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

Friday, 14 November 2014

Hamburg brings utilities back into public ownership - let's have some of that here

Following a public referendum, Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city has voted to take all available steps to re-municipalise the electricity, gas, and district heating networks. The Guardian reports that Hamburg has 'joined a growing number of cities worldwide deciding to end their experiments with privatisation. Since 2007, 170 municipalities in Germany alone have brought energy services back into public hands. Globally, at least 100 cities have done the same with privatised water services over the past 15 years, including dozens of municipalities in France – once seen as a growing focus for water privatisation'

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The votes of blue collar workers cannot be taken for granted

3.5m (1 in 4) children in the UK live in poverty yet remarkably Labour has committed to a two year freeze in child benefit if it forms a Government next May. Do such reactionary policies have electoral consequences? An article in the Fabian Review suggests that 'between 2005 and 2014 Labour has seen dwindling support from a wide range of blue-collar working demographic groups'. The recent Heywood by-election highlighted the threat posed by UKIP in Labour's electoral heartlands. Labour's best antidote to UKIP's politics of despair and xenophobia is to give working people hope that their lives will improve for the better with a change of government - by pledging to end the public sector pay freeze, improve front line services such as home care and to halt the rolling back of the welfare state (including a rethink of the disgusting proposal to freeze child benefit).

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Pickled Eric knows the cost of everything & the value of nothing

Tory union basher Eric Pickles MP has stepped up his war against local government unions. In March 2013, dancing to the tune of the Taxpayers Alliance, Pickles issued advice to local authorities on reducing trade union facility time. Now he has ratcheted up the attack with new requirements on councils to publish the cost of trade union facility time and numbers of union representatives involved. His so called transparency code will not require the benefits and purpose of trade union facility time to be published. The rabid right winger has previous form for union bashing. Back in September 2013 he failed in his attempt to end union subscription check off in his own DCLG department - when PCS won a legal challenge – Pickles’ obsessive anti trade unionism costing the public purse £90000.