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

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Palestine, G4S and the Prison Industrial Complex

War on Want, the School of Law at SOAS University and the Russell Tribunal on Palestine recently hosted Angela Davis and Gina Dent for a discussion on Justice for Palestine and the Stop G4S campaign.
   It was a unique opportunity to hear Angela and Gina discuss Palestine and the struggle for liberty in a world of growing militarisation, privatised repression and the proliferation of prisons.

Slave Currency by Mike Jenkins

once empire of that metal,
precious as coal and iron,
as Rhondda to one
and Merthyr the other

Friday, 10 January 2014

The Transatlantic trade deal which threatens our public services

UCU, the University and College Union, has produced an important briefing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - a proposed free trade deal between the EU and the US. UCU warns that the TTIP not only poses a 'profound threat to public services in general' by exposing the still mainly public health care and higher education sectors to greater privatisation but will make it harder for any future (non neo-liberal) government to regulate foreign private sector companies operating in public services:

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

No place for 'performance management' which leads to workplace tyranny

LRD reports on research commissioned by the Scottish Trades Union Congress into new forms of performance management. The initiative was prompted by concerns of unions organising in finance and telecommunications about some modern HR techniques being used to 'to pressurise workers into producing more, drive down wages and create quotas for underperformers and manage workers out of their jobs.' An alternative approach is commended which allows 'workers to be respected, able to make a contribution, able to join a trade union, have a good quality job and be able to make comment without fear.'

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Osborne cutting to the point of no return

‘Post 2015 we face either cutting spending on public services to the level of six and half decades ago, rolling back huge segments of the social security system or substantial tax rises’ writes Duncan Weldon of the TUC in a brilliant analysis if the implications of yesterday’s speech by George Osborne MP. The Chancellor reiterated that cuts would continue after the next election in an move calculated to lock down economic policy options into a paradigm of permanent austerity. ‘Politically this is exactly the debate the Chancellor wants’ says Weldon. The big question is whether or not Labour will continue to allow the Tories to set the terms of the debate on public finances or challenge the endless and counter productive spiral of austerity and cuts?

Monday, 6 January 2014

Public finances a one-way street for cuts crazed Con Dems

George Osborne MP, the government’s leading prophet of austerity, will today announce that ‘more painful cuts’ are needed in the year ahead, pointing out that public borrowing continues at £100bn a year. This is the same government that has depleted public finances by cutting the top rate of tax for those earning more than £150,000 from 50% to 45% and which by 2015 will have brought down Corporation Tax on company profits from 28% to 20%. Whilst, it is to be expected that a government of and for the rich will favour permanent cuts in public services over progressive taxation on the wealthy and increased taxes for corporations, it would be a fatal mistake for an incoming Labour government to adopt the same approach:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25617844

Sunday, 5 January 2014

A life in dreams by Jacob Sam-La Rose

There have been teeth
falling loose from their sockets
like a shower of petals or bones.

There has been treacle;
attempts to run against a gravity wound so tight
tight single steps were futile—
a travelling nowhere,
a running on the spot,
a fanged leer and a gnarled hand
inching ever closer.

Where do they make up the news?

It’s that time of year when you don’t quite know what day it is. Is today Thursday or Friday? But it is time to catch up with the press and find out if anything has been happening in the real world. Sometimes reading the “quality Sundays” there is a curious feeling akin to cognitive dissonance, where readers experience a lack of consistency from tale to tale, between their expectations and their reality. These newspapers expect us to contribute to their favourite charity at this time of year, usually on international development or animals and will complain about women being on page 3 or not being on bank notes, and support gay marriage and “alternative lifestyles”. But let’s forget the comment pages. What do they report ?