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

Saturday, 30 March 2013

To Hell with the Con Dem Bedroom Tax

Today another Bedroom Tax Day of Action will take place across the country building upon the spontaneous nationwide protests of a fortnight ago. A full list of the 50+ protests taking place is available on the Labour Left website.
    Dave Prentis speaks on behalf of all UNION members in condemning the obscene and punitive social engineering which underpins this grotesque attack on the incomes of Britain’s poorest people: ‘I can understand why landlords might be driven to take a sledgehammer to the bedroom wall and the bedroom tax. Where are the smaller homes to move to? They just aren’t available. It hits 670,000 households in April but in the whole of last year there were only 250,000 social lettings’.

The Truth Unites by Bertolt Brecht

Friends, I would wish you should know the truth and say it!
Not like the tired fleeing Caesars ‘Tomorrow we get the rations!’
But like Lenin: Tomorrow evening
We are done for, UNLESS…
As the little nursery rhyme has it:
           Brother, to the solution
           Of this problem now I turn
           No way out of our precarious position
           No way we can cut and run’.
Friends, a robust confession
And a robust UNLESS !

Friday, 29 March 2013

Tribute to Inez

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has published a video of a powerful tribute to the achievements, life, times and unfinished business of Inez McCormack by UNISON's Northern Ireland Regional Secretary, Patricia McKeown:

Fighting austerity in the North East

Red Pepper interviews Clare Williams, Regional Convenor of UNISON's Northern Region, about the impact of austerity in one of Britain's most socio-economically deprived regions and how the labour movement is fighting back. 'What I’d really like to see is that we continue to build, strengthen and deepen those alliances so that the majority of people understand that there is an alternative. Then when we get to the next general election, we vote out the present government who are clearly only focussed and concerned with a minority of people in society rather than the majority' says Clare:

Thursday, 28 March 2013

NHS Employers urged to attack Terms and Conditions

Even before the ink has dried on the National Staff Council’s agreement to amend parts of Agenda for Change, some employers’ organisations are urging NHS Trusts to look for more ways to undermine the pay and conditions of their workforce. The Foundation Trust Network has published its interim draft report on a survey of Trusts into optimising NHS Pay, Terms and Conditions:

Trade Unions Staff Pension Funds Walk the Walk!

The TUC and its two largest affiliated unions, UNISON and Unite, this week launched Trade Union Share Owners – a new group which aims to put union values at the heart of the world of corporate governance, with a new approach to the way in which their investments are voted on at company AGMs. For the first time in the history of the UK, workers capital has a leadership voice in the corporate world:

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

UCU wins landmark case brought by opponent of Palestine policy

An Employment Tribunal has found in favour of the University and College Union (UCU) on all ten complaints of harassment brought by a UCU member who opposed the union's policy on Palestine:
The full Tribunal judgment can be read here:

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Pickles' ego and the end of Municipal Services?

A depressing read in today’s Guardian highlights the true extent of the loss of local council services in England, as local government wrestles with the cuts imposed by the bombastic, hard right ideologue, Eric Pickles MP. There can be no justification for the scale of cuts to local council budgets, other than to agree a more measured budget settlement, for local councils, would simply get in the way of Pickles’ politicking for the Home Office job. As part of this man’s ego local municipal services are sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions. Whilst you would expect labour councils to call for his head it is surely a matter of time before Tory councillors wake up and smell the coffee. Perhaps that wake-up call with be on the 3rd May 2013?

What next for trade union equality representatives?

The Union Modernisation Fund has been an important source of funding of initiatives by the TUC and individual unions to promote, recruit and train trade union equality representatives in recent years. By the 2010 General Election the number had risen to 1400 - two thirds of which were in the public sector. An evaluation of the 'The role and impact of trade union equality representatives in Britain' is available online and an otherwise positive conclusion identifies the absence of a statutory right to time off (which was omitted from the Equality Act 2010) as a major barrier to the effectiveness of the role:

Monday, 25 March 2013

Inez McCormack - a life that changed so many other lives

A report by Frank Hont on this weekend's celebration of the life and work of Inez McCormack 1943 -2013. To Belfast in Saturday's heavy snow and strong winds. A journey tinged with sadness at the loss of a friend and comrade but a journey made to honour her memory. Inez McCormack died earlier this year and our movement lost someone who will be long remembered with affection and respect by all those who came into contact with her:

UN Committee highlights discrimination and human rights violations in Israel

The UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s latest report on Israel, released in this month, calls on Israel to “abrogate all discriminatory laws and rescind all discriminatory bills so as to ensure non-Jewish communities’ equal access to work and social benefits as well as the right to political participation enshrined in the Convention”

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Campaign for Trade Union Freedom gets strong launch

“Collective bargaining will save this country” declared John Hendy QC at the launch rally for the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom. “By putting money into the hands of workers and not those already on £100,000 or more, or into profits of firms who do not invest it in the economy, we will defeat austerity” he said to passionate applause.

Memory by Michael D. Higgins

And as Ricoeur said
'To be removed from memory
is to die twice.'
Nor should it be allowed
to make an amnesia
of violence.