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

Saturday, 19 March 2011

HOPE not hate weekend of action

The HOPE not hate campaign formally kicks off its 2011 election campaign with a weekend of action on 19/20 March. We'll be taking to streets of England in a bid to ensure that the BNP are not able to win any seats in May's local elections. http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/action/

Highlighting the 'Social' in Health and Social Care Bill - Glen Williams

Much is being played out in the media in relation GPs’ consortiums taking over the £80bn available to commission healthcare they deem appropriate for patients as a part of the Health and Social Care Bill currently making its stormy passage through Parliament.

Chorus of the Masses Against the Elites by David Betteridge

We are the nothings you walk past.
Your lowest and least,
we live in the margins of your power.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Doctors call on ConDems to ditch health bill

The BMA has issued a statement demanding "major changes to controversial NHS reform proposals" following a special meeting of doctors that "reaffirmed the widespread concern" called on the Secretary of State to withdraw the Bill.

They Who Have Gold Plated Pay Have Gold Plated Pensions!

It's true public sector workers have gold plated pay and pensions - well five of them at RBS at least. US-based RBS banker Ellen Alemany is the highest rewarded of the five with a deal worth almost £6m. A further £736,000 was paid to her for pension arrangements. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/mar/17/rbs-top-five-paid-twenty-million

On 26 March the real 'Big Society' will assemble - Chris Tansley

Chris Tansley, UNISON Vice President and child care social worker in Nottinghamshire County Council, writing on the Community Care website, responds to Bank of England Governor Mervyn King's self fulfilling prophesy that reaction to Government cuts is surprisingly muted:

US Right determined to kill off public sector unions - it can happen here

The Washington Post publishes another vicious attack on public sector unions as the right wing campaign to de-unionise public sphere intensifies: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/17/writing-on-the-wall-for-public-unions/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS

Thursday, 17 March 2011

UNISON welcomes living wage in NHS Scotland

UNISON Scotland has secured a Living Wage of £7.29 for 4,500 people in NHS Scotland following 10 years of achievements on low pay starting with the Low Pay Deal in in 2001. This brought the entry grade from £4.62 (the UK Whitley Council rate) up to £5.02 and reduced the working week to 37.5 hours (ahead of 2004 agenda for Change reduction).

Union rights - savour a moment of victory

Professor Keith Ewing writes in the Morning Star about a ‘major triumph for the British trade union movement in its battle to restore trade union rights’. The recent ASLEF and RMT Court of Appeal cases established, for the first time, the duty of the courts to take into account the unions' right to strike in international law, when applying or interpreting the statutory ballot notice provisions, and the nature and scope of the obligations they impose. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/102325

Economists speak out to save the EMA

A group of distinguished economists have published a letter in today’s Guardian calling on the Government to use next week’s budget to save the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA):

From one who tried to kill us - adapt or die!

As twitter followers of @MaryxMaguire will be aware, last night a reunion of Fleet Street industrial correspondents was held in Congress House London.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Conservative Government. Unemployment? Figures.

So wrote Roger McGough in a pithy poem crafted during the Thatcher era. It resonates today when the UK's official unemployment figure hits a 17 year high at 2.53 million. Same as it ever was.

Flagship mutual at mercy of the market

Greenwich Council is currently tendering on the open market (via OJEU) for leisure services: So the home of Greenwich Leisure, one of the most prominent ‘mutuals’, may decide to buy their leisure services from someone else? The current staff may TUPE transfer from Greenwich Leisure - the mutual which they ‘own’ – to an odious private sector provider. They will have no choice in the matter. Such is the market for public services. http://www.gll.org/

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Compass speaker points the way at West Midlands

Neal Lawson from Compass was the invited speaker at the West Midlands UNISON Spring Seminar last night in Birmingham. Addressing an audience of activists, officials and politicians he began with a critique of New Labour and previous attempts to reform the public sector.

I of W blood collection team show support for 26 March

UNISON Reps from across the South east including Isle of Wight handed in a letter to the TUC Trades Union Congress in London urging them to join the campaign to oppose the threat to privatise the NHS Blood Service and pledging support for the TUC demonstration in London on Saturday 26th March

TUC phoney war is over - Brendan Barber

TUC General Secretary gives a hard hitting interview in the Guardian, as unions countdown to the massive mobilisation planned or London in 11 days time:

Private sector feeding frenzy on public service carcass

Media hysteria about overpaid council chiefs, unaffordable public sector pensions and the need to cut the ‘deficit’ were put firmly into context by a sympathetic Channel 4 Dispatches entitled Britain's Secret Fat Cats: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-84/episode-1

Compass Workers strike again - as Company fined for food 'unfit for pigs'!

Why does Southampton General Hospital continue to use Compass Medirest? As hospital cleaners strike for 3 days again this week the Daily Mail prints this story about a patient who won £200 in court after suing them for having to get out of bed and buy his own food:

Monday, 14 March 2011

Hutton - Behind The Headlines

It has become obvious with the publication of the Hutton report on Public Sector Pensions that trade union opposition is not optional. UNISON has no alternative but to maximise its resistance to the range of proposals on offer.

Response: Alternative Vote Referendum‏

I am sure UNISON will think long and hard before deciding whether or not to recommend to its members a position on the Alternative Vote Referendum. All of the technical reasons for and against have been laid out so I would not take up members time repeating them.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

North West TUC debates wide range of industrial & political issues

The Annual Conference of the North West TUC was held in Manchester yesterday and debated a wide range of industrial and political issues. Nick Lowles from Hope Not Hate spoke about a recent large study which showed that “economic pessimism is a real driver for fear and hate”.

Call to Account! by Vladimir Mayakovsky

The drum of war thunders and thunders.
It calls: thrust iron into the living.
From every country
slave after slave
are thrown onto bayonet steel.
For the sake of what?
The earth shivers
and stripped.