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

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Tory MP fails again in personal crusade against the Minimum Wage

Senior Conservative MP Christopher Chope yesterday withdrew his Minimum Wage (Amendment) Bill from business in the Commons after being told the Government would oppose it, abandoning (for the time being) an effort to give some employers the right to pay below the minimum wage.

Public sector pay strikes in Germany

Ver.di, the German public service union, has mounted a series of one day ‘token strikes’ in support of a 3% pay rise for members employed by regional governments. Pay talks had stalled on 25 February when the employers refused to present an offer.

Insanity, Meet Vanity/Free the New Jersey 4! by Aaron McAuliffe

Now, I’m coming from a different perspective where I know you and I don’t care
About the resolution, there’s no solution
15 million attempted suicides a day couldn’t keep us away
from that Facebook page – Heeeeeey!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Butcher Pickles serves up empty rhetoric

In the past week Council’s across the country, ravaged by Con Dem austerity measures, have been making budget cuts with devastating implications for services and jobs. Tory Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is widely reviled across the local government political spectrum for his abysmal failure to stand up to Treasury cuts.

If the ILO didn't exist we would have to invent it

In a week where the UK Tory Government cut funding to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), UNISON hosted a seminar on its role in protecting labour rights and decent work with particular reference to public services:  http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-19251-f0.cfm

Balloting - massive legal victory for rail unions

The Mirror reports that the Court of Appeal has allowed appeals by ASLEF and the RMT, which both had planned industrial action blocked in recent weeks by legal challenges.

Consultation sham as Con Dems move to scrap Fair Deal on Pensions

Yesterday marked the commencement of a Government consultation on the scrapping of pension protection for workers who are subject to forced transfer from public to private sector employment. The consultation closes on 15 June 2011:  http://www.info4local.gov.uk/documents/consultations/1856577

Thursday, 3 March 2011

UNISONActive Analysis: Public Services - In defence of the state

A much anticipated white paper on public sector reform has been trailed by Cameron as a necessary means to break down what he describes as ‘state monopoly’.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Myths rally to attack national bargaining

Attacks on national bargaining are not new. Neither are myth-peddling and selective statistics to whip up hysteria against public service workers. But to see both so transparently together in a self-contradicting liberal think tank paper would be entertaining if it were not so dangerously dressed up as academic analysis.

The Governor Tells The Truth - Banks Are To Blame - But We Take The Pain

Finally the truth is out and straight out of the horses mouth, the Bank of England Governor Mervyn King... the man meant to be in charge of the UK economy! "The price of this financial crisis is being borne by people who absolutely did not cause it, now is the period when the cost is being paid, I'm surprised that the degree of public anger has not been greater than it has."

Grim Resolution for new financial year

The Commission on Living Standards launched by the Resolution Foundation this week will address negative long-term economic trends, from wages to working patterns, which are eroding the quality of life for workers on low-to-middle incomes. This situation is compounded by the tax increases and benefit cuts which will adversely affect millions of UK citizens from 5 April:

Inside Job Wins Oscar for Best Documentary

Inside Job, a searing assault on the banking industry and its role in the financial meltdown of 2008, has won the ultimate accolade from the film world: the Oscar for best documentary.

Americans Don't Hate Unions - Paul Krugman

New York Times writer Paul Krugman reflects on a NYT survey which indicates that two thirds of those polled oppose attacks on the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions. This is a welcome antidote to academic and media propaganda that trade unions have outlived their usefulness: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/americans-dont-hate-unions/

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

UNISON members win in Richmond

School meals workers employed by giant multi national Sodexo won a tremendous victory over sick pay and hourly rates. Working in Richmond schools the workers - mainly women - began the campaign in small numbers. Their campaign eventually won the support of Ed Miliband who used their fight as an example (in his Leadership acceptance speech) of how workers were exploited and needed a union to help them in their hour of need. Ken Livingston also attended their campaign meetings to offer his support for their campaign.

Monday, 28 February 2011

UNISON New HQ - 'Strike Central’? Let’s hope so!

Yesterday’s Mail on Sunday botched an attempted hatchet job on UNISON. Its hysterical report on the new UNISON head office provided a mere fragment of the information which has been available to UNISON members on the union's own website for several years: http://www.unison.org.uk/newcentre/

Fight against NHS cuts is 'trench warfare'

As another NHS Trust – this time Pennine Acute Care in North Manchester – announces up to 1,000 job losses, Frank Hont North West regional secretary of UNISON has warned union members not to be pressurised into accepting poorer terms and conditions in the face of deliberately ramped up jobs threats: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/101631

At last Labour gets it - wages freeze leads to declining living standards

In a well trailed speech, Labour leader Ed Miliband today will warn of a "cost of living crisis" hitting low and middle-earners.

Financial speculators driving up food prices

“What for a poor man is a crust, for a rich man is a securitized asset class.” – Futures trader Ann Berg, quoted in the Guardian, A debate on what is causing more of the world's population to drop into poverty is needed urgently in order to understand its cause and cure.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

FT publishes anti democratic case for outlawing public sector unions

In modern history, there has never been a lack of academics and/or journalists willing to provide an intellectual justification for the denial of basic democratic rights to working people.

Getting in Touch with our Feminine Sides by Tim Turnbull

It's morning and it's just the two of us
in the Transit crew-bus, driving out to work,
past dew-hung spruce, in this neck of the woods.
The floor is strewn