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

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Screw tightens on trade union facility time

The anti union attack dogs of the Taxpayers Alliance and Trade Union Reform Coalition have run a relentless campaign against trade union rights in public services. Their political masters in the Con Dem Government have gradually been introducing restrictions to time off for union duties in conflict with the longstanding ACAS Code. In a recent LRD survey almost a third (31%) of respondents - the vast majority in the public sector - said an attempt had been made to change time off arrangements in the last year or two:

For Mahesh, deported by Judith Kazantzis

For reasons to do with the paper
unstamped, the wrong stamp,
for reasons to do with your skin,

Friday, 24 May 2013

Job insecurity in public sector at all time high

A recent study has confirmed that not only are workers in Britain more insecure at work than at any time in the past 20 years but, for the first time ever, public sector workers are more fearful about losing their jobs than those in the private sector. The 2012 Skills and Employment Survey (which is carried out every six years) is the first since the 2007/8 banking crisis and the consequential onslaught of austerity on public services, the welfare state and workers' rights:

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Another death threat against Colombian social leader Alfamir Castillo

Alfamir Castillo is head of the Women’s Sugar Cane Cutters Committee in South West Colombia. She visited the UK at the invitation of UNISON Northern and Northern TUC in March, and told activists around the country about her situation and that of thousands like her in Colombia. Alfamir’s son was murdered by the Colombian army in February 2008. She has campaigned fearlessly for justice for the murder. Her quest has made her the victim of armed attacks, persecution and threats.

On 17 May, Alfamir received another death threat. Tomorrow, Friday 24 May, two army generals will go on trial in Colombia for their alleged role in the murder. Please act on War on Want’s call for online action and send an email to the Colombian government, demanding Alfamir’s protection.


UNISON in HE calls on members to reject 1%

UNISON members in Higher Education are being consulted on a derisory 1% pay offer from the employers' representatives UCEA. The service group executive is recommending rejection of the offer which is one third of the current Retail Prices Index (RPI). UNISON will be looking to build on last year's narrow vote in favour of industrial action (50.3%) - which didn't lead to a pay strike because other HE unions failed to secure yes votes in ballots:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

NHS residential care under threat in Northern Ireland

Public opposition in Northern Ireland to plans to privatise NHS residential homes has led to a temporary reprieve, with the Health Minister Edwin Poots MLA delaying the Government’s 'transforming your care' proposals which would have closed 18 NHS care homes:

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The parallel universe of Barnet - privatisation of regulation

Barnet Council is taking privatisation to a new level with its decision to outsource regulatory services to Capita. It seems that even an enabling council is too much for the Tory right's flagship council:

Monday, 20 May 2013

Austerity Economics and the EU’s Fiscal Compact are indivisible

How should trade unionists respond to Tory in-fighting on the European Union (EU), in particular demands of the Tory right for a referendum? The TUC’s Owen Tudor writing on the Stronger Unions blog suggests that the focus of the debate should be switched from the EU to pinning the ‘blame for the economic woes facing families and communities – higher prices, lower or stagnant wages, rapidly worsening public services – on austerity economics, growing inequality and a tax system based on one rule for us and no rules for the rich’

Sunday, 19 May 2013

100,000 demonstrate against austerity in Rome

‘We can't wait anymore’ was a popular slogan at yesterday’s trade union led demonstration in Rome. Italy’s prolonged economic crisis has been worsened by severe cuts in public services and a weakening of workers’ rights. Youth unemployment currently stands at a record 38%. "We need to start over with more investment. If we don't restart with public and private investments, there will no new jobs" said Maurizio Landini of the metalworkers union FIOM:

Big London protest to defend NHS

Over 5,000 health workers, trade unionists and health campaigners marched through London yesterday in defence of the NHS. The march concluded with a rally at Downing Street where campaigners from Ealing and Lewisham handed in a petition against cuts and hospital closures:

Beginning of the Century by Dorina Brândusa Landén

In this part of the world there aren’t mismatches.
The king is returning from hunting.
The Prime Minister is dining.
I have catarrh.
My legs treading on snow
leave black traces on the diffusing white
like a war photograph
where all the dead are the young.