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

Saturday, 12 March 2011

AV vote campaign bypassing UNISON?

Alan Johnson MP, former General Secretary of CWU and until recently a senior member of the Labour Shadow Cabinet, has criticised the ‘depressing conservatism’ of trade unions on electoral reform:

En La Republica Dominicana by Hannah Ferber‏

I saw him there
Bare toes curled into black earth
Hunching over the infected gutter
Where water runs the color of injustice.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Spooks & Unions

Alan Jinkinson
rebuffed MI5 approach
In today's Morning Star Solomon Hughes exposes the activities of the Special Branch in snooping on print unions and their supporters during the 1986 Wapping Dispute with Rupert Murdoch's News International:
Recent revelations which exposed undercover police infiltration of the environmental movement have made this a topical issue.

Bankers and the Tory Party

Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism details for the first time the full extent of donations made to the Tory party by members of the Financial Services industry since 2005: http://thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/02/08/the-data-top-ten-city-financiers-of-the-tory-party/

Thursday, 10 March 2011

UNISON steps up to the plate in defence public sector pensions

UNISON representatives have been prominent in today's media coverage of the Hutton Commission recommendations. General Secretary Dave Prentis was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme to make an immediate response to Hutton following the ex Labour Minister's first media appearance.

A repeat neoliberal prescription will kill the patient

‘There is a determined attempt in Britain to restore the economic model so comprehensively discredited in the crash of 2008’ says Seumas Milne in an incisive critique of Con Dem economic policies.

Public Sector Pensions - Hutton dressed as Cameron

UNISON has strongly condemned the proposals of the so called Independent Public Service Pensions Commission chaired by ex Labour minister John Huttton: http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=2212

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

'America is not broke': Moore backs Wisconsin workers

"America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich", Michael Moore told 50,000 protestors in Wisconsin on Saturday. See the video here.

UCU to strike over move to change University Pension Scheme

The University and College Union (UCU) today announced plans for strike action in Scotland on Thursday 17 March, in Wales on Friday 18 March, in Northern Ireland on Monday 21 March and in England on Tuesday 22 March.

Where does Labour stand on the Hutton Review - a response

UNISONActive asked ‘where does Labour stand on the Hutton Review?’ and it is a moot point. During the Labour leadership campaign (and seduced by the prospect of trade union votes) some candidates were unequivocal in saying they would support maintaining the TUC agreement on public sector pensions. Notably the Ed that won it.

Southampton hospital workers strike again

Last time it was snowing and raining, this time bright sunshine greeted the still solid and growing strike by 250 UNISON members at Southampton General Hospital. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-12668982 

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

UNISON Women celebrate the centenary of International Women's Day!

The origins of International Women’s Day lie deep within the struggle of working class women to unions and the fight for women’s suffrage. These two issues united European and American women. In 1908 hundreds of women workers in the New York needle trades demonstrated in Rutgers Square in Manhattan’s Lower East Side to form their own union to demand the right to vote. This historic demonstration took place on 8 March. It led in the following year to the uprising of 30,000 women in the shirtwaist makers which resulted in the first permanent trade union for women workers in the USA.

Hutton review - where does Labour stand?

Press speculation is reaching fever pitch about the likely recommendations of Lord Hutton when his Independent Public Service Pensions Commission reports on Thursday.

Monday, 7 March 2011

LGPS - Opting Out to Oblivion

Today's Financial Times has a worrying report about increased opting out from one the UK's largest public sector pension scheme because workers are feeling the pinch due to rising cost of living: The FT reports that the number of workers opting out of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, the nation's largest public sector scheme, has risen by more than 50 per cent in the past year, even before the effect of higher contribution rates takes effect.

South West Gets Active - ‘Heads up and spirits high!'

This weekend UNISON activists from across the South West Region gathered in Taunton for two days on 4th and 5th March to mobilise against the cuts and to step up campaign efforts in the run up to 26 March. The Get Active, Be Inspired event, a first for the region, offered short campaign skills sessions on public speaking, handling the media, one to one recruitment, using social media and film making and economic arguments against the cuts amongst many others.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Defiant union mobilisation greets Con Dems in Cardiff

UNISON Wales was the largest contingent among the thousands taking part in the Wales TUC march through Cardiff on Saturday against the vicious ConDem cuts. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-12651950  This was the largest trade union demonstration in Cardiff for a generation and with the tens of trade union and protest banners and hundreds of fluttering union flags certainly the most colourful and vibrant.

Birmingham shows why community organising is essential

Birmingham's Tory led council has drawn up £320m worth of cuts over four years, with £212m - 71 per cent of the reductions to be made in the 12 months from this April. It plans to cut 7,000 jobs in an unprecedented scaling down of council services which UNISON has described as social vandalism.

Lord Hutton - a £70bn Raid On Our Pensions?

As much as £70bn could be grabbed from our pensions by a shift away from final salary pensions a consultancy firm has estimated. This would be done by breaking the earnings link for the calculation of our pensions.

Chant to Bolivar by Pablo Neruda

Our Father thou art in Heaven,
in water, in air
in all our silent and broad latitude

Keith Faulkner tribute event

Paul Rey-Burns of the TUC has put together the audiotape of the speeches from the recent Keith Faulkner tribute event with some of the graphics used on the night. UNISON Active readers who were unable to attend might like to share the memories:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbAuiBr9_n8
For background go to: http://unisonactive.blogspot.com/2011/01/keith-faulkner-rip-loss-to-whole.html