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

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Enraged Bankers Under Pressure Over Bonuses‏

Bankers were yesterday told there will be no backing down from an EU demand that they should be paid no more than 20 per cent of their bonuses up front in cash, as experts said Europe's pay rules would be the "toughest in the world". http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/city-outrage-as-europe-stands-firm-on-bankers-cash-bonuses-2157462.html

Arguments against a pay freeze‏

Last week the Obama administration announced a plan to freeze the salaries of non-military federal employees for two years, using the same bogus ‘deficit’ arguments deployed by the UK Government. It was widely condemned as a bad idea by US public service unions: http://afscmemn.org/federal-pay-freeze%3A-bad-idea

Students lead by example and seize the day‏

The Guardian reports on the direct action of student groups who have mobilised large scale resistance to cuts in education and increased tuition fees. What can rank and file trade unionists, hidebound by restrictive anti trade union laws, learn from their example? http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/dec/10/tuition-fees-student-demonstrators?

Riot by Gwendolyn Brooks‏

A riot is the language of the unheard.
—martin luther king

Friday, 10 December 2010

What Debt Does To Young People In The UK‏

The bankers debt passed on to the population now finds its expression in the police response to the youth protesting for a better future. The violence of debt and the repression of the state is captured here on video. The privatisation of higher education must be stopped:

Unions & International Development‏

Owen Tudor writes on the Guardian ‘poverty matters’ blog about the TUC’s international development work: ‘the TUC has three main goals for international development work with our partners in the global south's trade unions: that all workers, including the vulnerable, can enjoy decent work; that all workers and their families enjoy safe working conditions, social protection and access to quality public services; and that all workers, speaking through their unions, promote and defend human rights, equality and social justice.’ http://alturl.com/yvkc2  The TUC recently published a guide to its international development strategy for 2011-2015: http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/GlobalJustice.pdf  

Resignations over student fees

Lib Dem activist Richard Huzzey has resigned from the party over the student fees vote. This follows Jenny Willott resigning as Chris Huhne's parliamentary private secretary, Mike Crockart resigning as a Parliamentary aide to Michael Moore and Tory MP Lee Scott quitting as a ministerial aide. It’s a start.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Vampire Squid Sucking Irish Blood - Bankers Get Bonuses‏

Allied Irish Banks propped up by the State are going to pay €40m bonuses despite the bailout and a full frontal attack on workers and the poor. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/dec/08/allied-irish-banks-pay-bonuses-despite-bailout

Con Dem job cuts don't add up‏

Writing on the Public Finance blog, Heather Wakefield, UNISON national secretary for local government, deplores the rising number of job losses in Councils and points out the economic folly of making public service workers redundant: 'UNISON has worked out, for example, that depriving a £21,000-a-year council worker and single mother of her livelihood would cost the government around £19,000 in lost tax and National Insurance income and in benefits outlay. Meanwhile, the local economy will suffer the loss of her and others’ purchasing power, making it even more of a struggle to pull itself out of the mire';

The Tories & Unions - 'no disaster' or an existential threat?‏

An under-reported WikiLeaks document was a curious US embassy cable sent one year ago, on 10 December 2009, following a meeting between US ambassador to the UK Louis Susman and the TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber - who reportedly said he did not expect a Tory government would be hostile to unions and that a Cameron led regime would be ‘no disaster’:

150 NHS jobs could be axed in Wandsworth

What a Christmas gift. Wandsworth NHS will start redundancy consultations on 16 December with up to 150 jobs likely to go. “This gives a lie to the Government’s claim that the NHS is exempt from cuts", says UNISON in the Wandsworth Guardian.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

UNISON NEC 8 December 2010 Report - Call to Arms‏

UNISON’s NEC today unanimously supported General Secretary Dave Prentis' call for the immediate announcement of a £10 million war chest on top of our £10 million Industrial Action Fund. This would enable us “to fight the cuts and defend our members” as we go into battle against the worst attacks on public services in living memory.

Vampire Squid Still On The Loose‏

Two years on from the banking collapse and Banks once again position themselves in the middle of a speculative bubble, selling investments they knew are crap. Then they hoover up vast sums from the middle and lower floors of society with the aid of a crippled and corrupt state that allows it to rewrite the rules in exchange for the relative pennies the bank throws at political patronage.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Environmental groups and unions must unite - Sonnet‏

The Left Foot Forward blog carries a report by UNISON Deputy GS, Keith Sonnet, direct from Cancun where he is attending the UN Climate Change Conference:  http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/12/cancun-climate-change-summit-2/

Lib Dems could vote for and against student fees‏

A beauty from Hansard 6 Dec: Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can you confirm that it is in order during a Division for hon. Members to walk through both the Aye and the No Lobby if they seek to register an active abstention? For those who are not sure how to vote on Thursday in the tuition fees vote, would that not have the advantage of allowing them to say that they voted both for and against it, depending on their audience? Mr Speaker: Yes. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtoday/cmdebate/03.htm

Union membership in the voluntary sector‏

The newest and fastest growing service group in UNISON is 60,000 strong Community - which organises members in the community and voluntary sector. A Guardian voluntary sector network article looks at the emergence of unions in the sector and interviews Stephen Brown and Mike Short of UNISON: http://www.guardian.co.uk/voluntary-sector-network/2010/dec/06/trade-unions-job-worries

UK private pension schemes 'not fit for purpose' compared with rest of Europe‏

The UK private pension system is “not fit for purpose” and “hugely inefficient”, research by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce finds. http://www.professionalpensions.com/professional-pensions/news/1930094/uk-schemes-not-fit-purpose-compared-rest-europe

Monday, 6 December 2010

Minimum wage should be a living wage - Bick‏

The minimum wage has been named as the most successful government policy of the past 30 years in a survey of British political experts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11896971?  Prior to its introduction in April 1999, former UNISON General Secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe was the foremost trade union campaigner against low pay and for minimum wage legislation. Writing for UNISONActive Rodney responds to the survey and outlines his perspectives on the future of the minimum wage:-

Challenging Council redundancies‏

Many UNISON local government branches find themselves immersed in redundancy consultation as Councils come to terms with the severe spending settlement for local government. The upping by 40% of the LGA job loss forecast for 2011/12 to 140,000 is indicative of the immediate, front loaded impact of the cuts (27% over 4 years but 11% in the first year).

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Unions may call one-day strike in Scotland

Trade unions may call a one-day public sector strike across Scotland, reports the Herald after yesterday's UNISON Regional Council meeting reflected members' anger over cuts. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/trade-unions-may-call-one-day-strike-across-scotland-1.1072487

Latin America 2010 - Conference Report‏

As unbelievable as Qatar winning the world cup, the sixth annual Latin America ‘Adelante’ conference (www.latinamerica
) packed out Congress Hall, despite a snow struck Saturday morning in London.

The Extinct Traders by Greg Keeler‏

They should stand in a river, the makers of laws,
wars and money. They should feel the dark
molecules turn in their sockets of stone. Their flaws
should be transparent, their flesh should stand in stark
contrast to the mud, roots and leaves of the pools.