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

Saturday, 16 April 2011

UNISON NEC Elections - North West Region

Vote Tracey Delaney, Carol Lukey, Bob Oram and Glen Williams: All of UNISON - staff and activists - must make protection of members our number one priority in this coming period. We face unprecedented challenges as the Tories and their Liberal allies seek to roll back the state and forever change the face of public services in this country.

Libraries - amenities or necessities?

A many as 400 local libraries are at risk from closure as a result of Con Dem austerity cuts. See voices for the library blog for up-to date news on local library campaigns and closures:http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress/

Ireland at austerity breaking point - ICTU

In a case of chickens coming home to roost, the europhile Irish Congress of Trade Unions has warned that Ireland is close to exceeding the limits to 'political acceptability of austerity' and that the EU and European Central Bank are "not without responsibility" for the current crisis in Ireland:http://www.businessworld.ie/livenews.htm?a=2765357;s=rollingnews.htm

Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape

Tate Modern in London has a retrospective exhibition of the works of the Catalonian painter Joan Miró running through the summer from 14th April until 11th September. One theme of the exhibition is the 'political engagement' of his work during the Spanish Civil War and the World Wars. The exhibition also shows later works from the long period of the Franco regime when Miro refused to contribute to or accept involvement with the dictator or his state and saw his role as "... untying of all oppressions, all prejudices and all false established values..."

I Would Like to Be a Dot in a Painting by Miro by Moniza Alvi‏

Barely distinguishable from other dots,
it's true, but quite uniquely placed.
And from my dark centre

Friday, 15 April 2011

Survey highlights shocking impact of poverty on school pupils

The BBC reports that more than three-quarters of 627 primary,secondary and college teachers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who responded to a survey believed they taught pupils living in poverty. And about 40% said the problem had increased since the recession. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/education-13081777

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Tax Dodgers Alliance , Lies & Mileage Rates‏

Chris Tansley responds angrily to a one sided BBC piece today based on a press release from those tax dodgers the Taxpayers Alliance. The story was about council workers' car mileage rates. http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/home/2011/04/tpa-research-council-mileage-spending.html

Affiliated union members connect Labour to its support base

Seumas Milne, writing in the Guardian, reviews the balance of political forces in the Ed Miliband Labour Party. Rather than a recidivist embrace of New Labour's neo liberal agenda he argues that improved internal democracy can revitalise Labour - and enhanced rights for union members can be an essential component:

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

New Era begins for UNISON - report of NEC 13 April 2011

We christened the new UNISON building today with a National Executive Council, held days before the formal move of the staff from Mabledon Place. President Angela Lynes described it as "a stunning new centre for our organisation and one which will hopefully last for generations to come". An ambitious but financially prudent move, the new centre is already a landmark in the capital and a credit to everyone involved. http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=6762

Bay of Pigs 50th Anniversary celebrated in London

Commander Victor Dreke Cruz “ is one of the pillars on which I relied “ wrote Ernesto Che Guevara after a mission to Africa in the mid 60’s . An incredibly humble but passionate man, this outstanding veteran of the Cuban revolution shared his experience and thoughts in a rapturously received speech at the National Union of Teachers headquarters in London on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

UNISON NEC Elections - National Seats

NEC member Graham Smith has posted a list of candidates standing in national seats in the UNISON NEC elections which are now underway. UNISONActive readers are urged to promote this group of candidates who are committed to UNISON developing as a progressive left of centre union and not one beholden to ultra left sectarianism: http://grahaminunison.blogspot.com/2011/04/nec-elections-make-your-vote-count.html

More on NEC elections at http://unisonactive.blogspot.com/search/label/NEC%20Elections

The case for economic democracy

In determining their response to the crisis, trade unions must not only think about short-term policies but also long-term strategy. Although it may be easy to point out that the crisis showed that the balance of power between labour and capital needs to change, it is far less easy to elaborate how this change can be brought about. LSE Academic Richard Hyman writing for the Global Labour Column looks at how capitalism and economic democracy have tried – and failed – to coexist: http://column.global-labour-university.org/

Stop the Bankers - The Commission Bottles it!

Unlike the Public Sector Pensions Commission which didn't bottle it when it came to attacking our pensions, the Banking Commission has bottled the chance of making significant reforms to the banking sector. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/apr/11/vickers-commission-blesses-banks

Monday, 11 April 2011

Report of UNISON FE Seminar held 8-9 April 2011

I attended my first FE and 6th Form College Seminar the following is a personal account of the inspiring and well organised event in Leeds over two days.

UNISON NEC Elections - What we stand for

This union and this country are seeing the worst devastation in public services since Thatcher’s reign when communities were shattered - such is the sustained assault by the Con Dems. As UNISON members we face the most unrelenting attack we have ever experienced, bringing unprecedented challenges to workplaces and communities, say Kenny Bell and Jane Carolan.

Undercover Police and 26 March TUC Demonstration

Caught in the act….
See more photos at http://www.flickr.com/groups/26march/

Coalition cuts start to bite in NHS

The Guardian reports on a range of front line services which have fallen foul of cuts in NHS and local council budgets: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/apr/11/nhs-cuts-first-areas?CMP=twt_gu

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Kenny Bell sells out Newcastle Civic Centre

A brilliant night with 600 packing the hall to pay tribute to 40 years of labour, trade union and tennant struggles in North East England, in Colombia and in Cuba. Song, dance, films and speakers from the community where Kenny organises, trade unionists from the various industrial and political perspectives, academics from his student past and current research and community action projects. Council leaders also paid tribute. More to follow.
Mike Kirby

Icelanders Reject Bailing Out Bankers Again

For a second time the people of Iceland have rejected a plan to repay €4bn (£3.5bn; $5.8bn) to Britain and the Netherlands from a bank crash, results showed yesterday. The 'no' in Saturday's referendum means that the dispute will end up in a European court. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/iceland-rejects-repayment-deal-again-2265960.html

Unions protest against Anti-Social, Neo-Liberal EU

Over 40,000 trade unionists marched through central Budapest yesterday in a demonstration timed to coincide with a meeting of EU Finance Ministers. Organised by the ETUC to protest at the Europe wide austerity measures precipated by the banking crisis and related attacks on public services, pay and pensions. A far cry from the Social Europe once extolled by a western european trade union leadership schooled in co-determination, partnership and tripartitism:

Spain of Blood and Jasmine by Francis Combes

Spain, of beaten leather
men carry as scarves neck-wise
with heavy guns in their hands