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

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Brussels sprouts resistance to austerity

Over 100,000 workers protested against austerity in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday in a growing campaign that will include national strike action on 15 December by public and private sector workers. Union leader Marie-Helene Ska said: 'The government tells us and all of the parties tell us that there's no alternative. We don't contest that they have to find 11bn euros we've been saying for a long time that it's possible to find this money elsewhere, rather than in the pockets of the workers'

Camilo in the clinic hallway by Omar Pérez López

Camilo takes possession of the clinic hallway
in the photo that is too old for me
and too new for him who can still take more
even in this type of place.
Camilo is laughing alone in the clinic hallway
and he who laughs alone
remembers a clearer and simpler time
he who laughs alone
deposits an intelligible heart
in a washbasin as credit.
Camilo laughs alone
it is clear that for me there is just one way out,
I imitate him
and as if I were a slightly pampered saint
and as if I were a slightly awkward saint
I start to chew the smouldering ashes from a more difficult time,
he imitates me.


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Unions can be driving force for improved public services

How can an incoming Labour Government lift Britain out of the swamp of austerity, privatisation and run down public services, especially given the conventional wisdom that further spending cuts and job losses are required beyond May 2015? David Coats and John Tizard, in a timely New Statesman article, see a key role for public service unions as 'agents of change, fostering workplace cultures where employees understand their role in the process of continuous improvement' and advocate 'collective agreements (to) set the employment conditions for all workers involved in public service delivery – including those employed by the business, social and voluntary sectors and subcontractors.'

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Upping the ante on the Living Wage

In recent local government pay negotiations UNISON Scotland secured a commitment from the employers COSLA that the living wage will be the starting point for payment of the local government workers. Much work needs to be done to secure a similar breakthrough in the rest of the UK but a new report from the Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign outlines the great potential of local authorities in challenging low pay beyond their directly employed workforce using procurement to the benefit of local economies: http://tinyurl.com/nrxxnrm

Monday, 3 November 2014

Private firms cash in on Probation outsourcing

Despite the exclusion of discredited big beasts G4S and Serco from recent competitive tendering for £450m of probation services contracts in England and Wales, the private sector has swept the board with two outsourcing companies - Sodexo and Purple Futures - leading 'consortiums' that were last week awarded a majority of the 21 regional, ten year long, contracts: