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

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Police targeted by Public Services Industrial Complex

An alarming report in the Guardian exposes a plan by two of the UK's largest police forces to massively escalate privatisation whereby private companies could 'take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighbourhoods and even detaining suspects.' http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/mar/02/police-privatisation-security-firms-crime?mobile-redirect=false

The Fair Cop by Tom Leonard

a cop came to see me
but I didn’t know he was a cop
I’m so trusting!!
and I said sit down and have a cup of tea
and he sat down and had a cup of tea

Friday, 2 March 2012

New Mayoral system is 'fundamentally flawed' - UNISON

In a recent local government circular LG/10/2012, UNISON has set out its opposition to the Mayoral system and the union’s preference for municipal government by democratically accountable, locally elected Councillors. The advice, which is not yet available on the UNISON website, can be read below. Meanwhile, it appears that the electoral commission approved question in the upcoming (and imposed) May referenda on the creation of Elected Mayors in England’s largest cities, has been rigged against the status quo:

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Heard the one about a Tory MP defending union facility time?

Yesterday the Commons spent 90 minutes debating ‘union funding’, a pretext for some Tory MPs to attack trade union facility time in the public sector. Aside from many excellent interventions by Labour MPs, the intervention by Robert Halfon, Tory MP for Harlow was notable for his defence of union facility time: ‘...nevertheless, some facility time is good. A local employer in my constituency, the bus company Arriva, says that facility time is incredibly beneficial’. The whole debate, including a cameo performance by shamed Nazi stag party MP Aidan Burley, is well worth a read:

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Since when is this free market capitalism?

Public money for private banks…nothing but austerity for the masses of Europe….state intervention for a speculators charter? http://www.investmentweek.co.uk/investment-week/news/2156010/banks-borrow-eur529bn-ecb  European banks have borrowed €529bn from the European Central Bank in the second tranche of its three-year long-term refinancing operation (LTRO), asking for more support than forecast.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Lib Dems tilting at windmills as free market tornado about to hit NHS

Nick Clegg once again demonstrates his disposable morals with a contrived letter co-signed with Baroness Williams purporting to defend the NHS. Whilst Williams has been a fierce and effective critic this latest stunt is merely to save Lib Dem faces as we approach the May election season. Is it also a coincidence that Clegg’s letter surfaces at the same time as a report by right wing think tank Reform? http://news.sky.com/home/politics/article/16178515

Australian Unions silent on ALP leadership contest

A UNISONActive reader reports from Sydney on a Labour leadership contest in which affiliated unions had surprisingly little to say: Over the past week the Australian Labor Party (ALP) has resembled a soap opera. The ongoing saga of Julia Gillard v Kevin Rudd has continued and reached a level of intensity in recent weeks that culminated in Rudd resigning as Foreign Minister and Gillard calling for a ballot of the ALP (and in turn the Prime Ministership).

Rally Against the Lib Dems Gateshead 10 March

The Northern Public Services Alliance have organised a 'Rally for the Alternative' at The Lib Dems' Spring Conference at the Sage, Gateshead on Saturday 10 March. Assemble 11-11.30 Wesley Square, Newcastle Quayside with a rally at 12.30 at Baltic Square Gateshead.

'This is a prime opportunity to show them the strength of feeling that cuts are definitely not the cure – especially in the region with the highest unemployment in the country', says the leaflet publicising the rally (click here for a pdf copy). The Northern Public Services Alliance is led by trade unions including UNISON and the Northern TUC.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Affordable Homes Crisis - moving housing up the political agenda

Housing Voice - the new campaign to champion the need for more affordable homes to buy or rent in the UK - is conducting an independent inquiry into the affordable housing crisis and last Friday held a northern regional hearing in Manchester. Evidence was submitted from a wide range of experts from the private, public and not for profit sector. Mo Baines, President of Manchester UNISON served on the Inquiry Panel along with Lord Whitty, Chair of Housing Voice and David Rodgers, Chief Executive of CDS. Mo's opening comments are reprinted below: http://www.housingvoice.co.uk/

Sunday, 26 February 2012

NJC Pay - Time to fight not 'suffer' in silence

Widespread anger amongst local government workers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales has greeted the refusal of local authority employers to make any pay offer for the third successive year. It begs the question, despite ritualistic submission of annual pay claims, whether collective bargaining actually exists in the National Joint Council (NJC) for local government workers?

The Wind by Tetsuro Tanaka

The wind asks "Haven't you forgotten?"
The wind asks, "Haven't you give up?"
Your sadness isn't yours alone.
Your anger isn't yours alone.
It blows against the wall of history.
Even if you can't see it now the wind moves the trees.