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

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Events across UK to mark International Workers Memorial Day

This year the TUC is calling on trade unionists and safety campaigners to take action today to defend health and safety from attacks on regulation, enforcement, cuts and refusal to tackle the massive toll that health and safety breaches take on workers. Health and safety is under attack like never before with the Con Dem’s budget announcement declaring that "the government will scrap or improve 84 per cent of health and safety regulation"  Details of events across the UK here: http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-20489-f0.cfm

Dwelling by Miffy Ryan‏

North Road the edge Night Rolls in whilst the Sun Still shines
And that moment where they meet just above our heads
Though bleak North Road is expansive is blessed with a mass of sky and air
We are not supposed to be here
My belongings wait

Friday, 27 April 2012

Permanent Austerity but Irish union centre sits on the fence

The EU fiscal treaty has been denounced by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) as ‘pressing on down the path of permanent automatic austerity’ and has been rejected in its present form by French Presidential front runner François Hollande, yet the Irish Congress of Trade unions (ICTU) will not be recommending that Irish workers vote No in next month’s referendum on the treaty:

Union membership trends in 2011 - calm before the storm?

The TUC’s Stronger Unions website provides a useful summary of the UK Government’s latest report on trade union membership figures. Of particular interest is that in the public sector, despite a membership fall of 186,000, union density rose by 0.2% to 56.5%; bargaining coverage rose by 3.3% to 67.8% and the amount of public sector workplaces where there is a trade union presence rose to 87.1% from 85.8%. As well as a membership surge linked to the pensions campaign last autumn, this report confirms that public sector unions are retaining our core workplace organisation even though overall workforce numbers are shrinking:  http://strongerunions.org/2012/04/26/2011-trade-union-membership-figures-released/

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Constitutional debate must look beyond independence

#STUC12 In a surprisingly low key but deeply significant debate, the Scottish TUC has launched a major engagement with members and the public about the future of Scotland. That constitutional debate "should not be about what powers politicians want, but about what they want to do with those powers”, UNISON’s Stephen Smellie told Congress this morning.

Kinder Trespass - a lesson in history

Yesterday marked the 80th anniversary of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout led by Manchester communist Benny Rothman. The mass trespass anniversary provides not so much a lesson in the right to roam, but a lesson in the right of the working classes to say no to the powerful elite, who continue to snatch a disproportionate volume of wealth and resources for their own ends.http://kindertrespass.com/index.asp?ID=26

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Which Workers are Key Workers?

A strangely fascinating example on the BBC website of how society distorts and twists the value of workers. The question is asked 'which workers are really key?' A variety of answers relate to a variety of values.

Burnham pledges Labour's support for NHS

#uHealth2012 In a wide ranging speech Andy Burnham Shadow Health Secretary made a number of commitments to delegates on a future NHS under the next Labour Government. Health must be, he said, about people and not profit. The next Labour government would make the repealing of the NHS and Social Care Act a priority.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Now more than ever the NHS needs our union

#uHealth2012 The first morning of UNISON National Health Care Service Group Conference kicked off with debates on organising, equality and diversity.

Austerity isn't working: Mike Kirby's speech at #STUC12

In a wide ranging presidential speech today from domestic to international issues, UNISON's Mike Kirby laid out eloquently and comprehensively what we stand for as a movement and why there is a better way than austerity. Here we publish his speech in full.

"May I begin by thanking my own trade union UNISON,
and the General Council,
for the opportunity you have given me, given to so few,
for even a short period of one year
to be placed at the helm of the Scottish Trade Union Movement.

A distinction it would have been at any time,
but as many of you know,
that was paired with taking up the position of Scottish Secretary of UNISON, after 16 years as the senior elected lay activist in Scotland.

Another Irish Union calls for No vote in EU Fiscal Treaty referendum

The 45,000 strong Mandate retail workers union is calling on its members to vote NO in the May 31 Irish referendum on the EU Fiscal Treaty. General Secretary John Douglas said: "The imposition of austerity measures across Europe has resulted in over 25 million workers unemployed, of which 5.5 million are under the age of 25. This is a scandal, human waste of mega proportions – but still, our government at the behest of our European banking masters continues with these failed policies and ideologies, condemning future generations of Irish citizens to a mere existence on the margins of society."

Goldman Sachs Takes Over the ECB - Fight Back

We've reported before on Goldman Sachs ability to place people at the centre of our political and economic structures so that they can shape the world for bankers. Well we can now tell you that the European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi, former vice president of Goldman Sachs Europe, was able to approve a 500 billion Euro bailout for European banks without asking anyone’s permission.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Regional Pay: the only way is down - Lansley

#uHealth2012 The Observer reports on the Department of Health’s submission to the NHS pay review body in support of regional pay - "Current rates of pay in the NHS do vary geographically, but significantly less so than the pay of comparable staff in the private sector. The introduction of more sensitive market-facing pay would therefore enable more efficient and effective use of NHS funds." What this means in wages terms can be seen by looking at a recent LRD analysis of the realities of regional pay variations between the public and private sectors of the UK economy: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/apr/22/andrew-lansley-pay-nhs-staff

Danger - the Unregulated Global Casino for Banks will cause the next global financial crisis

What is the next banking/economic crisis for humanity to face? When you hear the word derivative don't shy away because this is the next economic collapse in the making and this time no amount of money from the tax payer will save the situation:  http://demonocracy.info/infographics/usa/derivatives/bank_exposure.html

The Deadline by Constantine Cavafy

Nero shrugged his shoulders when he heard
the future that Apollo prophesied:
Beware the age of seventy-three.
The oracle at Delphi never lied;
he took her at her word.
Untroubled, he slept on secure.