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

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Welfare reform – hitting the poorest places hardest

A report from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research examines the variable impact of welfare reforms given that claimants are unevenly spread across Britain. It explains how much harder the reforms hit the poorer parts of Britain than more prosperous areas:

To the youth by Nordahl Grieg

Surrounded by enemies
enter your time
During a bloody storm
commit to the fight

Friday, 30 August 2013

Troika’s junta style policies asset stripping & crippling Greek economy

The IMF-EU troika is accelerating Greece's €20bn privatisation programme by forcing the government to cede state owned assets to a Luxembourg-based holding company that would take care of their sale to private buyers:
   ETUC economist Ronald Janssen analyses a study which finds the troika's scenario of economic recovery in Greece to be over-optimistic and predicts that unemployment could reach close to 35 per cent in 2016 under the current trajectory:

Maximising the benefit of public spend

The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) has set out ten considerations to ensure greater effectiveness from the goods and services procured by the public sector. CLES also calls on central government to recognise the potential of public procurement in the future vibrancy of our economy and in enabling local economic, social and environmental benefit:

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Membership trends confirm that Organising is mission critical

#TUC13 Labour Research Department (LRD) has published a useful analysis of union membership trends over the past four years and highlights a contraction of 250,000 (3.8%) – mainly in the public sector, manufacturing and finance. Overall union membership since 2009 has fallen faster than the drop in workforce numbers. Whilst 2012’s 66,000 (1%) year on year rise in union membership was welcome news the underlying trends give serious cause for concern and underlines the continuing importance of the organising agenda being at the forefront of union objectives and strategies:

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Labour MPs should vote NO to Syria action

UNISONActive is urging Labour MPs to vote against any military intervention in the Syrian conflict. Whilst we roundly condemn the abhorrent use of chemical weapons the only outcome of Western military intervention will be the almost certain inflammation of attacks on Syrian citizens and the spread of the civil war into a regional, if not nuclear, conflict:

Gove's kindergarten psyops

Tory Education Minister Michael Gove's speech inciting Labour leader Ed Miliband to attack the union link by comparing him unfavourably with Tony Blair was a blatant attempt to influence Labour's internal constitutional review - 'our country cannot afford - as we had in the '70s - the same old Labour Party with a weak leader buffeted by union pressure to adopt policies only they want and asking hard-working people to pay the bills'

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

New phase of strike action launched in Rochdale

This week more than 100 UNISON members in Rochdale are stepping up their fight against pay cuts. The adult social care workers have already taken 15 days strike action and on Sunday they launched a further five days all out strike action in an attempt to secure concessions from their employer - the Future Directions community interest company.
   Anne Marie Hetherington a Personal Assistant said 'we want to negotiate a fair deal but Future Directions will not budge. We would rather not take strike action, but we care and need to provide for our families, our community and our service users and that is why we will take more strike action if that’s what it takes.'
   A march and rally is taking place in support of the strikers at 12 noon this Thursday 29 August. Asembly point is the Butts in Rochdale Town centre and speakers include Maureen Le Marinel UNISON President and Heather Wakefield national secretary for local government:

Monday, 26 August 2013

Stirling strikers say 'not a minute on the day not a penny off the pay'

UNISON Stirling Branch is reporting huge support for its strike today against a 4.5% pay cut. "With council pay already falling 13% behind, means a whopping 17.5% hit on Stirling Council workers", said branch treasurer Andy Douglas reporting from the picket line earlier.

The greying of the UK workforce

By 2020 a third of workers in the UK will be aged over 50 and a new TUC report highlights significant changes in the age profile of the workforce. As reported in yesterday’s Observer, the number of working Britons over 65 has tripled in 15 years with 258,000 women and 338,000 men still working past the state retirement age, compared with 93,000 and 112,000 respectively in 1998. In the same period youth unemployment increased by a corresponding amount and now stands at 973,000. The retirement age in the UK is currently 65 for men and 60 for women. By 2020, it will be raised to 66 for both men and women, and again to 67 by 2028:

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Who needs unions now?

In a feature to mark the centenary of the Dublin Lockout - when transport workers staged a five month long strike for the right to unionise in the face of ruthless employer and state intimidation - the Irish Times poses the question ‘who needs unions now?’ to a group of today’s Irish workers.

To the Pay Toilet by Marge Piercy

You strop my anger, especially
when I find you in restaurant or bar
and pay for the same liquid, coming and going.
In bus depots and airports and turnpike plazas
some woman is dragging in with three kids hung off her
shrieking their simple urgency like gulls.
She's supposed to pay for each of them
and the privilege of not dirtying the corporate floor.