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

Thursday, 10 July 2014

We are long overdue a fair pay rise and we will do what we have to do to get one

#J10strike Sue Glithero, Chair of UNISON's NJC Committee, which is leading the local government pay dispute, set out the union's position at today's joint union strike rally in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens: 'I call on our local councillors to do what they know is right. To put pressure on their own local authority, for it to put pressure on the national employers - and on central government if necessary - to give a fair pay rise to local government and school support workers. We are long overdue one. We know one is affordable. Our national employers know one is affordable. The Government knows one is affordable. And we will do what we have to, to get one.That is why local government and school support workers are striking today. UNISON stands ready to negotiate openly. But if the national employers refuse to engage with honesty and fairness - then we will strike again'

Full speech below

Why public service workers are taking strike action

#J10strike Today's strike by public sector workers is a 'manifestation of the anger and frustration they feel about the sustained attack on pay and pensions that has played havoc with their living standards and seems to have no end in sight', says the TUC Touchstone blog. For a list of events today see the TUC website here and the UNISON website here.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014


• Because Local Government workers are chronically underpaid.

• Because our inadequate pay levels have been subject to a freeze, meaning a pay cut of 20% since the coalition came to power.

• Because our employers seem happy to leave millions below the living wage level, rather than pay wages that would take them off benefits

• Because low wages and salaries leave local government workers facing food or fuel bills they cannot afford. Eat or Heat should not be a dilemma we face.

• Because local authorities are sitting on reserves of £18 BILLION

• Because local government cuts mean that as redundancies bite, the remaining workers face an uphill struggle to keep services running.

• Because further cuts to services are just around the corner with consequent increased workload for the remaining staff

• Because privatisation, outsourcing and restructuring are disrupting delivery of services

• Because the democratic accountability and character of public services is being undermined by current government policies, such as the Council Tax cap and the provisions of the Care Act;

• Because the services that our communities rely on, from care for the elderly, to family services, from education to food hygiene, from bin collection to museums and libraries are being decimated.

• Because politicians, both local and national, have washed their hands of local democracy

• Because if no one else will stand up for well paid, well resourced, locally accountable democratic services, local government workers must.


Jane Carolan

The case for an improved pay offer in local government is unanswerable

#J10strike 'What has motivated our members to take strike action this year when they were reluctant last year and the one before that? Quite simply – that ‘nothing to lose’ feeling and the growing realisation that if they don’t act now, they might soon be paying councils for the privilege of having a job at all! We have done the sums on their pensions too and the results don’t make pretty reading. Unless a stop is put to the decline in their pay, they will spend the rest of their lives on even lower pensions than the pittance most were in line to receive anyway. And the state will have to foot a larger bill for their retirement' UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield writes on the Public Finance blog:

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Turning the tide against privatisation

Opinion polls have consistently shown a massive majority for the return of outsourced services to public ownership. Yet the privatisation juggernaut is bulldozing through the NHS and probation services at an unprecedented speed. Despite overwhelming evidence that it is in the public interest, Labour’s leadership is resisting pressure to include renationalise rail services. Anne Karpf, writing in the Guardian, calls for a ‘new language to talk about public ownership, one that detoxifies it and taps into the wide recognition that natural resources and essential public services should not be treated as commodities’

Sequence for South Africa by Denis Brutus

Golden oaks and jacarandas
exquisite images
to wrench my heart.