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

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Concerted union action required to reverse pay decline

This week’s figures from the Office of National Statistics confirming that real wages have fallen for the first time since 2009 will come as no surprise to public service workers. And the implications of the Bank of England’s prediction that real wages will not begin to rise until 2015 are clear.
   Wage growth requires a concerted push by trade unions. Planned local protest action next Wednesday aims to keep up momentum in the local government NJC dispute ahead of strike action on 14 October. If attempts to engage the Food Standards Agency in ACAS talks are unsuccessful, a high profile strike by UNISON meat inspectors could be imminent. Also, two important industrial action ballots are due to start in the near future.
    On 28 August ballot papers will be sent to 300,000 UNISON members in the NHS, followed on 9 September by the industrial action ballot of UNISON’s Scottish local government members in the SJC pay dispute. Effective co-ordination and prosecution of these important disputes is the only way that the decline in real wages in public services can be reversed. The solution is in our own hands.

The Dragon by Abd al-Wahhab Al-Bayyati

A dictator, hiding behind a nihilist's mask,
has killed and killed and killed,
pillaged and wasted,
but is afraid, he claims,
to kill a sparrow.
His smiling picture is everywhere:
in the coffeehouse, in the brothel,
in the nightclub, and the marketplace.
Satan used to be an original,
now he is just the dictator's shadow.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

In Iraq again, not in my name

As the war drums continue over the situation in Iraq, and the predictable “experts” call for yet another military intervention, British media as usual are ignoring alternative voices, and alternative view points. It took a million people marching through London for the BBC to report on the anti war movement before the last invasion. It will take another million before the opposition to another military adventure is noticed. Seumus Milne in today’s Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/13/war-in-iraq-yazidis-aid-military-intervention  provides an excellent summation of the illogical nature of the arguments being made to justify further imperial escapades, and the politics behind the martial music being played so very loudly. Read it now and check http://www.stopwar.org.uk/  for local events that will allow your branch to participate in protest events .

Union strength lies within the membership

An anti-union ruling by the US Supreme Court on the status of home care workers has led to much reflection on the future of public service unions. Former SEIU organiser Jane McAlevey argues that US unions must ‘rebuild from the inside out’, drawing on the massively untapped resource of the union membership base and fostering a ‘high participation’ model in bargaining and organising work:

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Care UK strikers 'deserve all our support'

Today’s Observer editorial gives backing to striking UNISON members at Care UK: ‘The Doncaster workers merit, at the very least, a living wage, as do all care workers. Government is initially the prime mover in ensuring sufficient funds; shareholders may have to see their dividends reduced. But in a fair society, that is surely is as it should be.’ Elsewhere in the same paper economist Will Hutton identifies ‘privatisation by stealth’ as the root cause of the exploitation of former NHS care workers and endorses the long running strike which will be escalated next week: ‘Good on them, and these are words you don't read often, good on the union. They deserve all our support’

A Global Day of Rage for Gaza

More than 150,000 people marched from the BBC studios in Portland Place, past the US embassy in Grosvenor Square to Hyde Park, in a protest called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other organisations. It was the third mass march through London in support of Gaza in three weeks. It was also the biggest, and formed part of a global Day of Rage, with people marching in cities across the globe to show solidarity with Gaza under attack:

Running Orders by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.