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

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Why postcode pay doesn't add up

The TUC 'Payfair' campaign has produced a great infographic showing why regional pay is unfair, bad for the economy, isn't backed up by the evidence, isn't what the private sector does, would be impractical and is unpopular.


How Fortunate The Man With None by Bertolt Brecht

You saw sagacious Solomon
You know what came of him,
To him complexities seemed plain.
He cursed the hour that gave birth to him
And saw that everything was vain.
How great and wise was Solomon.
The world however did not wait
But soon observed what followed on.
It's wisdom that had brought him to this state.
How fortunate the man with none.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Industrial action warning on redundancies

As Scottish local government branches meet in Glasgow today, UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby has warned of industrial action across Scotland if local councils implement compulsory redundancies as part of Government enforced cuts.

How the world voted on Palestine

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Leadership and South Africa beyond Marikana

It’s one thing winning the revolution. It is another thing implementing its vision. That was the theme of veteran ANC activist Denis Goldberg at a meeting of ACTSA Scotland in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Billed as a speech about the Marikana massacre, it turned into a disarmingly honest and at times painful analysis of the challenges of building a fair and just South Africa in just 18 years after centuries of constitutional oppression.

PSI supports Palestinian statehood and BDS against Israel

#PSIcongress2012 Chris Tansley, UNISON President, intervened in the Congress debate on Palestine in support of the Palestinian people. Delegates backed Resolution 42 which referred to Israel as an apartheid state and called for a global policy of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), and a composite motion, submitted by UNISON, PCS and PSI Africa region which called for action against companies complicit in the illegal Israeli occupation. In the lunch break before the debate South Africa's Coalition for a Free Palestine - supported by SAMWU (South African Municipal Workers Union), NEHAWU (National Health Education and Allied Workers Union) and other COSATU affiliates - had lobbied Congress delegates in a show of solidarity with Palestine.

Quality education is not possible on the back of an exploited workforce

#PSICongress2012 Jane Carolan, UNISON NEC, intervened in a debate on union organisation in the education sector (particularly the non-teacher workforce) and called on PSI to build capacity, skills, bargain locally and internationally (taking on the multi-nationals). Also to facilitate networking by members in education and build solidarity with teaching unions by exposing the myth that quality education is possible on the back of an exploited workforce:

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

UK Government persists with Outsourcing to disguise economic failure

The West Coast Rail franchise debacle,G4S, Southern Cross, Connaught. The list goes on – how many more failures of public procurement and contracting out do we need in order to nail the Government’s obsession with outsourcing? Even senior Tory figures admitted during the G4S debacle that big outsourced contracts fail and the risk is far too great to the public sector. And yet the Cabinet Office continues to promote the involvement of private contractors in public services.

Rosa Pavanelli elected PSI General Secretary

#PSICongress2012 In a landslide election victory (7,022,114 to 2,793,646 votes), Rosa Pavanelli of Italy's progressive FP-CGIL union federation was today elected General Secretary of Public Services International (PSI). Rosa is a vastly experienced trade unionist and stood on the following platform:

PSI must fight for quality public services - Dave Prentis

#PSICongress2012 Introducing the PSI Programme of Action for 2013-2017 yesterday, Dave Prentis said: 'Our goal is to achieve Social Justice through Trade Union Rights and Quality Public Services. It is a plan for us to work together – smarter, faster and more effectively – to achieve a more just, more equal and more civil society in every nation. Our job as trade unionists is to lead – to give inspiration and hope that by working together we can create just, equitable and civil societies'

Is the Tide Turning on Public Service Outsourcing?

The TUC recently held a seminar reviewing a positive trend whereby many public services are returning in house in the face of market failure and a renewed confidence of public bodies in direct service provision. Videos of the 6 excellent presentations can be viewed at:

Lift the blockade of Gaza - Sign Oxfam's urgent action

With a ceasefire in place, call on the UK government to do all that it can to lift the blockade and end the suffering of Gaza's people:

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

UNISON backs Rosa Pavanelli in PSI GS election

#PSICongress2012 The UNISON delegation has agreed to support the leadership challenge of Rosa Pavanelli, of the Italian FP-CGIL union, in the General Secretary ballot which will take place tomorrow at the Durban World Congress: http://www.rosapavanelli.net/

Privatisation is not a one way street

In countries in the grip of austerity measures, pressure is on for privatisation of public services but, as Tom Gill writes in the Morning Star, ‘despite this new privatisation bonanza, recent research shows that the trend in Europe over the past few years has actually been the other way - towards bringing private assets back into public ownership’

Monday, 26 November 2012

The revolving door betwen Whitehall and Big Business

The Observer reports on leaked documents which reveal how private health firms worked with Downing Street to ensure the Health and Social Care Act went ahead. This is the latest example of how the public services industrial complex has a firm grip on elected policy makers:

COSATU Welcomes PSI World Congress to South Africa

#psicongress2012 Public service trade unionists from every continent are assembling in Durban, South Africa, for the five-yearly Congress of the Public Services International (PSI) - the global union federation for public service workers. Host union federation COSATU has issued a fighting welcome to delegates: 'Congress is taking place at a critical moment in the history of the struggle for a new and just world order, quality public services and the fight against neo-liberal globalisation, particularly ravaging our continent and the working class as a whole' http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=6727

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Thousands protest at Lewisham hospital closure plan

An estimated 10,000 turned out yesterday in driving rain to protest at Lewisham A&E closure plans. A new UNISON campaign banner and posters were to the fore on a rally that brought a huge turnout from the community with an encouraging presence of young people. Some reports said the demonstration against this 'attack on the NHS' was the biggest Lewisham had seen for 30 years.

Far right and xenophobic UKIP members deserve no sympathy

Now just in case anyone is jumping on the bandwagon to argue the wrongs of Rotherham Council ...read the two links below and then change your sorry little minds.... give those social workers a medal not a beating:
Anna Rose

In our thousands, in our millions, we support the Palestinians

Yesterday over 15000 marched through London from Downing Street to the Israeli Embassy in solidarity with the people of Gaza. UNISON members from many regions of Britain took part in the protest. The Stop the War Coalition has published a detailed report of the march and the rally in Kensington:

The public sector pay premium – something worth defending

Unions have long advanced the concept, based on sound evidence, of a Union Advantage - foremost of which is the union wage premium. According to the TUC, on average union members earn 12.5% more per hour than non-members. Given that union membership density in the public sector is 56% compared to 14% in the private sector it is perhaps self evident that a wage premium should exist in the public sector.

House of the Poor by Mzi Mahola

When I was a little boy
I never questioned why
A solitary path
Led from a poor man’s hut.

Why it zigzagged
Like the trail of a wounded beast.

Now that I’m a burdened man
I know why the rich are troubled
When we grumble.