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

Saturday, 6 November 2010

22 activists killed in President Santos' first 75 days in office in Colombia‏

A report by human rights groups on Thursday states that at least 22 activists were murdered in the first 75 days of the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos,  http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/12644-22-activists-killed-santos-government.html

Political party funding under scrutiny..again!‏

The Committee on Standards in Public Life, chaired by Sir Christopher Kelly, opened a new inquiry into political party finance on Wednesday of last week and will publish its recommendations in Spring 2011: http://www.public-standards.gov.uk/OurWork/Party_Political_Finance___Public_Hearings.html

Britain's broken economy & how to mend it‏

‘The deep defects in the global economic system have not been remedied. The current upswing will therefore be brief. Another, perhaps even more serious, crisis is likely. When it happens the left must not be caught, as it was last time, with its pants down’ says Larry Elliot in his foreword to ‘Britain's broken economy - and how to mend it’ published by the centre left New Political Economy Network and available on line at: http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/ebooks/BritainsBrokenEconomy.html

Remembering the International Brigades‏

Glasgow memorial
At UNISON's recent international seminar in Liverpool, North West regional secretary Frank Hont told delegates about his involvement in the International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT), and why the legacy of those who fought fascism in Spain over 70 years ago is still relevant today: http://www.unison.org.uk/international/pages_view.asp?did=12022

We Refugees by Benjamin Zephaniah‏

I come from a musical place
Where they shoot me for my song
And my brother has been tortured
By my brother in my land.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Cambridge becomes a Tory-free zone

The people of Cambridge will have awoken this morning to the news that not only had Labour won the Coleridge Ward by election in the City, but also that the Tories had been wiped off the political map in Cambridge. Cambridge City is now a Tory Free Council, with not one of the forty two councillors a Conservative. Meanwhile, at Swindon, Wiltshire Labour also secured another stunning victory over the Tories, with the Lib Dem vote dropping from 792 in May this year to just 98. http://country-standard.blogspot.com/2010/11/cambridge-tories-wiped-out.html

CCT or Treasury dictat - which will it be?‏

According to a Cabinet Office news release the ‘Government is united in its drive to open up public services so the best providers get the job’ and Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark has said that he wants ‘local voluntary groups to have the right to deliver more services locally so that the sector are not confined to a walled-off part of councils' budgets’. http://www.communities.gov.uk/newsstories/communities/1759026

BBC journalists pensions strike

NUJ members across the BBC are on strike Friday & Saturday in a bid to preserve some vestige of their pension. Pretty obviously anyone phoning from the BBC looking for comment or input on Fri or Sat is breaking the strike… http://www.nuj.org.uk/innerPagenuj.html?docid=1796

Tory reactionary attacks right to strike‏

Washed up failed Tory Party leadership contender David Davies uses a column in today’s Daily Mail to wage war against public services trade unionists and attack our right to strike. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1326826/Cameron-told-Rip-outdated-union-laws-rival-David-Davis.html

The complex tasks facing public service unions‏

Gregor Gall writes in today’s Morning Star on the complex tasks facing unions resisting the cuts – achieving unity between unions, within each union at local and national level as well as between public service workers bearing the brunt of redundancies and imposed cuts in terms and conditions: http://alturl.com/924sq

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Lib Dems crash but we still need to get the message across

YouGov’s daily polling for the Sun has topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, Others 10%. It’s the first time YouGov have shown the Lib Dems dropping into single figures, and the first time any pollster has shown them at such a low level since 1997. But the 40% backing for the Tories still means there's a lot of organising work to do.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Response to Channel 4's attack on Local Government employees

A UNISONActive reader has slammed Channel 4's 'blatant and biased' attack on Local Government employees last night. The programme seemed to clearly suggest that because of the cuts and being funded by "the Public Purse", Local Government employees were not worthy of or entitled to redundancy payouts that have been agreed, fought for and negotiated over decades.

How should the unions respond to the CSR? TUC Union Ideas Network debate‏

Now, more than ever, the trade union movement needs somewhere for a forensic examination of industrial relations and the role of trade unions in British society generally, and around the world. Union Ideas Network is the forum which brings together leading academics in industrial relations, business and political and social sciences into contact and dialogue with the trade union movement.

What's Happening in Europe?‏

'Europe is seeing some of the largest demonstrations since World War II, with labor agitation being the major trademark' writes Vincent Navarro in US webzine Counterpunch.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Community Service Group is up and running

Community, UNISON’s new service group established at 2009 NDC, today held its inaugural conference in Telford. Over 100 delegates attended the conference which was chaired by union President Angela Lynes. http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=6415

Channel 4 News scrapes FoI barrel‏

Channel 4 News reports that Councils are facing unprecedented budget cuts of 28 per cent by 2015, with an estimated 100,000 job losses in the next five years. http://www.channel4.com/news/council-spending-revealed-ahead-of-cuts?34 Using a method of investigative journalism pioneered by the Daily telegraph and the Tax Dodger’s Alliance, Channel 4 News used the ‘largest ever’ Freedom of Information request to survey Council spending on private healthcare and redundancy costs for employees as well as sickness absence rates.

Return to Babylon

Neal Ascherson's scathing analysis in the Herald of the rolling back of public service state is well worth a read - 'Sometimes a train rolls backwards.... Those shrieking, guffawing Tory cheers, after Chancellor George Osborne proclaimed his spending cuts! Out of their train window, they could see approaching the dim old vaults of Babylon Central, where taxes were low, scroungers ate bread and marge, and a working-class mother told her son: “Don’t get ideas. Folk like us are just here to make up the numbers.” http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/guest-commentary/return-to-babylon-1.1064858

Monday, 1 November 2010

The decimation of social care & the urgent need to organise in private sector‏

The Local Government Association (LGA) statement that "virtually all" councils in England and Wales could be forced to end home help for elderly and disabled people, received extensive media coverage over the weekend. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11662088

Want to know the truth about public spending?

The East Midlands region have put together a simple but powerful presentation that shows the real truth about the recent Spending Review and the reality of who will get hit the hardest. The presentation is based upon the real facts and figures and not the sickening "all in this together" spin parroted by the Con-Dems. This is essential viewing for all UNISON activists, members and the general public. To view the presentation go to the East Midlands region's campaign blog here.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Workers rights under attack by Con Dem's hell bent on deregulation‏

The Sunday Mirror reports on leaked Government plans to extend the qualifying period for protection from unfair dismissal to two years. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/10/31/cam-s-war-on-work-rights-115875-22677353/

A grain of rice by F R Scott‏

Such majestic rhythms, such tiny disturbances.
The rain of the monsoon falls, an inescapable treasure,
Hundreds of millions live
Only because of the certainty of this season,
          The turn of the wind.

50 year social consensus under attack

The Tory Lib-Dem cuts agenda is an excuse to dismantle the Welfare State which has taken “a social consensus of 50 years to build”, says UNISON's Mike Kirby as an STUC speaker in this month's UNION Post fom the ICTU. He warned that for every public sector job that goes, another in the private sector would be lost. http://www.ictu.ie/publications/fulllist/union-post-october-2010/