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

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Why Unions Need to Join the Climate Fight

‘My argument is that the climate threat makes the need to fight austerity all the more pressing, since we need public services and public infrastructure to both bring down our emissions and prepare for the coming storms. Far from trumping other issues, climate change vindicates much of what the left has been demanding for decades’ said the campaigning writer Naomi Klein in a seminal speech to the founding conference of Canada’s largest trade union Unifor last September: http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2013/09/why-unions-need-join-climate-fight

Pashugayatri by Banira Giri

Like myriad streams and rivulets flowing into a nameless sea,
like masses of clouds sailing here and there in an infinite sky,
contained within each other animate/inanimate
like KrishnaLila in Brindaban, but, in this holy land of Pashupati,
there lies completely helpless, bereft and naked,
pitiful Bagmati. Our elders would say—sometimes at night,
she, for a wink of an eye, would stand still!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Time for HE employers to end double standards & pay up

UNISON members employed in the UK’s universities are continuing with an industrial action campaign to improve a lousy 1% pay offer in the 2013/14 pay round. Alongside UCU and Unite members, two days of strike action were staged late last year with further action planned for February. A key argument put forward by the HE unions is the affordability of the joint union claim for a pay rise which at least matches the rate of inflation. The hypocrisy of the HE employers is revealed in stark relief by an Independent report of a survey showing that the ‘Russell Group universities - which represents 24 of the most selective higher education institutions in the country - awarded pay rises of 8.1 per cent on average to their Vice-Chancellors while overall benefits packages also soared by 5.2 per cent’

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2014 is UN Year of Solidarity With the Palestinian People - Make It Count

Many days or years are marked out for international commemorations but none is more important than the United Nations General Assembly decision to proclaim 2014 as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. In the UK the Palestine Solidarity Campaign works tirelessly in support of justice for the Palestinian people and deserves the support of all UNISON activists and branches in the year ahead. Make it one of your New Year's resolutions to back the campaign!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Get involved in the actions and passions of our time

A New Year Message from Denis Goldberg.
I hope 2014 will be a better year in the advance to a world that is fit for human beings. But it can only be better if we, all of us, make the effort to find ways to deal with the economic, social and political crises that the super rich countries of the world create as they continue to skew the benefits of our human capacity to invent, to find creative solutions that start to reverse the structured inequality of our society. It does need restructuring and we must do it.

A Happy and Peaceful New Year - and organise!

"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom." Nelson Mandela.

After a year that saw the ConDems institutionalise poverty with the bedroom tax, child poverty rising, most of those in poverty being in work, and food banks becoming one of the few growth industries, let's organise for change in 2014.

Have a Happy and peaceful New Year and organise!

Monday, 30 December 2013

The future of unionised work is in our own hands

Union activists all over the world should read this account of the life of Shonda Roberts who works for KFC in San Jose, California. She lives in the richest economy in the world, the richest economy actually in the history of the world. This is an economy that sends armies and navies all over the world, that still maintains thousands of stock piled nuclear weapons, that generates trillions of dollars in investment and profit, that can boycott Cuba and subsidise Israel. This economy can maintain a differential between lowest paid workers wages and CEO of an average of 1 dollar to 475 dollars. The US economy can cause bust or boom across Europe. It can plunge the world in depression when its sub prime market collapses.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Unions in 2014 - big chance or no chance?

In a Guardian interview over the holiday period TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady was upbeat on union prospects next year: ‘Our big chance will be in 2014 because we are going to see confidence return as unemployment dips and the economy recovers’. Not for the first time the TUC is looking to the USA for a campaign model - where unions such as SEIU have formed impressive worker led coalitions of civic groups and local politicians in support of workers’ rights in fast food chains.