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

Saturday, 4 August 2012

'Big Society' Volunteering & Job Substitution

As austerity cuts kick in, an article in this week's Economist magazine highlights a rise in the number of volunteers running public services, notably in libraries where 'the number of volunteer librarians has increased by over 70% in five years, to 21,642 in 2011'.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires by Jane Shay Wald

A cemetery in the middle
Of the city, big and little

Crypts above-ground, on their roofs
Angels drive out spirit hooves

Of Satan while the lowest carving
Cost the bread of hundreds starving

Friday, 3 August 2012

The Happy Lands - "something remarkable"

The Happy Lands is a film about the 1926 General Strike in Fife. Interesting, but so what? Well what makes this film unique is that the actors are all local people (including UNISON members), the script was written by local people, and even the film sets were built by local people - all under the direction of Theatre Workshop Scotland. A taste of what's been achieved can be seen in the trailer https://vimeo.com/42118987

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Killer arguments against austerity

#Oct20 The TUC has published a useful pamphlet to assist with mobilising for the October 20 national demonstration. 'Austerity is failing. We need a future that works' provides a clear explanation of the deficit, public debt and the economic alternatives to Con Dem austerity measures:

Gore Vidal: Radical alternative voice

The death of Gore Vidal on Tuesday leaves the USA much poorer with the loss of a radical alternative political voice - one prepared to take on the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the American establishment. Best known as a novelist and a playwright, Vidal was at his best in his dissection of the American political classes and their pretensions.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A crime against culture and learning - the Con Dem decimation of Libraries

New research by @publiclibnews (Public Libraries News) has revealed that over 150 libraries have been closed or put into the hands of volunteers in the past year because of public spending cuts with a further 225 at risk of closure:

UK Nurses - From Showcase to Exploitation

The dynamic and progressive celebration of British social history that was the Olympics Opening Ceremony included a powerful reminder to the world that this country still really values the NHS and its universal service - personified in all our minds by the nurses who care for us. Whilst Polly Toynbee writing in the Guardian strikes the right note about the celebration, we all still recognised a source of our pride. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/30/danny-boyle-olympics-ceremony-partial-history  It means we are not America with its profit driven health care system brilliantly exposed by Michael Moore in Sicko.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

UNISON LGPS 2014 ballot - Vote YES

UNISON’s membership ballot on the proposals for the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) for members in England and Wales opens today (and runs until 24 August). There is an overwhelming case for a YES vote.

The Government’s initial proposals were seeking to impose a 3.2% increase in contributions, a defined contribution scheme, a worse accrual rate, no protection and no right to remain in the LGPS if transferred to an external service provider. UNISON negotiators secured concessions on all of these issues following our industrial action ballot and the 30 November day of action (since when the status quo has been applied for LGPS members uniquely across the 4 public sector schemes):

Monday, 30 July 2012

Construction blacklisting scandal dwarfs Levenson issues

86 blacklisted building workers have launched a legal claim against the Sir Robert McAlpine construction company for conspiring with other firms to keep them out of work. Overall 3,400 workers were logged in the files of the so called Consulting Association, an organisation paid by dozens of construction firms to secretly collate industrial and political information on trade union and safety representatives. Nick Cohen, writing in yesterday’s Observer, contrasts the media silence on this ‘graver’ scandal with the wall to wall coverage of the newspaper phone hacking affair:

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Bicycling for Ladies by John Burnside

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.
H. G. Wells

Factory Girls

after talking to Sylvia and other speakers I thought

that here is something I can dedicate myself to help

in some way to put things right

Nellie Cressall