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

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Defend the right to strike – under threat at home and abroad

Today a global day of action in defence of the right to strike is being called to highlight the serious attacks on fundamental union rights. The Institute of Employment Rights reports that the employers’ group at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is challenging the very existence of the right to strike, established under ILO Convention 87. Meanwhile a serious assault on the right to strike will be in the Tory general election manifesto with proposed minimum requirements in strike ballots of 50% turnout and 40% of all workers balloted to vote in favour – impossible hurdles to mount in large scale national ballots. Tory relic, Lord Tebbit, himself an architect of anti union laws in the early 1980’s, smugly pointed out in the Daily Telegraph this week the failure of the labour movement to deliver on pledges to reverse those attacks. The balance of power shifted against unions and quickly became a matter of political consensus. We must not let history repeat itself.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Election 2015 - What's at stake?

CLASS, the labour movement think tank, has published the first in a series of general election guides. Election 2015: What’s at stake for work, pay and unions?
    This timely publication provides excellent ammunition for organisers and stewards to explain the unfair realities of work in Britain today and why enhanced collective bargaining is the key to reversing years of rising inequality. As TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady says in her foreword: '2015 must be the year when we ensure the recovery, share its proceeds fairly and start to undo the damage done to our public services and welfare state by the crash and its aftermath. Strong unions, fair pay settlements and decent jobs with full employment rights are at the heart of how we achieve this'

Night Workers by Helen Dunmore

All you who are awake in the dark of the night,
all you companions of the one lit window
in the knuckled-down row of sleeping houses,

all you who think nothing of the midnight hour
but by three or four have done your work
and are on the way home, stopping

at traffic lights, even though there is no one
but you in either direction. How different the dark is
when day is coming; you know all this.

All you who have kept awake through the dark of the night
and now go homeward; you, charged with the hospital's
vending-machine coffee; you working all night at Tesco,