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

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Community Budgets backed as new model for public services

The House of Commons Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee has completed its second inquiry into Community Budgets - an approach whereby services are integrated across public service organisations and municipal boundaries. The CLG Committee report assesses the outcomes of the four Whole Place Community Budget pilots launched in 2010 and concludes that 'community budgeting provides an effective model for the future development of public services and should be rolled out nationally as soon as possible'. This policy has cross party support and, if implemented, could lead to large scale reconfiguration of public services at local level with massive implications for UNISON members and union structures:

Ideas reduced to ambience by Sam Silva

With expressive violins
dressed and mocked by woodwind
on computer radio
the mind which cannot sleep
may yet find peace
in cigarettes stubbed out in the grease
in this warm cocoon of Winter and forgetfulness
inside from the late night drift
of berries thorns and snow

Friday, 22 November 2013

UK Unions – arresting the decline

Union density in the private sector has dropped to 14% and more than half the UK workforce has never been a member of a trade union (a proportion which has doubled since 1985). A short FT video examines the profound challenges facing the trade union movement in recruiting new members and remaining relevant. Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, says ‘we have to do more to invest in organising, to having mature and sensible conversations with more employers about the benefits which unionisation can bring’

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Rapid expansion of ‘for profit’ colleges in UK higher education

‘In its determination to deregulate higher education and create a level playing field for profit-making companies, the government has allowed an £80m tide of taxpayers' money to wash into unaccountable private colleges offering HNDs and HNCs’ writes Sally Hunt UCU General Secretary about the relentless incursion of ‘for profit’ private companies into UK higher education:

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Time to bar blacklisting companies from public contracts

Protests against blacklisting are being held today around the UK, and the TUC - along with construction unions GMB, UCATT and Unite - is holding a lobby of Parliament to call for justice for the construction workers who were illegally targeted because of their union activities or for pushing for better health and safety on building sites.
  The TUC is calling for a national inquiry into the sinister practice - 'Blacklisting is real. It has ruined thousands of lives. Families are still suffering because a worker joined a union or raised a health and safety issue. We need a full inquiry into its scope. It must have the legal power to call witnesses, seize records and put employers on the spot. Companies guilty of blacklisting should be barred from public contracts until they can demonstrate that they understand the basics of human rights and good industrial relations' said Frances O'Grady TUC General Secretary:

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Glasgow school staff in fourth round of action

Glasgow school support staff are lobbying the city council today in a fourth round of strike action over the imposition of healthcare duties to their roles. The strike in the north west of the city is part of a programme of area based action by 1,000 workers running since 31 October.
    The action by pupil support assistants, instructors and care workers is against the council’s decision to force all pupil support assistants to undertake specialist healthcare tasks in addition to their core duties.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Con Dems & Unions – Moving in for the Kill

After a two year onslaught on individual employment rights – extending qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from one to two years, employment tribunal fees, shares-for-rights, weakening of redundancy protection, third party harassment and whistleblowing laws etc – the government’s decision to commission an inquiry into industrial disputes, led by a QC with a track record of acting against unions in landmark cases, is a declaration of war on trade unionism on a par with the worst excesses of Thatcherism.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

NHS in crisis - a crisis of resources, funding & confidence

Another week and another raft of government initiatives on the health service. Initiatives which have little to do with improving health care of the nation, but designed to deflect attention from the real cause of the current crisis. Let's be absolutely clear the perilous state of the NHS has nothing to do with the time of year, the weather, nor rampant sociopaths masquerading as health workers waiting to inflict cruel torture on some un-expecting patient.

I saw your mother by Jeremy Cronin

  1. I saw your mother
  2. with two guards
  3. through a glass plate
  4. for one quarter hour
  5. on the day that you died