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

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Scottish govt can’t say ‘a big boy increased contributions and ran away’

Unions are demanding a 'clear statement' from the Scottish Government on hikes to pensions contributions. A story in The Herald newspaper quotes a union socurce as saying "There are literally hundreds of thousands of workers’ pensions in Scotland which the SNP has a remit over and it can’t say ‘a big boy increased the contributions and ran away’.

Neighbours by Benjamin Zephaniah

I am the type you are supposed to fear
Black and foreign
Big and dreadlocks
An uneducated grass eater.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Pensions: demographic double dealing & the battle for public opinion

'The likes of Mr Prentis must count on public opinion being dynamic: if their lives are disrupted enough, voters may want the government to sue for peace' says the Economist, reducing the pensions dispute to an industrial trial of strength. For a magazine which aims "to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress” it might at least acknowledge that the reforms agreed in 2006 dealt with the same workforce demographic issues which its editorial writer and the ConDems (and Lord Hutton) are now using to justify the latest attack on our pensions:http://www.economist.com/node/21529070

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Shropshire UNISON branch under attack for fighting cuts

In yet another act of retribution by a Tory led Council, the local UNISON branch in Shropshire faces drastic cuts in union facility time. UNISON members have this week voted to take strike action in opposition to imposed cuts in pay and conditions: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-14898257

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Cyclists to mark International Brigades' 75th anniversary

A group of cyclists will set off from Edinburgh next Monday (19 September) for a tour of Britain and Ireland to remember the volunteers from the British Isles who joined the International Brigades.

Organised by the National Clarion Cycling Club 1895 (NCCC), the IBMT-supported ride will mark the 75th anniversary of the formation of the International Brigades in October 1936 to fight General Franco’s fascist-backed revolt against the Spanish Republic. http://www.international-brigades.org.uk/

Unions call national day of action over pensions on 30 November

30 November. The date has been named for a nationwide "day of action". Massive and historical joint union action against pensions cuts. Start working for the ballot now. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14907909

Unity is the Key, Unity and Action

Following Dave Prentis’ announcement that UNISON would be balloting 1 million workers, Congress came alive this morning, as union after union joined the debate on the pensions composite.

Prentis declares 'Enough is Enough' - Full Ballot for Action is Underway

#TUC11 As we reporteded this morning, Congress rose to applaud Dave Prentis' announcement that UNISON was giving notice to 9,000 employers that we are balloting for industrial action. Here we print his speech in full...

"UNISON represents one million public services workers and the campaigns we are fighting aren’t just about pensions
They aren’t just about jobs and pay
They are about the kind of society we leave to our children

Unions pile into joint pension action

#TUC11 The GMB and the EIS have just told Congress they will also ballot on 'long and hard' action on pensions. This follows UNISON, Firefighters, Unite and PCS all pledging "unprecedented" joint action in the "fight of our lives". In an historic morning, union after union is stepping up to the rostrum to announce ballots.

Standing ovation as Prentis calls for pensions action

#TUC11 UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis' has called for co-ordinated joint union mass action against pensions cuts. The announcement was met with a standing ovation at the TUC Congress in London this morning. A further joint union statement is expected later. Check back with UNISONActive for more details.

Miliband makes wrong call on pensions strikes

#TUC11 ‘Britain’s problem isn’t unions threatening strikes. The problem for Britons is unions aren’t stronger. If they were, living standards wouldn’t be falling so fast’ writes Kevin Maguire in today’s Mirror, on the Labour leader’s unhelpful comment yesterday that ‘while negotiations were going on, I do believe it was a mistake for strikes to happen. I continue to believe that’.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Eleanor defends NHS and Gordon gives speech Miliband should have

#TUC11 After Red Ed, Congress moved on to Health and Social care. UNISON President Eleanor Smith moved the Composite opposing the changes being to the NHS in England and Wales.

Contributions came from the wide variety of health service unions, including some newcomers to the TUC tent, like the Hospital Consultants and Specialists, now TUC affiliated. Welcome to the struggle brothers and sisters. Eleanor said:-

Red Ed....... Or a paler shade of Pink?

#TUC11 Reaction to That Speech: On being asked if they found the Labour Leaders speech invigorating, two UNISON delegates confessed –“we fell asleep”. Another answered “It was bollocks”.

Live from Bloomsbury.........Miliband speaks

The flash bulbs have started, #TUC11 so the Leader of the Labour Party must be in the room. It would be nice to report a hushed expectancy. There isn’t one. There is a less than riveting introduction from Leahy. The man is on.

UNISON members resist Barnet Council's attempt to break strike

The long running dispute in Barnet reached a new low yesterday when the Tory Council threatened financial detriment to 400 UNISON members taking part in today’s half day strike against a large scale programme of privatisation: www.barnetunison.

Party Funding Review - a pincer movement against political trade unionism

Professor Keith Ewing - as the leading adviser to affiliated unions on political party finance – is well placed to warn of the dangers which a so called donations cap will pose to trade union political influence. In a Tribune article he warns that in a worst case scenario the Tories may use the review to ‘propose measures that would require the Labour party to rip up its constitution and drive the unions to the margins of political life:’http://www.tribunemagazine.co.uk/2011/09/kelly%e2%80%99s-eye-on-the-labour-union-link/

Monday, 12 September 2011

Carnival Against the Cuts

The sun shone in Mowbray Park in Sunderland on Saturday 10th September as local people gathered to enjoy a “Carnival Against the Cuts”. The event was organised by Sunderland Public Services Alliance to highlight the devastating impact the Coalitions ruthless spending cuts are going to have on the people of Sunderland an already deprived area with high levels of child poverty: http://www.shakewellbeforeopening.org.uk/home/?p=810

Lilian takes on the fascists…

#TUC11 In the final debate of Monday, UNISON’s Lilian Macer slammed far right groups and underlined unions’ responsibility to challenge them. Lilian, the union’s Scottish Convener, seconded the Congress motion on the future of multiculturalism. “Where the far-right find scapegoats and manufacture hate, we work for a fairer world”, she said. “Where they target everyone who they think doesn’t belong, we bring people together – all people”. Her full speech is printed below:

TUC: UNISON active in equalities agenda

#TUC11 The President spoke. Congress listened. There were two votes of thanks. Someone mentioned that Michael Leahy was once the youngest ever shop steward in his union at the age of 17. And that was that. Except...

"TUC get off your knees, declare a general strike.."

Thus delegates were greeted #TUC11 as they arrived for the first morning of Congress, by the massed ranks (all seven of them) of the hecklers who felt the the TUC was not taking a militant enough stance.

Stand together as the majority for public services

#TUC11 ‘We speak for the majority’, UNISON’s Jane Carolan told the TUC today as she led the Public Services debate today. “Our only defence is to stand together as the majority that we are”.
  We have to “stop apologising when we say that cutting public services is NOT the way out of this current economic mess. Cut Trident, cut the use of consultants. Cut out privatisation”, she said.

All aboard the TUC Battle Bus – Destination Unknown

#TUC11 This year we’ll all miss the wild, rocky shores of the beach, the special fish tea on the front, (that'll be pan bread and marge with your supper, dear?), the wander down the antique shops in the Lanes, (wondering if you are the only middle class w***** to get a wee something to take home, not knowing they buy a bulk order of old hard backs of the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist as soon as they hear we are in town), the Irish pubs as authentic as a plastic shamrock; but we will still have the wit and wisdom of Brendan Barber..........

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Pensions - time to stand up and be counted

#TUC11 Ahead of Congress Dave Prentis tells the FT that UNISON members “did not cause this recession. They have seen the rich, the powerful, celebrities, milking the system and taking vast profits and now it’s ordinary people who are paying the price. It comes to a point where they are saying to us – not us to them – that we have got to stand up and be counted”:

Strolling on borrowed ankles by Lillian Nećakov

Tapping stones together means
you are not a couch potato
memories are dividing themselves
into other memories