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

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Unions: Quote, Unquote

The Economist magazine’s A-Z of business quotations focuses on unions and includes the timeless wisdom of the late American Lawyer Louis Brandeis:
“Strong, responsible unions are essential to industrial fair play. Without them the labour bargain is wholly one-sided. The parties to the labour contract must be nearly equal in strength if justice is to be worked out, and this means that the workers must be organised and that their organisations must be recognised by employers as a condition precedent to industrial peace”

Public sector pay hits a nadir

The LRD pay survey for 2011/12 - which reviews the pay round and contains a detailed report of pay settlements - makes depressing reading for public sector workers. Although the weighted increase on the lowest basic rates was 1% (a quarter of employers paid the £250 to staff earning under £21,000), the weighted median across the whole public sector workforce was 0%.

Stones by Anick Roschi

Loving stone
Loved stone
Stone girl
Given birth to day,

Friday, 2 November 2012

Yorkshire NHS workers strike against pay cuts and redundancies

UNISON administrative and clerical members held a solid one day strike yesterday at 3 hospitals across the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust. Hundreds of members took action after 88% voted in a strike ballot to oppose over 70 potential redundancies and massive pay reductions as the Trust looks to make £24m cuts by next April: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-20157170

Thursday, 1 November 2012

What price Union Rights?

At last month’s Tory Party Conference Chancellor George Osborne announced his plan to strip workers of rights in exchange for shares: "You the employee: replace your old rights of unfair dismissal and redundancy with new rights of ownership.... with a capital gains tax exemption would cover shares valued at between £2,000 and £50,000.”
  It begs the question what price, if any, can be placed on fundamental trade union rights? £2,000, £50,000 or even £200,000? Many trade unionists would regard trade union rights as inalienable human rights – which cannot be bought, sold, or transferred from one individual to another.

Why Labour must reject Trident replacement

Michael Meacher MP responds to this week's announcement by Defence Minister Philip Hammond MP that the Con Dem Government is commiting £350m to funding design work on the next generation of Trident nuclear submarines. Meacher points out the futility of Trident replacement, which will cost the UK up to £100bn over the next 30 years. ‘What have nuclear weapons ever achieved or are likely to achieve? None of our wars was ever won by them, and none of the enemies we fought was ever deterred by them.’

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

5 years on - Rogues Gallery of the economic crash

The Guardian marks the 5th anniversary of the onset of the 'credit crunch' by reviewing the bankers, economists and politicians whose reckless commitment to neo liberal policies of deregulation, cheap credit and market manipualtion has caused and continues to cause untold misery for millions of working people worldwide:

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

10 ideas on how unions can adapt & survive

Larry Katz - a retired Canadian Union of Public Employees Research Director of over 30 years - has written a very useful and interesting set of 10 proposals for trade unions to consider in Canada, but they could easily be adapted to the UK in general and some to UNISON in particular. He makes the point that this is the conversation we have to have with each other and with workers:

Monday, 29 October 2012

Time to end underfunding of Mental Health services - Ed Miliband

An excellent speech by Ed Miliband today at the Royal College of Pyschiatrists setting out what UNISON members and stewards working in mental health service have known for many years - that there is a crisis of under-funding with demand for services massively outstripping capacity - and you can't get a quart out of a pint bottle:

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Equal Pay Victory: Behind the Headlines

Equal pay hit the headlines big style last week culminating in Friday’s announcement that UNISON had won a settlement for 3,000 workers in Edinburgh. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/
 As UNISON Scotland mounts an autumn recruitment campaign, what better advert is there for being a member of a union? But amidst the celebrations, it is worth taking a look at the years of work behind the headlines that brought a deal for these mainly low-paid women.

Mass GP exodus from Virgin Care exposes fundamental flaw in NHS & Social Care Act

This week’s resignation of 300+ GPs from established contractual partnerships with Virgin Care highlights the fundamental flaw and potential conflicts of interest in practising GP board members of Clinical Commissioning Groups allocating £60bn of NHS money each year:
..Prior to this development Dr √Čoin Clarke had written how Virgin Care represent ‘the greatest conflict of interest in the history of the NHS’:

New report highlights extensive abuse of Palestinian detainees

With roughly three-quarters of a million Palestinians imprisoned since Israel's occupation began, there are few Palestinian families who have not had a member in an Israeli jail. Caabu's latest report,'Palestinian detainees: no security in injustice', provides an in-depth examination of the issue of prisoners in both Israeli and Palestinian jails.

And Bob's Your by Steven Waling

uncle, but having none of it.
In the film of the book of his
imaginary life he's walking
some outback, his past in a
haversack of tales: but this
one won't be told, its title
Lost Surname or, The Birth of Genius.