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

Saturday, 23 February 2013

UNISONActive Analysis - Downgrading Osborne's economic strategy

There seems to be mood of delight on the left about the downgrading of the UK government's credit rating. This an error and a misleading outlook.
  Why? Firstly it gives Osborne the cover for further cuts to public spending and destruction of public services, he will argue that to win back economic credibility further action must be taken to reduce the debt and debt payments.

Free Marwan Barghouti

In a letter sent to the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine RToP has urged him to free Palestinian political prisoner and Fatah leader Marwan Barghout. This would make it possible for Barghouti to participate in the Tribunal’s closing session, which will take place in Brussels on 16 and 17 March.

Tory 50% ballot threshold - a cowardly way of making strikes illegal

The Independent reports that a long term objective of the Tory right - to declare strike ballots unlawful unless 50% of union members to take part - is rising up the political agenda ahead of the 2015 General Election. Apparently right-wing Tory ministers are pressing David Cameron to include the proposals in the party’s next manifesto.

Full moon at Tierz: before the storming of Huesca. by Rupert John Cornford

The past, a glacier, gripped the mountain wall,
And time was inches, dark was all.
But here it scales the end of the range,
The dialectic's point of change,
Crashes in light and minutes to its fall.

Time present is a cataract whose force
Breaks down the banks even at its source
And history forming in our hands
Not plasticine but roaring sands,
Yet we must swing it to its final course.

The intersecting lines that cross both ways,
Time future, has no image in space,
Crooked as the road that we must tread,
Straight as our bullets fly ahead.
We are the future. The last fight let us face.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Back to Basics on Policies and Recruitment

February’s NEC is much concentrated on the motions to submit to National Delegate Conference and this year’s selection emphasises the extent to which the union’s politics has had to go back to basics to really concentrate on the extensive issues affecting our members and their families in their everyday lives.

Twenty Myths About Unions

Great insights from Bill Fletcher Jr on why unions need to do more to convince non-union workers of the benefits of trade union membership: http://therealnews.com/ t2/index.php?option=com_content& task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8834#.USWoQDcucwc

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Prentis visits Western isles to support case against cuts

Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, is joining members today in Stornoway to add his voice to their opposition to spending cuts and job losses, reports UNISON Scotland. Invited by Branch Secretary Alison MacCorquodale (pictured), he will be speaking at the union’s Western Isles local government branch AGM this afternoon.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Members are the real source of union power

Carl Roper of the TUC explores the crucial link between union membership, mobilisation and the ability of unions to deliver for members and argues that 'if we get the balance wrong and place too much emphasis on a role as service providers and regard members as ‘clients’ then we are diminished and our ability to mobilise members becomes harder. Unions have always been (and must remain) more than this. Members are not just clients but key participants in the life of the union; indeed they are the real source of union power. And unions themselves have to be agents of ‘social action’ not just providers of a ‘social service’

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Put Organising First!

Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University reviews the prospects for US unions following the Presidential election and calls for labour movement unity in the struggle against the corporate right: 'Labor has very powerful enemies, but never before has it had so many allies who are equally angry at those same enemies.
  What the movement has to do is commit the financial and staff resources to recruit, train and coordinate organizers, and to run creative, multifaceted, strategic, comprehensive and (where necessary) global campaigns. This includes ongoing strategic corporate research.
  And it requires the involvement of labor and community allies, rank-and-file members on the organizing committees, and existing union members serving as volunteer organizers at every level of the campaign'

Monday, 18 February 2013

Lies, damned lies and the ramblings of a North Wales shopkeeper

The attempt of Iceland food retailer CEO Malcolm Walker to deflect the market failings of the meat processing and retail industries onto local Council services would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. Walker, apparently the only person oblivious to mounting evidence of large scale organised crime in the European meat industry and systemic failings of regulation, points the finger at the public sector:

UNISONActive Analysis: A Coalition of Care

Con Dem Secretary of State for Health – Murdoch’s little helper Jeremy Hunt – claimed to have solved the crisis in care last week.

He said “This is a watershed moment for our country...and we will give everyone the protection they want in their old age and save the family home.” Sad to report but his magic bullet has missed the target.

Mass protests in Spain against health care privatisation

Mass protests took place in 16 Spanish cities yesterday as public opposition mounts to the part privatisation of health and welfare services. 'Public health is not to be sold, it’s to be defended' was the theme of the demonstrations against Government proposals to hive off services as part of the right wing Spanish Government's austerity measures:

Sunday, 17 February 2013

7 core skills for trade union leaders

Gregor Gall reflects on the life of the late Scottish print union leader Vincent Flynn and identifies seven core skills for effective trade union leadership:

- the ability to develop a national agenda for a union

- the ability to organise internally within the union - through caucusing and networking - to win the union to this agenda

- the ability to negotiate, most obviously with employers but also with other unions and the government

Slow Progress Ahead by Phillip Barron

As if allowing
lovers to love
could be apostasy
bulbous ants
busy themselves
marring marriage
amendment posters
and posting
disinhibited remarks.