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

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Austerity imposed unlawfully on Greece

Professor Keith Ewing argues that the ECB/EU/IMF Troika have shown "a contempt for legality and an indifference to legal obligations" in imposing austerity measure as a condition for offering Greece financial support. He cites the destruction of "an entire collective bargaining system in Greece" and the enforcement of public sector pay cuts and wage reductions - as contrary to a treaty signed by the EU in 2008 and Greece's own constitutional rulings on managing labour relations. "The impact in Greece has been devastating, the consequences greater than on any other EU country and the impact on the national labour law system has been so dramatic that it requires some kind of legal response. Who has the right to determine the constitutional structures of a sovereign state? That's what's at issue in Greece"

March Comrades by Louis Zukofsky

Workers and farmers unite
You have nothing to lose
But your chains
The world is to win
This is May Day! May!
Your armies are veining the earth!

Friday, 3 May 2013

TUC reboots anti-austerity campaign

Next week marks the third anniversary of the formation of the UK's Tory led Coalition Government. Austerity has been its hallmark with attacks on living standards, erosion of workers' rights, destruction of public services and the welfare state. The response of the trade union movement, led by the TUC, has been sporadic at best. Massive national mobilisations on 26 March 2011 and 20 October 2012 have taken place but with long periods of inertia in between. Apart from an upsurge in industrial action over public sector pension in late 2011, empty rhetoric about civil disobedience and general strikes have substituted for mass action. Now the TUC is relaunching 'A Future That Works' campaign to drive the work of the TUC over the next two years:

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Council Tax freeze 'benefits the wealthy'

The main pitch of Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of today's local elections in England's shire counties, was to stress that more Conservative run councils had taken advantage of Whitehall subsidies to freeze council tax in the past three years than councils controlled by other parties. This populist appeal to self interest is echoed by Scotland's governing Scottish National Party. UNISON Scotland has published important research demonstrating the socially regressive and unfair impact of a council tax freeze at a time of massive central government cuts:

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Quality public services for all on International Workers’ Day – 1 May 2013

“We have a responsibility to future generations to protect trade union and social rights. We must join in collective action to ensure that in the future quality public services will be available to young and old, generating social justice and equality for all,” says Rosa Pavenelli in her first May Day message as General Secretary of Public Services International. Rosa will be speaking at UNISON conference in June:

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Keep the Post Public

Following yesterday’s announcement that the Con Dem Government plans to sell off the Royal Mail later this year, the Communication Workers Union is calling on all trade unionists to back its campaign to keep the post public - start by writing to your MP to tell them you oppose privatising Royal Mail and sign the No. 10 e-petition urging the government to keep Royal Mail in public ownership.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Labour economic policies for 2015

Ahead of a speech by Ed Miliband later on today, the Liberal Conspiracy blog has outlind 6 economic bills which Labour would implement upon election to power in May 2015. The modest proposals include a quick reversal of some of the more iniquitous Con Dem measures on taxation and welcome sanctions for unscrupuluous bankers and exploitative employers:

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Their Red Tape - Our Lost Lives

#iwmd13 Scenes last week from Bangladesh, where over 350 garment workers died in an unsafe working environment, bring into sharp relief why International Workers' Memorial Day is such an important event in our calendar. Yet the Dhaka tragedy is far from a one off. The TUC's Hugh Robertson writes that there are '2.34 million occupational fatalities every year, of which 321,000 are due to accidents. The remaining 2.02 million deaths are caused by various types of work-related diseases, which correspond to a daily average of more than 5,500 deaths.'

Damascenes by Anick Roschi

A poem, a voice, for the Syrian people :


To Homs
Write under their wings

To Homs
Damascenes flee the bread
At the heart of the children.

To Homs
The angels of King
On the public place
Break their wings.

Anick Roschi, born France, is an author of French-Swiss origin. Having worked for a long time as organizer in the associative sector, he dedicates itself now to the writing. In 2007, he publishes a first collection of poetry in the editions of the Cygne (Paris) and participle, in spring 2010, with numerous authors of the Caribbean and the French-speaking world, in the charitable work “For Haiti" published by the editions Desnel (Martinique).