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

Saturday, 19 November 2011

‘Don't Turn Back Time' on womens equality

Thousands of women will march in London today in support of a Fawcett Society day of action - protesting at the impact of Con Dem economic policies on womens equality. The march starts 12 noon at Victoria Embankment and UNISON national secretary Heather Wakefield will be among the speakers at the 1330PM rally in King Charles Street:  http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/

The Fawcett Society says that:
-Female unemployment is rising as jobs are cut in public services
-The benefits and services women rely on more are being slashed
-Women on low incomes are becoming poorer
-The pay gap looks set to widen
-Women’s access to vital support services is being undermined
-Increasing numbers of women are being forced to give up work as cuts to childcare support means their jobs no longer cover the family’s care costs
The government’s approach to cutting the deficit is turning back time on women’s equality. This can’t go on.

Short of luck on Short Street by Chris Hardy

In a little room at the top of the stairs

I was taken to see my grandfather.

Only his head was visible

framed by thin white hair,

a white beard flared over the sheet.

The head croaked like a worn-out frog

Friday, 18 November 2011

Can our Pension Funds reform Capitalism? Yes they can...

Pension funds can change the face of modern capitalism if their investment and governance structures are fundamentally redesigned. Rotman International Centre for Pensions Management's director Keith Ambachtsheer told guests at the FairPensions annual lecture - held at Parliament last Tuesday night - that pension funds were "inter-generational investors" who could revolutionise the economic system.http://www.professionalpensions.com/professional-pensions/news/2125463/fairpensions-annual-lecture-drivers-performance-schemes

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Greek people rally against neo-liberal consensus

A massive rally is expected today in Athens as thousands of students and workers will join together to oppose austerity measures and commemorate the 1973 student uprising which brought down the US backed military junta. Almost 40 years on, there is a stark crisis of political representation in Greece with the banker led ‘unity’ government winning a vote of confidence in the Greek parliament yesterday by 255 votes to 38 – final proof that the ‘socialists’ of PASOK lie prostrate before the altar of neo-liberalism:

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Pensions at the Women’s STUC

Following another set of positive ballot results for action on November 30th, the STUC Women’s Conference debated a composite on public sector pensions on Tuesday. The debate highlighted the usual issues of working longer, paying more and getting less but recognised the particular effects that the changes would have on women as public sector workers.

30 November will test Ed Miliband's 'irresponsible, predatory capitalism' theory

The TUC co-ordinated day of action in defence of pensions which takes place a fortnight today will pose a bigger test for the Labour leader than the Con Dems writes Kevin Maguire in today’s Mirror:

Market forces threaten public library services

John Pateman writes on the Bookseller website about the growing threat posed to public libraries by closures and outsourcing of services by local authorities across the country: ‘there are very strong parallels between the National Health Service and the Public Library Service. Both were designed as public goods to deliver high-quality services at the point of need. They are both highly cherished and valued public institutions which set the standard for (and are the envy of) many other countries. And they are both facing unprecedented "modernisation" and "transformation" which will open them up to market forces and allow private providers to put greed before need’ http://www.thebookseller.com/blogs/passing-buck.html

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Academies two tier workforce - salary pay outs and wages cuts

The Guardian reports today that Charities that run chains of academy schools are using public funds to pay senior staff six-figure salaries, with some on £240,000 or more. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/nov/14/academies-pay-200k-salaries?CMP=twt_gu

Debt-infected PFI chickens come home to roost

Back in 2002 at Labour’s conference, UNISON inflicted a (then) rare defeat on the party leadership over the Private Finance Initiative – the union case being that the expensive leverage of private money to renew public services did not provide long term value-for-money (£267bn in repayments are due to be made to private companies over the next 50 years). Tragically, Labour didn’t listen to the unions when in power and there is a bitter irony that a decade later it has fallen to a Tory Chancellor George Osborne to announce a "fundamental reassessment" of the use of PFI contracts in a bid to cut costs: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15731755  See also We said 11 years ago PFI was a bad deal - at last they’ve got it http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/siu/aug10/4.html

Momentum builds for 30 November day of action

#30Nov Yesterday, another five unions announced YES votes in industrial action ballots in defence of public sector pensions. 3 small specialist health unions - the Physiotherapists union CSP (86%), Radiographers SOR (84%), and the Chiropodists SCP (85%) - were joined by 2 civil service unions for senior managers FDA (81%) and professional staff Prospect (75%) http://strongerunions.org/2011/11/14/its-a-yes/

Monday, 14 November 2011

GOODBYE BARCELONA World Premiere - special offer to Union members

Goodbye Barcelona, is a new musical which celebrates the International Brigades, who fought against fascism during the Spanish Civil War. Many of the volunteers in the International Brigades were trade unionists, including the great Jack Jones, and the unions supported the Brigaders against the prevailing tide of opinion, and were an integral part of the fight against fascism from the Spanish Civil War through to today.
Union members are being offered a special discounted rate during the run of the show as well as on the Gala night on 25th November. This is the World Premiere of the show, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the formation of the Brigades.

International Action Day for Qantas workers: 16 November 2011

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) is calling on trade unionists worldwide to show solidarity with the workers and families of Australian airline Qantas. In the UK a protest will be held at the Australian High Commission at Australia House, Strand, London WC2B 4LA from 13:00 to 14:00 on Wednesday 16 November: http://www.itfglobal.org/press-area/index.cfm/pressdetail/6679

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Exposed - Con Dems' plan for a tsunami of outsourcing

Over 1 million public service workers could be transferred from NHS and local government direct employment to mutuals or private companies operating under a regime of competitive tendering according to the Independent on Sunday: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cameron-seeks-to-push-one-million-workers-out-of-the-public-sector-6261605.html

Northern TUC Forum for an Alternative to Austerity

In opening this weekend’s 'Rally for the Alternative' Clare Williams said we meet at a time of global economic, social and political crisis which makes the Northern TUC Forum for an Alternative to Austerity well timed. There is a crisis across the Eurozone, where the policies of neo-liberalism are being seen to fail. The response of Government's to impose ever more oppressive austerity measures on ordinary working people is one which must be challenged.

Wembley remembers la Quinta Brigada

Last night during the two minute’s silence before the England v Spain international, it was good to see a fan’s poster commemorating the International Brigades on their 75th anniversary:

'tis a creepin' boozh-wah dictatorship by Jim Sharp

the roads are lined with the coppers forces
and yet! we must march ahead of our sea change.
why shud we fear walking thru heavy metal?
who says the workers has no thoughtful minds?