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

Saturday, 16 March 2013

UK Government's ideological attack on workers - a Coalition timeline

The Institute of Employment Rights has published a timeline charting the introduction of policies, the airing of proposals and the calls of Tory backbenchers and right-wing think tanks that have threatened the rights of UK workers since the Coalition took power. It's a unique resource for viewing information on the Coalition's ideological drive against workers in a comprehensive and interactive way:

I Have by Nicolás Guillén

When I see and touch myself,
I, Juan with Nothing only yesterday,
and Juan with Everything today,
and today with everything,
I turn my eyes and look,
I see and touch myself,
and ask myself, how this could have been.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Closing session of Russell Tribunal on Palestine - starts tomorrow

The final session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will meet for the last time on 16-17 March. The jury of the Tribunal (which received the backing of UNISON National Delegate Conference in 2012) will issue a final recommendation and produce a final report on Israel's violations of International Law, third party complicity and what it means for us all:

Thursday, 14 March 2013

GP 'producer capture' of NHS?

Prior to the Thatcher Government launching its privatisation onslaught in the 1980's, an early neo liberal political narrative was constructed to undermine public support for public services. Alongside 'bureaucracy', 'inefficiency' and 'waste' was the concept of 'producer capture' - a term used to describe the supposed vested interests of public service workers who ran services in their own interests rather than those of service users. Fast forward 30 years to an ironic situation where more than a third of GP's on the boards of new NHS commissioning groups in England have a financial interest in a for-profit health provider beyond their own practice. The neo liberal wheel has turned full circle and real producer capture now exists: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21772143

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

7m of Britain's kids living below the breadline

A new report commissioned by the TUC highlights that a majority of British children will soon be growing up in families existing below the breadline because of austerity driven welfare cuts, tax rises and wage freezes. By 2015 over 7.1 million of the country's 13 million youngsters will be in homes with incomes less than the minimum necessary for a decent standard of living:

COSATU 'on a dangerous downward slope' - ANC Secretary General

Yesterday, ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe`s addressed COSATU's Collective Bargaining Conference. The challenging and self critical speech examines the role of a national union federation, industrial unionism, union/worker relationships and draws parallels for COSATU with the internal divisions which have beset and weakened the ANC in recent years:http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=7043

The importance of trade union rights

The launch rally for the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom is being held on 23 March in London. Adrian Weir of Unite writes on the Left Futures blog about the erosion of trade union rights in Britain and the consequential rise in inequality: 'The case for free trade unions is unanswerable – but we need to make the case for a new legal framework heard! Firstly, we have the international legal rights – but they’re mainly honoured in the breach. Secondly, strong unions bargaining with employers is good economics – this is now almost mainstream thinking'

Backing sought for Jack Jones film

Brian Reade wrote in the Daily Mirror last week of his work with the Jack Jones Trust.
Reade has spoken and written of the need for a film that celebrates the life of Jack Jones, once voted the most powerful man in Britain. He is working with the family of Jack and the Jack Jones Trust in order to get funding for the film on this year the 100th Anniversary of his birth.
  The Trust has been backed by UNISON NW, a number of UNISON branches, Unite, RMT and other UK unions. The Trust is still some way off its target. For further information visit  

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

FactCheck? What a load of blogocks

Patrick Worrall writes on Channel 4 website what at first glance appears to be a credible, albeit critical, analysis of UNISON's position on jobless numbers. However scratch below the surface and we have yet another example of frankly lazy and silly journalism. The headline says it all ‘what UNISON isn’t telling you about jobs’. Should that line not be ‘what the Government is not telling you about jobs’?

Fact Check or Brass Neck?

Channel 4 News FactCheck - a blog which supposedly 'goes behind the spin to dig out the truth and separate political fact from fiction' - takes issue with UNISON's widely reported research about the scandal of nearly four people chasing every vacant job in the UK and err..... confirms that it is accurate! Likewise the union's claim that a phenomenal 500,000 public sector jobs have been lost since May 2010 is confirmed as err..... factual. Selective facts maybe, but when the point of a campaign is to highlight the downside of austerity, why on earth would the union spin on behalf of the Government?

Resistance to austerity knows no boundaries

Allison Kilkenny, writing on The Nation blog, provides an excellent round up of anti austerity protests in Greece, Portugal and Spain - all three countries are facing high unemployment, rising poverty.and acute social tensions as severe public expenditure cuts kick in:

Monday, 11 March 2013

'Ditch austerity & go for growth' - TUC Budget Submission 2013

Next week Tory Chancellor George Osborne will unveil his fourth budget since the Con Dem Coalition came to office in May 2010. In a comprehensive submission to the Treasury, the TUC sets out alternatives to the failed policies of austerity. It provides essential ammunition for trade unionists campaigning for alternative economic policies: The introduction states that the TUC 'has consistently argued that the Government’s approach to deficit reduction would be both socially divisive and economically disastrous. It gives us no pleasure to have been correct on both counts'

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Concession bargaining divides Irish public service unions

A new 3 year agreement between the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Irish Government will lead to longer working hours, an increment freeze, pay cuts for higher earners and other detrimental measures. The Government had threatened to impose cuts through legislation but will now secure a €1 billion reduction in the public services pay bill - if a majority of unions back the package in upcoming membership ballots:

They Feed They Lion by Philip Levine

Out of burlap sacks, out of bearing butter,
Out of black bean and wet slate bread,
Out of the acids of rage, the candor of tar,
Out of creosote, gasoline, drive shafts, wooden dollies,
They Lion grow.