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

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi Released – 1 Down, 2,202 To Go

UNISON Conference 2009
"We will not let the world forget that you and thousands of others are in prison for standing up for democracy and the rights of workers", UNISON President Angela Lynes told 2009 National Conference as it marked Aung San Suu Kyi’s 64th Birthday under house arrest. As she is released today, the Burma Campaign turns to the thousands of other political prisoners in Burma’s jails.

I'm ACAS fly me‏

Times are hard for quangos and ACAS, the Government appointed conciliation service, is urging trade union officials to ‘use collective conciliation earlier’.

Student protests give momentum to national anti cuts campaign‏

The bigger than expected turn out at Wednesday’s protest, against education cuts and tuition fees, has resonated throughout the trade union movement:

Poppies by Jane Weir‏

Three days before Armistice Sunday
and poppies had already been placed
on individual war graves. Before you left,
I pinned one onto your lapel, crimped petals,
spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockade
of yellow bias binding around your blazer.

Friday, 12 November 2010

UNISON reaction to spending cuts in Wales‏

‘In Wales, we will see our funding cut by 7.5% to be allocated by the devolved administration and we have seen a number of recent reports from various sources indicating that Wales is to suffer disproportionately compared to elsewhere in the UK. The First Minister has protested that this is on top of pre-existing under funding of public services highlighted by the Holtham Commission, and estimates that 38,000 public sector jobs in Wales will be lost ’ says UNISON’s Amber Courtney writing on the blog of the Bevan Foundation:

BBC News - Southampton City Council proposes 5.4% staff pay cut‏

Tory Southampton City Council is proposing a 5.4% pay cut while shedding hundreds of jobs to put through £62 million iin cuts, reports the BBC. Steve Brazier, UNISON Regional Manager, said: "The cuts are pretty draconian. I think it is a devastating proposal for both the people who use the services and the workers." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-11736767

Thursday, 11 November 2010

UNISON stands firm against Section 188 notice in Rhondda‏

In Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT), one of the largest council’s in Wales, UNISON is battling to defend the terms and conditions of over 10,000 workers after the Labour controlled council issued a section 188 notice. Yesterday the branch has issued a briefing updating members on developments:

Students shake the halls of power‏

Over 50 000 took part in yesterday’s London march to protest against education cuts and tuition fees – by far exceeding the expectations of organisers NUS and UCU. UCU leader Sally Hunt told protesters: "I am here today to send a message to the politicians at Westminster. It isn't fair to make our public universities the most expensive in the world. It isn't progressive to discourage young people from going to college.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

No fun at the seaside‏

Despite concerns about compliance with public procurement rules and the involvement of PWC as both advisors to the council and seemingly the external auditors to the successful bidder (no conflict of interest there then) Bournemouth council has decided to award a £150 million deal to Mouchels to outsource at least four council departments.

UNI World Congress‏

UNI is an international body of trade unions organising in communications, services and entertainment. It is currently holding its world congress in Nagasaki, Japan. UNISON Deputy general Secretary Keith Sonnet is attending the congress which can be followed on an informative Congress blog:

Tory plans to slash and burn London Fire Brigade

It is now clear that the Fire Brigade Union fears that that the proposed changes to their terms and conditions by Tory London Fire authority Chair, Brian Coleman, was actually all about reducing the number of fire engines and firefighters - was pretty accurate, says John's Labour Blog http://grayee.blogspot.com/2010/11/tory-toad-plans-to-slash-burn-london.html See also http://www.fbu.org.uk/newspress/pressrelease/2010/11_05.php

Swindon members step up strike action

UNISON members in in Swindon have escalated their eight week industrial action against the council's axing of extra pay for unsocial hours with a loss of up to £300 a month for some staff. They will now strike on Fridays as well as weekends to try to force a settlement.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Douglas Alexander: Make Cuts More Slowly

On Friday Douglas Alexander Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions let the cat out of the bag. Labour, he said, is broadly supportive of the plans for the phased reform of housing benefit and stressed support for stricter incapacity benefit tests. (www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/nov/05/douglas-alexander-labour-welfare

The shenanigans in court number one‏

There is a strange battle going on in court 1 at the High Court today as the BNP tries to convince the world that its membership rules are not racist. If it wins it will claim it has changed and is no longer extreme. If it loses then it faces possible bankruptcy, reports Hope Not Hate.

Compass Launches Commission on Executive Pay‏

An investigation into the escalating pay of boardroom bosses will be launched today as Barclays prepares to reveal that its investment banking arm has amassed a pay and bonus pot of at least £4bn this year.

Canadian Teachers and Council Workers Pension Funds Buy Up UK Rail Link‏

Next time you use the high speed rail link to Europe from St Pancras in London you will be putting money in the pockets of the retired teachers and council workers of Ontario Canada.

Bick pays tribute to Michael Foot‏

The Next Left blog carries a report of last night’s celebration of the life of late Labour leader Michael Foot. Former UNISON General Secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe was among those labour movement leaders past and present paying tribute: http://www.nextleft.org/2010/11/celebrating-michael-foot.html

Time for direct action to resist cuts – John Pilger‏

Leading journalist John Pilger calls for direct action and civil disobedience to resist decimation of public services in a hard hitting New Statesman article: http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2010/11/pilger-britain-british

Monday, 8 November 2010

Irish Congress calls pre-Budget demonstration on 27 November‏

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) is holding a major national demonstration in Dublin on Saturday 27th November in support of its demands for a better, fairer approach to the economic crisis and a firm focus on jobs, investment and growth. http://www.impact.ie/iopen24/-t-90_602.html

SUSPECT: Workfare proposals must be opposed by whole labour movement‏

On Thursday next Iain Duncan Smith, Con Dem work and pensions secretary, will announce in a White Paper his planned welfare benefits reforms and it is widely trailed that the long-term unemployed could be forced to carry out manual work to retain their benefits:  http://alturl.com/5woxp

Taunton protesters march against the cuts

Hundreds of angry demonstrators marched through Taunton on Saturady and attended a mass rally to protest against Somerset County Council’s proposed budget, which is set to slash £43 million from public services in the county with a loss of 1,500 jobs. As the sea of banners and placards of parties, trades councils and union organisations came through the town centre, local residents and Saturday shoppers clapped, cheered and waved to the marchers in support.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Graffiti Service by Peter Robinson‏

The aerosol boys have been at it again
making signature loops and swirls,
soccer boasts, names of girls