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

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Italian unions stage General Strike in defence of workplace rights

Yesterday Italian unions staged a General Strike in protest at the Jobs Act which seeks to deregulate employment rights by weakening national bargaining and removing protections against unfair dismissal.

CGIL leader Susanna Camusso addressing a strike rally in Turin said: 'The government has to change its policies on employment. The Jobs Act and the budget do nothing to revive the economy and create jobs' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30447158

An Account of Despair by Volker Braun

When she entered
And set down her empty bags on my tabletops
I felt caught out in my
Missed deeds.

The evening news dripped bloodily from the screen
And the bed stood encircled
Aside in the uninhabited zone.

She approached and embraced me
At once as though she could not be wrong

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A welfare state for corporations not the people

An extensive article and research by Kevin Farnsworth on the Renewal website examines the extent to which UK public policy is skewed in favour of private companies – placing business tax cuts, deregulation, privatisation and a weakening of employment rights etc in the context of a corporate welfare state. ‘Direct and indirect public provision that is aimed at private companies accounts for a significant share of state expenditure. During these times of austerity and public sector cuts, a detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of corporate welfare is essential to weigh the direction, emphasis and trade-offs associated with corporate welfare’

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Institute for Fiscal Shock Therapy

The past week's debate sparked by the 2014 Autumn Statement has confirmed the marginalisation of trade unions from British current affairs. Even in the recent past the trade union response to Government policy announcements on economics and public finances would be prominent in media coverage and commentary.
    These days hacks from unrepresentative lobby groups and 'think tanks' dominate the airwaves with none more ubiquitous than the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Long held to be of neo liberal bias and a consistent advocate for lower business taxes, the partisan views of this organisation have been used to reinforce the austerity paradigm - ramping up future cuts projections (ludicrously presenting the Tories as deficit deniers) rather than questioning the absence of measures to boost growth and public revenues including raising Corporation Tax on the profits of already cash rich businesses.
    Unless trade unions quickly raise our game and voice in the public debate then the new cross party orthodoxy on 'solving the deficit' (aka permanent austerity) will become irreversible.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Austerity - Just Say No!

‘Even if the government/OBR forecasts for the scale of the cuts prove to be unworkable they amount to a plan for permanent austerity, of ever deeper cuts. They are also a Tory trap for Labour, which has said it will also aim to balance the budget without challenging the framework that it is the investment strike and weak growth that causes the deficit’ warns the Socialist Economic Bulletin in its analysis of last week’s Con Dem Autumn Statement. A rare and welcome antidote to the ramping up of 'inevitable' austerity cuts which political commentators and parties have rammed down our throats in recent days: