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

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Good enough for Tesco good enough for the LGPS

Tesco, one of the world's largest retailers, says it will manage its own pension fund - one of the largest final salary schemes in the UK - in order to maximise returns and become independent of consultants. The Financial Services Authority has given the retailer permission to start up Tesco Pension Investment: "We are building a high-calibre in-house team to help manage our growing scheme and reduce dependence on external providers," Lucy Neville-Rolfe, executive director of corporate and legal affairs at Tesco said yesterday: http://www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=97

I do not believe in silence by Clare Shaw

Because, tonight -
however I try - I cannot get downstairs
without waking my daughter
I do not believe in silence.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Debt, Deficit and Public Opinion

At UNISON North West Regional Council last Tuesday, Paul Nowak of the TUC gave a well received presentation on the challenges facing the labour movement. Paul highlighted a key contradiction in recent opinion survey in that most people thought austerity cuts were damaging the economy but at the same time most thought the cuts were required. This presents an interesting (and concerning) problem.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Mad, Bad and Dangerous: Queen’s Speech 2012

As a committed republican, and grand-daughter of committed republicans, (one RoI, the other ILP) I grew up regarding the pomp of the Queens Speech as little more than a particularly funny pantomime. Grampa H taught a fine contempt for the upper classes including wee Lizzie and Phil the Greek, encouraged the idea that the costumes and ceremony were ridiculous, and later introduced me to the thought that a hereditary monarch speaking on behalf of a democracy was ironic at the very least.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Message to Tory Right Wing - Go Boil Your Heads

In an act of collective indiscipline by Tory right wingers and mavericks, the ConservativeHome website is hosting a series of alternative policy ideas, an "Alternative Queen's Speech". Naturally, the reactionary prospectus includes a Union Members’ Bill – which calls for strike ballots to be unlawful unless turnout exceeds 50% and for an end to political levy payments based on union affiliation to the Labour Party.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Scottish unions lodge claim to break council pay freeze

UNISON, GMB and Unite are lodging a claim today for a £7.20 living wage and £1,000 flat rate rise in Scottish local government. Based on £500 for this year and last year, the unions say the claim is affordable. UNISON's Dougie Black said: “The lowest paid have been hit the hardest and while the cost of living has risen sharply, their pay has stayed the same. Families are already struggling to make ends meet and if their pay is frozen for a second year and costs remain high, whole families will be pushed further into poverty." http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/2012/mayjune/0805.htm

Monday, 7 May 2012

Five more years of rising unemployment

In most parts of austerity-riven UK, unemployment will continue to rise over the next five years. Job losses will be most acute in areas with high levels of public sector employment such as the North East, Scotland and Wales. The Centre for Economics and Business Research forecasts that the jobless rate could hit 10.7% by 2016: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17979559

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Labour Biggest Party in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Southampton...

Detailed analysis of the local election results can wait, but one obvious conclusion can be drawn from the headlines. What do Edinburgh, Birmingham and Southampton have in common, apart from being large cities with very different histories and economies? All three areas have been the scene of dedicated UNISON campaigning against the ravages of privatisation and cuts. Campaigns that have embraced both the workforce and the communities that they serve.

Gulls by Linda France

How a scarf shaken out
ripples, folds around itself
and whatever air it finds,
the gulls are flocking
over the Tyne.