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

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Three year pay imposition kick in teeth for Scottish local government workers

UNISON has reacted angrily to COSLA’s decision to impose a three year pay deal, calling it a kick in the teeth to local government workers. http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/2010/julyaug/2708b.htm

Coalition to axe NHS Direct -3000 jobs on the line‏

Andrew Lansley, Tory Secretary of State Secretary of State for Health, has let slip that the Coalition is to scrap the popular and highly used NHS Direct for a cheaper service, according to a Guardian report. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/aug/27/nhs-direct-health-phone-service

Spending cuts & the private sector – feast or famine?‏

Two reports highlight the complex and contradictory nature of the capitalist economic system and the differential impact of Con Dem cuts.

Obsessive Compulsive in Iraq by Mark McGuire-Schwartz‏

He showers excessively
While the bombs drop,
Silently repeating his mantra:
Wash away the war. Wash away
The war. Now, as he shampoos

Friday, 27 August 2010

Petition launched to stop NHS White Paper‏

The UNISON backed NHS Support Federation has launched a petition to highlight the threat posed to the NHS by the Con Dem White Paper ‘Liberating the NHS’: http://www.nhscampaign.org/current-issues-2/e-petition.html  - ‘Our treasured NHS is under threat. We believe that proposals in the new White Paper will break-up NHS services. At the heart of the NHS should be patients, but business motives are cutting deeply into the fairness, quality and value that we have come to expect. It is crucial for the public and NHS staff to join in opposing these proposals. Please give us your support.’

COSATU congratulates striking public service workers‏

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has congratulated striking public service workers and their supporters from other unions and the general public on the magnificent turnout at the nationwide marches throughout South Africa yesterday:

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Thickest cuts of Labour Party democracy for MPs & MEPs‏

One week before voting opens in the leadership election, New Statesman analyses the Labour Party electoral college and finds votes weighted massively in favour of MPs and MEPs: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/08/vote-worth-labour-mps-members

US unions win historic victory - gaining new shareowner rights to challenge executive pay‏

Investors have won enhanced powers to challenge runaway pay packets and poor management at the top of the US business world under contentious rules approved today that make it easier for shareholders to unseat directors of Wall Street-listed companies: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/aug/25/investors-boardroom-pay

Under-investment in libraries will lead to a spiral of decline‏

At face value a recent report from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) suggests a worrying decline in usage of public libraries: ‘Only 12.8% of us made a monthly habit of visiting our local library last year, and just 40% of us went there at least once. The DCMS reckons that the number of weekly visitors to libraries has fallen by 32% in five years’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/24/libraries-need-investment-thrive

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

UNISON launches legal challenge to NHS reforms – a response‏

As Clare Williams points out, the union is right to mount a legal challenge to Con Dem plans to decimate the NHS – at the very least it exposes the undemocratic nature of the changes and gives us time to organise resistance.

So-called progressive budget hits families and pensioners twice as hard‏

So much for the Condem's 'progressive' claims, with pensioners and families with children being the biggest victims of George Osborne's emergency budget according to research published today commissioned from the Institute for Fiscal Studies by End Child Poverty.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

UNISON launches legal challenge to stop Con Dem NHS privatisation juggernaut in its tracks‏

So much for Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ giving power to the people. The consultation on the NHS White Paper, ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ has been exposed as nothing more than lip service of the worst kind. The proposals in this White Paper are the most fundamental changes to the NHS...

Con Dem cuts starting to bite in the private sector‏

The Coalition Government is hitting many targets other than their cherished mythical ‘fat cat public sector workers:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/aug/23/profit-warnings-public-sector-cuts

South Africa public service strike escalates as security forces intervene‏

Public service unions in South Africa are defying a weekend court order banning ‘essential workers’ from taking industrial action in a national pay dispute. Yesterday security forces were deployed outside hospitals and police fired rubber bullets at striking health workers, injuring several protesters in Durban More than one million workers across all public services are taking part in an indefinite strike which began last Wednesday.

Tory diplomatic corps reaches out to unions‏

The Independent reports that ‘senior Conservatives have held secret talks with trade union leaders to pave the way for a highly symbolic meeting between David Cameron and the TUC general secretary Brendan Barber’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tories-in-secret-talks-with-unions-as-threat-of-autumn-strikes-looms-2060133.html

Monday, 23 August 2010

Tiresome Tories at it again attacking Labour links to Unions‏

The New Statesman rebuts tiresome Tory attacks on the Labour Union link, saying that ‘Labour must remind voters that union donations are made up of thousands of voluntary contributions’:

Australian General Election outcome on a knife edge‏

Report from a UNISONActive reader in Sydney, Australia: The election remains on a knife edge with both sides negotiating to form Government. Whilst the Greens picked up a significant swing towards them, this has not translated into seats in the Lower House where they have won their first seat. The Greens will however have the balance of power in the Australian Senate and have already confirmed their intention to reinforce workers and union rights wherever possible.

Spending cuts mean rising poverty and inequality, OECD study confirms‏

The dangers of the ConDem love affair with Sweden's and Canada's cuts in public spending in the 1990s is exposed today in the FT as its cites an OECD survey showing that huge rises in poverty and inequality resulted in these countries.

Cosatu stands firm in face of strike ban on 'essential workers'‏

On Saturday, a South African court issued an order banning ‘essential staff, including doctors, nurses and teachers’ from participating in the indefinite public sector pay strike, reports the FT. http://tinyurl.com/3y7v2xq

100 days of Con Dem austerity - a view from the right‏

Reform is a self styled ‘think tank’ articulating a right wing, pro-corporate case for outsourcing and small government. No surprise then that its verdict on the Con Dem Government’s first 100 days in office is ‘good but could do better’. http://tinyurl.com/33anmpg

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Step aside Sir Philip - government appoints ANOTHER tax avoider to advise on cuts‏

The ConDem's new ‘cuts tsar’ Sir Philip Green made headlines over his tax affairs. But now in Adrian Beecroft, one of four City high fliers recruited by George Osborne earlier this month to act as key figures on the government’s ‘independent challenge group’."... we have a multimillionaire Sunday Times Rich List alumnus who ran a company that used offshore tax avoidance structures on his watch, now advising the government on how to cut public spending in a way that will almost certainly impact on frontline services and welfare for the poorest in society", reports the A Thousand Cuts blog http://athousandcuts.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/step-aside-sir-philip-%e2%80%93-government-appoints-another-tax-avoider-to-advise-on-cuts/

STUC warning on labour market trends‏

Each month when labour market data is published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), media comment invariably focuses on relative levels of employment and unemployment. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/lmsuk0710.pdf

Big Ask by Carol Ann Duffy‏

(In memory of Adrian Mitchell)
What was it Sisyphus pushed up the hill?
I wouldn't call it a rock.
Will you solemnly swear on the Bible?
I couldn't swear on a book.
With which piece did you capture the castle?
I shouldn't hazard a rook.