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

Saturday, 24 July 2010

USA heading for economic depression are we next?‏

A sustained decline of the money supply has occurred during only three business cycle contractions in recent history, each of which was severe as judged by the decline in output and rise in unemployment: 1920-1921,1929-1933, and 1937-1938. The severity of the economic decline in each of these downturns, it is widely accepted, was a consequence of the reduction in the quantity of money, particularly so for the downturn that began in 1929, when the quantity of money fell by an unprecedented one-third.

What does 'Liberating the NHS' mean?‏

Steve Illife writing on the Health Matters blog poses the question “Liberating the NHS – but from whom or what?” http://www.healthmatters.org.uk/?p=247

Professor Illife identifies three characteristics which distinguish the NHS from health services’ elsewhere:
- freely available at the time of need
- funded largely from central taxation
- built around a gatekeeper model of primary care

He goes on to identify the gatekeeper model based on general practice moderating demand as the focus of the White Paper. Established in 1948 - “in effect a pact between the medical profession and the government, against medical consumerism” – he states that the gatekeeping model is failing in several ways including by large scale inappropriate referrals to hospitals and inadequate community based provision, particularly out of hours.

The crux of the problem is a structural one –
“General practices are busy and there are many problems to solve, so practitioners must prioritise. General practices are for-profit organisations with very limited competition between them for patients. There is little incentive to invest practice resources in solving a clinical problem when specialist services exist to do exactly the same. There is a large incentive to draw the line between generalist and specialist medicine in ways that externalise investment decisions to NHS hospital budgets.”

Illife concludes an excellent overview of general practice including the extent/examples of private sector and not for profit activity, by calling on advocates of the NHS to “acknowledge and solve the gatekeeper problem”.

What Work Is by Philip Levine‏

We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.
You know what work is—if you’re
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Victory for UNISON's John gray in blogging libel case‏

New Statesman is reporting on a libel case landmark victory for Greater London UNISON branch secretary, regional council officer & prolific blogger John Gray:

AGM time for Health & Local Government SGE's‏

This week the newly elected service group executives in health and local government held their 2010 AGM's. In both service groups the progressive left chairing teams were re-elected and battle plans were developed to deal with the Con Dem threat to funding, jobs and services. Both services groups renewed their commitment to closer joint working to meet the challenges facing UNISON members in the main public services.


In a judgment dated 15 July 2010, the European Court of Justice has condemned Germany over the practice of local authority employers to award contracts for pension services on the basis of a selection laid down in collective agreements. Relying extensively on the Viking and Laval case law, the Court ruled that although the right to collective bargaining is a fundamental right, the European public procurement rules should prevail.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Con Dem cuts crippling Universities & Colleges‏

The Guardian reports that Universities and Colleges in England “are being forced to do without £82m that the government had promised them for the current financial year”. Over the next 3 years over £1bn will be reduced from higher education budgets. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/jul/21/college-university-teaching-budgets

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Lockerbie: Is there truth? Is there compassion?

The politically charged blame game, feasting on whether a terminally ill man is not dying soon enough, shows no respect to the victims of Lockerbie, the sovereignty of the Scottish legal system or the concept of compassion. It betrays a political process based on a sincerity (if you can fake that, you’ve made it) that comes only from opinion polls. Followers masquerading as leaders.

UNISON Labour Link nominates Ed Miliband in Labour leadership election‏

The national committee of UNISON’s 430 000 strong Labour Link today agreed to nominate Ed Miliband in the Labour leadership election. Following regional consultations it was reported that several candidates had attracted support across UNISON’s 11 regions linked to Labour. However a clear majority had favoured the Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and MP for Doncaster North. All Labour Link levy payers will be balloted individually in September and the votes cast for each candidate will be added to those of other trade unionists who form of the one third of the electoral college.

The blob united will never be defeated‏

Arch right wing keyboard warrior Leo McKinstry writing in today’s Express offensively characterises public servants as ‘the blob’:

Cameron declines TUC Congress invite‏

The TUC General Council was informed yesterday that Tory Prime Minister had declined the historic (but controversial) invitation to address TUC Congress in September. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/93042
The meeting also discussed the June 22 budget and a co-ordinated trade union response to attacks on public services and jobs.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

TUC on Resisting the Cuts‏

The TUC General Council meets today with media attention on the controversial invitations to Cameron and Clegg to attend September’s Congress. The dogs will bark (hopefully biting the arse of the Con Dem leaders in the process) and the caravan will move on.

Police services are being undermined by cuts says Chief Inspector‏

Con Dem cuts of more than 12% to police budgets in England and Wales will undermine effective policing according to the Chief Inspector of Constabulary. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10691052

Monday, 19 July 2010

Low paid not receiving living wage‏

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation believes the minimum wage would need to be £6.88 per hour rather than the rate of £5.93 which it will go up to from November. But the Low Pay Commission, which has been visiting the region this week says the minimum wage amount they are asked to set is a level below which wages must not fall, not a level for a living wage. Click on the link to hear Clare Williams, Northern regional convenor and health NEC member, making the case against poverty pay. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/regions/north_east_and_cumbria/8829175.stm

Save our Schools protest today at Parliament‏

UNISON is backing today’s lobby of Parliament by education unions protesting at the Con Dem Government’s destructive education policies. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-10663199
UNISON national officer Christine Lewis, said: "The government is behaving recklessly by halting the Building Schools for the Future programme without consulting schools or local authorities. Some projects will see their funding completely cut off, which will cause chaos in vulnerable communities that are struggling to pull themselves out of recession."

Sunday, 18 July 2010

God Bless America by Harold Pinter‏

Here they go again,
The Yanks in their armoured parade
Chanting their ballads of joy
As they gallop across the big world
Praising America's God.