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

Saturday, 4 September 2010

We've got the argument. We've got the alternatives. We've got the vision - get out and organise for it

There is an alternative to savage cuts in public services is the message from a strategy meeting of unions and community groups hosted by UNISON Scotland today 4 September.

The 270 delegates united behind a call from Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, to build "Our vision of a good society. A society based on fairness, solidarity, and democracy. A society in which public services are there to enable everyone to participate.

Call for Solidarity - Free Lokman Özdemir‏

KESK, the Turkish Federation of Public Employees Trade Unions, are calling on public service unions worldwide to demand the release of Lokman Özdemir. Brother Özdemir is the President of KESK affiliate, DIVES (which organises religion and foundation workers), who last week was arrested and detained for making a public demand for peace and democracy.

Con Dem's going for a 'quick win' on LGPS?‏

The Hutton Commission maybe on the verge of giving the Treasury the opportunity to go for a quick win on public sector pensions according to Public Finance magazine:

Save NHS Direct‏

One week ago, while touring Basingstoke Hospital, Health Minister Andrew Lansley casually announced the Coalition Government’s plan to axe the NHS Direct service, the 24 hour nurse led helpline which takes over 12,000 calls every day.

First Day Back by Ken Champion‏

Despite their stifled yawns
he tries to tell them abut Marx
and to sum up his thesis in a sentence.

Friday, 3 September 2010

How do you make money in the USA? Sack Workers!‏

The USA was once the great engine of world capitalism but an addiction to banking and finance has laid the economy low. A new report shows that the bosses are still raking it in and that the most highly paid executives are those who've laid off most workers: a bitter irony before Labour Day.

Con Dem austerity measures - a war on equality‏

Ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone has published a damning critique of the Con Dem cuts programme, showing that women are more heavily affected by cuts in housing benefit and pension changes

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Cosatu affiliates reject new offer - public services strike continues in South Africa‏

Click here for a selection
of great strike posters
South Africa's public sector strike is set to continue after the leading trade union federation Cosatu rejected an improved wage offer from the government. Cosatu said the majority of its affiliated unions had voted against the proposal.  "The unions met this afternoon and Cosatu rejected the offer. The strikes will continue and we will continue to consult our members," said Cosatu Secretary General Zwelinzima yesterday. The BBC reports that further talks are expected.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11161276 Also click here for a pdf of great strike posters

BBC workers make a stand on pensions‏

BBC management has been facing the biggest staff revolt in years over proposals to cap final salary pension benefits for existing members from April 2011 and to close the scheme to new employees. Changes proposed in late June include breaking the link between final salary and pension benefits by capping pensionable salary growth at 1% a year, whatever pay increases an employee received.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

David Cameron's "pure and simple lies" to pensioners

Political Scrapbook's attack video: David Cameron's "pure and simple lies" to pensioners is well worth a look. Thanks to Chris Bartter for the nod. http://politicalscrapbook.net/2010/09/david-cameron-pure-and-simple-lies-video/#cameron-lies-video

Labour ballot opens today - UNISON calls on members to back Ed Miliband‏

In the next few days the 430,000 UNISON members who pay a political fund contribution to Labour Link will be receiving a Labour Party leadership ballot paper – the ballot opens today 1 September. The ballot is being conducted using the Alternative Vote system of ranking candidates in order of preference and UNISON has produced basic voting guidance with a recommendation that members give 1st preference to the union’s nominee Ed Miliband:

UNISON leads Bolton rally against cuts‏

UNISON is joining a protest tonight against plans to axe up to 1,400 jobs in Bolton Council. Trade unionists and members of the public will join the Trades Union Council rally outside the Bolton Council meeting. http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/districtnews/districtatog/8361689.Protest_against_town_hall_jobs_axe_in_Bolton/

Global growth in private security parallels outsourcing to NGOs‏

"Market extremists argue that the private sector can do almost everything better than governments. The most extreme do not concede the qualifier "almost" and argue that even the police and army should be privatized. The growth of private security companies (PSC) is generally seen as a result of the success of extreme market arguments. Less commented upon is a parallel growth of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in healthcare, education and social services development, especially in the Third World, that was once provided by public institutions", writes Yves Engler in counterpunch http://www.counterpunch.org/engler08262010.html

Norfolk spurns UNISON alternative to cuts‏

Despite UNISON urging Norfolk County Council to rethink plans to cut £2.8m from its Connexions careers service, council leaders look set to press ahead with the plans. http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/content/eveningnews24/norwich-news/story.aspx?brand=ENOnline&category=News&tBrand=ENOnline&tCategory=xNews&itemid=NOED31%20Aug%202010%2008%3A13%3A32%3A703

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Workers rights under attack in New Zealand‏

The National Party led Government this month introduced two new Bills to Parliament to drastically change employment law in New Zealand.  If passed the changes will take away workers' rights, remove protections, cut pay, reduce holidays and diminish access to sick leave.

Quick Wins for the Con Dem Pensions Commission = Big losses for LGPS members‏

The FT reports on proposals from the influential London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) for ‘sweeping changes to local government workers’ pension arrangements’.

Breakthrough in South African public services strike?‏

After 13 days on strike, over one million striking South African public servants will vote today on a revised Government offer. Reuters reports that the government ‘increased its offer to 7.5 percent from 7 percent - compared to the union demand for 8.6 percent’. As well as the proposed wage increase, the government raised its offer for a monthly housing allowance to 800 rand. Unions have been demanding 1,000 rand. http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE67U05Y20100831

Monday, 30 August 2010

4 Independents hold balance of power in Australia‏

Report from a UNISONActive reader in Sydney, Australia:
The makeup of the next Australian Government remains uncertain following the recent Australian elections. With both major parties requiring the support of key independents in order to form a minority Government, both parties continue to negotiate to garner support. The situation has gone very quiet on the ground with both major parties locked in negotiations to form the next Government.

Ed Miliband backs UNISON campaign for fair pay in Sodexo‏

Ed Miliband yesterday backed the campaign by Richmond school meals workers to win sick pay and improved hourly rates. Speaking at the Richmond Labour Party meeting he pledged his support for their campaign against the global company Sodexo who have denied them sick pay and many other entitlements under the 'Workforce Code' - which the coalition government is looking to end. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/94595

Malaysian workers' pension fund launches £1bn spending spree‏

A $112bn pension fund that invests the savings of 12.3 million Malaysian workers has launched a £1bn property spending spree as Far East pension money comes into the UK. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/malaysian-workers-savings-fund-launches-1631bn-spending-spree-2064627.html

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Gesture politics, platitudes & a leadership election‏

Rarely has there been a more self indulgent internal political process than the extended leadership election taking place within the Labour Party. The PLP nomination process started on 24 May and the result will not be announced until 25 September.

Bradford stands together against EDL hatred & racism‏

Nick Lowles of Hope not Hate reports on yesterday’s events in Bradford where over 800 far right EDL supporters congregated. Nick praises the local community and anti racist campaigners: ‘ I saw at first hand how horrible, racist and violent the EDL were today.

Poem about My Rights by June Jordan‏

Even tonight and I need to take a walk and clear
my head about this poem about why I can’t
go out without changing my clothes my shoes
my body posture my gender identity my age
my status as a woman alone in the evening/