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

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Employment Tribunals – the scandal of unpaid worker compensation

New government research has found that over half of the workers awarded compensation at an Employment Tribunal do not receive payment in full. The Payment of Tribunal Awards 2013 investigation identified that one of the most common reasons workers do not receive payment was because employers simply refuse to pay up. Over a third of claimants who had been awarded compensation received nothing whatsoever and 16% were paid only part of the money they were owed.

Clocks by Sinéad Morrissey

The clocks do all the talking. He visits the grave in the middle of a three hour loop
and knows the year of completion of every castle in Ireland, His route
is always the same: the round tower via the aqueduct via the cemetery via the ramparts
via the Battle of Antrim during the Rising of the United Irishmen in 1798,

Friday, 1 November 2013

Cameron's war against workers

Recent anti union media hysteria distracts public attention from the relentless attack on workers' rights in the UK. The Institute of Employment Rights has reported that a recent Con Dem Business Taskforce report "Cutting Red Tape" is proposing the 'removal or diminution of rights affecting agency workers; working time; maternity pay; posted workers; information and consultation; and workers transferred under TUPE'.

Glasgow support assistants strike

A strike by UNISON pupil support assistants closed 10 Glasgow schools yesterday in a dispute about extra duties like healthcare and the administration of medicine being forced on them without agreement.
   Glasgow City Council is expecting PSAs to undertake specialist health care tasks and administration of medicines in addition to their core duties of supporting the delivery of education.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Historic pay strike as HE workers say enough is enough

After 5 years of pay restraint workers in Britain’s universities have suffered a cumulative cut in real earnings of more than 13%. Over the same period the pay of the self enriching management elite has increased exponentially with a majority of Vice Chancellors receiving pay and benefits packages in excess of £242,000 per year. Universities are sitting on a cash mountain of £2bn reserves so the modest joint union claim of a pay rise matching inflation (currently 2.7%) is clearly affordable. No surprise then that UCU, UNISON and Unite received strong mandates for industrial action in recent co-ordinated ballots leading to today’s first joint pay strike since single table bargaining was introduced in the higher education sector. Check out the UNISON website for details of lunchtime rallies:

Breaking the grip of privatisation – ‘a failed and corrosive model'

Seumas Milne writing in the Guardian takes stock of recent developments in the NHS as well as the energy/utilities sector and states that it should be obvious that ‘powerful interests are driving what is by any objective measure a failed 30-year experiment - but which transfers income and wealth from workforce, public and state to the corporate sector. In the case of privatised utilities, that is the extraction of shareholder value on a vast scale from a captive public.’ Milne concludes that ‘the case for public ownership of basic utilities and services – including electricity, gas, water and communications infrastructure – is overwhelming. It's also supported by a large majority of the country's voters’

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Show Racism the Red Card teams up with TUC

Show Racism the Red Card (SRTRC) and unionlearn (the TUC’s learning and skills organisation) yesterday joined forces to combat racism through education. The agreement recognises the particular roles of each organisation in using education and training to end racism in UK society. SRTRC will mainly work in schools and colleges, while unionlearn will use its network of 30,000 learning reps in workplaces across the UK.

Monday, 28 October 2013

EU elite in hock to the interests of global finance - O’Grady

‘If the EU is about little more than protecting the single currency at all costs, privatising services and keeping a tight lid on public spending, then popular support for European integration and the European ideal will diminish as surely as night follows day. From the trade union movement’s perspective, Europe needs to rediscover the values that served it so well not just during the long post-war boom, but also through challenges posed by the Oil Crisis and the economic counter-revolution of the 1980s’ said Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, in a recent speech on ‘revitalising social Europe’ to Ireland’s Institute for International and European Affairs:

Taking the NHS message to football

UNISON South West London Community Health Branch arranged a 'Defend Our NHS - Join the Resistance' advert and pitch-side board at high flying Dulwich Hamlet FC (Ryman Premier Division). Dulwich play in Pink and Blue and have concessionary admittance for unwaged and NHS workers. Over 700 watched Dulwich Hamlet beat Billericay on Saturday to go second in the League. Recently UNISON had electronic billboards at the Scotland v Croatia international and for many years the South Ayrshire Branch has done pitch-side boards at several grounds for Show Racism the Red Card backed by UNISON's General Political Fund.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Hundreds of thousands trapped in swamp of minimum wage work

A new report by the Resolution Foundation confirms that a quarter of those on the national minimum wage (NMW) have been stuck on the rate for at least five years. Women make up 73% of all those who have only held minimum wage jobs in the past five years and the report finds that ‘for parts of the UK's minimum wage workforce – in particular women, part-time workers and those who ended up or remained in wholesale and retail roles – the minimum wage has been a reality for an extended period of time’

What is a Union? By David G. Hurlburt

What is a Union, why it's you and it's me
When we all work together in true harmony
A chain's only broken by its weakest link
We must all pull together, so no-one will sink