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

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Labour must raise its game to defend the public sector

North East MP Grahame Morris writes in Tribune about 'a massive shift towards outsourcing across all our public services' and calls on the Labour front bench to hammer home the message that 'as more services are passed over to the private sector, there is also a stark danger that we lose control over our public services altogether' http://www.tribunemagazine.co.uk/2012/05/coalition-privatisers-on-parade/

What must be said by Günter Grass

Why have I kept silent, held back so long,
on something openly practised in
war games, at the end of which those of us
who survive will at best be footnotes?

Friday, 4 May 2012

Powerful new alliance against austerity

Three of Europe’s largest unions, UNISON, Ver.di and CGIL, representing more than 5 million public sector workers, are meeting in London today to form a powerful new alliance against the damaging politics of austerity.
The unions are calling on national governments and international financial institutions to ditch austerity that has not only made the sovereign debt crisis worse, but has hit Europe’s people hard. Official figures out yesterday (3 May) revealed unemployment across the single currency zone to be at a record high. http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=2690

5 priorities for Labour Councils

Labour’s success in England and Wales is something to celebrate, but it is not a ringing endorsement of the direction of travel of Labour. The vote, like all local elections, is a litmus test on national politics.

Trade Union political voice silenced in New South Wales

In perhaps a harbinger of things to come in the UK, trade unions in the Australian state of New South Wales are mounting a High Court challenge to draconian new legislation which will ban unions from affiliating or donating to the Australian Labour Party (ALP). Mark Lennon of Unions NSW said: "These laws are aimed squarely at working people and their unions, but do nothing to restrain the influence of wealthy individuals"

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Mervyn washes his hands of history? It's not my fault says the Guv'nor

UNISONActive Analysis: Sir Mervyn King has admitted that the Bank of England should have "shouted from the rooftops" its concerns about the looming economic disaster back in 2007 as he warned that Britain's recovery from recession would be a long, slow process. But a shrill cry of “it wasn’t me Guv it was that Gordon Brown” just isn’t good enough: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/
While accepting that "no one could quite bring themselves to believe that in our modern financial system the biggest banks in the world could fall over", the Governor said the Bank had been aware of the precarious position of institutions that were lending too much.

UNISON calls for Directly Elected Mayors to be rejected

Today in 10 English Cities there will be a Government imposed referendum on the adoption of a Directly-Elected Mayor - a system which has been described as the 'optimal internal management arrangement for privatised local government sevices'. UNISON branches have been campaigning against the change which will remove powers from elected Councillors. A statement issued by Manchester local government branch is reprinted below: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-17299196

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

PFI Firms told to hand back profits

The influential Commons Public Accounts Committee is calling for Companies making excessive profits from Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals to hand back a share to councils, health authorities and other public bodies. The Telegraph reports that under PFI, taxpayers are committed to pay £229 billion for new hospitals, schools and other projects with a capital value of just £56 billion: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9239282/PFI-firms-should-be-forced-to-share-excessive-profits-with-councils-and-health-trusts.html

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Mayday, Mayday, Action to protect NHS Direct

UNISON members in the South West are holding a ‘work-in’ in protest against the Government’s plans to replace NHS Direct with a service that has not been properly evaluated.

May Day greetings to UNISONActive readers

Solidarity and peace to all on May Day, especially those in struggle. For a selection of events this weekend see...

UNISON members reject changes to NHS Pension Scheme

The stance of UNISON health care members in Scotland rejecting the proposed changes to the NHS Pension Scheme has been emulated by members in the rest of the UK - following a consultative ballot of 337,000 UNISON members. A narrow 50.4% majority voted to reject the Government’s proposals on a disappointingly low 14.8% turnout: http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=2685

Monday, 30 April 2012

Cross-dressing mutual

Just in case the hype is rubbing off that the privatisation of the administration of the civil service pension scheme is somehow a new ‘mutual’ look at the company chosen as the private sector ‘partner’ in this privatisation dressed as a mutual scheme: http://www.equiniti.com/contactus/Pages/TheEquinitiGroup.aspx

Austerity isn’t working – ILO

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned that the global employment situation is "alarming" with youth unemployment rising in both developed as well as developing economies. The UN agency is critical of the austerity measures taken by Europe's economies, saying not only had they failed to bring down deficits but they had hurt economic growth and as a result worsened unemployment levels:

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Social Europe agenda has been parked long ago

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, reflects on the political situation in a Morning Star interview to mark the end of his term of office as President of the Scottish TUC: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/

General Pinochet at the Bookstore by Martín Espada

Santiago, Chile, July 2004

The general's limo parked at the corner of San Diego street
and his bodyguards escorted him to the bookstore
called La Oportunidad, so he could browse
for rare works of history.