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

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Building a campaign against pay freezes

All pay-restraint policies in the past have been broken but only by unions mobilising for action against them. This is the challenge facing us in the coming months, writes UNISON Scotland's Stephen Smellie in the Morning Star. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/117782

Reclaiming the referendum

We need to recognise the "Scottish or British?" debate as the blind alley it is. Instead we should be articulating the Scotland we want to see, writes UNISON Scotland NEC member Gordon Mckay in the Morning Star on the day UNISON’s Scottish Council ran workshops on that very issue. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/117784

Fearful Women by Carolyn Kizer

Arms and the girl I sing - O rare
arms that are braceleted and white and bare

arms that were lovely Helen's, in whose name
Greek slaughtered Trojan. Helen was to blame.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Jack Jones - 'a true colossus of the labour movement'

A well attended meeting in Liverpool last night heard TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber deliver the second Jack Jones memorial lecture on the late TGWU leader's life and its relevance today. The lecture was organised by the National Pensioners' Education and Welfare Centre and chaired by Rodney Bickerstaffe. The full content of Brendan's wide ranging lecture can be read here:

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Mayoral Delusion

The emergence of new political structures such as Elected Mayors and Police Commissioners in England poses new challenges and contradictions for UNISON. In those cities where decisions have been taken to establish Mayors, such as Leicester, Liverpool, London and Salford, the union will be backing the Labour candidate. Elsewhere, in cities such as Manchester and Sheffield, UNISON is actively supporting the NO campaign against the establishment of Elected Mayors, in line with union policy in favour of collective political leadership by elected Councillors. John Harris in the Guardian puts a very strong case for this position: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/09/elected-city-mayors-power-freak-politics

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Evaluating Union Renewal Initiatives since 1997 & lessons for UNISON

The industrial relations academics Dr Melanie Simms and Dr Jane Holgate set out some interesting findings about union organising that are worth all UNISON activists reading. Examining the strategies used by Unite, GMB and USDAW since 1997 it draws down some uncomfortable and depressing lessons for those who follow the ‘we’re doing OK’ view of Organising: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wbs/research/irru/publications/recentconf/ms_buira2010.pdf

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A more radical approach is required from Labour

On 26 March last year over half a million people marched in London in support of an alternative to austerity in what Jeremy Corbyn MP calls a 'remarkable demonstration of trade union and labour movement unity.'

Virgin Care - first of many vultures to start picking over the flesh of the NHS

Doctor and writer Max Pemberton has condemned the award of a £500 million contract to Virgin Care to provide community health services across Surrey as well as run the county’s prison healthcare from 1 April 2012. In a powerful critique Pemberton exposes the lies of the Con Dem government in denying that NHS reforms are leading to privatisation and claiming that they are providing NHS users with choice – ‘for example, what providers other than Virgin might be an option for Surrey residents?’

Monday, 9 April 2012

Job substitution concerns about student placement scheme in Kent

UNISON and Labour Councillors have raised concerns about a student work placement scheme in Kent which provides mainly unpaid work opportunities to students. Concern centres on Kent County Council where 25 per cent of placements are located despite 1,500 jobs being at risk from cuts and redundancies.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Like oil and water, Tories & Unions don’t mix

Tory MP Robert Halfon is given a platform by New Statesman to continue his one man crusade for a rapprochement between the Conservative Party and the 6.5m members (but not the leadership) of Britain’s trade unions: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/04/why-tories-should-embrace-trade-unions

Blackboard by Jun Takami

Afternoon sun shines
on white curtains
of my hospital room.
Like a classroom.