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

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Austerity & Racism

As the media spotlight falls on racism in Poland and Ukraine at the Euro 2012 football championship, Kailash Chand warns in Tribune that ‘increasing numbers of people are reeling from a succession of policies that will further increase racism and inequality. The austerity policies of David Cameron and Osborne are ignoring the social consequences of their approach to the economy and housing. Unprecedented cuts will provoke ideological racism and institutional racism’

The Hypnotist by Austin McCarron

Hanging around my neck the soul
of the twentieth century,
still warm from its dark cremations.
into its eyes I suggest a final number.
I hear millions and millions of voices.

Friday, 8 June 2012

After Wisconsin - US public service unions under siege in Republican states

Americans for Tax Reform is the powerful right wing lobby upon which the UK’s Taxpayers’ Alliance is modelled. Its President Grover Norquist uses as a platform on the Guardian website to map out the coming republican offensive against public service unions and the Democratic Party, following the failure to unseat anti-union Republican Governor Scott Walker in Tuesday’s recall election:

Thursday, 7 June 2012

English devolution back on Labour's agenda?

In a keynote speech today Ed Miliband said that the Labour Party had been ‘too reluctant to talk about England in recent years. We have concentrated on shaping a new politics for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’ and committed to ‘continue devolving powers to English local authorities and away from
  Whether this amounts to a resurgence of a Labour Party regional agenda in England - which was disastrously derailed by the North East regional Assembly referendum in 2004 - remains to be see? The current issue of Red Pepper includes a radical proposal by Paul Salveson for an elected Regional Assembly for the whole of the North of England ‘to counter the economic and political dominance of the south east and build strong economic and cultural relationships with the increasingly confident and autonomous Scots and Welsh’ – ay-up that sounds like a good idea! http://www.redpepper.org.uk/a-voice-for-the-north/

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Public Sector Workers' right to organise under threat across the globe

#ILC101 Peter Waldorf, the General Secretary of Public Services International, today addressed the international labour conference of the ILO and outlined the growing attack worldwide on the rights of public sector workers. ‘More than ever before, we see how employers – including the governments in their capacity as employers – disrespect and disregard trade union rights. Workers’ rights to organise, bargain or even strike are being questioned or even eliminated altogether. Therefore, I have a strong message for governments and employers. You must understand your responsibilities under international conventions’

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Facts of Public Life

Last week UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis was appointed a Non-Executive Director of the Bank of England. As an experienced member of the TUC’s Executive Committee and President of Unity Trust, the trade union bank, he would appear the obvious choice to replace Brendan Barber, the retiring TUC General Secretary, as the TUC nominee at the UK’s Central Bank. Yet it is a sad reflection of the immaturity of some in the movement that representing trade unions in a key economic institution can be portrayed as 'collaborating' with the Con Dem Government. Surely the basic purpose of trade unions is to represent the interests of workers?

UNISON members stand firm at Addenbrookes

It is interesting to see that private contractors have not hesitated to further screw low paid workers under the Austerity Government. The current dispute at Addenbrookes in Cambridge is going to be won by those on the ground, working with the Branch and the Region to secure the backing of the 90% of workers who have now made it a union stronghold.  http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=7793

Poverty, social inequality and mental health

An interesting article in Advances in Psychiatric Treatment journal examines the impact of poverty on mental health and inequality. The World Health Organisation has described poverty as the greatest cause of suffering on earth. This article considers the direct and indirect effects of relative poverty on the development of emotional, behavioural and psychiatric problems in the context of the growing inequality between rich and poor: http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/10/3/216.full

Monday, 4 June 2012

The downward spiral of UK living standards‏

The Guardian reports that in 2012 the amount of cash in the pockets of British workers will fall for the third year running. Research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) says that rising food, clothing and fuel prices compounded by "anaemic" wage rises will lead to another fall in households' disposable incomes. CEBR economists forecast a 0.2% decline on top of a 1.3% fall in 2011:

Austerity – the ‘cure’ which makes the patient worse

Professor Malcolm Sawyer, in a paper for the left think-tank CLASS, explains why the Con Dem austerity programme is economically irrational, socially irresponsible, and doomed to fail in its central goal of reducing the budget deficit. It is the jobs deficit and not the budget deficit which should be at the centre of economic policy. This requires stimulation of demand and joo creation programmes:

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Beecroft Report will remove rights from 3,113,000 workers

A TUC report analyses the potentially devastating impact of the recently published ConDem commissioned report on workers employed in companies with fewer than 10 staff. Brendan Barber TUC General Secretary said: 'already people have to wait two years before getting protection against unfair dismissal. The opponents of workplace decency, like Adrian Beecroft, are using the economic crisis as an excuse to try to smuggle through attacks on employee rights:' http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-21079-f0.cfm

Doing it for Charity by Daniel North

Aficionado of good will
Helping underdogs
Sour tastes ruin gesture
Impressions' moral fogs.