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

Saturday, 4 June 2011

US and debt default are we on the way to global economic meltdown MK2?

Under US law, the country's national debt may not exceed $14.3 trillion (£8.75tn). That figure was reached last month, forcing America to dip into two government pension schemes to service its debts. That, though, will only tide the US over until the start of August. President Obama has been locked in talks with members of Congress in recent days, in an attempt to reach agreement to raise the ceiling. The Republican party is demanding massive spending cuts in return, and the two sides have made little progress.

A letter by Nikola Vaptsarov

Do you remember
the sea, the engines,
and the holds full of wet dark
and that great longing for the Philippines
and for the big stars over Famagusta?

Friday, 3 June 2011

Southern Cross..WE TOLD YOU SO

The Southern Cross debacle was not one that was unpredictable. In fact it was UNISON that told us all so.

What’s our policy on the private rented sector?

Much of the discussion about housing on the left inevitably concentrates on what we don’t have- a thriving public rented sector, and then inevitably concentrates on how we get back to that, and in more subtle discussions how it can be improved. There is however a problem with this approach.

Southampton strike action will cost millions - Sonnet

UNISON Deputy General Secretary Keith Sonnet, speaking at a rally of striking Council workers in Southampton today, warned "Southampton council bosses must start listening to staff, or see millions in revenue wasted as the strike continues":  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-13629118

Let the Corporations be unleashed?

News that the leaderships of the UK’s devolved nations met to discuss their commonalities over a cup of tea in Edinburgh has been rather benignly reported in most of the media at a UK level: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/uk-scotland-13597189

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Public Sector Pensions in a Death Spiral?

There are many ways to skin a cat and there are many ways to shut down our pension system, if you wanted to avoid industrial strife with trade unions then the most simple way of closing them down would be to price us out of the system overall. There is mounting evidence that this maybe the strategy of choice for the Con Dems.

Open Public Services White Paper further delayed until mid-July‏

Further confirmation of division and disarray in Coalition Government ranks over the privatisation of public services - as the FT reports that David Cameron's flagship White Paper (originally due for publication in January) - has been further delayed until mid-July: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/efb97dea-8c70-11e0-883f-00144feab49a.html#axzz1O5R1vISU

A women’s right to choose back on the political agenda

News that right wing religious groups are now considered government advisers in relation to women’s reproductive rights, and private members bills that seek to place the “Just Say No” movement at the heart of sexual health strategy must sound warning bells to all who believe in women’s equality.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Care privatisation - time to call a halt

The revelations in last night's Panorama of abuse at a private residential unit has shocked the nation and rightly led to police arrests. Whilst this was a particularly shocking episode, concerns over care provision have rarely been out of the news in recent months. A UNISON Scotland blog post this morning from Dave Watson catalogues other examples and says, "It is surely time to call a halt to privatisation and undertake a detailed review of the future of care". http://unison-scotland.blogspot.com/2011/06/care-privatisation-time-for-change.html   See also Britain’s Private Care 'faces crisis’ - FT

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

New single: Freedom for Palestine

Dave Randall recently visited the West Bank with War on Want and what he saw there convinced him that it is time for musicians to stand up for Palestine - so along with a host of other musicians he has released a solidarity song.

Britain’s Private Care 'faces crisis’ - FT

A profound headline and a very interesting report in today’s FT which surveys the wreckage of the outsourced private care sector, as Southern Cross, the sector’s biggest company and employer of 30,000 care workers, is on the verge of collapse: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/307bbd3e-8af5-11e0-b2f1-00144feab49a.html#axzz1NwUMoqIG

Response: No Blood Money

For an outstanding analysis of the importance of giving blood free read "The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood to Social Policy" by Richard Titmuss. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GER/is_1998_Spring/ai_53885036/

Monday, 30 May 2011

Growth? Tax? Cuts? Which bit are they not getting?

As British Chambers of Commerce cuts its growth forecast for the UK economy, the evidence is piling up that cuts are damaging the economy but business and government don't seem to be getting it.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Iraq, oil, lies, theft and building a nation

‘Theft is carried out with a laptop and a legal agreement, a seminar and a treaty, as surely as it is carried out with a gun’, says Solomon Hughes reviewing Fuel on the Fire by Greg Muttitt in the Morning Star last week. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/105171

Work for the Dole by Anon

A poem from 1933
Now work for the dole, you bastards
Take that gleam of hope from your eye
Just work for the dole, you bastards
Or watch your children die