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

Saturday, 31 July 2010

CND's big idea for the Spending Challenge - stop wasting £100bn+ on Trident‏

As part of its campaign to scrap the wasteful Trident nuclear missiles replacement programme, CND has published a model response to the Con Dem Government’s Spending Challenge – click on the link to support: http://www.cnduk.org/index.php/government-spending-challenge.html

Tobacco Worker by Nancy Morejón‏

A tobacco worker wrote
a poem to death. Amid the smoke
and the dry and twisted leaves of the plains
she said she saw the world in Cuba.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Making the case for progressive reform of public services‏

Professor Gregor Gall, writing in the Morning Star, identifies a right wing hegemony of ideas when it comes to making the case for improved public services. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/93408

Suggestions from Canada‏ - a response‏

The review of the Gindin and Hurley article was an excellent analysis. The characterisation of Canadian unionism fits very much with my impressions from a working visit to Ontario, meeting with Canadian visitors to UNISON and reading news from CUPE and NUPGE.

Mass grave of around 2000 corpses found in Colombia‏

The grave is believed to contain the bodies of victims extrajudicial executions committed by the army over the past 5 years: http://tuninternationalblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/huge-mass-grave-uncovered-in-colombia.html

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Redwood on Total Place - It's all Greek to me!‏

Sitting in a picturesque Greek taverna I attempted to order some food from a bloke standing behind the bar wearing chefs checks and hat. He politely declined pointing me to a waiter in the near empty family run taverna who promptly took my order turned approximately two inches and repeated my order to the chef. Demarcation? Of course. Chefs are far more important than waiters even if literally brothers, each sticks to their own job.

Public Sector - Searching for a Focus?' Suggestions from Canada‏

Only recently Canadian public sector cuts were being presented to the British people as an example of how far and how swift the Coalition Government might have to be in shutting down services, hospital and schools. Interesting then to read about strategies being discussed in the Canadian movement about fighting these cuts.

Worked to death - Karoshi in the UK?‏

Work till you drop dead that's what the Big Society really means. TheCon Dem's plan to make us continue to work way past our retirement and into our 70's. http://tiny.cc/3rm9i

Audit Commission says make LGPS members pay more‏

The Audit Commission has released its response to the Public Sector Pension Commission and predictably says members of the scheme must pay more. UNISON believes merging the investment funds is the best way to deal with costs. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10797739

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Kirby exposes anti-public service myths

UNISON Scotland Convener gets waded into the misinformation used to attack public services and public sector unions in today's Herald newspaper. http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/herald-letters/letters-wednesday-28-july-2010-1.1044236

Cash Rich Compass ready for more Profit -Workers Demand Sick Pay‏

Workers at Southampton University Hospital and at Buckinghamshire Health Trust yesterday handed in petitions to their Trust Boards demanding that they insist that Compass Medirest must pay sick pay for low paid workers. Workers at Sheffield have just rejected an offer from Compass Chartwells to offer them 16 days sick pay but nothing for the first 6 days. Workers at Westminster Council and Reading are both campaigning for sick pay and improved conditions at work.

When Enough Is Enough - NJC Trade Unions Register Formal Dispute with the Employer‏

The Letter to Sarah Messenger, the Employer’s Side Secretary from the NJC Trade Unions Secretaries (26th July) could not have made it any clearer: ’Enough is Enough’. http://www.unison.org.uk/localgov/pages_view.asp?did=11563

Two tier workforce agreement under threat‏

One of the few concrete achievements of the so called Warwick Agreement is under threat from the Con Dem Government. The FT reports today that the government is “minded to scrap an informal code guaranteeing public sector benefits for thousands of outsourced private sector jobs”. The agreement – which ensures that new recruits on outsourced contracts have terms no less favourable than transferred staff with TUPE protection - will be reviewed by the tripartite Public Services Forum. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5a249f7c-99b8-11df-a852-00144feab49a.html

Urgent Alert - 2,000 Dunums of fields burnt down: the result of settler impunity‏

Al-Haq reports that In the early hours of 26 July, more than 70 Israeli settlers visited Joseph’s tomb in Nablus. As a result, "confrontations erupted with the local inhabitants. On their way out of the city, the settlers set ablaze a plot of olive trees near the village of Huwwara. At about 8:00 am, the mob of settlers entered the village of Burin and used Molotov cocktails to set fire to orchards and olive groves. Clashes between settlers and Palestinians ensued, resulting in the injury of, amongst others, a Palestinian child who was later hospitalised. One settler was reported to have been firing a gun."

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

SEIU, Workers United and UNITE HERE Settle Inter Union Dispute‏

In the US yesterday, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Workers United and UNITE HERE announced a settlement agreement on behalf of the unions' members and elected leadership that will bring to a close the protracted dispute between the unions. Some divisive and self interested elements had sought to import the dispute into the British and European trade union movement. http://www.seiu.org/2010/07/seiu-workers-united-and-unite-here-settle-dispute.php

Cameron demonising the public sector as the 'enemy within' - Ed Miliband‏

THE FT reports on UNISON supported Labour Leadership candidate Ed Miliband coming out in defence of public service workers: “Cameron wants to create an enemy within, he wants to say the issue in politics is the public sector, and the public sector is something of a leach or a parasite on the rest of society, I profoundly disagree,” he said. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e402d036-98c0-11df-a0b7-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss

BP - the luxury of failure and the loss to our pension funds‏

The inevitable has happened. The BP CEO Tony Hayward is leaving his post with a fat payoff and his pension, rewards for failure are luxuary. BP has confirmed that he is leaving with a £1m payoff and a pension, expected to be about half a million pounds a year, as the oil giant reported one of the largest corporate losses in British history due to the cost of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jul/27/tony-hayward-leaves-bp-1m-payoff

Monday, 26 July 2010

Cuts won't just hit public services

A private company that carries out maintenance and repairs for many social housing projects has seen its shares slump as it expects revenues to be £80m lower and profits £13m lower this year due to public service cutbacks. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10759526

Northern Ireland public sector cuts will lead to 10 years of social devastation‏

Northern Ireland, where 31% of the workforce is employed in the public sector compared to a UK average of 25%, faces 10 years of social devastation because of public spending cuts according to a study commissioned by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-10756407

Sunday, 25 July 2010

More evidence of austerity bonanza for private sector vultures‏

The press is reporting rising profits for companies in the vanguard of public sector outsourcing. The Evening Standard reported last week that 'Capita cashes in on outsourcing' http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-business/article-23858766-capita-says-outsourcing-demand-is-staying-strong.do

Inexorable decline in membership of UK political parties and affiliated organisations‏

Research by the Commons Library shows an inexorable decline in membership of UK political parties and affiliated organisations: http://bit.ly/cut085 A comprehensive research note collates all available figures on party membership, and documents trends in membership since 1928:

Offended Turf by Margaret Randall‏

I press my face against dark steel tubes
14 feet high
filled with poured concrete
solid as fear
undulating over these rises and hollows
of desecrated land
like the Great Wall of China
without its invitation to walk.