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

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Peering into political patronage

The House of Lords Library has published a briefing note which provides details of all appointments to that undemocratic obscenity since May 1997 with tables showing by party affiliation all those appointed under Blair, Brown and Cameron - swelling the current ranks of the unelected Lords to 781 (compared to the 650 strong House of Commons):

Execution by Nicolás Guillén

They are going to execute
a man whose arms are tied.
There are four soldiers
for the shooting.
Four silent
fastened up,
like the fastened-up man they’re going to kill.

Friday, 20 December 2013

NHS pay - hands off our increments

In the latest of a long line of attacks on NHS workers, the Con Dem health secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has pre-empted the recommendations of the NHS Pay Review Body - which are due early next year - and announced that 1% pay restraint policy will continue for a further 3 years. To add insult to injury, multi millionaire Hunt has placed a condition on the paltry 1% rise that health unions must accept the scrapping of service related increments - which are fundamental to the Agenda for Change pay structure.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Local Government On The Precipice

The Department for Communities and Local Government  yesterday announced the English local government funding settlement for 2014/15. By any definition it is a disaster for Councils and in many areas of the country sounds the death knell for democratic local services as we have known them.

Stunning victory in New South Wales as Unions overturn political funding restrictions

Yesterday in New South Wales, Australia, the High Court upheld a union challenge to the Government's electoral donation laws. In February 2012, the O'Farrell led right wing Coalition Government amended the Electoral Funding Act, banning political donations from groups unless the donor is an individual enrolled to vote. Unions NSW launched a challenge to the laws, arguing that donations are a form of political freedom and that a ban is unconstitutional. This stunning victory gives hope to unions in Britain fighting a pincer movement to silence their collective voice – the Con Dem Lobbying Bill and the Labour Party’s Collins Review:

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Local government workers deserve some seasonal spirit – in our pay packets!

Heather Wakefield, UNSON head of local government, has sent a festive message to Prime Minister David Cameron MP - ‘our members face the prospect of a further decline in their earnings next year and the economy will be hit further by their reduced spending power. They will be gathering across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on 18 December to ‘Strike A Chord’ for local government pay and sing our very own version of ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’. Let me share the first two lines with you: ‘In the bleak midwinter council workers’ pay, Won’t buy Christmas presents – there really is no way…’ So please send Santa with a promise to look after your hard-working local servants better in 2014. And enjoy that Bollie’ Read more at:

Monday, 16 December 2013

The human cost of cuts in social care

The Guardian reports on new research which finds that 'half a million fewer old and disabled people are receiving care and support from the public purse than would have been the case before the financial crash' in 2008. Care organisations have identified a £2.8bn shortfall in funding necessary to meet people's needs assessed as moderate:

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Remember Gaza, Break the Siege - Vigil 18 January 2014

At 12 noon on Saturday 18 January 2014 a protest vigil is being organised outside the Israeli Embassy in London to mark five years on from the end of Israel’s 2008/9 massacre in Gaza. The event has been organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a coalition of organisations including trade unions, and will call for justice for the victims of Israel’s brutal aggression against a defenceless people and for an end to the continuing siege on Gaza:

Will They Believe by Ghassan Zaqtan

Will the children forgive the generation
trampled by horses of war, exile and preparation for departure?

Will they think of us as we were:
ambushes in ravines
we’d shake our jealousy
and carve trees into the earth’s shirt
to sit under
we the factional fighters
who’d shoo the clouds of war out of their carriages
and peer around our eternal siege
or catch the dead
like sudden fruit fallen on a wasteland?