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

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Delayed UN report exposes brutality of Israel's attack on Gaza Aid Flotilla

According to the United Nations panel of inquiry into the murderous attacks of May 2010, the Israeli boarders used "excessive and unreasonable force" to overcome resistance from the boat's unarmed civilians, the loss of life was "unacceptable" and the naval commandos were "abusive" in their treatment of other passengers. The report found that "forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel." http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/content/view/full/109019

UK Government lacks committment to race equality - Runnymede report

The Runnymede Trust and other NGO's working for race equality have produced a report highlighting key challenges faced by Black people in the UK and areas where the Government could be doing more to tackle inequalities in Black communities: http://www.unison.org.uk/file/UK%20NGOs%20Against%20Racism%20CERD%20Report.pdf

Powerless, with a Guitar by Günter Grass

We read napalm and imagine napalm.
Since we cannot imagine napalm
we read about napalm until
by napalm we can imagine more.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Welcome to the new NH$

UNISON has released a new video warning of the threat to the NHS from the government's Health and Social Care Bill, which returns to Parliament next week. Watch the film on Youtube here: http://youtu.be/wSy3zbavGFs

BBC News - Nottinghamshire Police staff hold second strike

The BBC is covering UNISON Nottinghamshire police staff's second strike today. 120 police staff in Nottinghamshire have already lost their jobs. The force has identified 746 more jobs as at risk, as it attempts to save £46 million over 4 years.  The union is calling on the force to go to arbitration to resolve the dispute, as it believes the job cuts are not being made on a fair or equal basis.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/uk-england-nottinghamshire-14759551

The pros and cons of 'smart' industrial action

A timely article in today’s Morning Star by Gregor Gall on the options facing health unions, including UNISON, as the inevitable industrial action in defence of NHS pensions draws closer: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk

Professor Gall compares and contrasts the effectiveness of all out action – on an escalating basis – with more flexible, selective action, which would involve strike action by strategic groups and other forms of protest action at workplaces and in communities.

Con Dem NHS reforms a prescription for inequality

The government's health and social care bill would see the NHS being rebuilt on a "philosophy that relies on a market-based health system rather like the one we see in the United States. There, those who pay or are insured get a better service than those who do not and rely on state-funded Medicare. Until now our system has been built on social solidarity where patients get appropriate treatment in the appropriate time" says Hamish Meldrum, Chair of the BMA – the Doctors trade union: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/sep/01/nhs-plans-put-wealthy-first

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Vote NO to free schools

We all know free schools are crap for kids and crap for our members. Click on here to tell Sky News what you really think in a Boulton on line survey and vote NO! http://news.sky.com/home/politics/article/16060315

APSE calls for evidence of success before rushing into cooperatives or mutuals for public service delivery

This piece in today’s Guardian highlights the lack of evidence available to demonstrate that coops or mutuals can be effective ways to deliver public services. In fact the APSE research highlights that rather than equitable outcomes for service users and employees those claimed as a ‘success’ have relied upon the staff co-optees cutting their own terms and conditions to sustain the model.

Outsourcing will lead to pension fund death spiral

A UNISON report commissioned amidst concerns about Barnet's mass outsourcing plans warns of dire consequences for the pension fund. http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/?q=node/667

Privateers back all-party group, so where's the real scrutiny of outsourcing?

Last week saw the launch of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Outsourcing and Shared Services, chaired by Conservative MP Bob Blackman along with Labour vice-chairs Siobhain McDonagh and Tom Blenkinsop. "As more organisations look to benefit from outsourcing and sharing services, it is vital to learn from past experiences: what had worked and what has not", said Blackman. "We are keen to learn from those experienced in outsourcing, on all sides of the relationship - buyers, suppliers and officials."

2,440 Jobs lost in Merseyside Councils since General Election

The Liverpool Echo reports that the five local authorities on Merseyside have spent over £45 million making 2,440 workers redundant since May 2010. This represents a significant loss of employment opportunities in an area which in recent years has experienced the biggest rise in unemployment among young women in the UK: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2011/08/31/45m-total-pay-off-bill-for-merseyside-councils-with-data-visualisation-100252-29332098/

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Mentioned in Dispatches – Wikileaks Cables & UK Unions

The latest cachet of US diplomatic cables published on line by Wikileaks includes several references to UK unions including UNISON. In particular they reveal that the highly effective union boycott of Hilton hotels in 2007 led to concern by the hotel group that ‘a conflict between US sanctions on Cuba and UK law banning discrimination, has instructed its employees not to violate local UK law, putting them on a potential collision course with US law’ http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07LONDON780.html

Party Funding Review - Beware the Tory Scam

The Committee for Standards in Public Life was due to report the findings of its review into party finance in 'early spring', but is now delaying its recommendations until October soonest. Michael Meacher MP responds to media spin ahead of tomorrow's meeting of the Committee which is hinting that it will accept a Tory proposal to cap party political donations (the legal definition of which includes affiliation fees):

Feeling the pulse of resistance

Hilary Wainwright writes that the values of solidarity, co-operation and fairness, and organisational logics of openness, plurality and mutual inter‑connection are fundamental for overturning the widespread public acceptance that there is no alternative to sacrificing public services to deal with debt; and for countering the persistent racism and scapegoating of immigrants and claimants: http://www.redpepper.org.uk/feeling-our-way-forward/

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

UNISON Nottinghamshire Police members strike today

The refusal of force management to respond to longstanding staff concerns about job cuts, management of change procedures and redundancy selection has led to the whole UNISON membership at Notts Police taking 24 hours strike action today: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-14712416

Countdown to NHS Big Weekend

The battle to save the NHS enters a new phase this week as campaigningis stepped up ahead of the return of the Health & Social Care Bill toParliament. More details available on the NHS Alert website: http://www.nhsalert.org.uk/page/signup/big-nhs-weekend

Monday, 29 August 2011

Behind the bankers’ mask

Nick Dearden writing in Red Pepper reports on the history and significance of the campaign for debt audits. Economic justice activists from Argentina, Brazil and Ireland share experiences of debt audits and debt defaults, and examine lessons learned in challenging the powerful forces of big finance:

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Negative Effects of Outsourcing

Over one third of public service workers are employed by private companies or not for profit organisations. A Guardian article examines the consequences of people working for networks of subcontractors rather than a single organisation: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/aug/26/outsourcing-economic-risk-workers-uncertainty

Inheritance - His by Audre Lorde

My face resembles your face
less and less each day. When I was young
no one mistook whose child I was.
Features build coloring
alone among my creamy fine-boned sisters
marked me Byron's daughter.