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

Saturday, 10 December 2011

NHS Atlas of Variation confirms postcode lottery

Con Dem plans to break up the NHS in the name of "localism" will exacerbate existing regional disparities in patient care in England. The Guardian highlights tension between the Government's proposals for a "localised" health service and the need to impose basic minimum care standards: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/dec/09/nhs-lottery-survey-uk-disparities

Unequal UK

Tribune reports that Britain has become one of the developed world's most unequal societies according to a recent OECD report. The widening inequality is caused by the growth in incomes at the very top - the share of the highest one per cent of earners rose from 7.1 per cent in 1970 to 14.3 per cent in 2005. :

Working at Last by Hugh MacDiarmid

He wouldn't do a hand's turn
As long as he lived, she said,
So I had him cremated
           Once he was dead.

He's been of more use since,
For you see, my dear,
These are his ashes
            In the egg-timer here.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Tory posturing on EU Treaty is to shift attention from economic failure

The bespectacled BBC political editor Nick Robinson (nicknamed ‘blue robbo’, reflecting his stint as chairman of the young conservatives) could barely contain his excitement as he gushed that the consequences of Cameron standing up to Europe "could scarcely be greater for Europe and for Britain's relationship with Europe".

Thursday, 8 December 2011

UNISON NEC takes stock of #N30 & next steps in pensions campaign

UNISON's NEC meeting in London today held an extensive review of last week's #N30 national industrial action. As on 26 March with the national demonstration against austerity, the union had demonstrated its unrivalled organising power by delivering solid industrial action in tens of thousands of workplaces and mobilising vast numbers of members in nationwide demonstrations. An official report on the meeting is available here: http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=7483

In the bleak mid winter of public services

As the Audit Commission and LGA warn of further job losses, it is clear that the emerging picture in public services is one of winners and losers. There is a huge disparity in the volume of job losses facing local government compared to other areas of the public sector. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16060193

Solidarity with Unilever workers' pensions fight

A strike involving almost 3000 members of Unite and GMB will start on Friday – workers in the private sector striking to keep their final salary pension scheme. The significance is not lost on us as public sector workers. The Government has tried to divide us from private sector workers by claiming somehow we were better off than private sector workers and should take a hit because we are lucky to have jobs and pensions that no-one in the private sector enjoyed. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/unilever-staff-prepare-for-strike-6273374.html

GOODBYE BARCELONA - special offer to union members

Goodbye Barcelona, is a new musical inspired by the International Brigades, who fought against fascism during the Spanish Civil War - and union members a special discounted rate of £10 a seat for the run of the show.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


Great #N30 solidarity video from UNISON’s Canadian sister union NUPGE
For more on NUPGE’s public service campaign go to: http://alltogethernow.nupge.ca/

Burley Tory union basher has nose in freebies trough

Aidan Burley Tory MP for Cannock Chase and founder of the Tory front Trade Union Reform Campaign is calling for the regular publication of “all public money, resources, paid and unpaid time off given over to trade unions” by officials and civil servants. But on checking the Parliamentary Register of Interests, it can be seen that this self styled guardian of public probity is himself very amenable to largesse from vested interests.

Union character and organising beyond the workplace

On a day when Unite released their handy all in one policy guide which sensibly says that the union is committed to the organising of workers and rebuilding of shop floor trade unionism, its General Secretary announced a cut price 50p a week deal for students and the unemployed calling for 'those on the margins to organise, to come together to challenge the decisions made by the elite in the interests of the few'

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Socrates - response‏

Good to see UNISONActive acknowledging Socrates. Here’s a shot of him with Lula in 1985 from Sao Paolo press. MS

Barometers of Voodoo Economics - A lowdown on Credit Ranging Agencies

A key part of the Con Dem austerity mantra has been the importance of preserving the UK's AAA credit rating at a time when some eurozone countries are running the gauntlet of the credit rating agencies. The Council on Foreign relations (CFR) think tank gives a lowdown on the "Big Three" global credit rating agencies – US based Standard and Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch Ratings - who have been under intense scrutiny since the 2007-2009 global financial crisis.  http://www.cfr.org/united-states/credit-rating-controversy/p22328

The Socratic method of football & life

Brazilian footballer Socrates was a qualified medical Doctor as well as an active and brave Socialist who campaigned on and off the pitch against Brazil's military Dictatorship. He led the Corinthians team in 1982 to wear pro democracy slogans on their shirts and proclaimed his heroes were Che and Fidel. What a fantastic contrast to many modern footballers. http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/entertainment/articles/2011-12/05/socrates-brazil-football-captain-tribute/world-cup

Monday, 5 December 2011

'Trade Union Reform Campaign' - a Tory front sponsored by 10 Downing St

On 30 November, the day of the Great Pensions Strike, Tory leader David Cameron said in a letter of support to a shadowy front group that ‘using taxpayers money to fund trade union activity cannot be sustained, either morally or economically.’ Cameron provided no evidence to support his assertion but then the ideologues in the gallery he was pandering to don’t need much convincing. The Zelo Street blog has brilliantly exposed the forces from the Conservative Party’s right wing who are staffing the latest anti union organisation: http://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-more-astroturf.html  

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Report of Latin America Conference 2011 - Adelante!

The annual Latin America Adelante conference never ceases to amaze. It is amazing that yesterday on the first Saturday in December, for the seventh year running, hundreds of delegates turned up in London at Congress House for a whole day of workshops and speeches. It is amazing because the breadth of speakers and topics constantly expands, as Latin America delivers more progressive governments and real examples of human progress.

Bleeding Britain

US economist Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times, in a nutshell explains the crassness of the Con Dem austerity measures masquerading as economic policy:

‘And yet what’s happening in Britain now is that depressed estimates of long-run potential are being used to justify more austerity, which will depress the economy even further in the short run, leading to further depression of long-run potential, leading to …

It really is just like a medieval doctor bleeding his patient, observing that the patient is getting sicker, not better, and deciding that this calls for even more bleeding’

Power Pollution by Stephen Emmerson

                 Belief Galaxy
dark courtroom –

the Islam of galaxy

given started out as traditional quantum stupidity