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

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Wealth inequality in the UK‏

Inequality has been rising in the UK for the past 30 years of rampant neo-liberalism and the gap between rich and poor is the widest since the second world war. If current trends continue, the country will have reached Victorian levels of inequality in 20 years. Watch this excellent video and sign up for weekly email briefings from: http://inequalitybriefing.org


Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why) by Nikki Giovanni

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
    the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
    that only glows every one hundred years falls
    into the center giving divine perfect light

Friday, 11 October 2013

Frosty reception for Tory Minister at UNISON Police & Justice Conference

#pjconf2013 Last month the Con Dem Government put 70% of probation services out to competitive tender,thus guaranteeing a frosty reception for Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green MP when he addressed UNISON’s police and justice service group conference in Brighton yesterday. Green angered delegates by defending profit making in public services as ‘not a bad thing’ and by snubbing probation staff at the sharp end of Con Dem privatisation. However privatisation is not the only threat to the job security of police staff. UNISON is raising concerns about the removal of safeguards as growing numbers of staff face transfers from the police service to local authorities:

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Sympathy is not enough - get up, stand up

Many union activists are suffering from sympathy fatigue. Some journalists and academics make a liberal charity style case for public service workers that frankly is beginning to wear thin. Even David Cameron asked the Tory Party conference for a round of applause for `the great work done by our social workers.` It seems that perceptions of public sector workers in the media fall into two categories.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

BBC spins austerity sunshine story despite poll facts

The BBC is today spinning a survey of 1031 people to mark the fifth anniversary of the £1.2 trillion bank bail out and is headlining that despite huge cuts in public spending there is increased satisfaction in the quality of services. Yet the findings of the survey itself don't bear that out. The BBC is silent on its own poll conclusions that 63% of survey respondents are worried about the cuts already made to public services and a majority (52%) are angry about the cuts.

UNISON members in HE back strike action to defeat pay freeze!

Yesterday UNISON announced the result of a UK wide industrial action ballot in higher education (HE) and 54.4% of members voted in favour of taking strike action against the 1% pay offer for 2013/14 from the employers' representatives UCEA. The service group executive will meet next Monday to consider next steps in the pay campaign with the ballot result of the UCU lecturers (which closes on 10 October) likely to be influential in the discussion. Last year UNISON members voted for action by a smaller majority (50.3%) but the UCU ballot went down.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Social care is coming apart at the seams

Yesterday’s report by Leonard Cheshire Disability which highlighted the increasing use by councils of short 15 minute care visits to elderly and disabled people echoed longstanding concerns of UNISON members working in the homecare sector. The realities of frontline working in homecare are spelled out in UNISON’s groundbreaking ethical care charter which also sets out best practice for the commissioning of homecare services. The False Economy website gives voice to the too often unheard views of people who require homecare services but are faced with worsening levels of provision as cash strapped councils struggle to meet demand for social care.

Monday, 7 October 2013

The place of community organising in union strategies

Unions 21 has produced an excellent and very readable booklet on the debate around community organising, with interesting examples and a thought provoking chapter from Professor Jane Holgate on union approaches. There is also a good solid summary of where we are in the introduction by TUC officers Kevin Rowan and Carl Roper. it is a worthwhile read for all UNISON activists engaged in our campaigns nationally and in local campaigns where we need to work with service users in a community: http://www.unions21.org.uk/download/371

Shameful – Con Dem Immigration Bill will deny migrants access to essential services

‘Public service workers in the frontline communities, our first-responders, are there to provide support to migrants in distress. The tragic accident on the Mediterranean coast of Lampedusa, is just one of the many cases we face’ says Public Services International (PSI) of the appalling tragedy which cost over 300 lives. PSI has documented how public services accessed by migrants, such as health, language support, social services and integration programmes have the first to be cut under austerity, creating a desperate situation for migrants and dire working conditions for public service workers who assist them:

A case in point is the despicable Con Dem Immigration Bill which will impose draconian restrictions on the access of UK immigrants to the NHS and other public services:

Sunday, 6 October 2013



Merseyside march against fascism - 12 October

Next Saturday thousands of trade unionists and other anti fascists will be marching in Liverpool as the campaign to unseat BNP leader Nick Griffin as a North West MEP is stepped up ahead of the 2014 European parliament elections. The march will set off at 1PM from William Brown Street in Liverpool city centre and end with a rally at the Pier Head, where UNISON Assistant General Secretary Roger McKenzie will be one of the speakers:

Revolution by Genevieve Taggard

What husks of last year's winter close you in,
To-morrow's world–what dead, what wrinkled skin
Of ancient parchments, laws, beliefs! what dried,
Worn, tattered layers keep the life inside,
Where slender as a sword, and tender green
It trembles, pushes, patient and unseen:
Vibrating atom, fronded silken thread,
Some day to shake, to sunder back the dead
Two halves of hemispheres–to pierce the crust
Of ages' rubbish, crowns and cults and dust!