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

Saturday, 2 February 2013

UK Government calls for National Minimum Wage to wither on the vine

In a ministerial foreword to evidence submitted to the Low Pay Commission, the UK Government reiterates its commitment to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), but at the same time argues that NMW rates (currently only £6.19 for 21 and over) should be held down relative to earnings: ‘in order to reduce the ‘bite’ of the NMW, it would be necessary for the NMW to grow by less than average earnings’

Permanence in Change by D.M. Black

Could these early blossoms last, O
Even for one single hour!
But already from the West the
Wind blows and the petals shower.
Shall I love the kindly green leaves
Which so lately gave me shade?
Storms come soon and send them streaming
When in fall they curl and fade.

Paul Routledge on health workers striking a blow for the soul of the NHS - Paul Routledge - Mirror Online

They’re not just fighting for their pay. They’re fighting for a ­properly-fund, decently-run NHS, for the patients, not the privatisers http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/paul-routledge-on-health-workers-striking-1567738

Friday, 1 February 2013

Welcome to the Tory world of food vouchers instead of welfare payments

Just like the USA that hands out food vouchers, we are now drowning in a sea of rhetoric which attacks and points fingers at welfare recipients. Anyone for handing out the horse hair mattresses or are they also a luxury for those finding themselves out of work? You just couldn’t make it up!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

TUPE or not TUPE?

When Cameron talks about a flexible Europe it is clear to trade unions that what he really means is a flexible European workforce with few employment rights other than the right to be dismissed without notice by greedy employers.

Towards co-operative councils: empowering the ghosts of New Labour to outsource public services

Another dangerous, vacuous and neo-Tory diatribe has been issued by the cooperative council network. Of course the real title is ‘Towards co-operative councils: empowering people to change their lives’ but the message is identical to the Tory’s Big Society and the economic liberals in the Coalition – instead of fighting cuts let’s pretend we can put a sticking plaster over the gaping economic wound if only ‘local people’ in ‘local communities’ get involved in delivering services:

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Cuts putting Councils on the brink

"Local authorities face deep cuts between now and 2015. Many have rationed services, such as adult social care and libraries. I am alarmed to hear that 12% are now at risk of being unable to balance their books in the future, according to local auditors, with potentially disastrous consequences" says Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee. Her comments coincide with the National Audit Office (NAO) publishing a report highlighting the difficulties faced by Councils in England in coping with over £7bn Government cuts between 2011 and March 2015 – only half of which have been implemented to date:
The full NAO report on the ‘Financial sustainability of local authorities’ can be read here:

Public meeting: Celebrating Ecuador’s Citizens’ Revolution - No to intervention

Tuesday 12 February, 7pm, Bolivar Hall, 54–56 Grafton Way, London, W1T 5DL (Nearest tube Warren St).
Speakers include:
• José María Guijarro, adviser to the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister
• Robin Blackburn, author and writer who recently interviewed President Correa for New Left Review

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Yorkshire NHS strike off to a solid start

500 UNISON members are taking strike action across 3 hospital sites in West Yorkshire in response to imposed pay cuts. UNISON medical records member Dave Byrom, said that a vindictive management decision to issue new contracts with inferior terms and conditions had strengthened the resolve of the workforce: "Their behaviour is a continuation of the bullying tactics management has used throughout. We expected it, but it is out and out bullying. It is desperation on their part as well. It's made people more determined to stick it out. They hoped it would make people cave in. It's had the opposite effect to the one they were hoping for."

Monday, 28 January 2013

Council Tax freeze is an attack on local democracy

Tory local government Minister Eric Pickles vents spleen in the Daily Telegraph, accusing local authorities of being ‘democracy dodgers’ because they have the temerity to raise Council Tax below his centrally imposed 2% limit – to avoid triggering a costly referendum.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

UNISON NHS members gear up for 5 day strike in Wakefield

At midnight tonight (Sunday), hundreds of health workers at Mid Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust will commence a 5 day strike in an escalation of a long running dispute over pay cuts and the threat of 70 redundancies. Messages of support can be sent to midyorksunison@aol.co.uk:

Lewisham Rally: Thanks from hospital staff

Conroy Lawrence, UNISON Assistant Lewisham Hospital Branch secretary, has thanked the 25,000 who turned out yesterday to protest at closure plans. "This has been an historic demonstration with of over 25,000, representing a total cross section of our community. Surely this cannot be ignored by this Government - a Government who said in their manifesto they would ensure no forced closure of A&E Departments".

The Big Society by Miles Salter

The trick is in the phrasing. Use first names,
say ‘I don’t accept that.’ Leave the studio
when the ON AIR light turns dull. Walk to the car,
wait for a text from the boys at Number 10.