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

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Centre for Labour and Social Studies

An important new labour movement think tank holds its launch seminar today in East London. The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) was set up last year by Unite, GMB and the Institute of Employment Rights to ‘promote left debate and discussion’ with the ambitious aim of promoting ‘ideas that can inspire the trade union movement, cement a broad alliance of social forces and influence policy development to ensure the political agenda is on the side of working people’: http://www.class-launch.org.uk/index.html#

Time to return Water Services to public ownership

A recent opinion poll revealed that 70% of the UK population wants renationalisation of water services. Since the 1989 privatisation of water utilities in England and Wales, hundreds of millions of pounds have been diverted into shareholder profits rather than invested in the water network. Paul Donovan, writing in Tribune, puts a compelling argument for the renationalisation of water to enable the challenges of drought and climate change to be effectively tackled: http://www.tribunemagazine.co.uk/

The Liaison Co-ordinator by Tom Leonard

Efturryd geenuz iz speel
iboot whut wuz right
nwhut wuz rang
boot this nthat
nthi next thing
a sayzty thi bloke
nwhut izzit yi caw yir joab jimmy
am a liaison co-ordinator
hi sayz oh good ah sayz
a liaison co-ordinator
jist whut this erria needs
whut wi aw thi unimploymint
inaw thi bevvyin
nthi boayz runnin amock nthi hoossyz fawnty bits
nthi wummin n tranquilisers
it last thiv sent uz
a liaison co-ordinator.
Sumdy wia digree
in f*ck knows whut
getn pyd fur no known whut thi f*ck ti day way it.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Public Sector Pay Strike in Norway

Over 30,000 Norwegian public sector workers are taking strike action over pay for the first time since 1984. Central and local government services including schools and prisons were disrupted across Norway. The unions, who are seeking pay rises of more than 4%, are now preparing to escalate the action to the rest of Norway’s 600.000 strong public sector workforce: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18188917

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Beecroft Report - 24 pages of ideological poison

Professor Keith Ewing, writing in today’s Morning Star, reminds us that the Con Dem Government has already savagely attacked workers rights with last month’s introduction of a 2 year qualifying period for protection against unfair dismissal and the imposition of Employment Tribunal fees. But Keith warns that the Beecroft report goes much further in its aim of a lawless, hire and fire economy, where ‘workers could be sacked for any reason or no reason’:

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Hannibal Lecter warns that cannibalism is bad for you

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reiterated its warning - first issued at the January Davos summit of neo-liberalism’s political elite - that austerity is holding back economic recovery. The inevitable sting in the tail is that the IMF is not calling for increased public spending – instead calling for ‘temporary tax cuts’ and infrastructure investment (funded by public sector pay cuts!) to boost demand:

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Statutory guidance to councils reveals true intent behind 'Big Society'

Whilst Cameron and Maude talk the language of choice and localism their true intentions are revealed in draft statutory guidance issued by DCLG. The 'Community Right to Challenge', given to English charities, coops and mutuals under the Localism Act 2011 to bid to run council services has long been regarded as a Trojan horse to open up services to the private sector. The guidance issued by Eric Pickles, with a foreword from Andrew Stunell, confirms just that. The new guidance which you can read in full here at paragraph 9.5 explicitly seeks to stop in-house services from tendering to continue to run services forced out to competition under the 'Community Right to Challenge':

Monday, 21 May 2012

'A Future That Works' - mass TUC demonstration in London on 20 October

#oct20 The TUC is to organise a mass demonstration in London under the banner of 'A Future That Works' on Saturday 20 October 2012. A march through central London will culminate in a rally in Hyde Park.
On March 26 2010 the TUC's March for the Alternative attracted 500,000 people to a march and rally in London.

Reclaiming Our NHS Conference 23 June 2012

A major one-day conference is taking place on 23 June 2012, in London, to look at how we can continue the campaign to protect the NHS and its principles. The conference will be held from 10.30 in the Friends Meeting House Euston Road and full details and a poster are at www.nhscampaign.org/reclaiming

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Con Dem Blitzkrieg on Employment Rights

The Sunday Telegraph reports that the Beecroft Report on ‘workplace deregulation’ - commissioned last year by Prime Minister David Cameron - will be published next week. The Tory donor and venture capitalist will make five key recommendations (see below) to his political masters:

- reducing the consultation period on large scale collective redundancies from 90 days to 30 days

Identity Card by Najwan Darwish

Despite – as my friends joke – the Kurds being famous for their severity, I was gentler than a summer breeze as I embraced my brothers in the four corners of the world.
And I was the Armenian who did not believe the tears beneath the eyelids of history’s snow
that covers both the murdered and the murderers.