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

Saturday, 18 June 2011

From Merryn Williams

"Hello, and many thanks for publishing my poem, 'On the Tideline', on the Unison website. I discovered it by pure accident - where did you come across it? I'm delighted that somebody at Unison liked it and wish you every success in your campaign against the cuts". Merryn Williams. Click http://a-gender.org/poets/merryn-williams to visit Merryn's website to discover more of her poetry.

Preview - 2011 UNISON Local Government Service Group Conference

Delegates will arrive in Manchester for this year’s Local Government Service Group Conference #uNDC11 after a year of relentless onslaught from the Coalition Government.

Ex-MEP Tory Adviser Balfe knows a thing or two about "lucky" public pensioners

The suddenly ubiquitous former Labour MEP Richard Balfe, who following his defection to the Tories was appointed by David Cameron to liaise with the unions, this morning told Radio 4's Today programme that public sector workers were "lucky" the Government had not already decided to bring in direct contribution pensions in line with most of the private sector. http://www.politicshome.com/uk/story/17934/

“We are going to win” - Prentis

#uNDC11 Ahead of next week’s Conference, the Guardian publishes a wide ranging interview with UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis on pensions, cuts and privatisation. Commenting optimistically on the prospect of national industrial action Dave says: "It will be the biggest since the general strike. It won't be the miners' strike. We are going to win." http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jun/18/biggest-strike-100-years-union

Systemic Procurement Failures in Barnet

Heather Wakefield, UNISON national secretary for local government, writing in her regular Public Finance blog, comments on an internal audit report in the London Borough of Barnet which has highlighted serious concerns over procurement processes: http://opinion.publicfinance.co.uk/2011/06/barnet-not-so-fair/

Hedge Fund by Helen Moore

Little lines of sporting wood run wild
where hands heaved stones
to enclose – drove John Clare crazy.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Update on Southampton talks

UNISON, Unite, the City Council and representatives from ACAS met for nine hours yesterday. The joint UNISON / Unite Strike Committee met this lunch-time (Friday 17 June) and agreed that industrial action would continue - see full details at http://www.tweetdeck.com/twitter/SotonUnison/~66j8B  and http://www.soton-unison-office.org.uk/

Danny Alexander- the Tory Messenger Boy: An Immediate Reaction

Danny Alexander trailed his speech on Public Sector Pensions in the Telegraph as a firm statement of the Government’s position, a heroic attempt to nail the Tory colours to the mast, to tell public sector workers like it is.

Duplicitous ConDems settling old scores on Pensions

Readers of Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander’s spin in today’s Daily Telegraph would be forgiven for not realising that in 2005 major reforms to the UK’s public sector pensions were made in agreement between the trade unions and the then Labour Government. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8580934/Make-no-mistake-we-will-reform-public-sector-pensions.html

Kilmarnock slams 'misrepresentation of 'The Scheme'

Residents and politicans from Kilmarnock's Onthank area have slammed the BBC's decision to repeat 'The Scheme' documentary nationwide. http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/fury-grows-over-the-scheme-1.1107044

Thursday, 16 June 2011

An invitation to PSC Summer Conference

Working together for Palestine Saturday 9th July, 10am-5pm, University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY - Palestine Solidarity Campaign. “We are the people and this is our time: stand up, sing out … for Palestine”

Greece and the madness of debt - why monetary reform is the task of our age

The stupidity of humans knows no bounds. But we must take some of the blame for failing to understand how our crazed debt based money system works and how to rectify it or fail to campaign for change.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

NHS reforms scaled back - really?

The response to the Government's Health White Paper showed the level of anger at plans to dismantle the NHS, and hand it over to profiteers: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nhs-reform-scaled-back-after-review-2297267.html

24 hour strike against cuts in Greece

Unions are mounting a 24-hour anti-austerity strike today as the Greek Government moves to implement a new 2012-2015 austerity programme to secure €28bn cuts following the EU/IMF bail out:

The ConDems do not enter pensions conflict from a position of strength

Richard Seymour writing in Comment is Free gives a useful analysis of the looming confrontation between the Con Dem Government and public sector unions over pensions and other austerity measures. However it is marred by an ill informed reference to UNISON having ‘thus far retreated from outright conflict with the government’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/14/nut-atl-vote-unionised-public-sector-workers

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Southampton Council Workers Stand Firm

UNISON and Unite members rallied in Southampton yesterday in support of their campaign against City Council pay cuts. In a brilliantly orchestrated dispute, 70 street cleaners started a seven-day strike:

Pensions day of reckoning draws nearer for UNISON

Massive coverage in today's press of a warning by UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis that the union is gearing up to industrial action in defence of members' pensions.

More on EGA Gallery opening

Guy Rughani writes on the BMA blog about last week's opening of the UNISON Elizabeth Garret Anderson Gallery.

Has Labour been the Party of Benefits cheats? Expenses cheats more like it!

In an incredibly unprincipled pitch to Daily Mail reading middle England, Ed Miliband boldly claims that Labour is no longer the party of benefits cheats at a time when benefit claimants face unprecedented attacks from the Con Dem Government welfare reforms. Surely there's some mistake here?

Exhibition - Mineros of Bolivia

A haunting photographic exhibition of Bolivian Miners will be shown in Red Hill to coincide with the Durham Miners Gala. The exhibition has so far been seen by over 500,000 people across Latin America and Europe. This is the first time it has been shown in the UK, giving people here the chance to glimpse the lives and struggles of miners who toil in the high Andes, on the other side of the world. http://www.mineros-bolivia.com/schedule.html

Monday, 13 June 2011

Labour must decide who it represents

The Labour Party is now officially at war again. From Polly Toynbee in Saturday’s Guardian, through the 2revelations” in the Sunday Telegraph, to Rawnsley in the Observer or Rentoul in the Independent, comes the news that the Miliband brothers are officially NOT TALKING while Ed Balls’ private papers have been splashed over the media.

Celebrating 50 years of UK-Cuba Friendship and Solidarity

Bob Oram
In a moving and hugely enjoyable event on Saturday campaigners and activists from across the UK gathered to celebrate half a century of collective history and experience, and what a wonderful story they told.

Unraveling the Emperor's Speech to Write Our Own Story

'We do not need to the US or Israel to give us these rights. We were born with them. We don’t need to negotiate for them, because they’re non-negotiable', writes Susan Abulhawa in a moving and eloquent piece in the Palestine Chronicle following Obama's recent speeches. It is a must read.  http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16907

Miliband still has a lot more to do - Prentis

It is a sad reflection on Labour that - at a time when the Con Dem Government is divided on NHS reforms, in crisis on adult social care, making hundreds of thousands of public service workers redundant, poised to destroy the pension rights of generations and paralysed on reform of party finances - the 'official opposition' is only newsworthy because of the internal machinations of its wholly inadequate leadership.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

UNISON Report on the Public Service Industrial Complex - updated version essential reading

The groundbreaking UNISON report on The Rise of the "Public Services Industry", written by Paul Gosling, has just been updated. This essential resource now deals with Con Dem Government policy, the planned intensification of privatisation in services such as the NHS and, topically, the crisis in adult social care: Download the report here and see report on InsideHousing  http://tinyurl.com/3vgwt87

UNISON Young Members' May Day visit to Cuba

UNISON last month sent four delegates on a Young Trade Unionists’ May Day Brigade to Cuba. On the Cuba Solidarity Campaign blog, UNISON brigadista Lisa Scott reports on her visit: http://cubasolidaritycampaign.blogspot.com/

On the Tideline by Merryn Williams

Slowly, he came round.
He knew this was the Intensive Care Unit, but he'd been dreaming
of sixty years back, walking Yarmouth sands with his father,