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

Saturday, 29 October 2011

State funding life support machine proposed for declining political parties

As front line public services face drastic austerity cuts, the dithering Kelly Commission is proposing to introduce state funding for political parties - an option pushed hardest by the Liberal Democrat's which is otherwise hardly viable as a nationwide political force: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/oct/28/political-parties-more-state-funding For background information on UK party membership read: http://unisonactive.blogspot.com/2010/07/inexorable-decline-in-membership-of-uk.html

Dyslexia is a trade union issue

An online survey of union learning reps by unionlearn found that a lack of understanding of dyslexia is widespread in the workplace. UNISON member Carol Warren says ' my confidence has increased enormously and I am now a UNISON rep and have spoken twice at national delegate conference. If you think you may be dyslexic, it is never too late to get assessed and get support: it could change your life'http://www.wired-gov.net/wg/wg-news-1.nsf/0/4BFC0D094311B71B80257936003DF81D

Scandal by Sarah Ahmad

Fashionable acted like the state
Exposing in public
Affairs exist no one is safe from

Friday, 28 October 2011

Top directors’ total earnings rise 49pc

FTSE 100 directors saw their total earnings rise by 49 per cent in the past financial year, taking the average to just under £2.7m, according to research by Incomes Data Services, the pay monitoring group. So we're all in it together are we?
and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15487866

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Part of City Not For Sale?

Edinburgh UNISON members are lobbying the council this morning as it meets to decide on the privatisation of cleansing, waste collection and parks. Press reports suggest a change of view by the Lib Dem/SNP administration could see a postponement while more work is done on the in-house option. The branch has been running a huge campaign, engaging the community, with leafleting, lobbies and public meetings. Decisions on two further privatisations involving up to 4,000 jobs are set to follow in the next couple of months. Ten reasons why City of Edinburgh Councillors should oppose privatisation (STV)
. Edinburgh Evening News .  BBC . http://www.unison-edinburgh.org.uk/

Unionising Higher Education's private sector

Interesting article in this week's TES on union plans to recruit and seek recognition in mainly non-unionised private colleges, where casual employment and low pay are endemic: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=417919&c=1

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Only Israel & US vote against UN call for ending embargo of Cuba

Yesterday the United Nations General Assembly debated the "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial, and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba."

Cameron Supports Report to Scrap Unfair Dismissal

The Daily Telegraph today reveals the Beecroft Report - originally rumoured to be proposing the scrapping of maternity rights for workers - which has instead proposed the scrapping of the right to claim Unfair Dismissal. The Telegraph claims that the report, written by a venture capitalist for the Government, is supported by Downing Street and by the Chancellor. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/8849420/Give-firms-freedom-to-sack-unproductive-workers-leaked-Downing-Street-report-advises.html

No to Austerity! - TUC promotes an alternative economic vision

Since 2008, £1.27 trillion (thousand billion) of UK public money has been used to bail out the banking system - leading to the so called 'public sector deficit' increasing by 57% in the past three years. This opportunistic conversion of private debt to public debt is being used to justify brutal austerity measures including unprecedented cutbacks in public spending (eg 27% reduction in local government). The UK economy is stagnant and unemployment levels are rising fast, notably for women and young people.

In a lecture at Liverpool University, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber will today set out an alternative economic vision for growth, jobs and quality public services:

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Why trade unions should be worried by Tory rebels

As usual the British media deployed diversionary tactics when reporting on the Tory ‘rebels’. Classically portraying divisions in the Tories as being simply the pro and anti Europeans within the ranks but there is a more sinister level to this debate. Deregulation is an ideological standpoint for the Tories.

Neanderthal Con Dems take axe to public education

Cuts planned to public education spending by 2014/15 are to be the largest in a four-year period since the 1950s, according to research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies. State spending will be reduced by more than 13% with under-fives, 16 to 19-year-olds and building programmes being the hardest hit:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/oct/24/education-cut-deepest-since-1950s 

High Court Lobby to protest at 'multi-million pound raid on public service pensioners

Hundreds of public service trade unionists are assembling in London this morning to demonstrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice - in support of the unions’ legal challenge to the imposed switch from RPI to CPI for up-rating of pensions. Dave Prentis said: "UNISON is backing this judicial review because we cannot allow the coalition to run roughshod over pensioners:

Monday, 24 October 2011

Pay - time to end downward spiral

A recent survey of private sector employers has found that pay awards in the private sector will average just 2.5% over the coming year, with October the usual month for determining the following year’s increases. This is another devastating blow for ordinary workers. It has implications for the pay rounds in the public sector. With inflation way over 5% employers are actually determining that their employees should take a pay cut.  http://www.xperthr.co.uk/article/110843/.aspx

High court showdown on RPI/CPI sleight of hand starts this week

John Hutton, in the Independent Public Service Pensions Commissions Interim Report, stated that the change in indexation from RPI to CPI will reduce the value of public service pension benefits by 15%.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Con Dem austerity measures are taking heavy toll on living standards

UNISON has published research which highlights the real cost of cuts for public service workers enduring a second year of pay freezes coupled with pension increases - many are thousands of pounds worse off because of the pay freeze, spending cuts, VAT increases, benefits and tax credit changes, as well as inflation, which is pushing up the cost of living. Workers on incomes between £20,0000 and £27,000 will have at least £2,000 less next year, just as the government's increase in public pension contributions is due to come into effect: http://m.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/oct/23/cuts-costing-public-sector-staff-thousands-says-union?cat=society&type=article

An essay concerning religion by John Burnside

I   God Bless

Allergic to salt,
or language,
                        they sit out the conflict
in angles that barely