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

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Photos and video of today's France demonstrations

L'Humanite is running photos sent in by readers and correspondents at http://www.humanite.fr/13_10_2010-mobilisation-pour-les-retraites-les-compte-rendus-et-les-photos-de-nos-correspondants-455 and la cgt has video at http://www.cgt.fr/

UNISON Active Analysis - The Bankers Crisis and the LGPS‏

The latest facts about the LGPS for England and Wales have been published by the government. They can be found here:  The full effect of the economic collapse that was engineered by the bankers is starting to bite as income from investments has shown a dramatic drop. Income from investments fell by 10 per cent in 2009-10 to £2.6 billion. This follows a fall of 9 per cent in 2008-09, so in two years that source of income has declined by 19%.

Investing in quality public services - the best alternative to austerity cuts‏

This week the Council of Global Unions, an alliance of international trade union organisations, held a conference in Geneva on the theme of ‘Quality Public Services – Action now’. The conference reviewed strategies to improve and expand quality public services around the world.

The Workers United: MEP tells union leader to stick to nappies and bre...

The Workers United: MEP tells union leader to stick to nappies and bre...: "A UKIP politician has told the deputy general secretary of the National Union of Journalists to stick to nappies and breastfeeding.

I Sing of my Comrades by David Marshall‏

I sing of my comrades
That once did sing
In that great choir at Albacete
Before the battle. Rank after rank
Of the young battalions
Singing the Internationale
They came from every corner of the earth
So many men from distant lands
Each with his private history
Who took to arms in the defence
Of Spain’s Republic.
Madrid the magnet that drew us all
Along slow roads to Spain – at last a star
For desperate men, sensing the gathering storm

Friday, 15 October 2010

TUC blasts Young health and safety review‏

The TUC has expressed its ‘grave disappointment’ at the recommendations of the health and safety review led by senior Tory Lord Young.

Right wing think tank calls for 'widespread privatisations'‏

The Adam Smith Institute, an ultra right wing think tank is calling on the Con Dem Government to undertake "a radical new programme of privatisation". The intellectual advanced guard of Thatcherism estimates the government could raise as much as £90bn in a fire sale hiving off everything from Network Rail and the Royal Mint to Royal Bank of Scotland. http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/tax-and-economy/privatization-revisited%3a-an-asi-report/ The institute is rumoured to have a working party examining proposals for the privatisation of air and daylight. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11545459

Women in firing line of public spending cuts‏

Research by the Northern TUC highlights the severe impact of public spending cuts on women in the North East of England, where 46% of all women who work are employed in the public sector: http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-18658-f0.cfm

Findings of Health and Safety review to be published today‏

Lord Young will today publish the report of his commission on health and safety. The Tory Grandee commenced the review before the General Election as a Conservative Party policy exercise but within days of the General election it received a formal mandate from the Prime Minister:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11546919
The review is widely expected to have a business bias with a serious likelihood that the burden of proof in civil law will be amended to make it harder to claim compensation for injury.

Fight on to save five New Cross libraries

The shutters at New Cross Library have been redecorated with the slogans 'Save Our Libraries' and 'Save New Cross'. The campaign to save the five Lewisham libraries threatened with closure is still going strong with a march with a carnival flavour planned for Saturday 30th October. See more at  http://transpont.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-cross-library-latest.html and UNISON's library campaign at http://www.unison.org.uk/localgov/librarycampaigns.asp

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Local Government - NJC Agreement under attack‏

Today’s Municipal Journal front page makes much of the employers not-so-guarded threat to rip up the terms and conditions of local government workers with at least three references to councils considering dismissal and re-engagement of staff on less favourable conditions. Presumably they think that if they holler loud enough council workers will roll over and have their tummies tickled by the Tory controlled employers (LGE)? http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=products.detail&product=theMj

That old chesnut again - 'is time up for the unions?'‏

Lord Melvyn Bragg guests as editor in the latest edition of New Statesman. It is perhaps fitting that the writer of historical fiction should commission two political relics to discuss the question ‘is time up for the unions?  http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2010/10/trade-unions-british-britain

The case for the NHS‏

Dave Prentis writes in today’s Guardian about UNISON’s legal challenge to the Con Dem Government’s NHS White Paper. Health warning: beware the pro market, anti union comments which follow the article from the rabid right http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/13/case-for-the-nhs-unison-public-debate

IoD mad axemen call for cuts in NHS and overseas aid‏

A platitude which rolls easily off the lips of politicians is the ‘national interest’. Scratch the surface and usually you’ll find a commercial or some other vested interest.

UNISON veterans gear up to fight cuts‏

Yesterday UNISON’s retired members conference in Southport gave a real taste of the anxiety, fears and anger about the Con Dem government’s plans to rip apart our public services. But there was also determination on display about the need to organise and spread the union’s campaign to defend public services.

Rural Public Services at risk

The high proportion of rural people are employed in the public sector is bringing fears that jobs will be lost in a further blow to the countryside economy. "Many rural communities were standing on the edge of a precipice and this Coalition Government was going to push them over, if it had its way", says Mike Walker in Country Standard http://country-standard.blogspot.com/2010/10/lib-dem-lord-slams-coalitions-slaughter.html

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The not so glorious picture of Chilean Mines‏

Cameron as expected leapt onto the passing bandwagon of public emotion at the rescue of the Chilean Miners trapped underground for two and a half months. Who amongst us could fail to be moved by the spectacular rescue and humanity of the situation. But there is a deeply disturbing picture that is not the ‘glorious picture’ described by Cameron in Prime Minister’s Question Time today that should serve as a salutary reminder that unions must still battle on health and safety . We must not allow the profiteers to compromise the health and safety of workers in exchange for profit.

UNISONActive Analysis: PWC report - The hawks are gathering‏

It comes as no surprise to learn that PricewaterhouseCoopers have repeated today the fears that many of us have been expressing for the last two years, which is that private sector job growth will not replace the job losses in the public sector. As well as the damaging commitment to the cuts, falling on an 80/20 divide between spending and taxes, the slash and burn approach to capital investment highlighted in the PWC report shows the loss of a further 100,000 construction jobs. This vindicates the calls from the left to continue rather than cut capital investment programmes such as building school for the future. http://www.ukmediacentre.pwc.com/News-Releases/Private-sector-jobs-could-be-significantly-affected-by-public-sector-spending-cuts-but-will-not-cause-double-dip-recession-says-PwC-research-f35.aspx

Reality of Con Dem rule for working people - "spending cuts will cost a million jobs"‏

The Independent reports that almost one million jobs will be lost as a result of the Government's programme of deficit reduction – many in the very regions and industries that have already suffered most in the recession, according to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).  PWC economists say that a further half a million jobs will be lost among private sector contractors and suppliers as a result of the Chancellor's anticipated £84bn in cuts, due to be announced on 20 October. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/spending-cuts-will-cost-a-million-jobs-warns-pwc-2104921.html

UNISON activist education & training summit‏

Members of UNISON regional learning and organising committees and education staff from regions and national got together with NEC members in Birmingham for the annual education forum last weekend. They heard the latest on the future of funding for activist education: in short, from January there is no funding for any course which is not on the Qualification Credit Framework. This has meant that 16 out of 37 Trade Union qualifications are no longer funded, and short courses (under 30 hours) won’t be funded at all.

Hypocrisy - all but 38 MP's would fail CBI ballot test‏

The CBI has been pressing ministers to change the law so that 40% of union members balloted would have to support a walkout before it could go ahead, while London Mayor Boris Johnson believes at least 50% of those balloted should vote.

Moving progressively backwards in Higher Education‏

“The system of payments is highly progressive” said Lord Browne yesterday in his report on university tuition fees. His comments were echoed by arch phoney Vince Cable: http://tinyurl.com/cvlzbo

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Gender and pay divisions a disgrace - UNISON‏

Channel 4 News last night ran a feature on the Equality & Human Rights Commission report ‘How fair is Britain’. UNISON national official Bronwyn McKenna told the programme that gender and pay divisions were a "disgrace": http://www.channel4.com/news/equality-report-exposes-a-divided-britain

Where does your MP stand on cuts?‏

A superb new TUC campaign has been launched called ‘Going to Work’. It's calling on trade unionists and other supporters of quality public services to lobby MP’s over the spending cuts due to be confirmed by Con Dem Chancellor Osborne in next week’s comprehensive spending review announcement. http://www.goingtowork.org.uk/

More national strike action in France today‏

French unions are staging a national day of strikes and demonstrations in opposition to the government's pension reforms - the third in a month. The five union organisations involved - CFDT, CFTC, CGT, FSU, Solidaires & UNSA - say the dispute is ‘entering a decisive phase’. Ministers want to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62, and the state pension age from 65 to 67 and are pressing on with legislation in the French Senate despite massive popular support for the union position. Polls show over 66% against the austerity driven reforms.

Tax on sick as plans to abolish parking charges dropped

NHS Hospitals in England have increased car parking for patients relatives and staff after the Coalition dropped Labour plans to abolish the charges. Some Hospitals have raised rates by up to 150%, many hospitals now charge parking at £2:50 per hour, even higher in central London. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1319330/Tax-sick-hospitals-increase-car-park-charges-150-cent.html

Monday, 11 October 2010

Closing gender pay gap - progress 'grinding to a halt'‏

Progress in closing the gender pay gap appears to be "grinding to a halt", according to a report ‘How fair is Britain’, published today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).  EHRC says that on average women earned 16% less than men, widening to 27% for women aged 40.  http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/news/2010/october/commission-launches-landmark-report-how-fair-is-britain/

Northern Public Services Alliance Cuts Rally 20 October

The Northern Public Services Alliance is holding a rally at Newcastle Civic Centre at 5.00pm on Wednesday 20 October, just after the Comprehensive Spending Review is announced in Parliament. Public spending cuts are not the way to tackle the deficit, says the alliance leaflet backed by UNISON and 15 other unions with the Northern TUC. Get a copy of the leaflet at https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B4mGMLu_gab8OTAyNmMxYzAtMjg4My00MGU4LTk0ZTgtYzc4OWVkOTI0MjI0&hl=en or http://www.tuc.org.uk/tuc/regions_info_northern.cfm

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Unshackle the Unions – Lobby your MP & Support Lobby of Parliament 13 October‏

'On the day of last week's Tube strike the Continuity CBI launched yet another missile in its inimitable version of the class war against working people and their organisations. The extremists of the British business lobby proposed ever more vicious restraints on the right to strike, including daily financial penalties on trade unions and a requirement that trade unions give longer notice to help employers prepare for a walkout’, says Professor Keith Ewing in making the case for Labour MP’s to support the Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill tabled by John McDonnell MP. http://morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/96219

Austerity & devolution - a welcome joint declaration‏

This week the Con Dem Coalition announced the tax shambles, which will impact upon middle class families, and has implications for the debate on universal benefits, balanced by fair and full taxation on all income. The FT saw this "spreading the pain" argument of millionaire Chancellor Osborne, as a cover for the worst to come in the October Spending Review, which will target, our people, our services and our communities. The FT again questioned the mandate for the threatened austerity measures.

Getting down to it by Penny Anne Windsor‏

the management committee
kicked the co-ordinator
who kicked the manager
who kicked the facilitator
who kicked the volunteer –
who kicked the broom
and what could the broom do?

ah! poor broom
it spat in the dust
http://www.honno.co.uk/chwilio.php?func=pori_awdur&awdur=PennyAnne Windsor