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

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Northern Region "Kenny Bell" Mini Bus for Cuba

Over 250 people came to Newcastle Civic Centre on Wednesday 12 September to hear Dr. Aleida Guevara talk about the importance of Cuba and international solidarity. In what was probably the largest public meeting on Cuba in Newcastle she received an emotional standing ovation: See the video at http://www.shakewellbeforeopening.org.uk/home/?p=1453

To the uncaring by Tatjana Debeljacki

Lost in the grey loneliness.

Cognition intruder – rustling from the mind.

Unclear thread, passionate, cruel, is awoken.

The fruit is not conspiracy.

The lunatic, genius of silence!

Friday, 14 September 2012

UK unions have a simple choice - organise or face a spiral of decline

#tuc12 Seumas Milne, writing in the Guardian on Wednesday, provided a welcome riposte to media union bashing over the recent days of the Trades Union Congress:
..Milne notes the 'union weakness in the private sector – where only one in seven workers is now a member, compared with the majority in the public sector' and states that this is 'the product of decades of industrial change, fragmentation and anti-union legislation.'

Thursday, 13 September 2012

MPs back call for UN to recognise Palestine

64 MPs have signed a motion urging British Foreign Secretary William Hague to vote to recognise Palestine at UN General Assembly on September 27th. Has yours signed yet? Check on http://www.parliament.uk/
If not, find their email on http://www.parliament.uk/ 

Hillsborough – a broader awakening?

As the justified anger of the Hillsborough revelations unfolds will the events now bring a broader awakening to the depths the establishment and the media can stoop to?

Hillsborough- First the Truth, Now justice for the Families

The emotion for those involved in the Hillsborough Families Justice Campaign came across as overwhelming. Twenty three years of battering against state officialdom that had labelled their children and relatives as irresponsible hooligans, aided and abetted by the Murdoch muck-rakers, finally led to total vindication.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Theory & Practice of a UK General Strike

#tuc12 A former Labour leader once coined the phrase ‘far-fetched resolutions’ and some commentators (and Congress opponents) placed motion 5 from the 35,000 strong POA - which called for ‘coordinated action where possible with far reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike' - in that category.

Alice Walker and Desmond Tutu on the Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Please watch and circulate this 3-minute video explaining the urgency behind the Russell Tribunal on Palestine coming to New York City, Oct. 6-7, 2012. South African anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker motivate the final session in NYC of this international people's tribunal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCYpFv_FljE&feature=share&list=UUeQK4F_9degvOIiWb7fpIVA

Young must hear about union achievements

#tuc12 Unions must ensure that young people hear about the heritage of what organised labour has delivered, and why it’s so important to defend it, UNISON’s Graham Smith told the TUC yesterday.
..Congress backed a Young Members' call for a programme of political education for young workers that explicitly addresses how trade union activity has delivered essential workers rights and has benefited society and demonstrates the positive and practical workplace benefits of union membership for young people. It also called for a positive media campaign about the value of trade union membership and participation.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

October 20 is a launch pad for anti-austerity fight - Dave Prentis

#tuc12 At Congress yesterday UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis moved composite 1, on ‘a future that works campaign’, which condemned the government for ‘the hardship suffered by millions of people losing their jobs, local services or receiving cuts in their pay, pensions or benefits, and for deepening inequality in our society’:

Monday, 10 September 2012

Activists and organisation key to pay fight

#tuc12 If we are to mount a credible campaign against austerity and the pay freeze, we need to organise our activists and get our members to believe in our cause. The campaign will not be won by arguments alone - strong as they are - but by organisation and collective action, Jane Carolan, UNISON Policy Chair, told the TUC Congress today.

Pointing to the Save the Children appeal to assist the poor, Jane said: "Appallingly, some of the families that feature in that appeal were working families - the working poor. That’s why this is not a fight about the private sector or about the public sector... No worker should be earning less than they need to lead a decent standard of living".

GMB and UNISON step out together

#tuc12 Yesterday’s eve-of-Congress press conference held by GMB and UNISON has attracted a lot of media interest. The most important announcement was a commitment to jointly organise in the poorly unionised and highly exploitative social care sector. Yet invariably speculation about a possible merger is making the headlines, with today’s FT exclaiming ‘two unions on path to merger’ and that ‘a merger between UNISON, with more than 1.3m members, and the GMB, with 610,000, would create the UK’s biggest union, larger than the 1.4m-member Unite. It would span local government, health, education and parts of the private sector’:

Analysis - We can bring the recession to an end without more debt, no cuts and no new taxes

For all the nation's economic woes, the debate seems stuck on tax hikes for the rich or more borrowing from the bankers - we need a new and permanent solution. Just like the one being debated on MSN money, yes that's right Microsoft News Money - http://money.msn.com/investing/no-debt-no-cuts-no-new-taxes we should be debating these issues at the TUC congress this week!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

A Form Guide for TUC Congress

#tuc12 In a historic first the TUC this year gathers in Brighton and starts it deliberations on the Sabbath. The Presbyterian influence on our great movement must be waning and no one has mentioned the issue of double time for delegates. Plus ca change.......

Our Congress message to Beecroft & Burley - Bugger Off!

#tuc12 In the first debate of Congress, there was an early intervention by UNISON when NEC member Gordon McKay seconded Composite 3 on Employment Rights (which had been moved by Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey). Gordon said that UNISON would not stand aside as the jobs of public service workers who support the sick and vulnerable are privatised and their employment rights are attacked. He ended a powerful anti -Tory speech with a 'bugger off' message to venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft and right wing MP Aidan Burley who are fronting the Con Dem attack on trade union and workers rights.

The union case for an alternative must be relevant to the ordinary lives of workers - Barber

#tuc12 Congress is taking place at a critical time for trade unions and progressive campaigners but 'to win the argument for an alternative we need to relate our arguments to ordinary lives' says TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, in his preview of Congress - a more grounded approach than the turbo-charged media rhetoric of some other union leaders: 'Growing disillusionment with government policies gives us a new audience for our message. Congress gives us the ideal launchpad to make October 20's march for A Future That Works a huge challenge to the politics and economics of permanent austerity.' http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/123588

To Those Born After by Bertolt Brecht

To the cities I came in a time of disorder
That was ruled by hunger.
I sheltered with the people in a time of uproar
And then I joined in their rebellion.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.