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

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Amnesty protests at denial of union rights in Egypt

Fundamental union rights are being denied to Egyptian workers in a draft law which would make participating in protests and strikes that "hinder the work of public institutions or authorities during a state of emergency" illegal. http://amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=19366

Private sector pay deals lagging behind inflation

The much publicised and scandalous pay freeze in the public sector has obscured poor trends in pay settlements in the much larger private sector of the UK economy: http://www.lrd.org.uk/issue.php?pagid=1&issueid=1446

Retreat on 'enabling Council' in Tory-led Bury

Bury Council in the North West is now back pedalling on outsourcing plans with the Council’s Chief Executive claiming in a recent radio interview that everything was ‘on the table’ but there were no plans to simply outsource everything.  http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1416887_bury-council-in-u-turn-over-outsourcing-services

Hospitals by Angel Escobar

I saw Rimbaud roped to a bed
and the Paterprotagonist roping him down hard,
and his pajamas, letting him go, they roared and

Friday, 1 April 2011

Act now to save the NHS!

The government is imposing huge changes on the NHS. These plans, set out in the Health and Social Care Bill, will change our National Health Service beyond recognition. Patients and staff will be the losers. If you are concerned about these changes, please send a letter to your MP asking them to vote against this damaging piece of legislation that could break up our NHS for good. http://action.goingtowork.org.uk/

All together for the NHS

Today marks the launch of a concerted campaign to save the NHS. Building on last Saturday's national mobilisation against cuts, unions and NHS campaigners will be holding lobbies, marches and protests in opposition to the Con Dem Government's Health and Social Care Bill':

1st of May - a stay at home day?

The fight back for union rights in the US, triggered by the attack on collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, is generating new forms of struggle. Given the constraints and hurdles presented by UK anti-union laws, it is always worth taking on board more flexible options for mass action which can impact on employers.

Joint strike action against cuts in Tower Hamlets

Over 2000 members of UNISON and the National Union of Teachers mounted joint strike action in Tower Hamlets on Wednesday in protest at the Council’s refusal to guarantee no compulsory redundancies in a London Borough where £72m cuts will be made over the next 3 years.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Localism Bill - local in theory but central diktat in practice?

Mo Baines of APSE, writing for Public Service, ponders the implications of the Con Dem Localism Bill and warns of ‘localism being hijacked as a route to greater centralisation, with English councils no longer trusted to do what they do best – which is deliver some of the best public services in Europe’ http://www.publicservice.co.uk/feature_story.asp?id=16134

AV - the case against

Rather patronising the ‘Liberals’ within Compass wrote a report just before the last election claiming that unless Labour supported a move to some form of voting reform it would be dead in the water.

Cuts agenda is a brutal exercise of class power

“Our alternative starts from the needs of the victims of the crisis not the wishes of the perpetrators” said Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey when delivering the inaugural Jack Jones memorial lecture on Tuesday night.

Midwives' Vigil at Kingston last night

UNISON midwives and nurses at Kingston Hospital, Surrey held a candlelight vigil last (30th March 2011) to protest at the shortage of midwives at the hospital and to oppose the loss of 500 nursing and medical posts at the hospital. Nora Pearce UNISON Midwifery Convenor said, "UNISON is campaigning against the national shortage of midwives. We will be campaigning with local mothers to ensure Kingston hospital gets the resources it needs to continue a high quality service to mothers"

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Oil and Banking - why the west backs the 'Libyan rebels'

In the middle of a civil war the 'rebels' have had time to create a newoil company and a central bank! Their 'advisers' are no doubt the UK andothers to follow the model of banking and oil production that has been the basis of economic success for the elites in the West.

What kind of victory is this?

It came as no surprise that Eric Pickles announced, or rather slipped out on the DCLG website during the hullabaloo on budget day, the end of the Code of Practice on Workforce Matters.

Art from the March

Creative Review has pulled together some great photos of quirky placards from the 26 March rally. Click here. And click here for TUC photos, UNISON UK photos and video, and UNISON Scotland on Picasa

Bay of Pigs 50th anniversary meeting - 12 April 2011

Tuesday 12 April, 7pm, NUT Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H (Euston/Kings Cross tubes) with Comandante Victor Dreke Cruz, veteran of the Bay of Pigs victory, comrade of Che Guevara in the Congo and President of the Cuba-Africa Friendship Association Please circulate and see http://www.bayofpigs50.blogspot.com/  for more speakers, history, photographs and resources on the Bay of Pigs Contact CSC for flyers and more information

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

UNISON Active Analysis - It's time to go on the offensive

Saturday 26 March 2011 was a momentous day with estimates ranging from quarter to a half a million people taking to the streets of London to protest against this Government's austerity measures. The TUC March for an Alternative exceeded anticipation and expectation.

Labour floats reform of internal democracy

The Guardian reports on radical reforms in Labour Party democracy being advocated by Peter Hain MP. A move to extend voting rights in internal elections to labour supporters as well as members and affiliated union members could have mixed consequences for unions:

The decline in collective bargaining coverage

As part of its support for the US trade union movement's campaign todefend collective bargaining rights for public sector workers - the TUC has published an article by a US academic Prof William B Gould IV- which argues that 'collective bargaining is the essence ofdemocracy'. http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-19357-f0.cfm 

Tory NHS nightmare

John Lister gives a stark warning that the Health and Social Care Bill could kill off the NHS, Health Minister Lansley's 'dream for the NHS is every thinking person's nightmare. GP practice reception staff and secretaries would be replaced by remote, indifferent privatised callcentres.' http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/102784 

The long march against the cuts

Heather Wakefield, UNISON’s head of local government, writing for the Public Finance blog, reviews Saturday’s mammoth demonstration in London: ‘Carnival-like marches might win the short-term psychological battle, but they won’t win the political war. For sure, they keep spirits high, build solidarity and remind us that there are millions out there who want an end to Coalition cuts, but alone they are not enough. There is much more to do.’

Monday, 28 March 2011

Global wage trends: The great convergence?

Global trends since the economic crisis have shown a general decrease in real wage growth. In his Global Labour Column, Patrick Belser argues that there has been a long-term convergence in wages throughout the world, notwithstanding this decrease. http://column.global-labour-university.org/

Why women are feeling the pinch of the cuts

Clare Williams, UNISON's Northern Regional Convenor and NEC member was interviewed yesterday in the North East Sunday Sun about the impact of Con Dem austerity measures. The region is the hardest hit of English regions with women 'being hit the worst of all ' - potentially in breach of equalities legislation: http://bit.ly/eRkjOo

Dave Prentis speech at 26 March Hyde Park rally

For those who missed it - the powerful call to action of UNISON's General Secretary on video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhKhkkXAIok "Today is one day. Today is a magnificent day. Tomorrow we march on."

Sunday, 27 March 2011

What happens next?

Looking beyond yesterday's succesful national mobilisation, campaigner Amanda Tattersall writes on the Stronger Unions blog about the importance of unions building strong and sustained coalitions for political change. Several case studies of succesful campaigns are mentioned notably the 2005-7 “Your Rights at Work” campaign for union rights in Australia where local struggles were merged into a unified national campaign - in which unions spoke with one voice:  http://www.strongerunions.org/2011/03/24/what-happens-after-the-rally-four-ideas-for-strengthening-the-campaign-against-the-cuts/

Q & A on union rights in the US

The attack on the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers in Wisconsin has triggered a debate in the US media on union rights. Here Steven Greenhouse of the New York Times answers question from readers on the evolution and decline of trade unionism in the World's largest economy, where private sector union membership is perilously low at 7% of the workforce: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/answers-about-labor-laws-and-unions/

No Accounting for Waste by Mia Hart-Allison

The landfill site gapes capaciously,
indecent exposure defiling the hillside,
containing the same utter nullity as death
like the noose around a suicide’s neck.