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

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Challenging Immigration Myths

UNISON Northern Region and Show Racism the Red Card have produced a joint flyer to counter some of the myths about immigration that both the union and the campaign come across regularly. The flyer will distributed this weekend at the Newcastle Mela:

Slaves by Joseph Freeman

Again the grinding of the iron gods,
The old familiar fury of the wheels;
Again the accustomed clamor of the rods,
The giddy belting, and the room that reels;
The dim light dancing, and the shadows shaking,
The little sudden pains, the mute despairs,
The patient and the weary hands; till, waking,
At dusk, we tumble down the crazy stairs.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Why the 'wage share' has declined and how to reverse it

‘Since the early 1980s, living standards for most of the UK’s workforce have becoming progressively detached from growth. The gains from a growing economy became increasingly unevenly divided in favour of a small group at the top, leaving significant sections of the rest of the population (roughly the bottom 60 percent) lagging behind the average rise in prosperity, and at an accelerating rate’ writes Howard Reed. As well explaining the declining wage share Reed proposes a new social contract to...

Thursday, 22 August 2013

35 years for exposing criminal activity

Bradley Manning’s courageous decision in 2010 to release US diplomatic cables and other information exposed to the world the machinations of the US military industrial complex and numerous violations of international law. Yesterday at the conclusion of his show trial Manning received a 35 year prison sentence. It’s worth remembering that the Wikileaks publication of US embassy cables also revealed disturbing and subservient channels of communications within the UK labour movement as well as close monitoring of trade union activity.

Bradley Manning is a prisoner of conscience and deserves our solidarity:

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Happy at work? You must be joking!

The LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance has published the results of a survey using smartphone technology to map real time responses on well being of workers while at work. The data contains more than a million observations on tens of thousands of individuals in the UK, collected on a ‘Mappiness App’ since August 2010. The research finds that paid work is ranked 'lower than any of the other 39 activities people engage in, with the exception of being sick in bed' and, unsurprisingly to trade unionists, ‘precisely how unhappy or anxious someone is while working depends on the circumstances’ such as working hours, location, lone working and so on:

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Ideology - an essential component of union growth strategies

This year we had the welcome news that unions are growing again in the UK. Despite having been subject to austerity, some of the most draconian anti trade union laws in the world, privatisation and decreasing wage levels, unions are stirring.
  Yet in the closed world of union organising the most advocated model of such campaigns is the US inspired version, promoted by a number of unions and even provoking a 2005 split in the AFL/CIO resulting in the `Change to Win` alliance led by the SEIU. The split is healing and the AFL/CIO remains the main union coalition in the US.

Unmasking Austerity: Lessons for Australia

A new report by Dexter Whitfield documents why austerity failed and its disastrous economic and social effects in Europe and North America and highlights why Australia should not adopt these policies. Government debt continued to increase, reduced demand intensified the recession, negative or weak growth prevailed and the private sector failed to invest. The cost of lost output, reduced wealth, mass unemployment and government intervention runs into trillions in any currency. Public spending cuts and closures increased poverty and widened inequality as working people and the poor were made to pay for the failure of the banks, financial markets and wealthy elites. Austerity advocates were equally committed to embedding neoliberalism in the public sector and the welfare state and reconfiguring the role of the state:

Monday, 19 August 2013

TUC highlights draconian political restrictions in Transparency Bill

In a Guardian article today TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady is raising important concerns about restrictions on third party political expenditure in the Con Dem government’s Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning & Trade Union Administration Bill. This belated warning about the anti democratic and draconian implications of the proposed legislation makes good its omission from the TUC reaction to the Bill when it was first published. However less understandable is the comment by Frances that ‘I do not believe that the Lib Dems could knowingly have signed up to such illiberal proposals.’

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The NHS is not a market commodity - say it loud on 29 September

The medical profession has finally woken up to what is really going on in the NHS. An article in this week’s Lancet exposes the government's real agenda for health:

Ark's Story

Australia will be holding a federal election on 7 September and opinion polls currently put the right wing Liberal-National coalition in the lead. This is an ominous prospect for trade unionists as the Tony Abbot led opposition has made clear its intentions to attack representation at work.

The Daughters of the Lie by Tanya Mendonsa

Our ways are mild
but we have tigers in the blood.
We speak them smooth
but ice runs in our veins: