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

Saturday, 21 January 2012

We are the shareowners of Capitalism...and we must make it responsible to us!

At last a debate has begun about the future of capitalism...many on the left consider it a pointless debate given that they consider it something to be torn down. But what most workers and their leaders fail to grasp is they are capitalism...! The largest capital funds in the world are pension funds and many dwarf the GDP of countries.

10 Myths about local pay determination

The 'IDS eye' blog has published a very useful summary of 10 myths associated with local pay determination. It should give Tory proponents of the break up of national pay bargaining plenty of food for thought, particularly the myth 'that the public sector should start varying pay without regard to any other factors, but change does not occur in a vacuum.

Ordering Genes by Helen Oswald

We are what our grandparents ate.
Their choices from the cold store ordered my genes
so that a grapefruit dissected with the proper tool
and eaten by my grandma on the eve of war
accounts for this bitterness I sometimes feel.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Joseph Stiglitz: Austerity is a suicide, it will kill Europe

Ahead of the 2012 world economic summit in Davos, leading US economist Joseph Stiglitz is interviewed by the Hong Kong financial website Quamnet and cautions against the austerity measures being implemented in many European countries: 'the big message that I’m going to talk about in Davos is that the strategy of austerity is a suicide. It will kill Europe, it will kill America and also the global economy. That’s really the important message. You have to get growth' http://www.quamnet.com/newscontent.action?articleId=2150970

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Breaking News: Edinburgh dumps privatisation

Edinburgh Council voted this morning to dump the final two of three huge privatisation plans following a hugely successful union and community campaign. Environment Services stayed in house in November and Corporate services and Facilities contracts were voted down today as the SNP joined Labour and Greens to beat the Lib Dems (SNP coalition partners) and the Tories. Had these contracts gone out, about 4,000 jobs would have been affected - the biggest ever council privatisation in Scotland.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

UNISON says to Labour - Enough is enough

UNISON today condemned the Labour Party's suggestion that public service workers should accept more pay freezes and pay cuts as "a slap in the face". Labour's misguided statement comes at a time when it is predicted that 700,000 jobs will be lost in the public sector by 2017, two thirds of whose workers are women.

Raising the white flag on cuts - a response

It is no surprise that Len McCluskey has publically voiced the concerns that have been quietly uttered since Miliband’s disastrous first year as Leader of the Labour Party. Whilst being the Leader of the Opposition is bound to be a thankless task, one of the key roles is to hold the Government to account. Instead that opportunity has been squandered.

Taking the P*** - Carlsberg Brewery deemed essential service & strike ruled illegal

Drinking and striking is a serious business! Workers employed by Carlsberg in Lithuania have had their strike action ruled illegal by the Courts as the production of beer is deemed a vital service in Lithuania. Despite the smile the headline will raise the Government and the Company are out to smash the trade unions in Lithuania and this is the latest of a number of battles taking place. Send your support, it’s probably the best thing you can do today!  http://www.beerworkers.org/blog/carlsbergs-attacks-trade-union-rights-supported-lithuanian-court-decision-declare-beer-essentia

Raising white flag on cuts is a serious miscalculation by Labour's leadership

There is no doubt we are living in interesting times. This truly could be a defining moment for the Labour Party. Many commentators are though sensing a carefully orchestrated dance here, whereby ‘Red’ Ed is portrayed as less in hock to the Unions and the Labour Party effectively distances itself from too many undeliverable promises before an election which will start in less than three years time.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Lib Dem MP's speak out against Regional Pay

The FT reports that a growing number of Liberal Democrat MPs are speaking out against plans to regionalise public sector pay. In his Autumn Statement Chancellor Osborne called on Pay Revew Bodies to examine the case for localised pay, a move which could take effect as early as 2013-14: http://m.ft.com/cms/s/0/cdefeb62-3f8b-11e1-ad6a-00144feab49a.html

Monday, 16 January 2012

Osborne to raid LGPS funds to finance PFI-type Infrastructure Projects?

The Treasury has been in discussions with the Local Government Association to establish how the money we pay into the Local Government Pension Funds could be used to finance the rebuilding of schools, bridges, hospitals – these are known as infrastructure projects. Publishing the Government’s response to its report into Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funding, the Treasury Select Committee says the National Infrastructure Plan supporting 500 projects and programmes worth £250bn, involves further risks in the form of additional government liabilities and guarantees: http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=news.detail&id=104564

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Balls - opponent of NMW, supporter of banking deregulation, gets it wrong again on Pay

Trade unionists will be dismayed at yesterday's comments by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls that public sector pay being capped at 1% for 2013 and 2014 is ''inevitable' and that the Opposition would support continued pay restraint 'Labour cannot duck that reality - and we won't. Jobs must be our priority before higher pay.'

Spotlight on regional pay

The review of public sector pay bargaining announced by Chancellor Osborne in his Autumn Statement could lead to 'nurses, teachers, council workers and prison officers paid different rates in different parts of the country' states a BBC report following up last Tuesday's Westminster Hall debate: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/uk-england-16509345

49% Private Patient Income Cap threatens NHS founding principles

Tomorrow (Monday 16 January) there will be an important Commons debate on Government plans to increase the cap on hospitals treating private patients to 49%. The NHS is the largest untapped 'market' and this is a blatant attempt by the Government to open it up to private business to make profit:

Talking of Power and Love by Paul Eluard

Between all my torments between death and self
Between my despair and the reason for living
There is injustice and this evil of men
That I cannot accept there is my anger

There are the blood-coloured fighters of Spain
There are the sky-coloured fighters of Greece
The bread the blood the sky and the right to hope
For all the innocents who hate evil