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

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Strikes across France against public sector pay freeze

On Thursday French public sector workers backed national strike action against a six year pay freeze (2010-2017). In 110 cities and towns 300,000 joined marches against the government's austerity measures which include 50 billion euros of public expenditure cuts over the next two years. Workers in state schools, hospitals, airports and police officers took part in the one-day strike.

Transparency: An Address by Iain Bamforth

Civil society, must we visit you the hard way?

Our diplomatic baggage gets lost in transit.
We don't read much now except on the qui vive.
Our expense account is blue and zinc
and pays for a room with a view
in the capital city no one has ever located –
a midnight afterthought between Paris and Ulm,
a building made of contempt and dismay,
a million unread copies of the DNA.
Here is the philosophy of glass we so admire…

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The NHS is slipping into private hands - right here, right now

The NHS Support Federation has amassed compelling evidence of the accelerating pace of privatisation of the NHS in England. The key finding is that £13 billion worth of contracts to run or manage clinically related NHS services have been advertised in the 12 months since the competition regulations (section 75) were passed by Parliament. 68% of those contracts have gone to commercial companies, with over 70 categories of NHS healthcare covering every aspect of the patient journey including diagnosis, treatment and on-going healthcare across every possible setting:

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Public Sector Show – a Dutch Auction of Public Services

The public services industrial complex was represented in force at today's 2014 Public Sector Show - a trade fair sponsored by US military contractor, Lockheed Martin. Tory ministers and senior civil servants hawked public sector contracts to over 2,500 visitors in a show featuring more than 70 speakers in a seminar programme across seven theatres and over 100 exhibitors. Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude gave the closing keynote speech ‘Open for Business – Next Steps in Shaping a Public Sector Fit for the Future’ including 'how government is opening up to SMEs and understanding what smaller, more innovative firms can offer' and 'the opportunities presented by innovative service models such as Public Sector Mutuals':

Sunday, 11 May 2014

COSATU welcomes ANC victory

The ANC’s huge victory in last week’s general election has been welcomed by its trade union ally COSATU - 'The ANC has proved again that it is still the party in which the majority of South Africans, especially the working class and the poor, put their trust. The election has also confirmed the absence of any credible opposition party which offers an alternative which could appeal to workers. The Democratic Alliance in particular has once again revealed itself as the party of the rich and privileged, with policies solely designed to benefit big business and increase their profits. The federation thanks all its members who helped to achieve his victory by their tireless campaigning work in the workplaces and communities. COSATU union members played a key role in achieving the high 77.3% turn-out and winning this victory for the ANC. We can repeat what we said after the 2009 ANC victory: “Our liberation movement and the National Democratic Revolution have been defended!”'

Heiress by Jo Colley

Her little finger trapped in a car door
when she was three years old,
stained the beige suede
of the customised Bentley.
evoking her father’s disgust.