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

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Torygraph Stirs the Spoon on Our Pension Pots

Our friends in the Daily Torygraph were happy to see the banks saved from collapse by the Labour government; after all they have most to lose in this system. What they are not happy with is the additional borrowing costs for doing this which have reached a staggering £1.4 trillion for the banks alone.

Raison d'être of public service trade unions

The Economist is running yet another attack on public sector trade unionism.

National Minimum Wage Redux - the battle for the labour movement

The Institute for Government recently ran a 'policy reunion' seminar on the National Minimum Wage. The contributors included Rodney Bickerstaffe...

A Poem for Nelson Mandela by Elizabeth Alexander

Here where I live it is Sunday.
From my room I hear black
children playing between houses
and the El at a Sabbath rattle.
I smell barbecue from every direction
and hear black hands tolling church bells,
hear wind hissing through elm trees
through dry grasses

Friday, 11 February 2011

Nationwide strikes decisive in final push to oust Mubarak

Wednesday's general strike by thousands of Egyptian state and private sector workers gave decisive momentum to the succesful campaigh by anti-government activists to oust President Hosni Mubarak: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/09/egypt-labor-strikes-break_n_820909.html

Building the biggest, broadest possible alliance against Con Dem cuts

An excellent report on last Saturday’s Northern Public Services Alliance seminar and demonstration is available on the TUC website.

Social and economic agreement in Spain

Spanish Union federations UGT and CCOO last week signed a social and economic tripartite agreement with the Spanish Government and employers' organizations CEOE-CEPYME.

'Don't handcuff our councils' says UNISON as cuts hit Scotland

UNISON Scotland says Government moves to dictate how council budgets are spent is effectively ‘handcuffing’ local authorities and sounds the death knell for democracy. http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/2011/janfeb/1002.htm

Thursday, 10 February 2011

We must raise our game to fight cuts - Angela Lynes

“A modern and confident building for a modern and confident union” was how Angela Lynes, President described the new UNISON centre when she kicked off the annual Leadership Seminar in London today.

Divide and evaporate the Lib Dems

In contrast to the smiley happy people around the cabinet table, the Lib Dem leaders in local government have finally woken up and smelt the coffee.

'Put people at the heart of public service reform' - Mike Kirby

The Scotsman reports on UNISON’s submission to Scotland’s Christie Commission, which is looking at the future of public services, the union set out five key public service principles - democracy, investment, fairness, excellence and partnership.

Tory snouts in the City trough

At a time of renewed attack on the Union-Labour link (from inside and outside of the labour party), it is worth noting yesterday’s FT report that the ‘Conservative party has attracted a surge in donations from London’s Square Mile, with funding from financiers and City firms accounting for more than half of the £22.5m the party pulled in last year’:

Social workers deserve respect and support

UNISON GS Dave Prentis writing on Left Foot Forward blog comments on the Munro review of child protection set up by the Government last June. http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/02/social-workers-need-support/

We are fighting a war of attrition and we will not give in

UNISON Policy Chair Jane Carolan, speaking at the Institute Of Employment Rights ‘What Now for Trade Unions?’ conference, outlined in clear and precise detail the way the Tories are pursuing a political goal to end the post war welfare consensus in the UK. Outlining the stupidity of making massive cuts now, Jane stressed the need for an industrial response and community unity in defending the basic public services relied on by all working people.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Con Dem Cutastrophe in Manchester

The cuts programme has so far been regarded by many in our communities to be something of a phoney war. Job loss numbers have been known but no one quite knew which jobs would go. Local residents knew services would be cut but not which services they would lose. But the phoney war is now over and the battle of the cuts has truly begun.

Public Services Industrial Complex under scrutiny

A Daily Mirror investigation into Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has forced the Government’s top civil servant to investigate serious allegations of Tory sleaze. Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell has received a letter from Labour MP Grahame Morris demanding he probe links between Mr Lansley and private health firms. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/2011/02/09/officials-probe-tory-healthcare-sleaze-115875-22909442/#ixzz1DRgbtJim  

Unbelievable: More tax breaks for fat cats

If you are wondering what the noise is, it's me grinding my teeth. Forget young Gideon Osbornes's protestations about how he is being terribly strict on the banks actually. The pitifuly small measures he is shouting about conceal the reality of how the Tories are helping their friends and shafting the rest of us. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/07/tax-city-heist-of-century

What now for trade unions? - IER conference report

The always excellent Institute Of Employment Rights set itself a high bar with a conference entitled ‘What Now for Trade Unions?’ http://www.ier.org.uk/node/472  Like the search for alchemy, a future that is golden for trade unions is no easy prescription.
Steve Farley (Chair North West TUC) in opening the conference reflected on the serious damage the Tories will do to the Region and especially its young people.

Market fundamentalists out to destroy our NHS

'In attempting to gain support for their 'reforms' of the NHS (ie, the further marketisation, privatisation and fragmentation of the health system in England) it would be political suicide for the Conservative-Liberal government to refer to the USA as the example to follow.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The wrong target - Public sector pay cuts in EU states

A study by LRD looking at cuts in public sector pay across the European Union (EU) shows that the impact of the cuts has been very substantial.

Govenment defeat on AV Bill

The Government has suffered a defeat on the issue of a threshold for the AV referendum. Tory and Labour peers - plus one bishop - joined forces to win by one vote an amendment calling for a 40% threshold for any vote.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Bosses lobby moving in for the kill

As part of a package of an attack on individual and collective employment rights, the right wing bosses organisation the Institute of Directors (IoD) has launched an attack on collective bargaining in the education and health services: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12378565

TUC protest in support of Egyptian workers - Tuesday 8 February

On Saturday demonstrations were held across Britain in solidarity with the Egyptian peoples demands for democracy and social change: http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/news/173-news/9857-solidarity-with-egyptian-revolution-protest-reports-images-and-video

The People of the Woods ARISE!

A growing revolt is in full swing in the English Countryside. Rural Communities are banding together to take direct action to prevent the Tory/Lib Dem privatisation of England's great forests. http://country-standard.blogspot.com/2011/02/people-of-woods-arise.html

Sunday, 6 February 2011

North West regional council meets in Preston

At yesterday UNISON's North West, union President Angela Lynes launched a blistering attack on the Con Dem's destruction of public services, speaking movingly of the massive damage they are doing across the country to working families. She also blasted David Cameron’s attempt at building harmony by attacking multiculturalism.

Hands off May Day

The FT Westminster blog reports that the Con Dem Government is proposing to scrap the May Day bank holiday: http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2011/02/coalition-proposes-moving-may-1-bank-holiday-to-the-autumn/

Leeds fight to save centres that save lives

UNISON is campaigning to save two mental health day centres and a crisis centre in Leeds from closure. A public meeting against the cuts has been organised for Tuesday 8 Feb, 2pm at the Civic Hall in Leeds with a demo on 11 Feb.

Solidarity with the Egyptian people

The Scottish Council of UNISON, representing 160,000 workers in the public services in Scotland, meeting in Glasgow 5 February, has declared its support for, and stands with, the people of Egypt, in their demands for an end to repression of legitimate protest, in favour of democratic rights and political reform. See below for Edinburgh and Glasgow demos...

Sometimes, the Heart Yearns for Mangoes by Jose Maria Sison

March 30, 1994
Sometimes, the heart yearns
For mangoes where there are apples,
For orchids where there are tulips,
For warmth, where it is cold,
For mountainous islands,
Where there is flatland.