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

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Another Country by Sean O'Brien

Get there if you can
– W H Auden

Scattered comrades, now remember: someone stole the staffroom tin
Where we collected for the miners, for the strike they couldn't win,

The Hillsborough Archive - UNISON NEC calls for a public enquiry in 1996

The Independent Panel on the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has published all disclosed material on-line and it includes correspondence from UNISON's National Executive Council - sent in 1996 by former General Secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe to the then Conservative Prime Minister John Major in support of a public enquiry:

Disabled People facing an Austerity Double Whammy

Across Europe austerity driven attacks on the welfare state are hitting disabled people particularly hard and 'reversing any gains made by disabled people in rights, access to employment and accessibility' writes Steve McGiffen:

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The undeniable case for Council Tax increases

Even the Tory led LGA accepts that local government has taken the brunt of funding cuts. The slash and burn approach to revenue support grants mean the cuts are now exceeding a third of all council spending by a further 5%, taking the cuts from 28% to 33%. The council tax freeze is only exacerbating the problem.

There must be 50 ways to save your council...

Well it’s not quite as tuneful as Paul Simon's ‘50 ways to leave your lover’ but bless his rather large cotton socks Eric is trying so hard to be popular he has delved deep down to the lowest common denominator amongst the blue rinse brigade – and yes you have guessed it – he has once again attacked the trade unions under the guise of 50 ways to save your council.

UBS corrupt payments exposed as bank pays £940m to settle Libor claims

From drug money laundering to fixing interest rates - crashing the economy and causing mass unemployment... yet NO ONE goes to prison. The fabric of our society is completely corrupted by banks, bankers and debt based money.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

An early Christmas present for the big 4 banks

Not content with robbing us blind, laundering drug money for the world's most dangerous drug gangs and fixing interest rates for their own trading and bonuses - now we learn that the UK's biggest "too big to fail" banks are to receive a big fat Christmas present in the form of £34bn subsidy from us! http://www.newstatesman.com/economics/2012/12/early-christmas-present-britains-biggest-banks-%C2%A334bn-taxpayers

Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale

An economics primer written and directed by Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers. An eight minute video about how we arrived at this moment of poorly funded public services and widening economic inequality. Things go downhill in a happy and prosperous land after the rich decide they don't want to pay taxes anymore. They tell the people that there is no alternative, but the people aren't so sure. This land bears a startling resemblance to our land. © 2012 California Federation of Teachers

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

You want to be a Baron, Brother?....Err No thanks

Kevin Maguire in The Mirror salutes film director Danny Boyle's refusal of a knighthood and notes that he becomes a member of 'an exclusive rebel band' who have rejected knighthoods or peerages including former UNISON General Secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe:

We face big challenges, we have the mandate, now we need action

Rosa Pavanelli, the newly elected General Secretary of Public Services International, has written to all affilaited unions with a call to action.
'Congress mandated PSI to do many things, too many things. We will have to make some choices. Our resources are not unlimited and our staff complement is not huge. In order for us to fulfil the Durban mandate, we must prioritise better, be more flexible and more focused, and combine our capabilities more closely with your strengths and your priorities. I am convinced that PSI will rise to the challenges when we can better integrate and include our unions in all that we do'

Monday, 17 December 2012

Austerity a time of opportunity for trade unions?

The FT interviews TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber who is retiring this month and surprisingly attributes a comment to Brendan that austerity is a “time of opportunity” for trade unions. It's a well known cliche that a crisis or disaster can present an opportunity. But the loss of 1.1m public sector jobs over six years is certainly analagous to a tsunami:

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Final Offer - the art of collective bargaining

An award winning 'fly on the wall' film made in 1985, Final Offer takes an inside look into the 1984 contract negotiations between the Canadian branch of the UAW and General Motors. It is a unique insight into corporate power, the dynamics of negotiations, solidarity and union governance. It captures the tense events which led to the birth of the Canadian Auto Workers Union - by parting company with the US based international union:

Fukushima by Nazih Abou Afach

1. Tsunami

Wave after wave, wave upon wave.
The dead are not seen and their screams not heard.

Listen! Don’t listen! Listening without end.
No one can hear what the dead shriek.
Only the dead are able to hear their own screams.