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

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Big Society? More like a self-preservation society for Tories

"When will Big Society Day be held? David Cameron launched the idea on March 31. The annual day will probably be on April 1. But just until midday", says Tom Shields in the Herald newspaper's recent hilarious but biting Q&A on Tory plans. http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/tom-shields/big-society-more-like-a-self-preservation-society-for-tories-1.1018133

Spanish public sector workers prepare to mount strike action against austerity measures‏

Spanish trade unions have called for a national public sector strike and demonstrations against the emergency austerity plan adopted by the social democratic led Government at the behest of the international financial markets.

Use of English by Attila the Stockbroker‏

The phrase ‘politically correct’
is not at all what you’d expect.
But how has it been hijacked so?
I’m going to tell you, ‘cos I know.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Coup d’etat‏

The political desperados now governing the UK moved quickly to re-write the political rules. No longer will the loss of a ‘no confidence’ vote by a simply majority of MP’s lead to a general election.

Glasgow Health Alert - 1200 jobs

News broke last night that over 1200 jobs are to be cut over the next three years in Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board. This is, they say the result of its ability to “modernise services” by investment in new premises and facilities. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8681032.stm see also http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/stuc2010/10.html

“What happened to all those election promises about maintaining NHS spending?“ - Dave Prentis‏

Tory NHS axe man Andrew Lansley is pressing for cuts beyond the £20bn target set by health service managers for the next 3 years.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

A taste of things to come?‏

Greek workers fighting to defend pensions have called a one-day general strike for 20 May http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64B1SH20100512

Big business welcomes right wing coalition‏

"We particularly welcome the significant acceleration in the reduction of the structural deficit and the plan to achieve it through reduced spending rather than increases in taxation.” Typical myopia from the CBI whose members will do well to remember these comments when capital investment programmes are scrapped.
We can't all work in coffee shops, restaurants or pubs.

Labour must abandon its embrace of discredited neo-liberal dogma‏

An electoral revival for the Labour Party “demands first of all a recognition that the neoliberal dogma of the New Labour years has been discredited by epic market failure and its disastrous impact on working-class communities” says Seumas Milne in today’s Guardian

Anatomy of a dirty deal‏

The political whores of Westminster have published the agreement upon which the new UK Coalition Government was formed yesterday. http://www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2010/05/Coalition_Agreement_published.aspx

Compass sees cuts as "opportunity to exploit"; expanding into wider support services‏

The Guardian says contract caterer Compass expects to benefit from the current slump as governments move towards outsourcing in an attempt to cut public deficits. It quotes chief executive Richard Cousins as saying: "In fields such as healthcare, education and defence, governments are under pressure to fix their balance sheets. It may take time; nothing is going to happen next week, but there are opportunities out there that we intend to exploit." http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/may/12/contract-caterer-compass-optimistic

SEIU's first woman President sets out future‏

Mary Kay Henry – the SEIU’s first woman President – has set out an agenda for the union that focuses on private sector workers and talking to other unions about organising them. In particular she is seeking to have ‘listen and learn’ conversations with other unions.

What plans do the posh boys have for our pensions?‏

If we can believe them, expect an 'independent' commission to examine whether our pensions are affordable. There's an ominous commitment to protection of the pension benefits we've earned so far. This amounts to a signal that final salary benefits will come to an end once the government implements the bits of the commission they agree with.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The illiberal coalition of political whores‏

There is no room for rejoicing at the failure of a progressive coalition to secure a parliamentary majority. Whilst some of the grey beards in the labour party have wisely cautioned that such a coalition would be hamstrung to minority groups such as Plaid Cymru and the SNP, the alternative prize of sitting back and waiting for a Tory / Liberal coalition to implode within months seems now a more distant possibility.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Debt Balloon - will it ever burst?‏

Another 750bn Euro was issued in debt by the EU and IMF yesterday to try and stop the bankers making even more money on the currency speculation that has been driving governments to the wall and citizens to the streets. But this only creates more debt and interest to be paid back and will result in more austerity for the public sector at a later date.

A trade union guide to ethical trade‏

The TUC supported by DFID has produced a useful guide to ethical trading based on a code of minimum employment standards linked to ILO conventions.

Monday, 10 May 2010

PSI shares fall as markets anticipate fierce union opposition to privatisation‏

The Guardian is reporting that outsourcing companies have seen their shares fall back. Capita is leading the FTSE 100 losers, down 35p to 781.5p, while Serco has slid 17.5p to 611p. "The public sector unions possibly see themselves as a 'winner' from this (election) result with increased bargaining power against 'weak government'", says the article. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/marketforceslive/2010/may/07/capitagroup-sercogroup
See also:
Torygraph predicts wave of strikes in response to cuts‏
UK economy couldn’t cope with Tory cuts, says expert
Debt, danger and privatisation - services firms win before UK vote counted‏

Celebrate Vietnam!‏

1975-2010: 35 Years Since the Defeat of the US: May 26, Doors Open 7.00pm for 7.30pm: Bolivar Hall, 54 Grafton Way, London, W1T 5DL (nearest tube: Warren Street): *Speakers* *Vietnamese food and drink* *Live Vietnamese entertainment* *Stalls*

'Sovereign right' of Bolivia to nationalise electricity companies conceded by EU official‏

In an interview with Bolivian newspaper La Prensa a senior EU official has acknowledged the democratic right of the Morales led Government to take electricity companies into public ownership - noting similar measures in Europe to bring (debt ridden) banks under state control: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8671618.stm

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Torygraph predicts wave of strikes in response to cuts‏

An incoming Government will be met by co-ordinated union resistance to unpopular cuts in jobs and services predicts the Sunday Telegraph....

UK economy couldn’t cope with Tory cuts, says expert

A leading fund manager has told The Herald newspaper that the he doubts the UK’s fragile economy could withstand huge Tory spending cuts. He also pours cold water on Cameron’s vision of big business driving the economy forward because he fears the UK corporate sector “doesn’t have the ability”.

The Candidate and the Elector by Smokey Dymny‏

A Song by Smokey Dymny
Oh, I'm a politician and I'd like to get your vote
I'm bringing you this pamphlet to try and raise your hopes
It's full of pretty pictures of myself and family, and
Lots of hopeful promises with which you might agree