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

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The road to oblivion - Labour's embrace of Con Dem cuts

At a time when communities and trade unions across Britain are campaigning to defend public services and save jobs in the face of economic austerity, it beggars belief why Labour is ceasing to be an opposition and making a virtue of supporting Con Dem cuts?

A day in the life of a UNISON Branch Secretary

The Guardian visits Stockport to spend a day with Angie Rayner, UNISON Branch Secretary, and gets an insight into the hard work of the much maligned local union officials who carry out union duties on paid facility time:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/money

‘Rayner spends her working day, not to mention huge chunks of her own time, negotiating with senior council officers and councillors on behalf of around 4,000 Unison members.

Rise to Order by Gareth Farmer

I - Rational, these isles tumble under rain and pleasant brisks
from abroad, clamming in via networks semi-conducive and
compelling. Extreme concern expands and worstens the hearths
of a country balancing smarter socialism with surveil-lances perked,

Friday, 17 February 2012

Tory led Swindon Council leads the attack on union facility time

After 18 months of hysterical denunciation of trade union facility time in local government by Tory MPs and the Tax Dodgers Alliance, it was only a matter of time before a Tory led Council became an outrider for future legislation and ‘guidance’ hinted at by Tory front benchers in response to the clamour for action by their far right fringe. Lo and behold Swindon Council in Wiltshire is now mounting an attack on the paid facility time of its UNISON convenors using the pretext of ‘efficiency savings’:

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Academies and the rise of the 'education services market'

'Finland's experience shows that it is possible to achieve excellence (in education) by focusing not on competition, but on cooperation, and not on choice, but on equity’, writes Anu Partanen in the Atlantic magazine, comparing its success with the failed marketised model in the USA. Unfortunately, it’s the latter which is the blueprint for the Con Dem’s burgeoning academies programme in England: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-americans-keep-ignoring-about-finlands-school-success/250564/

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Hands Off TUPE

The TUC has echoed UNISON's recent warning that weakening the Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment (TUPE) regulations will drive down pay, increase unemployment and lead to an increased involvement of the private sector in public services, with contractors competing for business on lower wages rather than on the quality of the service they provide. The Public Services Industrial Complex is lobbying Coalition Ministers to reverse measures introduced by the previous Government to remove any ambiguity that TUPE applies where 'service provision changes': http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-20619-f0.cfm

Fightback begins at Cheshire West & Chester Council

UNISON, GMB and Unite members staged a 3 hour strike yesterday at Chester West & Cheshire Council in the opening salvo of industrial action to challenge imposed cuts in pay allowances. The cash rich Tory led unitary council had used the pretext of Government cuts and post-reorganisation workforce harmonisation to ruthlessly cut weekend working and unsocial allowances despite the national agreement requiring any variation to be subject to negotiation and agreement. Hundreds of workers brought services to a halt at 3PM and staged a noisy protest outside the main Council office in Chester: Further escalating action will follow in the weeks ahead, following a strong ballot result which belied employer claims that over 90% of the workforce had acquiesced to pressure to sign inferior contracts: http://www.winsfordguardian.co.uk/news/9529534.Council_workers_walk_out_in_three_hour_protest/r/?ref=rss

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Never mind democracy feel the cuts

Crisis ridden Greece will hold a general election in April following Sunday's passing of an austerity bill by the Greek parliament in order to secure a £110bn bail out from the EU and the IMF. EU Economics commissioner Olli Rehn is now demanding 'written confirmation that the measures will be implemented regardless of the outcome of April's election.' The austerity measures include a 20% cut in the minimum wage, 150,000 public sector job losses and an attack on employment rights. It speaks volumes about the contempt of the EU for democracy and national sovereignity that an unelected commissioner can demand, ahead of a general election, that the Greek people forfeit their right to reject austerity and neo-liberalism:

Monday, 13 February 2012

Privatise The National Debt

Professor Greg Philo explains a popular plan to pay off the UK's national debt by levying a one off 20% tax on the wealth of the richest 10% who own £4,000bn (an average per household of £4m). Philo argues that this measure would pay the national debt and dramatically reduce the deficit, since interest payments on the debt are a large part of government spending: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV5Ju18A8Ow&feature=youtube_gdata_player  The case was set out in a Guardian article back in August 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/15/deficit-crisis-tax-the-rich

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Party Funding back on Government radar

Discredited former Con Dem Treasury Minister David Law MP has been tasked with securing cross party agreement on new arrangements for party funding, including changes to the laws governing trade union political contributions, according to the Independent on Sunday: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/clegg-puts-faith-in-laws-as-negotiator-for-party-funding-talks-6792192.html

Exposed - Public Sector Industrial Complex at work in the NHS

A terrific report in the Mail on Sunday exposes the largesse dispensed by international consultants McKinsey and Co to senior civil servants and NHS regulators overseeing the Con Dem break up of the NHS:

Che Guevara Once Said by Arif Viqar

With one stroke
We will change the realities
Of the materialistic world
After the revolution
We will rebuild
This shattered world