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

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Transforming Labour: Transforming Britain‏

'Ed Miliband was the overwhelming Compass membership choice for leader and we are delighted he has won. Ed represents the possibility of changing the party; its policies and organisation - so that we can provide the country with the change that it needs', says Compass. See the full story below...

Has government run out of money? And why does it borrow its own currency?‏

The dominant concept of money is that resources only come into existence when money is mobilised. This gives the financial elite who control money and credit enormous power over government, the economy and over all aspects of our lives. Keynes recognised this absurdity in 1928:

The Last Election by John Haines‏

Suppose there are no returns,
and the candidates, one
by one, drop off in the polls,
as the voters turn away,
each to his inner persuasion.

Tory County Council set to Suffolk-ate jobs & services‏

On Thursday Suffolk County Council, which is Conservative controlled, agreed to support the Chief Exec’s (Andrea Hill – long time resident of Private Eye’s illustrious columns) “New Strategic Direction” – total divestment of all services. Apparently what none of us had realised is that contracting out all services (to who – they have no idea) actually increases democratic participation, delivers “better outcomes” for the people of Suffolk and costs considerably less. “A new era of people power” The Leader of the County Council, Jeremy Pembroke said. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/sep/22/suffolk-county-council-outsource-services


Malcom Grant, The Director of University College, paid £404,000 last year, has refused to join other University Colleges in paying their cleaners a living wage. UCL alumni might want to write and express their outrage! http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23881460-ucl-chief-paying-a-living-wage-would-cost-pound-1m-a-year-and-8201-and-8201and-i-dont-have-it.do

European Trade Union Day of Action on 29 September 2010: 100 000 workers to demonstrate in Brussels‏

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), in reaction to the austerity measures in force in a number of European countries, is sponsoring a major European mobilisation on 29 September, with support from all its member organisations. Around 100,000 people are expected to take to the streets in Brussels and protest actions will also be held in different European countries.

BMA to attack white paper as 'smokescreen for privatisation'

The BMA has voted to attack core elements of the Government’s health white paper, which 'opens the door to further privatisation of the NHS and could lead to services being provided on the basis of cost rather than quality', writes Ian Quinn in the GP's Pulse publication.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Cuts Watch - Here we go....‏

Yesterday five Whitehall departments reached spending (aka cuts) agreements with the Treasury, ahead of next month's spending review: The Treasury, Cabinet Office, Foreign Office plus the environment and communities departments have reached agreement on cutting their spending. The latter has massive implications for UNISON members working in local government. According to Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News Minister Eric Pickles confirmed that he had conceded cuts "around about halfway" between the 25 and 40% cuts which had been mooted over the summer.
Check out the BBC’s useful ‘cuts watch’ feature: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10924719

Thursday, 23 September 2010

More strike action in France to defend retirement age‏

Today French unions are staging another day of mass street protests and strikes in opposition to President Sarkozy's plan to hike the retirement age to 62, a key plank of the French Government’s austerity linked reforms. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11395363
A survey carried out for the CGT union and published Tuesday in the newspaper L'Humanite said that 70 percent of French people are opposed to raising the retirement age.

UNISON Health Service Group Exectuve agree a robust campaign strategy to defend the NHS‏

Clare Williams reports on yesterday’s meeting of the UNISON Health SGE:
The White Paper, 'Liberating the NHS' being the biggest attack on the NHS since its inception will be robustly challenged by UNISON, the leading health service union. Already a judicial review has been accepted as legitimate and we are waiting for a date for UNISON's case to be heard. It is essential we use this time to get other organisations, particularly user groups to join us in this.

5 principles for building powerful coalitions‏

‘The most successful coalitions are ones that seek to achieve social change goals at the same time as they strengthen the organisations that participate in them’ says Amanda Tattersall Introducing a study of three long term coalitions involving unions from the United States, Canada and Australia. http://tinyurl.com/35vkjvh

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

From Rock Breaking to Strike Breaking‏

Is there no end to the ingenuity and utter cynicism of Sodexo management in the USA? The Washington Post reports that the French based company has now resorted to the use of jailed inmates to cover the work of striking union members. Under the pretext of offering them ‘pre – release’ work experience and skills training the company had them in to cover the strike, despite claiming that 90% of its workers remained on the job.

Time to defend TUPE‏

One of the defining battles of the Thatcher years was the trade unions principled stance to ensure the Acquired Rights Directive (later known as TUPE in domestic legislation) was adhered to in public sector contracts. TUPE was instrumental in ending the practice of outsourcing workers in order to reduce wage bills. After a couple of decades of complex case law TUPE has stood the test of time and helps to cement arguments to protect the pay and conditions of workers transferred to new providers. It is far from perfect however and there are worrying developments which will fundamentally undermine worker rights.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Pious platitudes from the makeweight Liberal Democrats‏

Which minority political party has only 60 000 members; secured only 23 % of the popular vote and a reduced number of MP’s in the 2010 General Election and in the 2009 European elections trailed in 4th after UKIP with only 13.7% of the vote?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Cuts: Biggest policy mistake in 100 years says expert

A former member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee - and one of the few people to actually predict the crash - slams pubic sector cuts and says he holds the Coalition "responsible for this inept action – for the greatest macroeconomic mistake in 100 years”. Interview with David Blanchflower in today's Herald newspaper. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/when-the-axe-falls-just-how-much-will-it-hurt-1.1056167

LGPS pension funds sue over PFI investment fund‏

LGPS pension funds have been investing in their own destruction by giving their money over to fund managers investing in companies running PFI projects. Hendersons Global Investors invested a substantial sum in John Laing a construction company and PFI contractor.

Big turnout at Lib Dem conference cuts protest‏

North West TUC, organisers of yesterday’s Liverpool protest against cuts in public services say the 4000+ turnout by far exceeded their expectations. TUC Regional Secretary Alan Manning said: “This shows that people are prepared to stand up and be counted against the cuts.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Photos: Trade unonists lobby Lib Dem Conference

Dave Prentis
Photos just in from the rally at Liverpool convention centre to lobby delegates about Con Dem government policies which will decimate jobs and public services.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prents said: “We know that the jobs of hundreds and thousands of private sector jobs hang by a thread, because they rely on the public sector.

An orgy of post-TUC union bashing‏

A quick browse of the weekend’s media confirms that Seumas Milne’s recent Guardian article ‘the return of anti-union propaganda’‏ was very prescient: http://unisonactive.blogspot.com/2010/09/tuc-return-of-anti-union-propaganda.html

TUC lobbies Liverpool conference of Lib Dem makeweights‏

The TUC is today organising a protest against public spending cuts outside the Liberal Democrat conference:
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-18392-f0.cfm?regional=5 Thousands of trade unionists will converge on the Liverpool convention centre to lobby delegates about Con Dem government policies which will decimate jobs and public services.

Workers vote to keep services in NHS

UNISON has welcomed a vote by workers in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland to keep services in the NHS, as opposed to transferring to a “social enterprise”, reports the Evening Gazette http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/2010/09/17/health-workers-vote-to-keep-their-services-in-the-nhs-84229-27287772/#ixzz0zxk5hFr0

Untidiness by Amanda Dalton‏

The National Museum of Iraq, Baghdad

Some time after the looting, the locked gates,
the US tank stood idle in a gallery,

Mushin Hasan, his head bowed
in a room of shattered stone,