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

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Not a cent of Irish bail out will save schools, hospitals or jobs‏

Michael Burke, writing in the Guardian, points out that it will not be the Irish people but banks who own Irish government debt which will be the beneficiaries of last week's EU/IMF £77bn bail out: http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/26/banks-benefit-from-irelands-bailout?cat=commentisfree&type=article

In Ireland ICTU demonstrates for equality and fairness

Jack O’Connor, President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), says the Irish Government has promised the harshest budget since the foundation of the state as its parting gift to the people of Ireland. This is the result of allowing speculators, bankers and developers to run riot, pillaging and ruining our economy….

In Italy CGIL demonstrates for 'the future of our youth and work'‏

Today in Rome, UNISON Italian sister union CGIL is mounting a national demonstration for “the future of our youth and work”. Hundreds of thousands will attend the march to demand more rights and more democracy. Other demands are for more equality and justice to get out of the crisis. Another aspect of the march is to denounce the terrible living and working condition of many migrant workers in Italy. Here you can read the CGIL leaflet in English http://www.epsu.org/IMG/pdf/ENG_volantino27.pdf

Lines to a Fool by Hamish Henderson‏

(who called a contemplative man dead)

You snigger at him, a walking corpse that gropes
For 'barren leaves' on learning's desert slopes.
Yet never to art (or life) you gave your praise,
Nor risked a fall, all your efficient days.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Tory funding bonanza from lobbying firms‏

The latest Electoral Commission figures show that the Tories received donations from various lobbying firms in the last quarter.http://www.prweek.com/news/rss/1043506/Lobbying-firms-donate-70000-Tories-general-election/

The continuing relevance of unions?‏

Recent articles in Tribune and Progress have assessed the continuing relevance of unions to economic, political and social progress.

How can this not be privatisation!‏

A private company has been chosen to take over the running of an entire NHS hospital for the first time. This marks the beginning of the end of the National Health Service.: http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/NHS-Hinchingbrooke-Hospital-in-Huntingdon-Cambridgeshire-To-Be-Run-By-Private-Firm-For-First-Time/Article/201011415826427?f=vg

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Student protests and an alliance of resistance?‏

As a parent and a UNISON member I took part in the student protests in Liverpool yesterday. What I witnessed was a vibrant, fresh wave of anger organised 'from below' via Facebook and without the trappings and miserablism of recent trade union events I have attended.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/blog/2010/nov/25/student-protests-aftermath

Portugal faces the force of union power

The ‘best strike ever’ was the verdict of the Portuguese trade unions on yesterday’s general strike against austerity measures which brought the country to a ‘grinding halt’:

Value of public sector pensions down 25% - time to stop the rot‏

The Nuffield Foundation has published a report on public sector pensions which confirms that recent reforms have cut the value to a typical employee by 25%: http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/sites/default/files/

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Ireland's 4 year austerity plan - shifting the cost of collapse onto the poor & low paid‏

The Irish Government has announced its four year austerity programme which includes €10bn in public spending cuts (targeting welfare expenditure), a €1 per hour reduction in the minimum wage rate and tax rises: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3595acd4-f7cb-11df-b770-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss#axzz16D4HIVaX

Library services under threat nationwide‏

Government cuts ‘could see up to a quarter of librarians lose their jobs over the next year’, reports the Guardian. Leading authors have condemned the rising number of library closures because of massive cuts in local government spending allocations. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/nov/22/library-cuts-leading-authors-condemn

Landmark victory for union rights in Australia‏

A UNISONActive reader in Sydney, Australia reports on yesterday's landmark legal ruling: A major victory for building and construction workers around Australia, construction union member Ark Tribe has been found not guilty by an Adelaide Court. http://www.cfmeu.asn.au/news/ark-tribe-found-not-guilty

Greve Geral - solidarity with Portuguese workers!‏

Early reports from Portugal confirm massive support for today’s general strike against government austerity measures. The CGTP union centre is publishing running news about the strike on a special ‘greve geral’ website: http://www.grevegeral.net/  Public sector wages are set to be slashed by 5 per cent next year, while pensions will be frozen and value-added tax raised in order to reduce the country's deficit from 9.4 per cent of gross domestic product in 2009 to below the arbitrary EU limit of 3 per cent by 2013, according to a report in today’s Morning Star: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/content/view/full/98015

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Compass Declares Recession a 'Fantastic Opportunity'‏

Richard Cousins the Chief Executive of Compass (annual salary £3.4 million) was interviewed in the Daily Telegraph yesterday. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/supportservices/8147875/Compass-chief-executive-Richard-Cousins-points-to-growth-and-acquisitions.html Describing the new age of austerity as a ‘fantastic opportunity’ he goes on to claim that ‘costs need to be taken out of systems and that’s what we do.’

Working class kids deserve a sporting chance

When Labour came into office in 1997 they faced a legacy of neglect on school buildings and the rampant sale of school playing fields. Sports facilities in many schools were dire and funding for sports was ad hoc, disjointed and where it was available inefficient because resources were not shared within local areas.

UNISON's LGBT members come together to speak up for public services‏

Over the weekend hundreds of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender UNISON members came together in Bristol at our annual LGBT Conference. http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=6439

Ensuring 2012 is exploitation free‏

Over the past 3 days a delegation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been on a visit to the site of the London Olympics. The TUC has urged them to ensure that no workers involved in the delivery of the 2012 Games are exploited: http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-18838-f0.cfm

Monday, 22 November 2010

Local Government SGE & Policy Seminar 18-20 November - Report‏

SGE and minority distraction on Pensions: The November LGSGE began before any real business had even started with an attempt by a minority of delegates to get the SGE to agree to debate a motion on Pensions given the recent announcements of the NUT Executive. It was clear that this was an attempt to hijack informed debate and move to a premature position on industrial action.

Irish unions reject cut in minimum wage‏

Trade unions in crisis ridden Ireland have rejected Government proposals to cut the minimum wage from €8.65 per hour to €7.65 per hour. ICTU General Secretary David Begg said he was “taken aback” and that “it is an extraordinary thing that the first target in this crisis happens to be the most vulnerable. There needs to be some threshold of decency below which they shouldn’t go,”  http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/
 Ahead of the December 7 Irish budget, ICTU are organising a national demonstration in Dublin on Saturday 27 November.

Tory changes could mean election decided before we make it to ballot box

Recent trends reveal that aside from the usual trite, tedious, so called reality TV programmes, the biggest ITV ratings winner recently has been Downton Abbey. Apparently this appeals to a “nostalgic” streak in the British population. As the aristocracy has never been more than an insignificant part of the population, nostalgia seems to be a strange word to use.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

10,000 march in London against Afghanistan war‏

Yesterday thousands of protestors, including many trade unionists, marched in London calling for an end to the Afghanistan conflict. Guardian journalist Seamus Milne said: "in Lisbon the Nato leaders will try to make it appear that they are bringing an end to this war, a war that is now in its 10th year. This talk of an exit strategy is clearly a sham." John Hilary, the executive director of War on Want added "we want the £11bn that is being spent on the war in Afghanistan to go on things we need in this country. Bring home the troops and bring justice to the people of Afghanistan." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11803918

Ireland Making Workers Pay - There Is Another Way‏

Ireland is in its third year of recession, and income per person has already declined by more than 20% since 2007. Unemployment has more than tripled from 4.3% at the end of 2006 to 13.9% today.

The Fates by Rita Ann Higgins‏

The fates are on a bank holiday weekend
showing off around the long wards.
The spinner spins herself
into a menacing match with a melanoma
(more like a blip really)
Sourface Atropos is dying her hair,
bile green with a streak of infection.