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

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Cuts Hurt

Great work by the Community and Public Sector Union in Australia where a right wing Coalition Government (with policies which mirror the UK Con Dem's) looms large after the 14 September General Election, according to current polls. In the battle of ideas ahead of the election, the union has launched a Cuts Hurt campaign for public sector jobs and essential services. "We will stand up for quality public services and jobs. It is our duty on behalf of our members to take the fight to those who advocate the destruction of all that we hold dear as a union - jobs, rights and fair conditions" says union leader Nadine Flood: http://cpsu.org.au/campaigns/news/30832.html

Community members get ammunition to fight austerity

James Medway of the New Economics Foundation gave UNISON’s Community delegates the ammunition to argue that there is a better way than austerity at their Conference in Manchester last week.
   He demolished the Tory led Government case for austerity and gave delegates the ammunition for arguing that there is a different way of running our economy.

in her letter by Dikobe Ben Martins

in her letter
keitumetse says that
the umsundusi river
still runs its
serpent - smooth course
through the lush
evergreen edendale valley
on its way to the sea.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Irish unions going cold on Europe

In this month's Union Post ICTU general secretary David Begg warns of a “growing disaffection” with the European project within the trade union movement. Speaking to a gathering of EU officials and diplomats in Dublin last month, he said: “It is imperative that confidence in Social Europe be rebuilt. Expecting workers and social welfare recipients to carry the burden of maro-economic adjustment is unfair and unreasonable."

New nursery ratios make no sense at all

A Government adviser has echoed UNISON’s concerns about proposals to increase the number of children nursery staff can look after in England. Professor Cathy Nutbrown, says the plans to increase staff/child ratios make ‘no sense at all’ and ‘watering down ratios regardless of the level of qualifications held by staff is likely to lead to worse, not 'great', childcare and will undermine intentions to provide quality early learning experiences’

Thursday, 21 March 2013

More From Osborne... More Pain, More Cuts, More Austerity

There is only so much one person can take of Gideon Osborne live. This year he gets to the part where he talks about the fairness of maintaining pay cuts for public service workers (or an up to 1% pay increase in his world) when the decision had to be made... switch off or put the telly out the window.

Squeezed public sector pay, Crushed living standards

Yesterday's Budget should have dispelled any lingering doubts about the importance of the current local government pay disputes in the National Joint Council (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and the Scottish Joint Council. New questions arise too about the future of (supposedly impartial) Pay Review Bodies given Chancellor Osborne's certitude that they will deliver his 1% pay restraint up to 2016. Alice Hood of the TUC provides a useful analysis of Government pay policy following the Budget announcement - which included a declaration of intent to block incremental progression of hundreds of thousands of public service workers - and says that 'yet again Ministers seem to be pushing pay policies that aren’t based on evidence'

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Cyprus banking a domino for all of Europe?

Democracy for the moment has prevailed over the Bankers friends within the European Union. The politicians of Cyprus backed by the people may have rejected the bank account tax, but the truth is that the financial crisis in Cyprus is just getting started.
   Right now, the two largest banks in Cyprus are dangerously close to a meltdown. If they fail, depositors could end up losing virtually all of their money. That's because, the banking system of Cyprus absolutely dwarfs the GDP of that small island nation.

Imagine and If Only... Budget 2013: The Speech Ed Balls should be giving

“Mr Speaker, Members of the House. As you know, the economy that Labour inherited when the Tories, sorry con Dem coalition were lately booted out of the Government was one that was stagnant, indeed toxic, failing the needs of our country and our people. On every indicator, from our failing international credit rating even if it is from rather disreputable agencies, to the falling pound in every pocket, from our pitiful levels of public investment to the appalling levels of inequality in our society, we were a country that had substituted ideology for economic policy. No more. This is a government committed to enhancing the lives of the working people of this country.

Solidarity with PCS!

#pcsm20 Today’s Budget Day national strike action by PCS members should be supported by all communities and workers bearing the brunt of austerity. Their cause is our cause. As well as the pay freeze and imposed pension changes experienced by many other public service workers, civil servants have endured a relentless attack on jobs and union rights at the hands of their Con Dem employers. To support lunchtime protests taking place across the country today, check out the PCS website: http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/campaigns/national-campaigns/action-now/index.cfm

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Protect Colombian human rights defender Alfamir Castillo’s life

War on Want has launched a campaign to protect the life of Colombian trade unionist and human rights campaigner Alfamir Castillo (pictured with UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis on a recent visit to Britain). Alfamir and her family have been subject to persecution, attacks and repeated death threats since the conviction of seven soldiers for the murder of her 23 year old son in 2008:

Scrap Trident!

A fantastic interactive animation from CND shows what £100bn could be spent on if Trident nuclear weapon submarines are scrapped: http://www.cnduk.org/

Monday, 18 March 2013

Russell Tribunal on Palestine - Final Session

At its final session in Brussels on 16/17 March 2013, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine ended its four-year examination of third party complicity in Israeli violations of International Law.

Rosa Pavanelli: New leadership - New vision for PSI

The newly elected General Secretary of Public Services International (PSI) outlines her mission in an excellent profile on the PSI website: “The forces working against ordinary people – the privateers, international financial institutions, right-wing billionaires and captive governments – are ruthless and powerful. They destroy. They care nothing for the public good. They are driven by self-interest and insatiable greed. Women, young people, workers and families are paying the price as unemployment soars and vital public services are slashed. Neoliberalism, which is driving austerity, is an outrageous ideology. You can’t build a healthy community by driving your neighbours to ruin,” says Rosa

Warning - Fox Hunting makes a return

Not so much a slip of the tongue but a revelation of the true intention of Government. Cutting public spending hasn’t worked and hasn’t reduced the deficit but Liam Fox, darling of the right, hunts down public sector budgets by suggesting the public sector saves a further £300 billion. Just a coincidence this money will then be used to fund Tory tax cuts before the next election. Who said Fox hunting had been outlawed?
Anna Rose

Call on your MP to oppose new NHS competition regulations

Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has reworded section 75 regulations, promoting competition in the NHS, and they will take effect from 1 April 2013 unless challenged. Last Thursday Early Day Motion (1188), was tabled in Parliament calling for the regulations to be annulled. Contact your MP today and ask her or him to back EDM 1188 and prevent back door privatisation of the NHS.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Britain revolts against Bedroom Tax

UNISON's Community service group conference adjourned yesterday morning to join in with the Manchester protest against the Con Dem Bedroom Tax. SGE chair Kevin Jackson said delegates were 'proud to be showing solidarity with thousands of people up and down the country opposed to the bedroom tax. Vulnerable people we work with on a daily basis, including many disabled people, will be made to suffer and forced to the margins of society.'
50,000 people in Manchester and Salford will pay as much as £1,000 a year more rent from 1 April when changes to housing benefit are implemented. Well supported protests were held in towns and cities across Britain with many UNISON members present.

Cause and Effect by Jim Burns

‘Striking doesn’t seem your style,’
he said, smirking in his usual way.
‘it isn’t,’ I replied, ‘but neither
is going to work, so I figure
if I have to do the one,
then I also have to do the other.