.S. to protest against the company’s attempts to suppress workers - through threats, intimidation, among other things - in their efforts to form a union

Solidarity with SAMWU‏

South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) is taking national strike action against the South African local government employers. The action follows longstanding union concerns about chronic service delivery failures, the involvement of legal firms in disciplinary processes and disputes about job evaluation.

Irish pay deal - Nurses' union says No, Siptu says Yes‏

The pay and public services reform deal brokered between the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Irish government is in jeopardy following yesterday’s decision of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) to recommend rejection in the ballot of its 40,000 members.

UNISON poster campaign attacked by Tory rabid dogs‏

The excellent UNISON poster campaign, funded by the union’s General Political Fund, brings to an end the Tory monopoly on billboard advertising in the General election.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

BP under pressure from global public sector pension funds‏

With just two days to go before BP's annual general meeting, a growingwave of support from global public sector pension fund investors is emerging for the resolution - co-filed by the UNISON staff pension fund and co-ordinated by Fair Pensions and opposed by BP management -questioning the company's planned oil sands projects in Canada.

Labour manifesto – a stale menu dished up for public services‏

The Labour manifesto published yesterday was a missed opportunity to create a clear dividing line between the Labour Party as the champion of public services and the privatising small state vultures of the Conservative Party.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Council bites back at media bosses on public service pay

OK, so it’s about chief officers, but Fife Council’s leader asks some pertinent questions of the media about its attack on public services. In a letter to the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, he points out that one local paper’s chief executive was paid more than the council’s top eight earners put together!

Colombia - a massacre foretold‏

Santiago de Cali, 8th April 2010
Eight miners were murdered by armed men travelling in two vehicles and a motor bike. The killings occurred in a place known as “Alto de Ovejas”, a rural zone in the municipality of Suárez, department of Cauca, southern Colombia. The place where the massacre occurred is the upper part of the Ovejas river. It can be reached by a one and a half hour journey on foot.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Democracy by Langston Hughes‏

Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.