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

Saturday, 29 January 2011

TUC Generals agree an industrial strategy - what happens next?

The consensus across unions attending yesterday's TUC summit on co-ordinating action against Government austerity cuts is that it was a productive session which mapped out a clear line of advance on both anti cuts campaigning and the defence of public sector pensions.

What An Eton Mess - Soros Attacks Tory Economic Competence Again!

George Soros, the internationally renowned investor, has warned David Cameron that his policies would push the British economy back into recession unless it changed their hardline austerity package. Speaking in Davos, the man who famously wrecked the economic reputation of the last Conservative administration on Black Wednesday said the mix of tax increases and spending cuts would lead to recession.

Tattoos by Marilyn Buck

A prisoner’s observation: I read about “shock & awe,”
your country stripped Iraq: lights, phones, TVs
even the water

Friday, 28 January 2011

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Israeli inquiry into Gaza flotilla deaths no more than a whitewash

Amnesty International has condemned the findings of an Israeli inquiry into last year’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla as a “whitewash” which failed to account for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals.

There will be strikes against austerity - Bick

Former UNISON GS Rodney Bickerstaffe's rounded off Radio 4's Today programme this morning with a tour de force response to the anti union baiting (notably from Cabinet Officer Minister Francis Maude) which had characterised coverage of today's over hyped TUC anti-cuts summit.

TUC Summit - time to stop talking and start doing

According to press reports the TUC is today convening a meeting of union leader's purportedly to discuss 'co-ordinated industrial action' against government spending cuts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12304080

250 Sure Start Children's centres at risk

A survey of over 3.500 children's centre managers has highlighted that 250 are at risk of closure during the next year because of budget cuts.

Public Sector Pension Tax Threatens To Destablise Them

When a 3 per cent increase in members’ pension contributions to public sector schemes was announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review, few people will have recognised the wide-ranging consequences. Even now the message is muted nevertheless, by the end of this Parliament the biggest pension scheme in the UK could be in tatters.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Sodexo continues its campaign against workers

Click here for Danny Glover and
TransAfrica Forum Report
Sodexo - one of the largest private contractors for catering and cleaning in the UK - has been exposed, yet again, as a ruthless exploiter of workers in the most appalling poverty. At their last Shareholders AGM in Paris last week the company reported to shareholders once again a year of record profits and trunover. Like its global rival Compass, the company will be seeking extra contracts in the bonanza that will be created by public sector cuts in the UK: http://cleanupsodexo.org/2011/01/new-report-on-sodexo-by-civil-rights-gro.php

Private Sector Employers set to gain windfall from Pension increase changes

Private sector pensions could also be indexed to CPI. In July 2010 the Government announced that from April 2011, private sector Occupational Pension schemes, the Pension Protection Fund and the Financial Assistance Scheme could use CPI to calculate increases in payments to pensioners and for revaluations of deferred entitlement.

Austerity Britain - We are being robbed of £40,000 from our Pensions!

Current and future pensioners are being hammered by the ConDem’s austerity programme by a simple act of changing the inflation assumption that is used to increase our pensions every year.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Back to Social Work college - but which one?

Just as the first College of Social Work in England gets off the ground BASW (British Association of Social Workers) decide to withdraw and declare their own college. ....What’s going on?

UNISONActive Exclusive: UNISON Britain's biggest union

The Development and Organisation Committee of UNISON's NEC met in London today. It received a 2010 year end membership report following DOCAS line counts of working members in all regions. Last year UNISON had the best recruitment performance for 10 years and grew by 19,000 members (1.45%).

The King's Speech - this one an anti-worker horror movie‏

Mervyn King Governor of the Bank of England (and VIP guest speaker at 2010 TUC Congress) last night forecast that that real wages in 2011 will be lower than 2005 levels – the worst period of wage stagnation for 80 years:

NHS pay trade off rejected once and for all

The Nursing Times reports that the NHS unions including UNISON have emphatically rejected 'any proposal to freeze pay increments' in an official response to NHS Employers.

Nurses and practitioners vote on action against cuts

Four hundred theatre nurses and practitioner UNISON members at St Georges hospital, South London, have started balloting in an “indicative” ballot that could lead to official industrial action at St Georges by nurses for the first time in twenty three years.

Leave the libraries alone. You don’t know the value of what you’re looking after

An inspirational speech against library closures by author Philip Pullman over on False Economy. http://falseeconomy.org.uk/blog/save-oxfordshire-libraries-speech-philip-pullman

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

BMJ Verdict on NHS reform: Mad!

An editorial in the current BMJ pulls no puinches on the topic of NHS Reform. "What do you call a government that embarks on the biggest upheaval of the NHS in its 63 year history, at breakneck speed, while simultaneously trying to make unprecedented financial savings? The politically correct answer has got to be: mad." http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d408.long

TUC March for the Alternative - website launched‏

A new website has been launched to help co-ordinate the TUC’s March for the Alternative to be held in London on 26 March 2011: http://marchforthealternative.org.uk/

People turning against ConDems but big business pals still on board

Today's YouGov/Sun voting intentions are CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 11%. Still bang in line with the five point Labour lead YouGov have been showing of late. The 11% for the Liberal Democrats is, incidentally, the highest YouGov have shown them at since early December but a recent poll also shows that a third of LibDem votes would now vote Labour.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Take a tour of Lansley's private healthcare supporters

"Circling the NHS wanting a slice of that £100billion budget". This short film on Spinwatch takes you on a tour of the offices of just some of the healthcare companies, agencies and think tanks surrounding Parliament, all of which are lobbying to fundamentally change the NHS in their own interests. http://www.spinwatch.org.uk/blogs-mainmenu-29/tamasin-cave-mainmenu-107/5417-take-a-tour-of-lansleys-private-healthcare-supporters

UNISON Black Members mobilise against the cuts‏

On Friday evening UNISON President, Angela Lynes welcomed delegates to Glasgow and the 2011 UNISON Black members conference got underway. Angela went onto highlight the issues which we all face through the ideological policies of the Tories and making reference to the TUC Demo and Rally in London on March 26th, something which almost every speaker at the rostrum did during the speeches on motions which followed.

UNISON Active Analysis: UK Banking Review - Time For a New Understanding Of Money!

On Saturday Sir John Vickers, chairman of the ICB, yesterday gave the clearest sign yet that the commission could recommend to the Government a fundamental reform of the UK's high-street banks, including the option of splitting their retail and investment banking divisions.

Shop stewards network splits over anti-cuts tactics

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) voted by a big majority at Satutrday's conference in London to set up its own national anti-cuts campaign.

Poll mistrusts Tories on NHS

More people oppose the Government’s plans to restructure the NHS than support them, and faith in the Coalition’s ability to deliver NHS services is fairly low, says a new YouGov Poll http://today.yougov.co.uk/politics/national-health

Sunday, 23 January 2011

US trade union membership slumps to lowest for 70 years

The New York Times reports that union membership in the US fell sharply last year to the lowest level since the 1930's. Membership stands at 14.7m - a density across the economy of only 11.9% and this low average betrays wide industrial and regional disparities with private sector density now down to 6.9% and in many southern states union membership has fallen to sub-critical levels for example North Carolina at 3.2% and Georgia at 4% http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/22/business/22union.html?_r=2

Talking to the Machine by Rose Kelleher

They were closer to the machine back then,
the old programmers.