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

Saturday, 3 December 2011

After #N30 - what next for the pensions campaign?

An interesting scenario analysis on the pensions dispute from Gregor Gall, writing on the Union News website. The extent to which the TUC public sector unions, FBU excepted, maintain Wednesday's unprecedented unity in action will depend on developments in scheme specific negotiations. Gall looks at the tactical options of smart strikes, mass strikes or intensification of action, but is seemingly oblivious to the emerging tactic of large scale work to rule disruption being advocated by PCS, teaching unions and by UNISON (now preparing a national ballot for action short of strike in the ambulance service):

Poverty by Radical Rooney

Poverty stalks my dreams in the night
As he walks on the beach, ’tween tides of time
He shelters in shadows, away from the light
And thou I can’t see him, he follows my line
And nothing I do will make him take flight

Friday, 2 December 2011

Solidarity across the pond on #N30‏

US trade unions staged protests outside the British Embassy in Washington and in Consulates in all major cities including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Orlando and Las Vegas.Mary Kay Henry, the President of UNISON's sister union SEIU, wrote to Dave Prentis saying: 'Whether in the UK or the US; it is time to confront those politicians, CEOs and corporate backed right-wing movements who seek to destroy the public sector. It is time for ordinary people to retake control of their lives. It is time to act with the courage of our convictions and the strength of our numbers’ Photos can be seen here http://www.flickr.com/photos/seiu and a report can be read at http://strongerunions.org/2011/12/01/us-nurses-backed-our-pension-protests/

Northern Region welcomes Colombian delegation‏

UNISON Northern received a visit from a prominent pair of Colombian activists in November. Trade unionist, Carlos Gonzalez, and human rights defender Berenice Celeita, were in the region from 11th to 15th November. Carlos is president of Sintraunicol, the Colombian university workers union, and Berenice is director of Nomadesc, a Colombian human rights NGO that works closely with trade unions, afro-Colombian and indigenous communities to help them to organise in order to resist human rights violations. The pair were in the North East to participate in the Better Way international forum at Newcastle Civic Centre.

UNISON and the Great Pension Strike 30 November 2011

UNISON's members did us proud in the strike action to defend our pensions on 30 November 2011. www.unison.org.uk

Thursday, 1 December 2011

BBC must sack Clarkson for his #n30 anti union hate crime

Jeremy Clarkson is well known for discriminatory and xenophobic utterances, notably his offensive comments in 2009 about the then Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown. And it was no surprise back in August that the mass murderer of 69 Norwegian young  socialists quoted approvingly Clarkson's right wing nationalist views. However his comments yesterday on prime time TV about 2 million striking  trade unionists - that he 'would take them outside and execute them in front of their families' is tantamount to a hate crime against trade unionists:

#N30 – Turning the tide of a generation?

Seumas Milne writes in today’s Guardian about yesterday’s national industrial action across all public services. Despite hostile rhetoric from Tory leaders ‘up to two million public employees, from teachers and nurses to dinner ladies, ignored them and staged Britain's biggest strike for more than 30 years.... a powerful demonstration of democratic workplace strength – which offers a chance to begin to turn the tide of a generation’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/30/strike-turns-tide-of-generation

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Bick: You have a legal right and moral duty to stand up to bullies

Upwards of 10,000 public service workers were treated to a barnstorming performance by Rodney Bickerstaffe today outside the Scottish Parliament. #unisonscotn #N30. Reaching out to the young people on the rally, he was cheered as he urged them, “You wonderful young people, you have a legal right and a moral duty to stand up to bullies and diktat or they will walk all over you”. see full story at http://unison-scotland.blogspot.com/2011/11/bick-you-have-legal-right-and-moral.html

Nothing more beautiful than organised labour #N30

So once said a wise colleague when just 20 of us were on strike. Try millions! keep up to date with strike day reports at
Solidarity from UNISONActive.

Pic: UNISON President and Birmingham Women’s Hospital nurse Eleanor Smith begins striking at midnight earlier today

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

OBR predicts public sector job losses will exceed 700,000 over next 5 years

OBR predicts public sector job losses will exceed 700,000 over next 5 years‏ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/budget/8922416/Autumn-Statement-2011-latest-OBR-forecasts.html

Con Dem's signpost permanent austerity

The Chancellor’s stubborn determination to stick to his plan despite the evidence that it is not working and won’t work in the future means that we are locked into permanent austerity’ commented TUC General Secretary on the Autumn Statement by George Osborne MP in which he confirmed further cuts in services, two more years of 1% pay restraint and signalled an introduction of local bargaining:

Unilever Workforce Votes For Strike Action Over Pensions

Private sector workers who produce Marmite have left a nasty taste in the mouths of the Government and their bosses by voting to take action over Pensions. Instead of swallowing Con Dem propaganda about public sector pensions they have shown in the most dramatic way that far from being separated from them - they agree and are ready to take action to defend theirs too: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/97075178-19d2-11e1-ba5d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1f6q7h5zw

UNISON membership surges as whole public services workforce gears up for #N30 strike

Yesterday Dave Prentis told a packed eve-of-strike press conference that there has been an unprecedented 126% increase in recruitment to UNISON over the corresponding time last year – with 81% of those new members being women. On one day last week, more than 1,200 new members joined through the union's website: http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=7407

Miliband: I don't support strikes‏: But UnionNews‏ reports Labour politicians give backing to strikers

Hopefully the New Statesman is mis-reporting Ed Miliband's views on the #N30 strike in defence of public service pensions. Over the next 48 hours we shall see? http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/11/labour-strike-miliband. But elsewhere in UnionNews, Labour politicians are reported as backing the strikers http://union-news.co.uk/2011/11/labour-politicians-give-backing-to-public-sector-strikers/

Monday, 28 November 2011

Write off the debt, bankrupt the banks, nationalise the financial system, and start all over again

On BBC Hardtalk Sarah Montague talks to Steve Keen, one of the few economists to have predicted the global financial crisis, about the possibility of another Great Depression, and how to avoid it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b018ksby/HARDtalk/

The scandal of in work poverty

The Fair Pay Network (TUC, Citizens UK, Unite, Oxfam, CPAG and 12others) has posted a new viral film on the scandal of in work poverty and the need for living wage, presented by Tony Robinson and starring Ed Miliband, Caroline Lucas, Polly Toynbee and the LUSH cosmetics chain. http://bit.ly/t1Vgpl

Claims don't match reality of 'strategic partnerships‏'

As Edinburgh's unions fought off a bid last week for partnership (privatisation) of the council's Environmental Services, the latest European Services Strategy Unit/PPP Database shows "evidence of a large credibility gap between the claims of strategic partnerships in procurement and the reality of high-cost, high-risk, and low performance contracts", according to Dexter Whitfield. http://www.european-services-strategy.org.uk/ppp-database/

Spot the bible bashing, union bashing Con Dem Minister on picket duty?

MP Michael Gove in case you don't recognise the wee soul. Click photo for more.

Windfall for local charities as Newcastle City Council refuses to cash in on #N30 strike action‏

Newcastle Council has pledged to hand over the wages it saves as a result of Wednesday’s national pensions strike - potentially up to £100,000 - to good causes.

North East women unite to Reclaim the Night

Hundreds of women gathered in Newcastle on the 26th November to take part in the first Reclaim the Night march and candlelight vigil to take place in the city centre. Women and men marched from the Haymarket to Eldon Square to mark the United Nations International Day to End Violence Against Women.

BBC poll confirms strong support for #N30 pensions strike

An opinion poll commissioned by BBC News suggests 61% of people believe public sector workers are justified in going on strike over pension changes - with greater sympathy for the industrial action amongst women - at 67% - compared to men, at 55%. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15910621

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Public sector pension scheme members singled out for 3% Deficit tax

Dave Prentis writes on the New Statesman blog about the Con Dem attacks on public service workers which have caused next Wednesday's #N30 strike. He highlights the under-reported and grossly unfair 3% deficit tax being levied solely on public service pension scheme members over the next 3 years - of which 'not a penny of the money raised will go towards pensions' http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/11/public-sector-workers-pay

Picketing on #N30

A UNISONActive reader reports that ahead of next Wednesday's action, some councils, including Harrogate in Yorkshire, are advising staff that picketing is limited to 6 pickets at any work location. This is not the case. The Government's Code of Practice on picketing states that 'pickets and their organisers should ensure that in general terms the number of pickets does not exceed 6 at any entrance to a workplace..' More information is available at appendix C of the UNISON Industrial Action handbook: http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/18193.pdf

The Comrades by Paul Summers

every season brings change: more empty seats for overcoats
& greasy caps, to prop up sticks.
their collars grow more loose,
their feet rattle in pristine shoes.