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

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Scotland after socialism?

Beneath the EU’s affront to democracy in Greece there is still the debate about whether Syriza reflects a shift to the left or whether it is just a singular reaction to a single issue which unites elements of left, right, middle and non-aligned. There is a mirror of this in Scotland as the debate around austerity always seems to end up as a debate about the constitution or national identity, as opposed to politics.
    The contradictions couldn't be more obvious. The words say: 'fight austerity, stop privatisation' and the actions bring privatisation upon privatisation and decimation of local government. Many are willing to excuse that as the result of failing to 'grasp independence' or because 'Labour did it before'. More worrying are those who actually support the service cuts, privatisations, tax freezes and business tax cuts as legitimate while still trumpeting an anti-austerity front.
   It makes for a difficult job for trade unions challenging these issues. Elements - sadly sometimes on the left - continue to try to characterise trade unions as part of the problem (the 'old order' or 'red tories') rather than the only realistic resistance we have to a mainstream political consensus that backs at least some level of austerity.
    In light of this, our attention was recently brought to a three paragraph blog from writer Ken Mcleod  which deserves wider distribution and will no doubt provoke some controversy but hopefully an interesting debate:

Monday, 13 July 2015

Local government workers in firing line of tax credit cuts

The outrage at Harriet Harman's refusal to oppose outright the Tory £4.5bn raid on tax credits is in contrast to the muted response to Labour front bench's equally unprincipled support for George Osborne's proposed 4 year 1% pay cap in the public sector. But there is good reason to be very angry at the latest capitulation to the Government's austerity agenda. A recent UNISON report highlighted that 'the proportion of local government workers receiving working tax credits at 11.2% is around two and a half times higher than the rest of the public sector.'

As John Tizard writes on the Home Start blog, there is now a compelling an urgent case for all Councils to pay a Living Wage and to ensure that they 'require all their suppliers of goods and services to pay the Living Wage'