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

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Revealed - the TUC's Special Relationship?

#TUC11 Among the recent Wikleaks cache of US diplomatic cables was one from the US London Embassy about the 2006 TUC Congress which provides a unique insight into the relationship between the TUC’s International Department and US diplomats: http://cables.mrkva.eu/cable.php?id=76720

Con Dem economic policy is clueless - TUC

#TUC11 ‘The problem is that the government has not just produced the wrong answer, they don’t even understand the question. Our economic problems lie in the collapse of an economic model that started in the 1980s and ended with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

City Mirrors by Chris Crittenden

in the façades,
stretched and folded
like darkled taffy.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Strike as Barnet 'privatises cuts'

As Barnet UNISON members gear up to strike on 13 September, the council has taken to flyposting to tell workers they have nothing to fear from privatisation despite outsourced care staff facing cuts in pay and conditions, reports FalseEconomy

‘Big opportunities’ for private sector in health bill, says minister

The health bill will create ‘genuine opportunities' for the private sector to take over large chunks of the NHS, the health minister in charge of steering the reform bill through the House of Lords claims, reports GP magazine PULSE

Trade Unions for Cuba

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign recently launched its new trade union newsletter Trade Unions for Cuba. UNISON affiliates and individual CSC members will be accustomed to receiving their quarterly copy of CubaSí magazine, but the new bulletin will concentrate on trade union news and campaigning actions. Trade Unions for Cuba will be published electronically approximately every three months and will satisfy the hunger for topical Cuba news between issues of CubaSí.

Here comes trouble

The Guardian carries a superb extract from Michael Moore’s new book ‘Here Comes Trouble’, describing how he became the most hated man in the USA, threatened with murder by bigoted right wing Fox news presenter the hated Glenn Beck:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Attacks on union influence in Labour ‘mischievous and unhelpful’

In a Tribune article, ex-Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe MP has urged Labour’s leadership to back off from proposals to reduce affiliated unions' share of the vote at Party Conference and avoid ‘pandering to pressure’ from a hostile press and others seeking to sow divisions in the labour movement:

Plymouth Council follows US Trends?

People Management magazine has an interesting article about the state of unions in the US and asks - is the UK is going the same way? Although the tone of the article is ‘partnership is good ‘ it touchstones the developments in the US – lower union density, de- recognition, more conflict and threats of strikes. http://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/pm/articles/2011/08/state-of-the-union.htm?area=er

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Fat Cat Pensions Bonanza

The TUC's annual PensionsWatch survey is published today and highlights that Directors of the UK's top companies have amassed obscene pension pots worth an average of £3.9 million: http://www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/73/

  PensionsWatch analyses the pension arrangements of 362 directors from the FTSE 100 companies, shows that the average transfer value (pension pot) for a director's defined benefit (DB) pension is £3.91 million - providing an annual pension of £224,121. The biggest pension pot in this year's survey is worth £21.5 million.
  The survey shows that the average director's pension is 23 times the average occupational pension (£9,568), and 34 times bigger than the average public sector pension (£6,497).

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Quarriers workers strike against pay cuts

Quarriers UNISON members picketing this morning
UNISON members at Quarriers came out on strike at 8.00am against pay cuts of up to 23%, cuts in sick pay and other conditions and higher pensions contributions. The hundreds of workers in one of Scotland’s biggest social care charities are urging other members to joint them at a rally today in Glasgow’s George Square at 12 noon. The 24 hour stoppage will continue until tomorrow morning.

Beyond belief - Tory rearguard action to block agency workers rights

The Daily Telegraph reports on a mendacious move by Downing Street to renege on the implementation of new rights for agency workers which are due next month: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8743377/David-Cameron-moves-to-water-down-new-EU-job-laws.html

General Strike against Austerity in Italy

UNISON has sent solidarity greetings to the Public Services Federation of sister union CGIL as the Italian trade union movement today mounts a general strike against austerity measures being imposed by the Berlusconi government: http://bit.ly/mU2473

Monday, 5 September 2011

TUC, endless talk & defence of our pensions

#TUC11 In the first of many previews of next week’s 143rd Trades Union Congress, General Secretary Brendan Barber complains to the Independent about the sensationalist media’s ‘endless talk about summers, springs and indeed winters of discontent’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/prepare-for-wildcat-strikes-union-boss-warns-downing-st-2349303.html

Burston Strike School Rally 2011 - Solidarity Forever

Almost a thousand people gathered on a small village green in Burston, South Norfolk, to celebrate the longest strike in history - when pupils and their parents rose in support of their teachers, sacked for their socialist beliefs.

Americans Ask, "Where Are The Jobs?"

On US 2011 Labor Day the SEIU reports that a ‘shockingly large majority of Congress Representatives are actively choosing not to listen to constituents who are bearing the brunt of the worst US economy since the Great Depression’:  http://www.seiu.org/2011/09/americans-demand-good-jobs-this-labor-day.php

US public opinion about trade unions sharply polarised

Today is Labor Day in the US - a celebration of union organisation and working people first held in 1882. A New York Times opinion survey shows sharply polarised opinions in the US about trade unions - a slim majority of Americans, 52 percent, approve of unions and the difference in views between how Democrats and Republicans feel toward unions has reached record levels: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/a-challenge-for-unions-in-public-opinion/

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Supporting our members, Fighting everywhere we can

'We have a government at the moment which is attacking the public sector, particularly with the pensions which will be affecting a lot of people in our community because they tend to be the groups who work in the lower end of the public sector. I want to show that UNISON is supporting our members, fighting everywhere we can, campaigning and organising in regards to this issue and bringing it to light.' says Eleanor Smith, UNISON President, interviewed by The Voice, newspaper of the black community: http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/britains-first-black-president  

Size matters: Australian superannuation mergers

While the LGPS negotiations struggle under Con Dem pressure to find a solution to improve the financial position of the local government pension funds, the Australian unions and government press ahead with the most sensible solution for scheme members and employers - fund mergers.

Disguises by Elizabeth Jennings

Always we have believed,
We can change overnight,
Put a different look on the face,
Old passions out of sight: