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

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Labour must be embedded in communities, leading the campaign and protecting most vulnerable

London delegation including Rae Voller
who is standing down as National Vice Chair
Report on the Second day of Forum held this year at the Liverpool Marriot hotel. “A good time was had by all” the previous night at the traditional Labour Link Social. For some reason a number of delegates were a little quiet and subdued. Forum kicked off with more motions on future Labour Link policy and campaign priorities.

Public sector unions unite in Northern Ireland

Yesterday, public sector trade unions representing thousands of public service workers across Northern Ireland issued a joint statement of cooperation in opposition to a reduction in public services, job cuts, pay freezes, attacks on welfare benefits and pensions: http://www.unison.org.uk/northernireland/pages_view.asp?did=13054

Labour Link Forum: Labour has to offer an alternative economic policy

The UNISON Labour Link (APF) National Forum started yesterday in Liverpool. This is the annual meeting of the UNISON affiliated political fund. UNISON members have a choice whether to pay a voluntary levy to the Labour Party or to a non-aligned General fund (or none). Elected union lay representatives from all over the UK met to debate policies and campaigns, take part in workshops and meet Councillors, MPs and MEPs.

ROTC Kills by John Koethe

for Fabrizio Mondadori
I’m retired, I’m sitting in a house I made
In my imagination years ago, that now is real.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Let's break down the wall - buy the single today!

On 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Wall being built by Israel in the West Bank is illegal and should be torn down. Yet 7 years on, the Wall continues to destroy lives - cutting children off from schools, farmers from their land and family members from each other.

The Section 188 Chainsaw Massacre

This week’s announcement by Shropshire County Council of plans to dismiss its entire workforce make it the latest in a growing list of public sector employers to use Section 188 (of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992) notices in order to unilaterally impose cuts in pay and conditions: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/07/council-pay-cuts-unions

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Pensions: 'Name the Day' posturing or getting our action right

The sinister fringes of our union are again crawling out from under the various stones where they have been resting, like Lord Voldemorte and the Death Eaters. As always they remain shadowy, unwilling to reveal themselves for who they are (“a number of UNISON activists” quote, unquote).

Con Dem NHS 'U-Turn' is a fake

Jacqueline Davies has written an excellent article on the Guardian which exposes the duplicity of Con Dem Ministers and spin doctors who are presenting cosmetic concessions as substantial reforms to the proposed NHS legislation which is ‘still on course to achieve its underlying intention, accelerating the privatisation of the health service, turning the NHS into a kitemark attached to a ragbag of competing and largely private providers’: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/06/andrew-lansley-health-bill

An enclave of sobriety and solidarity

Building Design magazine has given the new UNISON centre an aesthetic once over:  http://m.bdonline.co.uk/5021052.article?mobilesite=enabled 'Unison’s new headquarters is an enclave of sobriety that draws on the imagery of corporate rebranding to reflect the changing language of the union movement.

Southampton action continues as council cancels talks

Unions have rected angrily to Southampton council's last minute cancellation yesterday of talks at ACAS which were aimed at resolving the six week old strike against cuts in pay and conditions. The UNISON and Unite strike action from 11 June - the day the council plans to sack staff - will go ahead as planned. http://www.soton-unison-office.org.uk/latestnews.htm

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A Headline We Never Thought We’d Write.. Well done FORD

Celebrities so called, having problems with Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers were never going to excite us. Since ninety plus per cent of tabloid output consists of gossip relayed by a member of Cheryl Popstar’s inner circle or an intimate friend of Robbie Football-Millionaire or one of Jenny Megastar’s crew, the idea that their privacy had been invaded was a strange one.

Deal or no deal?

Government has made no secret of its desire to see at least 20% of public sector contracts transferred to third sector providers. In reality the operation of procurement rules to get to this 'Big Society’ nirvana will open up public sector markets, not just to the third sector providers, but to private sector operators as well.

South African Media Watchdog Says Israel Can Be Called An Apartheid State

A ruling by South Africa’s Advertising Standards Authority gives hope to those facing spurious attacks of anti-Semitism by the Israeli lobby when legitimately criticising Israeli political and military attacks on Palestinians. In a report from Australians for Palestine, Sonja Karkar said “That this decision was reached in South Africa is significant because that country more than any other would know exactly what are the conditions that constitute apartheid.”

Shame on Shropshire Council

Dismissal letters have been sent to Tory controlled Shropshire Council's 6,500 strong workforce stating that all staff will be dismissed on 30 September and immediately rehired, but only if they agree to a 5.4% pay cut. UNISON is taking industrial action to resist similar imposed changes in Birmingham and Southampton councils and will be balloting our members in Shropshire: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-14028188

Building progressive alliances against neo-liberalism

In the Global Labour Column, Asbjřrn Wahl, Director of the Campaign for the Welfare State in Norway, argues that the response of European trade unions to the economic crisis has been too defensive - notably weak resistance to neo-liberal "blame-shifting" that has led to the global financial crisis moving from being a “capitalist crisis” to one that was caused by “ordinary people who have been living beyond their means.” Wahl advocates alliances between trade unions and other social movements to resist increasingly-neoliberal policies in Europe:  http://column.global-labour-university.org/2011/01/building-progressive-alliances.html

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

NHS 63 today - Don't let the Con Dems destroy it

It is 63 years today since the NHS was founded. #NHS63 It's even more important to mark the birthday of Britain's most popular institution this year, as we face the potential dismantling of the NHS in the form of Andrew Lansley's Health and Social Care Bill. http://falseeconomy.org.uk/nhsThe coalition government’s proposals will put everyone at risk. Including you. Don’t be fooled. Even after “listening”, the government’s legislation would let private companies grab any part of the NHS, putting profits before patients.

Smart escalation planned in long running Southampton strike

UNISON and Unite yesterday issued notice to Southampton City Council that from next Monday, July 11th, 13 Port health officers, who provide health protection within Southampton port and Oil refinery, through inspection and certification of Cruise Liners, Containers and Oil Tankers, will join the strike.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Dilnot Commission misses golden opportunity to bring fairness into crisis-ridden social care system

The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has described the long-awaited Dilnot Commission report into the future funding of long-term care as a missed opportunity to bring much-needed fairness and simplicity into a care system that is in crisis.

Q: What do unions stand for? A: Liberty, Equality, Solidarity

In recent days conservative commentators have been quick to condemn the British trade union movement. Christopher Caldwell writing in the FT asserts that trade unionism ‘cannot be the force to restore balance to western economies’ and writes off unions as government concessions that marked the Industrial Age, much as mercantilist companies marked the Age of Exploration’: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4f47ff54-a42a-11e0-8b4f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1R9W9Wn8r

Lessons from the1989-1990 Ambulance Workers' Dispute

As industrial conflict intensifies between public sector unions and a Conservative led Government, important lessons can be learnt from union strategy and tactics in the 1989-1990 Ambulance Workers' Dispute. Solomon Hughes has researched state papers on the landmark dispute using the Freedom of Information Act:  http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk

More about the role of the UNISON partner unions in the dispute can be read in an 'In Focus' article from June 2010: http://www.unison.org.uk/activists/pages_view.asp?did=11290

Sunday, 3 July 2011

These are the hands by Michael Rosen

These are the hands
That touch us first
Feel your head
Find the pulse
And make your bed.