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

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Italian unions protest against austerity

Italian trade unionists demonstrated in Rome yesterday against the unelected Prime Minister Mario Monti's relentless programme of public spending cuts. The strike and protest was called by the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) and the Italian Union of Labour (UIL).

General Malpractice by Minnie Stacey

We’re definite, refined and filthy rich
from servants digging ditches in their health,
lulls desperate for dreams and where we pitch
our advertising, hacking in with stealth.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Balls misjudges public mood with his austerity 'tough talk'

#lab12 Whoever Ed Balls is intending to impress with his spin in today's Guardian and Mirror promising how a future Labour government will be 'ruthless and disciplined in how we go about public spending', it is likely to be read in disbelief by public service workers reeling under Coalition austerity cuts. By 2015 the Con Dems will have removed 28% of local government funding and stripped out £20bn from NHS spending. The search by Balls for waste and inefficiencies is likely to be a very barren one - unless he takes the knife to Trident replacement and other wasteful military expenditure:

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tory MP condemns IBM-led outsourcing company Southwest One

Ian Liddell-Grainger, Tory MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, last week used the platform of Parliament to condemn in no uncertain terms the ‘failed procurement project that has cost every citizen in Somerset a great deal of wasted money and time. Southwest One is a joint venture between Somerset county council, Taunton Deane council, Avon and Somerset police and IBM - one of the world’s biggest IT firms. It is a classic example of how not to do public procurement’ and he confessed that ‘I was, I admit, suspicious from the word go. IBM, as most people know, is no charity; it prides itself on fat profits.’ For full speech go to:

Anti-Apartheid: An interview with Ronnie Kasrils

'The struggle in such cases as Polisario and Palestine will be protracted, but I am sure will culminate in victory because these are struggles of heroic peoples who are steadfast in their objectives and just do not give in. South Africa and Nelson Mandela are illustrations of this', anti-apartheid veteran Ronnie Kasrils tells Frank Barat in a captivating interview on Aljazeera. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Greece strikes against EU/ECB/IMF imposed austerity

Public and private sector workers are participating in a 24-hour strike today against harsh new austerity measures that the Greek Government is imposing on its people to secure the next instalment of a €130bn bail out from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19724284

Tweet for Local Government on Thursday

Council workers and councillors are being urged to tweet this Thursday to raise the profile of the full range of local services they provide for the public. The #OurDay Tweetathon has been launched by the Local Government Association in England and Wales.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Cross-dressing vision of local government innovation

The Economist suggests that there is a quiet revolution in local government that central government could learn from. Citing innovation and practices, such as outsourcing, by Conservative authorities alongside the 'political cross-dressing left-wing Lambeth' which is pursuing a version of Mr Cameron’s now-abandoned Big Society agenda. http://www.economist.com/node/21563333?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/Britainslocal  However, the Economist piece is lazy and frankly a bit tardy in its analysis.

Why Palestine is a key issue for UK trade unions

Sarah Colborne, the director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, reviews the debate on Palestine at this year's Trades Union Congress, including the decision to send a delegation to Gaza, and comments on the 'remarkable shift' to a consensus in support for Palestine from UK unions - 'in just three years, we have seen solidarity with Palestine become mainstream in the trade union movement in Britain. And the impact of a trade union delegation to Gaza cannot be underestimated. Even the prospect of such a delegation has sent the very marginalized pro-Israel trade union lobbyists into a frenzy'

Monday, 24 September 2012

Scots Wha Hae?

In the debate over Scotland’s future all contributions are welcome, as those of us ambivalent about independence are willing to be persuaded. So articles in the Morning Star on the subject offering a socialist perspective have a crucial role. Thus last week the Star published “The Scottish Quest for Freedom” by Colin Fox Leader of the Scottish Socialist party http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/124098

CBI lobbies for the Public Services Industrial Complex

The latest report commissioned by the CBI, to justify the £20m annual subscriptions paid by its private company members, predictably claims that ‘opening up more public services to alternative providers could save over £22bn in the next five years.’ UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis responded by saying: "The CBI has plucked this figure from the air. All the evidence shows that privatisation is a costly failure that the taxpayer can ill afford. Only last week MPs felt it necessary to call for a blacklist of firms that have failed to deliver on their contracts. Privatisation failures carry heavy human costs: ask an elderly resident of an ex-Southern Cross home. And, as the Olympic fiasco clearly shows, when the private sector fails, the public sector has to pick up the pieces"

PSI General Secretary challenger gains heavyweight support

Rosa Pavenelli of Italy’s Funzione Pubblica CGIL trade union has gained decisive momentum in her bid to unseat incumbent Peter Waldorff in the General Secretary election at Public Services International (PSI). As well as securing the collective support of a group of leading European unions including ver.di (Germany), CCOO (Spain) and ABVAKABO FNV (Netherlands), Pavenelli is being backed by the massive Japanese public service trade union Jichiro. http://www.rosapavanelli.net/

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Bhopal Survivors Tour arrives in North West

Throughout September two leading members of the Bhopal Survivors movement have been touring Britain and Ireland to raise support for their international campaign for justice. On Friday, Safreen Khan (Children Against Dow-Carbide) and Balkrishna Namdev (Destitute Pensioners' Front) addressed a meeting at UNISON’s regional office in Manchester:
The visitors were welcomed by UNISON Regional Secretary Kevan Nelson who praised the courage and determination of the Bhopal survivors and referred to the recent breakthrough in the long running campaign for justice after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster as an example of what can be achieved against powerful vested interests.

Women by Polly Clark

sail into the world of women,
in a magnificent ship that does not interest them.