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

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The art of talking a good fight

As the London 2012 Olympics draws to a close it is worth recalling the blanket media coverage given to the views of Unite leader Len McCluskey back in February when he intimated that the tactic of civil disobedience might be deployed to disrupt the Olympics “the idea the world should arrive in London and have these wonderful Olympic Games as though everything is nice and rosy in the garden is unthinkable"

In the Military Park by Jared Carter

At dawn, near the parade ground,
in the shadow of the obelisk,
where the fountains have not yet
been turned on, you can look out

Friday, 10 August 2012

Tory Cockell sounds wake-up call on outsourcing

It’s as rare as hen’s teeth that I find myself agreeing with Conservative Council leaders but the piece in today’s Financial Times from Sir Merrick Cockell (former leading light amongst the Conservative Councillors Association and now Chair of the LGA) has warned that the days of unquestioned outsourcing belies the reality behind what can be delivered.

20 October - Glasgow, Are you ready?

#Oct20 The Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) is mobilising for a mass anti-austerity demonstration in Glasgow on 20 October coinciding with the London demonstration.  The STUC will be applying for George Square to be part of the October 20th event but is awaiting approval from Glasgow City Council which is reviewing use of the Square for public demonstrations.

Benefits of State Education?

News that 70 per cent of Scottish medals winners at the Olympics came from state schools should give some encouragement that the public education system in Scotland is delivering better that the UK overall. But the debate over funding in the last few days betrays the standard tactic of the Right of mounting assaults and blaming the victims.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Northern young members leading fight against regional pay

An excellent short campaigning video - giving 5 reasons why Con Dem proposals to introduce regional pay for public service workers are a bad idea - has been produced by young member activists in UNISON's Northern region: http://www.shakewellbeforeopening.org.uk/home/?p=1390

Shaggy comes to the job centre

If you remember the song 'It wasn't me' by Shaggy sing it to yourself as the background music to this fly-on-the-wall twitter account of the shambolic privatised so called help for jobseekers. A4E? 5E? or simply it can’t be! In the world of contracted out services no one it seems takes responsibility – other than of course shifting the blame onto immigrants. You really couldn’t make it up.
Anna Rose

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

August is Not the Quietest Month... This year

August is usually the quiet month in the political calendar, the sleepy summer season where our parliamentarians take themselves off to foreign climes for a spot of R’n’R, and re-acquainting themselves with their loved ones. Not only our ministers and MPs but the political correspondents, the Pollys and the Andrews, for whom politics is a spectator sport concentrated on the London Arena (sorry, Houses of Parliament).

Austerity is for philistines

The Guardian is mapping the impact of austerity cuts on the arts and cultural services, not only in the UK but across Europe, with an interactive facility for readers to update its on line database:

..Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman MP warned a few months ago about the impact of Con Dem cuts in the capital city: "This is a worrying time for arts and culture in London. The Government has cut funding for the Arts Council by 30 per cent, hitting valuable cultural organisations big and small across the capital. The Royal Opera House has had its funding cut by 15 per cent, the Institute of Contemporary Arts by 42 per cent. The pioneering contemporary dance company, The Cholmondeleys, lost all its funding and had to close".

Pay cuts put the economy into reverse gear

'30 years of hurt' went the famous football song from Euro 96. The same might be said about the income distribution trend and wage stagnation in the UK, with many workers earning less today in real terms than in the 1980s since when the proportion of the workforce in low paid jobs has doubled. Stewart Lansley writing in the Guardian spells out these facts and concludes that a continuing squeeze on pay 'is merely likely to prolong the crisis, while opening an even wider pay gap and taking Britain further down the road of a low-paid economy'

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

UNISON's LGPS Ballot - Questions of Democracy and Leadership

UNISONActive has endorsed the democratic process of the union in relation to the ballot on the LGPS proposals for England and Wales, particularly in regard to the Local Government Service Group. This was not a process imposed on the union by officials. It was the decision of the local government conference.

Trade unionism a career or a cause?

The Observer ran a good feature this past weekend on the women changing the trade union movement, though disappointingly they failed to acknowledge the work of Heather Wakefield of UNISON who has presided over two major industrial disputes in local government which saw more women than ever take action in modern Britain. However the piece on women in the movement is a case of bitter sweet.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Women & Union Organising - Yes we can!

Nice to see that yesterday's Observer managed to have a feature on women in the trade union movement; not so nice to see trade unionism presented as a career option rather than a cause:

Women officials have the visibility.
Women as shop stewards, branch secretaries and at regional level have the real power.
Because women are taking charge in the workplace.

Remembering Hiroshima

Today is the 67th anniversary of the US dropping a nuclear bomb over Japan - 'Little Boy' - which exploded 600 metres above the city of Hiroshima killing 140,000 people. Jeremy Corbyn MP writes that 'all over the world there will be commemoration ceremonies for peace, even though we can fully expect the media to be firmly fixed on coverage of the Olympic Games. I hope the London commemoration can be joined by some of the thousands of Olympic visitors to show the world they want peace, not war, and that nuclear weapons are both immoral and unnecessary'
For details of the London event (which will be chaired by Jeremy Corbyn) and others throughout the UK see the CND website: http://www.cnduk.org/get-involved/events

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Circle vultures ready to swoop on NHS hospitals - time to raise the alarm

The Sunday Telegraph reports that private health company Circle Holdings is looking to extend into the NHS well beyond its small bridgehead at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire. "On a 10 to 20-year view, I think the scale of private companies running NHS health care in Britain could be huge" said Chief Executive Ali Parsa, in self-fulfilling prophecy mode: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/pharmaceuticalsandchemicals/9450088/Ali-Parsa-Government-should-not-be-running-hospitals.html

Anthology of Rapture by James Scully

What are they looking for
running to the summit of lost time?

Hundreds of people vaporized
are walking mid-air