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

Saturday, 26 February 2011

CGT roots out racism

Radio France International reports that the CGT, France’s largest trade union, is threatening to close a local branch whose secretary, ex-trotskyist Fabien Engelmann, is to represent the far-right Front National (FN) in up coming elections. The CGT has a strong tradition of opposing racism and xenophobia in France:

Today rallies planned across US in support of public sector union rights

Today will see demonstrations across the US in support of the union rights of public sector workers in Wisconsin, Ohio. Midday rallies will be held outside 50 statehouses and in all major cities. http://www.seiu.org/2011/02/photos-wisconsin-rallies-to-protect-workers-rights.php

Accountability is best assurance of political integrity - Gregor Gall

Gregor Gall, writing in the Morning Star, draws lessons from the fate of those Labour MPs disgraced in the Parliamentary expenses scandal: ‘Their Achilles' heel in regard of their expenses seemed to be that they started to operate as independent MPs who just happened to be elected on a Labour ticket, and once they got to Parliament they could go off down their own merry little road’:http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/101521

Aiberdeen Street by Alastair Mackie

Ye were hyne awa fae Nuremberg o the flags,
the death-crap o the purges; Il Duce's
black-sarked legions heistin eagles…

Friday, 25 February 2011

Ford Workers Call for National Strike Over CPI Switch

Ford workers are threatening a national strike over plans to uprate future payments for Ford Pension Fund members by the Consumer Prices Index. http://www.professionalpensions.com/professional-pensions/news/2028925/ford-workers-national-strike-cpi-switch

Determined Compass strikers at Bucks out for third time

UNISON members employed by Compass Medirest are taking part in their third stage of strike actionhttp://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/localnews/amersham/8873822.Hospital_workers_strike_again_today/

Croydon LGPS leads opposition to Barclays Bankers Pay - You can do the same!

London Borough of Croydon's pension fund is lobbying other local authorities to vote against directors pay at this year's Barclays AGM http://www.engagedinvestor.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=463021

3000 UNISON members strike in Nottinghamshire

Yesterday UNISON members employed by Nottinghamshire County Council took strike action against their Tory led employer which is ruthlessly cutting jobs and services: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/101518

Brain hurts: £900m bankers’ bonus ‘fair’ while £5k cut for police staff ‘good deal'

Justifying £900m in bonuses, the RBS’s Stephen Hester told the BBC yesterday that, “Along with my staff, I want to be treated fairly”. Well, Stephen, so do thousands of police staff in Scotland who are facing up to a £5,000 a year cut in wages which is described by the employers as a ‘good deal’.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Obscene attack on pensioners by right wing IEA

It is a sign of the times when a right wing think tank (the self styled Institute of Economic Affairs) believes it is credible to launch a full scale attack on the rights of Britain’s 11 million pensioners.

ICTU: 'Vote for Jobs and Growth'

The ICTU sets out key poll issues in February's Union Post which also covers privatisation, nurses campaign and the struggle in Wisconsin http://www.ictu.ie/publications/fulllist/union-post-february-2011/

And now the end is near.... report of last ever NEC meeting in Mabledon Place

Yesterday’s last ever UNISON National Executive Council in Mabledon Place was a strangely subdued affair.

Two tier workforce set to return as axe falls on fair pensions

As expected, the Con Dem Government is set to introduce measures which will remove pension rights for outsourced workers. One of the most significant (and hard fought) concessions won from the previous Labour Government was the protection of pensions and other employment rights for workers transferred out of public sector employment.

The right of public sector unions to exist

The attack on public service trade unionism in Wisconsin has fuelled the debate on the right of public sector unions to exist. The blogs of the Economist magazine have regularly debated this question and a new post uncharacteristically makes the case for unions ‘it would be nice if vulnerable-feeling Americans recognised themselves in public-sector workers.

Donation to Taxdodger's Alliance brings Charity Commission warning

A charity that gave more than £500,000 to the Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA) has been warned by the Charity Commission that its reputation risks being damaged "if its relationship with the alliance is not properly managed", reports guardian.co.uk http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/dec/20/taxpayers-alliance-tories-charitable-donations

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The funding of the Labour & Tory Parties - spot the difference

At the end of every financial quarter we have come to expect hysterical press reporting about Labour’s ‘dependency’ on trade union funding. Today is no exception as figures for the final quarter for 2010 are published by the Electoral Commission: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/janetdaley/100077382/the-trade-unions-own-labours-soul-again/

IMF praise for Libya, other despotic regimes

A Reuters column (here) notes that only two weeks ago the IMF's board lauded the Libyan government, currently using mercenary troops to massacre protesters, for its "strong macroeconomic performance" and "ambitious reform agenda" and for "enhancing the role of the private sector", reports ITUC Washington's Peter Bakvis.

Trade Unions and Shareowner Activism Course - Using Your Organising Skills

Most of us are shareowners of companies but we aren't aware of it. Primarily through our pension funds workers have become the dominant owners of shares on the UK and global stock markets. What we haven't done in any great way is become shareowner activists, bringing the boards of companies we own to account at their AGMs.

Cuts exacerbate rising child poverty in the UK

Whilst Cameron hypes up public service reform to satiate the Tory right, Save the Children calculated at the end of 2008 that 1.7 million or 13% of the UK's children were living in severe poverty, and that not only have efforts to reduce child poverty stalled, they have gone into reverse: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/docs/sevchildpovuk.pdf

Con Dem proposals place LGPS at risk

Heather Wakefield, UNISON National Secretary for Local Government, writing for the Public Finance blog, reacts to the belated acknowledgement by Tory Grandee, Baroness Eaton, that the viability of the LGPS is being placed at risk by Government proposals for a 3% increase in employee contributions:

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Tory War Games betray a deep hatred of trade unions

Hatred of trade unions runs deep in the Tory DNA. Few were fooled during the pre-election period of Tory rebranding when it was claimed that the Tories would develop a ‘strong bond with unions'. http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2009/01/15/48985/interview-richard-balfe-conservative-trade-union-envoy.html

Time for a new paradigm - by S. Burrow, GS of ITUC

'The world is barely re-emerging from the deepest economic crisis in a century, yet the very policies and mindset that caused the problem in the first place are back with a vengeance', laments Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Inside Job - a must see film see before it goes off screen‏

The very reason your job is under threat, your pension under attack and your public services threatend with privatisation is set out in the ground breaking film Inside Job - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzrBurlJUNk  or see post below - the financial crisis has affected everyone, from middle-class home owners to outsourced factory workers in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Venezuelan government rejects totally false claim by William Hague that Gaddafi is on way to Venezuela

Venezuela's Information Minister and its Deputy Foreign Minister moved swiftly earlier today to reject the false claims made by Britain’s Foreign Minister William Hague that Colonel Gaddafi was heading to Venezuela.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Inside Job - a must see film see before it goes off screen

From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson ("No End In Sight"), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008.

Massive public sector cuts and threats to workers' rights ignite protests in Wisconsin

Report from a UNISONActive reader in Washington DC: Last week massive labor protests overwhelmed Wisconsin’s state capitol.

Cameron on a mission to destroy public services

Tory Prime Minister David Cameron uses today’s Daily Telegraph as a platform to announce his intention to destroy public services as we know them: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8337237/David-Cameron-promises-public-sector-revolution.html

Forest victory

Watched by a jubiliant crowd, Baroness Jan Royall removed the last Hands off our Forest sign at Speech House to mark the government's complete "yew-turn" on privatisation, reports the HOOF campaign.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Tory LGA leader challenges Government reforms to Council pensions

Baroness Margaret Eaton, Tory leader of the Local Government Association, has rejected the case for further changes to the LGPS - claiming in a leaked letter that increased employee contributions and cuts in workforce numbers will jeopardise the viability of the scheme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12516645

Wretched Wars by Miguel Hernandez

(From ‘Cancionero y romancero de ausencias 1941)
Wretched wars
when love is not our aim.
Wretched, wretched.