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

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Human rights organisations in Southwest Colombia department receive paramilitary death threats yet again‏

At 1am and 8am respectively on the morning of Monday 14th June, a threat arrived by text message to the mobiles of human rights defender Cristina Castro (Committe of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, FCSPP) and indigenous leader Aida Quilcue. The message declares as military objective the following organisations: human rights NGO Nomadesc, FCSPP, Permanent Committee of Human Rights (CPDH), community organisation ECATE, and trade union central CUT Valle. The text read:

Soldiers found guilty of murder of Edwin Legarda indigenous leader, Aida Quilcue's husband‏

Last Friday week a judge in the south-western city of Popayan, Colombia, found six soldiers guilty of the charge of murder in relation to the death of Edwin Legarda on 16th December 2008. A seventh soldier was acquitted because it could not be proved that he had fired his weapon. Legarda was the husband of Aida Quilcue, then leader of the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC) and spokesperson of the Social and Communitarian Minga.

Indefensible that members have no place on LGPS investment panels‏

UNISON member Cemlyn Foulkes puts the case in Public Finance magazine for member representation on Local Government Pension Scheme investment ­panels: http://opinion.publicfinance.co.uk/2010/06/no-place-on-the-pension-panels-by-cemlyn-foulkes/

The National Debt is owed to us‏

An excellent article from the Guardian highlighting the issue we have discussed on this blog. Politicians on the right love to scare us. George Osborne, in his Mansion House speech cited "fears" over government solvency and sovereign debt crises. David Cameron has declared the fiscal deficit a "threat" to "our whole way of life," and "a clear and present danger to the British economy". This is nonsense.

To Posterity by Bertolt Brecht‏

To Posterity

Friday, 18 June 2010

Debt terror and debt terrorists‏

Governments around the world are being stampeded by financial commentators and international organisations (IMF, OECD, G-20) to implement austerity programs to get their “deficits under control”. All sorts of horrendous predictions are being touted in the press daily by the deficit terrorists.

Equal Pay - mind the gap‏

Red Pepper has a comprehensive feature on equal pay marking the 40th anniversary Equal Pay Act in May.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Knowing your enemy

For a mere £300 (or £900 if you're a private business - shome mishtake surely) you can attend a seminar billied with the summary, "outsourcing will become the normal means to deliver public services. This will have a profound impact on the public sector, which will move more towards a commissioning and procurement management model". http://www.publicserviceevents.co.uk/event/overview.asp?ID=152 Snouts lining up at the trough bigstyle!

Small state Thatcherism is driving the cuts agenda‏

Seumas Milne in today’s Guardian brilliantly exposes the ideological imperatives driving the cuts public expenditure cuts agenda of the Con Dem Government.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Solidarity greetings from Canada‏

Addressing UNISON NDC this afternoon Paul Moist National President of the Canadian Public Sector union CUPE condemned the murderous action by the Israeli army in attacking the humanitarian flotilla heading for Gaza. He demanded that there should be an immediate independent investigation into the incident.

Attack on right to strike in Guardian online article‏

Tony Blair famously said in 1997 that even allowing for New Labour's fairness at work legislation the UK would have 'the most restrictive labour laws in the western world'. http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/1997/04/feature/uk9704125f.htm

UNISON political fund is a key tool in fight against the cuts‏

National Delegate Conference this morning voted for a strong and effective political fund.


The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) warns the European Council taking place on 17 and 18 June next against the austerity measures adopted by several EU countries. These measures risk killing the growth and having serious social consequences for the European citizens who continue to pay the cost of the crisis.

Financial Times Picks Up On Our Pensions Warning‏

The Financial Times (FT) today picks up on Dave Prentis' commitment to defend our pensions from ConDem attack. Not only that, the paper gives a more balanced view of the issues than the dogs of austerity war at the Mail and Torygraph. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f1644330-78af-11df-a312-00144feabdc0.html?

Why Palestine will be free‏

Today UNISON Conference will debate an emergency composite on the Gaza Aid Flotilla by the Israeli state killing machine. Over on the 21st Century Socialism website John Wight writes a compelling overview of colonialism and military repression in occupied Palestine and southern Lebanon.

All pain, no gain - Government cuts leading to economic disaster says TUC‏

“History shows us that deep cuts wreck services”,, says TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber writing in the Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2010/jun/16/public-sector-cuts-coalition-economic-disaster

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Our NHS is not for sale says UNISON NDC‏

UNISON National Conference unanimously backed motion 58 on the National Health Service. Clare Williams, NEC, moved a comprehensive motion on the threats to the NHS and the challenges facing health workers in Britain.

Dave Prentis delivers a rousing speech to conference - "now is our time"‏

General Secretary Dave Prentis received a standing ovation from delegates following a rousing speech to UNISON NDC – in which he covered all the economic, industrial, political and social bases. http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=6167

UNISON NDC debates Social Care‏

In the first debate of the 2010 UNISON National Delegate Conference, delegates overwhelmingly endorsed composite G on social care. Speakers highlighted the impact of years of underfunding and neglect on the most vulnerable people in society. Concern was expressed that the new government, hell bent on slashing public services, would abandon the provision of social care to unscrupulous privateers. Branches with regional and national support need to campaign locally for properly funded social care delivered by well-trained staff who are paid a fair wage. NEC member Chris Tansley reminded delegates that with over 150,000 personal assistants employed in social care, mostly non-unionised and poorly organised, recruitment must be a priority.

UNISON conference debates the economy‏

It is not surprising that the economy and cuts in public spending havedominated the first day of National Conference. Following Dave Prentis' warning to Cameron and Clegg that UNISON will not shy away fromresisting their cuts and any attempt to rob our pensions, delegates got down to debating motion 70 on the economy.

Jane Carolan opening the debate on motion 70 reminded delegates that a policy of cuts is notinevitable. There is an alternative economic policy, one based onfairness good jobs and proper investment in public services. She called for maximum support for UNISON's Million Voices campaign, which as shepointed out is needed now more than ever. Through the campaign we can all help play a part in defeating the Con-Dem policy of destruction.

Public sector pensions under renewed attack‏

The right wing press today launched their propaganda campaign in support the government’s renewed attack on public sector pensions. Their main claim is the pensions of workers in the NHS, Teaching and the Civil Service are now too expensive due to the problems with government debt.

Slash and burn risk to economy

"To my mind the UK should set itself up as Europe's growth economy. A debt-to-GDP ratio of under 75 per cent, which is where it will peak, is manageable. In that context, the case for more cuts is weak. Appeasing the markets is like trying to reason with a crazy man; after Spain announced its cutbacks, the ratings agencies downgraded its debt because of lower growth prospects as a result of those cuts! You can't win with markets. Better to follow the right policy: supporting growth through higher spending on public investment and infrastructure, which will help the economy grow faster in the long term", writes Joseph Stiglitz in the Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/joseph-stiglitz-fiscal-conservatism-may-be-good-for-one-nation-but-threatens-collective-disaster-2000517.html

Prentis defends public sector pensions - OBR softening up public opinion for onslaught on pension rights‏

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis this morning defended public sector pensions and warned on the Radio 4 breakfast programme that, just like Canada, the Government was softening opinion to justify an attack on pensions.

Tax Dodger's Alliance says - let them eat cake‏

The UNISON local government conference yesterday agreed to a major campaign against the pay freeze imposed by the employers in from April without any negotiation. The conference passed an amendment recognising that in these circumstances industrial action would be the most effective way of securing an acceptable outcome.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The excesses are the bankers not the workers‏

The newly created Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has announced that the economy should grow 1.3% this year. In what is likely to be one of the shortest economic predictions, because of the impending budget on 22 June, the OBR has also said that borrowing is down to £155bn in the current financial year which is below the £163bn forecast in Labour's last Budget in March.

Pensions debate and an invite to a wedding!‏

During the local government debate on motion 24 on pension rights for civil partners, conference heard one of the best speeches of conference to date from a delegate from Birmingham. He gave a funny, passionate and moving speech about why it is only right and proper his partner should have full survivor pension rights, not least because his partner has put up with his snoring and untidiness for so long!

UNISON condemns budget 'concessions' to private sector on pension rights‏

Private contractor lobbyists are “boasting” of having inside knowledge of the June 22 emergency Budget. UNISON has exposed claims by the Business Services Association that the Con Dem Coalition will abolish pension protection for public sector workers transferred to private firms. in next week’s Budget announcement.

Roll up, roll up, roll up - it's the UNISON Conference Carnival‏

Each year in the middle of June the good folks of UNISON take themselves to the seaside but it’s not for sunshine, sandcastles and lounging on the beach. Honest, it’s not.

How the Bankers con our politicians‏

A must watch for all of us who are committed to defending the living standards of working people is being shown tonight on Channel 4 at 8pm http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-63/episode-1

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Fighting the cuts in local government‏

Quite rightly the most of the afternoon session at today's UNISON local government conference was taken up debating motions about how we fight cuts. Speaker after speaker got up to tell about attacks on council services.

Responding to shared services and privatisation‏

UNISON local government conference heard that shared services and privatisation are increasingly likely to become a widespread response from councils facing budget cuts during the Con-Dem "age of austerity."

UNISON standing up for social workers‏

On the first morning of the local government conference an excellent debate was held on the important issue of social work.

Reality of home care exploitation exposed by UNISON film‏

At today's UNISON local government conference - as part of the debatethis morning on personalisation and care work - a moving and powerful film about the privatisation of home care in Norfolk was well received by delegates.

Big finance fights back - it's time to wake up‏

Right now, financial elites aren't just fighting a defensive battle against new banking regulations. They are going on the attack, they're whipping up deficit hysteria around the globe and calling for drastic cuts in public services. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/les-leopold/is-there-a-global-war-bet_b_608703.html

Thousands march in Italy against austerity plan‏

Thousands of Italian trade unionists marched in Rome yesterday to protest against the Berlusconi led government's austerity measures (which include cutting funding to local authorities and freezing the pay of public sector workers).
The "It's all on our shoulders" protest by Italy's largest union comes ahead of its one-day strike on June 25 against the 25-billion-euro austerity plan approved under pressure from international financial markets. CGIL the union leading the protests says the austerity measures are unfair, with a disproportionate share of the pain borne by the poor working class. http://www.flcgil.it/live/web_cronache/2010/giugno/tutto_sulle_nostre_spalle_manifestazione_nazionale

UNISON is up to the challenge in local government - Chris Tansley‏

Chris Tansley, chair of UNISON’s local government service group, opened the 2010 service group conference by moving the annual report of its executive committee.

Poorest areas to be hardest hit by public spending cuts‏

The Observer reports on a TUC study which highlights stark regional disparities on the impact of public spending cuts. Based on an analysis of government indices of deprivation the TUC has identified that some of Britain’s poorest areas face above average cuts e.g. the 10 local authorities facing the maximum 2% cut are all in the most deprived quartile.

Decimation of public spending will lead to double recession‏

‘Mad axeman Osborne is about to push Britain into second depression’ is the Sunday Mirror headline on an article by professor Danny Blanchflower.

The Economic Rationalist by Dermot Dorgan‏

I went to see a movie it was called "Jurassic Park"
A lot of folk were fightened as we sat there in the dark
"Well, did the movie scare you" they asked when I came out"
"Hell no!" I said. "there's much worse things than dinosaurs about"
I've seen a real live monster he's everywhere these days.
He's ripping up society in a thousand subtle ways
Dont be fooled if he seems friendly full of reason and goodwill
'Cause he makes Tyrannosaurus Rex look like Blinky Bill"