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

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Fire Service privatisation fails in Lincolnshire

The Lincolnshire Fire Service has terminated a 20 year contract with private provider AssetCo after only six years - following a damning audit report of the near bankrupt company. Tribune reports that the decision could hit the outsourcing company’s contracts to supply and maintain London’s fire engines and provide auxiliary firefighters to be used as strikebreakers during disputes:

Mobile phone millions from poorest Britons

This excellent piece in yesterday’s Daily Mirror highlights the hidden costs of the botched changes to universal credit. With no thought as to the practicalities of those who simply don’t have access to the internet – the poor, the disabled, older people – Cameron’s cabinet of millionaires has once again pushed an unnecessary cost burden on those who can least afford it.

Don't Flinch by Adrienne Rich

Lichen-green lines of shingle pulsate and waver
when you lift your eyes. It’s the glare. Don’t flinch
The news you were reading
(who tramples whom) is antique

Friday, 20 April 2012

Sack Lothian PFI contractor says UNISON

UNISON Scotland has called for Consort PFI contactor to be sacked from Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary after a patient had to be sewn up by torchlight when workers power was cut at two theatres - the latest in a catalogue of failures. http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/eri-surgeon-forced-to-operate-by-torchlight-1-2242627

Loadsamoney City barbarians attack transport workers

Those that damage millions through reckless speculation condemn the transport workers of London when claiming that “City workers are set to face an unprecedented week of continuous travel after London Underground employees announced they would go to work like normal people”. We thought they came to work in Porsches?  http://squaremile.com/speakeasy/10575/London-Underground-Announces-Day-Of-Work.html

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Tories & Trade Union Political Funds - a little bit of knowledge is dangerous

As predicted following Ed Miliband's unnecessary concession about limiting collective union funding of the Labour Party (even though we are affiliated as an organisation), the Tory attack dogs are now homing in on the political fund contributions of individual union members.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Time for Labour Councillors to re-embrace Public Services

It is a sad indictment of Labour in local government that when Cameron attacks Labour Councils as wasteful and claims that Tory councils offer 'best value', the reaction from the left is 'how can you tell the difference?'

Supply Chain Strategies & Union Leverage

The latest edition of LRD's Workplace Report (No 100, March 2012) has an interesting feature on the fragmentation of collective bargaining and a new approach by unions targeting the supply chain of large companies and organisations - in order to improve labour standards at suppliers.
TUC research identified that a 'reputational risk' strategy can be used to force 'client leverage' on employers down the supply chain (see below) http://www.strongerunions.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/TUC-ESRC-Research-Bulletin-No-1-March-2011.pdf

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Pinstriped Trousered Philanthropists

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian rightly exposes the hypocrisy of those such as Lord Fink, the Conservative Party treasurer, who claims that the recent Budget's 25% cap on tax relief for charitable donations by the super rich will "put people off giving":

CBI cheers on as inflation erodes value of minimum wage

Even with this year’s increase in the adult rate, the minimum wage will be lower in real terms than it was in 2004, according to new research by the Resolution Foundation. Inflation has outstripped both minimum wage growth and median income growth in recent years, leading to substantially declining income for workers. The FT reports the delight of the well heeled CBI business lobby group at this sorry situation: “Retailers, care homes, hospitality and other consumer-facing businesses are experiencing particularly tough conditions, so it’s good that the LPC listened to the CBI’s advice and made sure its recommendations preserve jobs and support the fragile recovery.” http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e8b2f1ee-87dc-11e1-8a47-00144feab49a.html#axzz1sGoZoZ56

On 3 May - vote to protect Public Services

UNISON’s General Political Fund is running a high profile campaign in defence of public services in the run up to next month’s local elections. A range of billboard posters have been funded in selected London Boroughs, Birmingham and Southampton – areas where ‘best value’ Tory administrations have been decimating services and attacking workers’ rights. In addition, UNISON adverts will be placed in national and local newspapers in the week of the elections: http://www.unison.org.uk/stopTheThreats/

Monday, 16 April 2012

Tories smell blood on Union Labour Link

The Conservative reaction to Ed Miliband’s concession on party funding yesterday brought to mind what the late Mick McGahey once said of a previous Tory Government - "they will only stop chasing when we stop running." Even though Miliband conceded that his proposed £5,000 donation cap would apply to trade union donations (provided that political levy contributions were treated as individual rather than collective donations), the Tories are still not happy – demanding that trade unionists must opt in to the political levy rather than opt out as has been the case since 1945.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Meat Inspectors in a beef over unpaid wages

UNISON members employed as vets and meat hygiene inspectors staged a protest at the head office of the Food Standards Agency in London yesterday over non-payment of wages following a transfer of employment. UNISON National Officer Simon Watson said: “More than 100 vets have not been paid for up to two months after the contractor the FSA paid to employ them lost the contract. The new contractor has now promised to pay their wages, but the £500,000 cost could put terms and conditions in jeopardy in the future” http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=2663

Habitat by Heather Haley

We plan like architects
to bring the outdoors
in, parrot like realtors
the charms of a tree house,
for up on this hill, birdsong
is tangible. We always get
what we want, camouflaged