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

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Tory Chutzpah - declaring war on unions in the first union city

In 1868 Manchester, Britain's first industrial city, gave birth to the Trades Union Congress. On Sunday the Conservative Party arrive in Manchester to read the last rites of the trade union movement. According to the Evening Standard a panoply of anti trade union measures will be announced at the Tory conference including ending DOCAS, imposing a 40% support threshold on strike ballots, scrapping the union learning fund and tightening up the already unworkable statutory recognition procedures. This is why our voices must be heard loud and clear in Manchester tomorrow - "you're not welcome here!"

UNISON members strike to defend pay in South Gloucestershire

Pickets at South Gloucestershire today
UNISON members working at South Gloucestershire Council are embarking on an industrial action campaign following an overwhelming vote for industrial action in response to employer attacks on their pay allowances. 24 hour strike action today will involve library assistants, care assistants, traffic wardens and social workers.

Capital by Stuart M Snowden

The rich world
And the other half
Bow down together
To the golden calf.

Friday, 27 September 2013

The myths behind NHS privatisation

#NHS299 Dr Jacky Davis outlines the main myths behind the drive to privatisation of our NHS - with patient choice and value for money among the familiar bogus justifications for opening up health services to private companies:

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Future Directions workers - striking against a race to the bottom

Yesterday 115 UNISON members in Rochdale commenced a 10 day all out strike in an escalation of their campaign to reverse cuts in pay following outsourcing of adult social care services to Future Directions a community interest company 100% owned by Calderstones NHS Foundation Trust.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Freeze prices, squeeze profits and reverse privatisation

#lab13 The reactions of energy companies to Ed Miliband’s modest proposal to challenge market failure and impose a 20 month price freeze (from 2015 to 2017) in utilities prices are as predictable as they are hysterical. Today’s media references to ‘disastrous consequences,’ ‘economic ruin’ and ‘power cuts’ reflect the determination of corporate interests to resist political regulation let alone a return to public ownership.
    Neil Clark of the Campaign for Public Ownership has pointed out ultimately more radical measures will be required to resolve the underlying problem: ‘the experts tell us that we need more competition in the energy market. We need more regulation. We need the government to ‘get tough’ with the utility companies and make it easier for us to switch providers. But the reason why our utility bills are so high and continue to rise year after year above inflation is a simple one indeed. It is the same reason our rail fares are so high and continue to rise year after year above inflation. It's called privatisation’

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Collins Interim Report – more questions than answers

#lab13 Paul Kenny of the GMB and chair of TULO spoke on behalf of all Labour’s affiliated unions in Sunday’s short debate on the interim report of Lord Collins and threw down the gauntlet to those wanting to marginalise unions in the Labour Party: ‘the desire to expand party membership is a shared one but, let nobody be under any illusion that as collective organisations the removal or sale of our collective voice is not on the agenda.’

Monday, 23 September 2013

A Labour pledge card for 2015

#lab13 With the run up to the General Election underway, the need for a strong set of values to replace the illiberal, reactionary ideology of the Con Dem Government is paramount. As yet the Labour Party has not set out a clear alternative. But trade union votes should not be taken for granted. Some of us have been here before, being told not to 'rock the boat.'

Alliances highly desirable but workplace power is essential

The Economist magazine provides an interesting analysis of the decision of the recent AFL-CIO Congress to deepen ties with community groups and other allies. Is offering membership-lite links for groups who agitate for workers rights outside collective bargaining an admission that the US unions (12 million strong, less than 11% density) will never return to the days of solid membership and industrial strength? Only by embracing the campaign groups of ethnic minorities and social justice organisations will the unions recover according to The Economist.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Another world is possible

This was the theme of a joint UNISON Scotland and North West international seminar in Glasgow yesterday. Delegates heard the optimism of young Cuban trade unionists, the ongoing struggle against the continuing human disaster of Bhopal, the human cost of the sweatshops that make our clothes and the arguments against austerity across Europe. "It's a robbery not a recession", delegates were told.
   Whatever the independence referendum result, the seminar underlined that working people in Scotland, the North West of England and indeed across the world have far more in common with each other than with the rich exploiters in their home countries or regions. The real division is between rich and poor, the powerful and the dispossessed, with the need to fight the inequality that transcends borders. See report on UNISON Scotland blog http://unison-scotland.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/unison-scotland-and-north-west-join-for.html

Public ownership success stories across Europe

As the Con Dems intensify privatisation in the UK's NHS, postal and probation services, a report from the We Own It campaign highlights good examples of national and regional governments returning services to public ownership – from water services in France to waste disposal in Germany:

In memory of Claudia Jones by Peter Blackman

She said
I walk with the humble
Yet no in humility
We scale the winds
My feet shall be
No swifter than their feet
My limbs shall share
No strength that is not theirs
When we move we move mountains