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

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Pay - public sector falls further behind

This week's 5th Annual IDS/TUC Pay seminar highlighted how the pay in the public sector has fallen further behind pay awards in other industries.

Gift by Tamim al-Barghouti

My life is a gift
Given to me
On my zero birthday.

Friday, 24 February 2012

NHS Bill - its essence is to promote competition, stupid!

The Guardian reports that the deluded. Liberal Democrat health front bench in the Lords has 'tabled a series of amendments to the health bill, designed to constrain competition and maintain regulation over foundation trusts' http://m.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/23/lib-dem-peers-amendments-health-bill-lords?cat=politics&type=article

Pay penalties for sickness in breach of NHS national agreement

UNISON won a landmark legal victory yesterday when an Employment Tribunal ruled that the decision by a Manchester NHS Trust to defer incremental progression because of sickness absence amounted to unlawful deductions from pay. Paul Foley, North West regional head of health for UNISON, said: "This is a victory for fairness. The nature of working in a hospital, surrounded by ill people, means you're more likely than in other jobs to become unwell" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-17147235

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Where's Salmond taking Scotland?

If you examine Scottish independence using class as your starting point - it looks a lot less radical than some people make out. Once you start to look at the 'client capitalism' model of Scotland that the SNP want to create, it's not a pretty picture at all. Vince Mills argues in the Morning Star that the SNP is firmly committed to the neoliberal project. "A stronger Scottish Parliament is of no consequence if it does not house those who are prepared to use these powers to challenge the dominance of capital". http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/115708

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Big society? No - Big Dividends? Yes!

It’s nice to know that big banker bonuses are not reserved simply to bankers. The Con Dems are making doubly certain that their cronies are ‘all in it together’ when it comes to creaming off super bonuses. A4e, the company, appointed by David Cameron to help get troubled families into work, and which so far has produced little by way of success has paid just five shareholders £11m in dividends last year, of which Ms Harrison, the company Chair exposed by Cameron as a ‘families champion’ received 87% or about £8.6m in real money. ‘Nice work’ if you could actually help somebody else get it....  http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16174701
Anna Rose

Privatisation 'hollows out' the State

Privatisation of public services is “the road back to autocracy” that will leave a hollowed-out state bereft of anything to attract the support of citizens, Irish President Michael D Higgins declared. In a week when G4S are awarded design, build and operation of a police station in Lincolnshire, it's a pity we can’t extract a similar statement from our own Labour Leader...?  http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0222/1224312171792.html

A reactionary analysis of Trade Unions

The Fabian Society pamphlet 'The Economic Alternative' contains an analysis of trade unions that is so divorced from reality that Liberal Conspiracy author Sunny Hundal really ought to go back to his economics and social studies classes.  http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/02/21/unions-can-only-resist-the-cuts-if-they-become-broader-and-modernise/

LGPS fund mergers essential to squeeze broker rake offs

The FT recently published a series of letters on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and the pros and cons of fund mergers. Michael Johnson of the Centre for Policy Studies takes stock of the debate and states that potential economies of scale which could be achieved by mergers are 'not in the (pensions) industry’s interests, but very much in the interests of scheme members' and that 'local councils should take the lead and confront the staggeringly inefficient LGPS.'

Oil rules in the West’s response to Iran

‘It is the Iranian people who will suffer most from sanctions, threats and war. They should not be made to pay either for the belligerence of the US and its allies or for the provocative positions of the Iranian government’ rightly points out Tarja Cronberg chairwomen of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/115647  This excellent article in the Morning Star also explains the silence towards the human rights abuses in Bahrain. Oil once again is the dominant interest to dig the west out of the crisis created by its marriage to capitalism.
Anna Rose

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

#NetrootsNW - Yes to on-line activism but beware of clicktivism!

On Saturday 18th February around 100 progressive activists and campaigners gathered in Manchester for the inaugural Netroots North West. Netroots is a project to support the growth of progressive, grassroots, on-line activism.

Those in attendance took part in practical training sessions in campaigning skills and making the most of technology for activism, discussions on campaign strategies, and presentations on new developments and challenges for online progressives.

NHS Bill - a majority against but Con Dem's carry on regardless

In a Guardian/ICM poll, 52% say that the NHS and Social Care Bill – which will overhaul NHS management, increase competition and give GP's more financial responsibility – should be dropped. That is against 33% who believe it is better to stick with the plans at this stage. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/20/conservative-support-shrinks-voters-nhs?mobile-redirect=false

Monday, 20 February 2012

Pickles makes a phoney attack on local government pay practices

It is quite incredulous that when the UK is awash with multi-millionaires that don’t pay fair tax rates, Mr Pickles has chosen a fairly innocuous piece of legislation concerning pay transparency of senior salaries in local government to link his press release to measures on tax avoidance – the inference clearly being that there is some form of problem with corrupt tax practices amongst senior officers. This really is a case of Pickles once again seeking to bully and cajole local government in a needless and damaging assault on the reputation of one the single most efficient and ‘clean’ areas of the UK economy. The wrong target again Mr Pickles: http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/2091049

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Property by Volker Braun

I´m still here, though my country´s gone West.
I gave it the elbow and heave-ho once myself.
Now it´s giving away its negligible charms itself.
Winter is followed by a summer of guzzling.
But I remain, worrying at the root of all evil.
And my poem becomes increasingly puzzling,
To wit: what I never had is being filched.
I shall always mourn what never happened to me in
Hope lay across the path like a trap.
And that´s my junk you´ve got your paws on.
Will it ever again be given me
To say mine and thereby mean the collective me.