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

Saturday, 4 February 2012

National Libraries Day - get involved

#NLD12 Today events are being held thoughout the UK to promote the invaluable contribution of libraries to local communities - at a time when library services are at the sharp end of Con Dem austerity cuts in local government: http://nationallibrariesday.org.uk/

Arise you owners from your slumbers, arise you agents of change!

Karl Marx said that the proletariat were the revolutionary class, that they would transform the ownership structures of capitalism and replace it with a new economic system of socialism. But he never said what that would look like or how it would be structured!

The Red Poster by Louis Aragon

You demanded neither glory nor tears

Nor organ nor last rites

Eleven years already how quickly eleven years go by

You made use simply of your weapons

Death does not dazzle the eyes of Partisans

You had your pictures on the walls of our cities

Black with beard and night hirsute menacing

The poster that looked like a bloodstain

Friday, 3 February 2012

CPI/RPI High Court Appeal set for 20th February

The legal challenge against the Government's imposed switch to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the Retail Price Index (RPI) for uprating pensions - to take account of increases in the cost of living - will move to the next stage later on this month.
On 20 February 2012 several trade unions will appeal against the High Court 2-1 majority decision to reject the case for a judicial review of the measure announced by the Chancellor in his first budget in June 2010 - which could reduce the value of pensions by up to 18%: https://www.eversheds.com/uk/home/articles/index1.page?ArticleID=templatedata%5CEversheds%5Carticles%5Cdata%5Cen%5CPensions%5CPensions_speedbrief_RPI_CPI_the_judicial_review_judgment_051211
A demonstration will take place outside the High Court, The Strand WC1 at 8.30am on 20 February.

Austerity measures causing UK 'long term economic & social damage'

Leading economic think tank the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), says that the Coalition Government's economic austerity policies are hindering growth and is calling for £15bn of public investment to boost demand and avert another recession in 2012: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9057898/Chancellors-austerity-measures-causing-UK-lasting-damage-NIESR-warns.html

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Save Our Railways, No to McNulty

Today the RMT is holding a day of action against the McNulty Report which threatens massive railway job losses, service cuts, fares hikes and further fragmentation Over 50 railway stations across the country are being leafleted: http://www.rmt.org.uk/Templates/Internal.asp?NodeID=154362&int1stParentNodeID=89731&int2ndParent

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

IMF sets sights on a reduced minimum wage in Greece

As Greece and the IMF continue negotiations on a debt deal to avert economic collapse, the Washington Post reports that Chief IMF inspector Poul Thomsen is seeking to capitalise on the crisis by pressing for lower employment costs, notably a slashing of the minimum wage – a sure fire way of worsening the recession in a country where 1 in 5 workers are already wageless: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/markets/greece-imf-expect-crucial-deals-on-debt-swap-and-new-bailout-to-be-completed-soon/2012/02/01/gIQANRlahQ_story.html

Scotland - the real divide

Amongst the vast outpouring of news reporting and coverage and punditry regarding whether Scotland should or shouldn't become independent. This article from GMB Scotland's Richard Leonard - analysing the situation from a Trade Union and Left perspective stands out like diamond in a dungheap.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

UNISON Labour Link - Give our members a reason to vote Labour

The UNISON National Labour Link Committee met on Monday 30 January to consider its response to the statements made by the Labour Party leadership about public sector pay restraint and cuts. It issued the following statement:

7 March - Rally to save the NHS

The TUC’s All Together for the NHS campaign is calling health workers and patients to a rally in Central London at 6PM on 7 March as the Health and Social Care Bill enters its final crucial parliamentary stages. TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: 'Some changes have been made to the Bill but not nearly enough. Only this week we have seen a private company taking over an NHS hospital for the first time, as Circle moves in to the Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire. This will be the future the NHS has to look forward to if the Bill stays in its current form’ http://www.tuc.org.uk/social/tuc-20551-f0.cfm

Monday, 30 January 2012

Party Funding reform - a study in political paralysis

The June 2010 Coalition Agreement included the aim of 'removing big money from politics' and to that end the Con Dem appointed Committee on Standards in Public Life conducted a protracted review in 2010/11. Its report was published in November 2011 recommending a £10,000 annual cap on individual donations from 2015, over £20m additional state funding and some reform to the law governing trade union political contributions (opt in instead of opt out). Yesterday, a Commons select committee, the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, published a report urged renewed consideration of the proposals - which back in November were met with a lukewarm response from the main political parties and silence from Labour's 15 affiliated trade unions: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmpolcon/1763/176302.htm

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Vested interests speak out in favour of Con Dem NHS reforms

In a letter to yesterday’s Daily Telegraph a number GPs belonging to the pro-Commissioning NHS Alliance criticised the BMA for its stand against the Government’s Health Bill. The group say the BMA does not speak for the majority of General Practioners while ignoring the fact that NHS Alliance itself is an elite group representing some commissioners. The main thrust of the letter is that if the bill is derailed then there is a real threat to the future of the NHS. The only justification for the Bill presented by this group is the perception that clinical leadership will spearhead commissioning: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/9045518/Clinical-leadership.html

LRD report confirms #N30 linked membership surge across all public sector unions

All trade unions are reporting big increases in the rate of recruitment during the final quarter of 2011. The surge in union membership because of the Pensions disputes - including in the private sector - is confirmed by research carried out by the independent Labour Research Depeartment (LRD).

Counsel by Mourid Barghouti

Perplexed and not knowing what to do,
he summoned us
and we obeyed.
We stood under his marble balcony: