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

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The lost world of Tory trade unionism

In the context of George Osborne's recent exhortations to big business to take up arms against unions, the suggestion by Tory MP Robert Halfon on the Conservative Home website that Tories should embrace trade unionism seems quixotic to put it mildly: http://bit.ly/kiqszn

Miners by Alun Rees

(last shift at Tower Colliery)
They were slaughtered at Senghenydd,
at Cilfynydd, Porth and Maerdy.
Where miners went Death went as well,
and he was never tardy.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Income inequality blights social progress and well being

The excellent Institute of Employment Rights hosted an impressive talk last night at UNISON’s new centre in London. John Hendy QC welcomed Richard Wilkinson, one of the authors of the book The Spirit Level to address a packed meeting room: http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resource/the-spirit-level

Worse than WorkChoices

A UNISONActive reader in Sydney reports on the political onslaught against public service workers in Australia's most populous state of New South Wales (NSW), which bears a remarkable similarity to developments in Britain and the US.

UNISON Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Gallery opens

Last night the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Gallery within the new UNISON Centre in London was formally opened. The interactive gallery is a jewel in UNISON’s crown and a must-see for all feminists and trade unionists. Elizabeth Garret Anderson was the first woman to qualify as a doctor in Britain.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Bick remembers Ken Gill

Rodney Bickerstaffe and the late Ken Gill were trade union contemporaries in battles against a former Conservative government, fighting for social justice and jobs and against attacks on employment rights and public services. Now chair of a non-charitable trust to celebrate and continue Ken’s legacy, the former UNISON general secretary reflects on the life of his long-time friend and says the struggles they fought together are in many ways no different than the struggles of today.

30 years of wage stagnation

Low and median incomes increased by just 27 and 56 per cent in the 30 years up to the recent recession, despite the UK economy more than doubling in size over the same period, according to a new TUC report published this week: http://www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/28/Britains_Livelihood_Crisis.pdf

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Report of UNISON NEC meeting 8 June 2011

Public Sector Pensions dominated the deliberations of UNISON’s National Executive Council meeting in London today. Dave Prentis presented a first-hand account of negotiations taking place with Senior Con Dem Ministers on the general principles which will guide sector specific negotiations over the summer. The NEC was informed of extensive campaigning work and ballot preparations being carried out by the union:

3 Questions to Con Dem anti-union emmisary Vince Cable MP

Professor Keith Ewing, who addressed the GMB Conference on the same day as Vince Cable MP earlier this week, poses three searching questions to the Con Dem Business Minister following his threat of more ant-union laws: http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/keith-ewing/crackdown-on-uk-strike-rights-letter-to-cable

The wrong type of recession

Last weekends’ papers were awash with some welcome dissent on Osbornes’ economic performance as calls for a ‘plan B’ strategy came from some of his previous backers: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/04/uk-new-economic-approach

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Never mind the strikes, Vince.. check out the public sector morale

Strikes may be the least of the government’s worries as the cuts really start to hit home, writes UNISON's Head of Local Government Heather Wakefield on the Public Finance blog. "Vince Cable’s strike warning to public sector workers misses the point entirely. It is not strikes that the government should be fretting about. It’s the impact of declining workforce morale on the longer-term future of public services". http://opinion.publicfinance.co.uk/2011/06/never-mind-the-strikes-vince/

Cable not doing the business - TUC

‘Weakening unions, and taking our industrial action laws even further away from the European mainstream, will just make inequality – and our economic prospects – even worse’ says TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O’Grady in response to Vince Cable MP’s threat to ratchet up the UK’s anti union laws: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/06/vince-cable-minister-no-business-unions

Monday, 6 June 2011

Cable car crash lands in Brighton

The GMB union will have its own reasons for inviting discredited Con Dem business secretary Vince Cable MP to its annual conference in Brighton today.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Omerta on Party Finance Inquiry

The Tories and the Liberal Democrats have a common agenda to break the Trade Union Labour link and unsurprisingly the Coalition agreement in May 2010 included a pledge to ‘pursue a detailed agreement on limiting donations and reforming party funding in order to remove big money from politics’.

Closed Figures by Kristin Dimitrova

Everywhere nets of people
support each other
and allow no leaks.
The impulse runs
in closed figures
and looks good, but it isn’t.