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

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Review of 2011 - Celebrate the Successes... It’s going to be a Long War

UNISON can look back on 2011 as a year in which our public profile was paraded effectively on a variety of streets and boulevards up and down the UK, leading to a good few column inches in newspapers and a position at the top of the hour news bulletins.

I am the daughter by Reeti Roy

I am the daughter
of this vast wooden land
where unspoken myths
lie buried in the sands.

Friday, 30 December 2011

A flawed attack on UNISON

Author Owen Jones uses a platform on the Union News website (reprinted by Labourlist and the Morning Star) when previewing the challenges faced by unions in 2012 to make an ill founded attack on UNISON:

UNISON activist meets Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma

UNISON has long had solidarity links with Burma. National Delegate Conference recognised Aung San Suu Kyi's achivements for speaking up for democracy and awarded her honorary life membership to show solidarity for her tireless campaigning work. In the Northern Region there are strong links with activists who have dedicated their energies to making that solidarity support something real and practical. Anne Stokle, a healthworker, is one such activist.

Job losses continue despite over £10bn in English Council reserves

The reserves held by local authorities in England will remain in excess of £10bn at the end of the 2011/12 financial year – a sign that many Councils are cutting back on jobs and services as a first resort rather than using reserves to balance budgets and offset reductions in Government funding. A full list of reserves is available at the DCLG website:  http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/2059125

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Cuts to local authority causing a Social Care crisis

Age UK is warning that Britain faces an "absolute crisis" in social care for elderly people as a result of cuts to services. The Guardian reports on concerns from Michelle Mitchell, the director of Age UK, that increasing numbers of older people with considerable care needs were "getting absolutely no support at all, or poor quality and limited support" as a result of cuts to local authority provision. Research by the King's Fund shows that the number of older people who need significant care support but receive no assistance will reach almost 900,000 in 2012, rising to 1 million by 2015. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/dec/28/care-elderly-crisis-charity-warns

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Bread and Roses Strike – Centennial Video

2012 marks the centennial anniversary of the Great Lawrence Strike of 1912 in Massachusetts, USA - popularly known as The Bread and Roses Strike. With original footage, the inspiring video "Collective Voices" tells the story of this important moment in the collective history of the working class:

Scrapping of private patient limit will create a two tier NHS

Government moves to lift the cap on the funds that NHS Foundation Trusts can raise from private work, in most cases less than 5%, to a maximum of 49%, comes as no surprise to UNISON which has waged a long campaign to defend the NHS in England from creeping privatisation sought by Foundation Trust lobby groups and successive Governments: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16337904

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Manchester ravaged by Con Dem austerity & cuts

A recent survey carried out by the Manchester Business School has concluded that by 2015 spending cuts will have taken £10bn out of the economy of Greater Manchester. Other key findings include:

• The regional economy lost 34,000 jobs and £1.5bn from the 2008 recession, even before the spending cuts began.

• Another 15,000 public sector jobs in Greater Manchester have since been lost or are under threat.

• There has been an 80% reduction in regional economic aid. http://www.mbs.ac.uk/about-mbs/news/view/?guid=f89bed32-50c8-43d6-9619-71a6fbdafdab  Two reports on the Manchester economic survey were broadcast on Radio4's PM programme on 22 and 23 December and can be heard at the following link within the next three days http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qskw

Monday, 26 December 2011

Industrial action to hit cleansing services in Chester

Joint action by the local government unions, UNISON, GMB and Unite, is about to hit cleansing services in Cheshire West and Chester City unitary council where a contract dispute has rumbled throughout 2011. Action short of action in the form of an overtime ban in the Streetscene service will kick in over the Xmas bank holiday in response to the Tory led authority imposing inferior contracts such as a 7 day working week rota system which would include removing the enhancements for working weekends and bank holidays, and involve staff having the majority of their annual leave days fixed by management.
A branch wide ballot for industrial action is expected to be held by UNISON early in the New Year:

Sunday, 25 December 2011

"The voice of weeping" by Felicity Currie

“The voice of weeping shall be heard no more.”*
The land that cradled mercy, justice, peace
Became for Zionists an “empty land”,
Birthright and home for Israel alone.
Birthright? No. Death-rite. Site of genocide;
Non-people’s slaughter easily denied.
A holocaust designed and coolly planned
Before the Nazi model. Now they own
An Israel whose bounds will never cease.

Bedlam—no lamb-child’s bed in Bethlehem:
A truth that so few care or dare to tell.
What is a Palestinian child to them?
At best the “if” at its frail heart of life.
At worst Christmassacre—ungodly strife
Until we give a home instead of hell.

* The title comes from Isaiah, a quotation also embedded in Milton's poem "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity".