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

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Unions played an essential role in Tunisian revolt‏

'The trade unions (al-niqabat) played an essential role, and were among those demanding the departure of the president. You don’t get massive crowds like the one in Tunis without a lot of workers joining in. There are few labor correspondents any longer, and the press downplays the role of workers as a result of neither having good sources among them nor an adequate understanding of the importance of labor mobilization.

TUC Anti Cuts Summit planned for 28 January‏

The FT reports that the TUC has called a meeting of all 55 affiliated unions on 28 January to discuss co-ordinated industrial action against the government’s austerity measures as well as building for the national demonstration on 26 March: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/578c025a-201d-11e0-a6fb-00144feab49a.html?

Contemplating War by Margery Snyder‏

January 15, 1991

The armies lined up in the desert
Sand in their mouths, sweat running down
Their young faces, are blithe,
Some of them surprised, their chins
Set with soft adolescent bravado,
Contemplating war.

Friday, 14 January 2011

The only cut worth making - cut benefits to the banks!‏

George Osborne says that we've run out of money, so we all must pay more taxes and have less public services. According to the chancellor there's no Plan B - but he's utterly wrong. We could make one simple spending cut that could make all others unnecessary: cut the benefits to bankers.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Compass expects to profit from new outsourcing boom - workers strike back next week‏

In a cosy Daily Mail interview Richard Cousins - the £3.4million pound a year CEO of compass - sporting a black eye from an overhanging branch and not from one of the many underpaid Compass workers - described their 'fresh and simple' approach to world leadership in Soft Facilities services. The company has now burst through the £1 Billion profit target and is expecting even more profit from the outsourcing boom: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/article-1346544/INTERVIEW-The-man-pointing-Compass-right-direction.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Raid reserves not jobs‏

Whilst this Guardian article proves that not every council has huge reserves it is impossible not to consider how many immediate job losses could be avoided if councils were prepared to raid their reserves instead of slashing jobs. If reserves are there for a rainy day, particularly as interest rates are pathetically low, then we are in the middle of a huge downpour and now is the time to spend: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2011/jan/12/tory-council-says-no-to-cuts?&CMP=EMCSOCEML657

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Tories attempt to attack London Fire Service by sacking all crews.

Expect Tories to show their real colours on Thursday when the Tory controlled London Fire Authority is intending to sack all London fire fighters. This will be accompanied by re-engagement on new terms and conditions.

Public Library Services under severe threat‏

'Library services are under threat on an unprecedented scale. The past decade has seen 80 libraries close – and many more are threatened. Between 1997 and 2007 the number of books borrowed from UK libraries fell by 34 per cent. And at least 850 professional librarians have lost their jobs as library staff are steadily deskilled' says Donald Morrison writing in Red Pepper on the struggle to save a public library service: http://www.redpepper.org.uk/dont-be-quiet-please/

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

New evidence of large profits from PPPs

A report today exposes the level of profiteering from PPP deals, with an increased use of tax havens for insfrastrucure funds. The European Services Strategy Unit reveals a £10bn sale of shares in Public Private Partnership companies. “The level of profiteering from PPP equity transactions makes a nonsense of the original value for money assessments... PPP projects are little more than money-making mechanisms for builders and banks”, said report author Dexter Whitfield.

Toxic cocktail sees public service workers dependent on benefits‏

The result of Brown’s in-work tax credits rather than a genuine living wage is now coming home to roost as more and more people in work are forced to rely on benefits to keep a roof over the heads. Brown's latter day conversion to a living wage in the 2010 general election campaign was too little too late . The Tories are about to make the situation a while lot worse: http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=news.detail&id=94218

Poll shows Labour 8% ahead but still not winning on economy - Why?

Labour has opened up an eight-point lead over the Conservatives, according to a ComRes survey for The Independent. The figures would give Labour an overall majority of 102 if repeated at the next election. However, Labour has not yet won the key battle on the economy. Why?http://www.comres.co.uk/page1902124918.aspx

Guns and Slogans- the Republican Way

While our brand of Neo Liberals have also had a soft spot for a little huntin’, fishin’,and shootin’, they have yet to strongly take up a defence of the citizen’s right to bear arms- but watch this space. Since every other public service is being offered up to volunteers, why not the right to bear arms?

UK Bankers Cash in Yet Again - Government Humiliated‏

For bankers plunder is a way of life for a group, almost exclusively of of men, living together in society who have created for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it. Take away their power to create money as debt out of thin air and you take away their power to plunder and their ability to control our democracy.

Save the EMA‏

UNISON is supporting tonight’s (6PM) public meeting in the House of Commons in protest at the axing of the education maintenance allowance (EMA). The meeting is organised by the Save EMA campaign, the National Union of Students, NUT and other education unions.

Monday, 10 January 2011

In Defence of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

An appeal from South Africa: Please sign this petition in support of Archbishop Tutu and circulate widely http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/defend-tutu/ Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has publicly criticised Israeli policy towards Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. He has also criticised Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians. These criticisms are well-known. Recently, his criticisms of Israeli policy have elicited bitter personal attacks.

UNISON health workers reject divisive two year freeze

Members of UNISON’s Health Service Group Executive have today rejected a two-year freeze on pay increments, on top of the pay freeze imposed by the Government. NHS Employers had offered a no compulsory redundancy agreement in return for the freeze. Members rejected the deal because there was no guarantee that all employers would abide by it. It would not be binding, but left to individual Trusts to decide whether or not to offer the guarantee.

TUC warns of new Con Dem attack on employment protection‏

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, has condemned proposed changes to individual employment rights including restricting access to Employment Tribunals: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5f9eb8f8-1c20-11e0-9b56-00144feab49a.html?

The Economist Manifesto against public service unions‏

The right wing Economist magazine reviews the resistance of public sector unions to spending cuts in Britain and elsewhere, in terms worthy of the Tax Dodger’s Alliance: http://www.economist.com/node/17851305?story_id=17851305&fsrc=scn/tw/te/rss/pe

Sunday, 9 January 2011

UNISON Active Analysis - Why the NHS 'pay cuts for job security' deal is flawed and unacceptable‏

Ahead of Monday's special meeting of the UNISON health service group executive, UNISON Northern regional health committee has voted to reject the proposals arising out of the 'Chatham House' discussions within the NHS Staff Council Executive. We believe that the NHS 'pay cuts for job security' deal is flawed and unacceptable for the reasons set out in the folowing analysis.

The Death of Joy Gardner by Benjamin Zephaniah‏

They put a leather belt around her
13 feet of tape and bound her
Handcuffs to secure her
And only God knows what else,