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

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Most state schools face budget cuts despite Con Dem hype‏

The FT reports that two-thirds of English state schools will have their day-to-day budgets cut in this parliament, in spite of government claims to have protected resources for education:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/37d13f48-e3a0-11df-b6a6-00144feabdc0.html Only a minority of schools will achieve a net increase in funding as a result of the much vaunted ‘pupil premium’ and further FT research confirms that the planned squeeze on funding will be made worse by a ‘forecast increase in the number of pupils and a 60 per cent reduction in capital spending on infrastructure’.

A cautionary tale about private nursing agencies‏

Solomon Hughes, writing in yesterday’s Morning Star, highlights the corporate interests involved in the tragic case of housebound quadriplegic patient Jamie Merrett which received much publicity last week.

Poem from a Bus Shelter by Clare Shaw‏

This is not a life, but if it was

I’d say I always lived here.
I’d say this street; this long grey face
of factories, flats; the boarded shops;
the tired, concrete houses, squats –
they saw my first bright day.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Protest works says Independent pundit - Heard that one before?‏

Johan Hari writing in today’s Independent refers to the ‘ripple of rage’ spreading across Britain in response to austerity measures and says that protest works:

Gove's ex-adviser given £500,000 free schools grant

Michael Gove's education department failed to invite applications for a £500,000 grant to assist parents setting up free schools before awarding it to his former adviser's New Schools Network, reports the Guardian. The information came from an FoI request (the response to which was 70 days late) by the Other Taxpayers Alliance. "For an excellent alternative to the New Schools Network, check out the Local Schools Network, launched last month. What a strange political terrain we now inhabit: a state-funded network promoting independent schools, and an independent network promoting state schools."

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Gove Axes School Support Staff Negotiating Body‏

Con Dem education secretary Michael Gove today told the Commons in a written ministerial statement that he was abolishing the School Support Staff Negotiating Body because it "did not fit well with the government's priorities for greater deregulation". http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/oct/28/teaching-assistants-pay-body-scrapped

Oh Mr Miliband! Condemn the Fire-fighters at Your Peril

Yesterday’s Daily Mirror, in the print version at least, gave new Labour leader Ed Miliband’s views on the FBU dispute in London and surprise surprise, Miliband condemned the strike. A spokesman for Mr Miliband is quoted as saying that “it would leave Londoners in a dangerous situation”.

Pensioners fight austerity‏

Addressing yesterday’s Westminster rally called by the National pensioners Convention (NPC) UNISON Deputy General Secretary Keith Sonnet urged the formation of a powerful alliance to fight the biggest-ever cuts in the welfare state: "In doing so, we will make sure that George Osborne, David Cameron and Nick Clegg become footnotes in history," he said. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/96949

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Video of Belfast Rally

Thousand marched in unity against the ConDem vicious cuts announced last week. Workers from all backgrounds and unions marched in solidarity under the auspices of ICTU, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions

A new trade unionism in the making?‏

A talk by Hilary Wainwright to the recent Quality Public Services conference organised by the Conference of global unions can be read here: http://www.tni.org/paper/new-trade-unionism-making
For more on the Conference go to: http://unisonactive.blogspot.com/2010/10/investing-in-quality-public-services.html

Welfare cuts and the world turned upside down‏

The Con Dem Coalition Government has unveiled £7bn of cuts in welfare entitlements and the political response has been a mixed bag to say the least. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11459055

Norfolk Tories slash 3,000 jobs

Amazingly in a week that child protection is front page news, Norfolk plans to cut £2.4 million from services for children in care. As the crisis mounts in caring for our elderly, they are cutting £6 million from preventative service and £1.2m from meals on wheels. Many more services will be hit and 3,000 jobs to go. The human cost of ideology starts to hit home. http://country-standard.blogspot.com/2010/10/norfolk-tories-axe-3000-jobs-ketts-men.html

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

New video from 23 Oct demo in Edinburgh

Another picture collage from the 20,000 strong 'There is a Better Way' demon in Edinburgh.  See it at http://www.unison-edinburgh.org.uk/publicworks/video/index.html

Solidarity in cuts fight from Canadian public service union CUPE‏

CUPE National President Paul Moist and National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux sent a letter of support to UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentice and UNISON President Angela Lynes expressing their solidarity and concern over last week’s CSR announcement that 450,000 UK public sector jobs are earmarked for the chop: http://cupe.ca/communications/support-half-million-public-workers

As our living standards fall bankers making a killing from government borrowing‏

There are two reasons why a government should not borrow money when it has the power to create its own currency. First it has to pay interest and secondly it has to pay fees to bankers for selling its IOU's called gilts. As much as £67.8m of taxpayer’s money has financed this year's sovereign bond sales, as the government needs to sell billions of pounds' worth of debt to pay for the deficit.

CSR - further analysis by UNISON‏

UNISON has produced a detailed briefing on last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review which highlights some key issues for public services and UNISON members:

Monday, 25 October 2010

FOI campaigners target "public services industry"‏

The billions of pounds worth of commitments tied up in Britain's "public, private" state must be opened up to transparency and scrutiny, argues a new OurKingdom report. The spending review, announced this week, promises £81 billion worth of cuts over the next four years. Whilst services face the deepest cutbacks in generations, billions of pounds a year will still need to be found to finance our PFI commitments. Amidst all the talk from government ministers of “efficiency” savings, there has been almost no mention of PFI and its legacy on the public purse, writes Oliver Huitson See the full story at http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/oliver-huitson/transparency-must-extend-to-britains-public-private-state

One fifth of top 10 per cent's wealth would pay off debt

Just one-fifth of the wealth of the richest 10 per cent would pay off the national debt - and they wouldn't even have to pay it now, says Prof Greg Philo of Glasgow University: STUC 'There is a Better Way' video also includes inteviews with UNISON's Mike Kirby, USDAW and other unions. http://www.thereisabetterway.org/haveyoursay/there-is-a-better-way-march-rally-part-1

MPs to be lobbied on Palestine - 24 November 2010‏

Palestine Solidarity Campaign is calling on activists to lobby their MPs on 24 November. This is part of PSC's annual lobby of parliament - it will take place 2-6pm at the Commons.

Do unions speak for the British people when opposing cuts?‏

Newsweek, the US current affairs magazine, is reporting on the response of UK trade unions to the Con Dem austerity measures: Unsurprisingly, from the vantage point of the poll saturated and superficial polity of the USA, the magazine counter poses the supposed public support for cuts (based on the evidence of opinion polls) to the ‘cautious’ union opposition, arguing that unions have been sidelined as a political force in the UK. It is a thesis which will be tested once and for all time over the next few years.

A travesty of democracy as The Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill falls at second hurdle‏

Not enough Labour MPs turned up in the House of Commons last Friday - October 22 - to support a new law which would have stopped employers using trivial legal loopholes to prevent industrial action. The Bill had been tabled by John McDonnell MP as a private member’s bill to protect union members’ right to strike after a string of court cases in which massive votes for action were overturned on technicalities.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Videos from STUC Edinburgh demo

UNISON's NHS Glasgow Clyde CVS branch has produced a video of the March and Rally on 23 October at http://unison-scotland.blogspot.com/2010/10/heres-unison-nhs-glasgow-clyde-and-cvs.html Other videos have come online at....

Labour policy making 'too distant from members'‏

Peter Hain MP, newly appointed chair of Labour’s national policy forum, has called for the party’s policy making to be ‘rejuvenated’: "I would like to see interested outsiders have an input as well. I see Labour as being the natural focus for progressive forces in civil society from trade unions, greens, faith groups, anti-poverty organisations, community groups and women's groups. So I hope the policy forum will not be just an internal policy group." http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/22/hain-labour-policy-forum

All roads lead to London on 26 March 2011‏

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has announced that the TUC will stage the "biggest and boldest" demonstration in its history next March to protest against the government's spending cuts. http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE69L5PM20101023

Community & voluntary sector stands to lose up to £5bn funding‏

Dame Suzi Leather, the chair of the Charity Commission – which oversees 160,000 charities – has raised her fears that up to £5bn could be cut as a result of Con Dem austerity measures. Many of the charities provide front line services in partnership with local authorities in areas such as children’s services and social care: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cuts-could-cost-billions-for-voluntary-sector-2115268.html

The Outlaw by Hugh MacDiarmid‏

I am the outlawed conscience of Scotland,
The voice that must not be heard,
The bane of all time-servers and trimmers,
Helot-usurpers of the true aristocracy of awareness.

Full of the confidence that is the cure
For cowardice and its twin, conceit.
‘De gustibus...’ means that properly probed
There can be no two minds; pressed au fond, all men agree.