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

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Standing up for the rights of migrant workers

Last night, Open Generation (a project developed by Migrants Rights Network in partnership with UNISON, NUS, Huffington Post and Be Inspired) hosted its first event - ‘The immigration generation gap’.
    The event (which facilitated opportunity to explore young people’s attitudes, concerns and opinions on immigration and free movement) was chaired by Owen Jones and heard from a variety of speakers of different backgrounds and perspectives (one of which was UNISON’s NEC young members’ representative Dan Goodwin). The night also featured four short commissioned films by young filmmakers and saw performances from spoken word artists.

In the year one, that was by Lutz Seiler

scraping on the ground, scratched up
silence &
folded by death: winter flies.

the first – a wartime fall when
things have already been
run through by a nerve, ignited by

Friday, 4 April 2014

What path for Europe's Unions?

#NewPathDemo Today the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is holding a demonstration in Brussels in support of a ’new path for Europe.’ Bernadette S├ęgol, ETUC General Secretary says that ‘Austerity is not working. Austerity has caused a mounting social and economic crisis: over 26 million Europeans are jobless, 10 million more than in 2008. This is why we demonstrate and demand a New Path for Europe, based on investments, quality jobs and equality. 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Time for action on NHS Pay

#NHSpay UNISON branches and regions are campaigning today to highlight the impact of five years of pay freezes and pay caps on NHS workers - most of whom are now at least 10% worse off than when the Con Dem government came to power in 2010. An online TUC petition can be signed and circulated to build momentum in the campaign against this week's imposition of a 1% rise (itself wholly inadequate) for a minority of NHS workers and 0% for the hundreds of thousands of NHS workers who receive a contractual pay increment this year and next year. There will never be a clearer basis for a trade dispute in the NHS and the sooner the better that all health unions ballot for coordinated industrial action to oppose this unprecedented attack on the NHS workforce:

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Pay breakthrough for ver.di in Germany

UNISON’s German sister union ver.di has secured a bumper two year deal in negotiations with the German government. A 3% increase for this year and a 2.4% pay rise next year for 2.1 million public sector workers has been won following a campaign themed ‘we’re worth it’ (snap) backed up by industrial action across public services in Germany in recent weeks:

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

15 years ago today - the first national minimum wage

One of the most enduring achievements of the 1997-2001 Labour Government was the enactment on 1 April 1999 of the UK’s first national minimum wage. This followed a prolonged campaign led by NUPE, a predecessor union of UNISON. Former General Secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe said ‘whilst we are delighted that we have for the first time, after a 100-year battle to get it, a minimum wage, that level is far, far too low. The argument that a higher minimum wage will cost jobs doesn't stand up in an area like the north east which has always suffered high unemployment.’ UNISON marked the historic occasion on Saturday 10 April 1999 with a national march from Gateshead to Newcastle when thousands march in support of the union's demand for a living wage:

Monday, 31 March 2014

Time for action on local government pay

Tomorrow, 1 April, has been earmarked as a day of protest in support of the local government NJC 2014 pay campaign for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The protest will take place on the day the pay rise is due and branches will be campaigning to highlight the inadequacy of the 1% offer made by employers two weeks ago. Ballot preparations are underway and members are being consulted on industrial action. The case for action is overwhelming. No self respecting union can tolerate a situation where the pay of its local government members has fallen by 18% in real terms since 2010. Branch consultation ends on 17 April. Now is the time to deliver:

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Carr Review - a stunt or fast track to new anti union laws?

On Friday the UK Government’s announcement that the Carr Review into industrial relations (launched 5 months ago following the Grangemouth dispute) would focus narrowly on union tactics rather than wider issues such as employer blacklisting of trade unionists as originally envisaged. This led TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady to once again dismiss the review as a ‘headline grabbing party-political stunt’.
    However, Carr’s terms of reference - which are to ‘provide an assessment of the alleged use of extreme tactics in industrial disputes and the effectiveness of the existing legal framework to prevent inappropriate or intimidatory actions’ - appear to be leading directly to new anti union laws in particular a clamping down on protest by workers to win wider community and political support. Coming hard on the heels of the Lobbying Act which according to David Cameron was expressly intended to stifle union influence in general elections, this review could well result in further draconian restrictions on the freedom of expression for trade unions in the UK. There are no grounds for complacency.

Hum for the Bolt by Jamaal May

It could of course be silk. Fifty yards or so
of the next closest thing to water to the touch,
or it could just as easily be a shaft of  wood

crumpling a man struck between spaulder and helm.
But now, with the rain making a noisy erasure
of this town, it is the flash that arrives