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

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Outrageous - 1 in 5 workers forced to pay for their own protective safety equipment

A TUC survey published yesterday reveals that although employers are required by law to provide employees with personal protective equipment free of charge, more than one in five workers are being forced to pay for it out of their own pocket: http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-21272-f0.cfm

Spark Catchers by Lemn Sissay

Tide twists on the Thames and lifts the Lea to the brim of Bow
Where shoals of sirens work by way of the waves.
At the fire factory the fortress of flames

In tidal shifts East London Lampades made
Millions of matches that lit candles for the well-to-do
And the ne’er-do-well to do alike. Strike.

Friday, 27 July 2012

By their contempt for collectivism and union democracy ye shall know them

On 17 June UNISON’s local government service group conference held a fiercely contested policy debate on the 2014 LGPS proposals and voted decisively for a branch based member consultation prior to the service group executive (SGE) agreeing a recommendation on acceptance or rejection in an all member ballot on the new pension scheme. The nationwide consultation was duly held and on 19 July the local government SGE, after an extensive debate, voted overwhelmingly to recommend a YES vote in the ballot.

Under UNISON Rule D 3.5.1 the SGE determines service group policy and therefore the policy of the union in local government is to recommend a YES vote in the forthcoming ballot.

The small and unprincipled minority who refuse to accept the legitimacy of service group conference and SGE policy decisions ahead of the membership ballot are showing contempt for collectivism and union democracy. Substitute strike ballot for pensions ballot and this point becomes very obvious.

ICTUR world map on trade union rights - new 2012 edition

The International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) world map on trade union rights gives a unique insight into the complex trends and problems that face workers and trade unionists around the world. The full version can be accessed online here.
The map shows ratification of international conventions on trade union rights and flags up the most serious violations of these conventions, including murders and arrests. A1 size copies can be purchased for £5.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

If Blair Returned..... Shock horror!

Guardian reports today indicate that if Blair (T) were to return as leader then the Labour Party would lose support. Presumably the next headline will be that the Pope is a Catholic or that bears treat the woods as toilet facilities.

G4S contract failure is not the exception, but the rule

The use of outsourcing to achieve ‘public sector reform’, beloved by both new Labour and Tories, has been based on an ‘illusion of corporate efficiency and integrity’ writes Heather Stewart in the Observer. The contract culture, exemplified by the G4S debacle, has failed to factor in that the staff loyalty, motivation and performance – essential to quality service provision - is better achieved with secure and decent employment conditions:

Monday, 23 July 2012

Is There a Better Way?

What future do we have to look forward to? Under the current Tory regime the Hobbesian quote that it may be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short seems apt, particularly for the workers. But, to use a cliché, another future is possible

Sunday, 22 July 2012

26 Arrests As Liverpool Faces Down The EDL

Around 300 demonstrators defied the threats of violence and abuse from the far right to march through Liverpool. Led by the James Larkin Flute Band (who had also led the 20,000 strong march in Liverpool on the day of the National Pensions Strike on November 30th last year) the marchers were surrounded by a heavy police presence after the EDL and a scattering of other far right groups had vowed to stop the march.

Support call for visit by Vietnam unions

TU Friends of Vietnam are calling on the Olympic committee to reconsider sponsorship from Agent Orange manufacturer Dow Chemicals as they urge union support for a visit by Vietnamese trade unionists in September.
  Agent Orange was used in Vietnam until 1971 by the US to destroy forests and crops to expose opponents. It entered the food chain resulting in thousands of abnormal births with the tragic legacy of ongoing serious illnesses and deformities. Dow Chemicals which produced so much of the destructive poisons is an Olympic sponsor until 2020 and has so far refused any form of compensation to Vietnam. See leaflet.

Promised Land by Michael Rosen

A family arrived and said they had papers
To prove that his house was theirs.
— No, no, said the man, my people have always lived here,