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

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Echo of War by Farida Samerkhanova

Three hundred and sixty five nights
Multiplied by twelve years,
Plus leap year nights,
Make thousands of nightmares.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Millions resist neo-liberalism in India

Over 50 million people are estimated to be taking part in protests all over India against the Government plans to open up the economy to multi national companies such as Wal Mart:
The strikes and protests called by the trade unions, the opposition party and the Communist Parties are in opposition to the government`s policy of allowing Global Retail firms to buy up to 51% of existing retail firms, essentially allowing them to take over the sector.

Austerity is widening the North South Divide

A recent Economist article highlighted the economic and social inequalities between Britain's regions. Although rooted in post-war deindustrialisation, the process is being compounded by austerity cuts in public spending. The Institute for Fiscal Studies, estimates that local authorities in the North must cut their spending by around 12%, compared with just 4.6% in the South East. IPPR, another think-tank, estimates that 86% of the government’s spending on big transport projects is in London.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

COSATU Congress focuses on economic & political transformation

The 11th Congress of the COSATU, South Africa's trade union centre, ends today in Braamfontein. The Congress was opened on Monday by COSATU President, Sidumo Dlamini, who gave a wide ranging address on global and national issues, placing the tragic events in Marikana in the context of a South Africa where '54% of the workers receive no regular wage increments or have their wages determined solely by their employers. Yet Capital has been calling for the need to decentralise or even abolish collective bargaining. The reality is that currently bargaining councils cover just 9% of the workforce, while only 23% of the workers` wages are negotiated directly through unions'

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Union Labour Link - Use it before you lose it

#lab12 Ahead of the Labour Party Conference, which starts on 30 September, Aslef General secretary Mick Whelan restates the case for the Union-Labour Link. Whelan argues that 'not only should trade unions encourage their members to join and play an active role in the Labour Party, but members of the Labour Party, including elected members, must be actively encouraged to join a trade union. Only in this way will the Labour Party remain a viable fighting machine and trade unions continue to make the voice of working people heard'. http://www.leftfutures.org/2012/09/keeping-the-link-labour-and-the-trade-unions/

The stigma of organised labour?

A Reuters article properly highlights that Western, post industrial societies have gone through structural economic changes - typically the closure of large sized, heavy production and manufacturing industries (which were heavily unionised) towards a mixture of service sectors with low wage and part time or temporary work patterns and hi tech industries, small in size but requiring professional type skills. Understandably this led to a reduction in union membership which most unions are trying to redress, in some cases placing less emphasis on collective organisation:

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Elitism returns to Education

In today’s Guardian Polly Toynbee wrestles with the concept that the chasm in the Tory Party is led by the on-going deception amongst the ranks that Cameron is somehow a soft Tory but the irony of his actions proves his right-wing credentials go beyond those of Thatcher. These credentials have been given an almighty boost by Gove’s sanctioned actions to return to an elitist examination system that will allow universities to cherry-pick perceived high performers at the expense of those children that learn better and differently through course based work.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Hope Not Hate Glasgow Founding Meeting 20 Sept

Get along to the STUC on 20 September at 7pm to join with UNISON, the GMB, STUC, Show Racism the Red Card and a range of other organisations and activists to launch a Greater Glasgow Hope Not Hate Group.

Rich pickings ahead for private sector as NHS is marketised

A health care market anaylsis, by business advisers Catalyst, identifies unprecedented growth opportunities for the private sector including running of GP surgeries and setting up of new community health clinics. "The introduction of GP commissioning and interest in healthcare models offering alternatives to hospital care will require a higher proportion of services to be delivered by the private sector. The markets for these services are estimated to be worth around £20bn" http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/sep/16/health-firms-nhs

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Massive Anti-Austerity protests in Spain and Portugal

Union-led national demonstrations took place yesterday in Madrid and Lisbon as hundreds of thousands of workers protested against austerity measures including pay cuts and increased taxes. "We want to say loud and clear to the government that we do not agree, that its policies cause too much damage, that we will not resign ourselves because there are alternatives," said Ignacio Toxo, leader of Spain’s CCOO union federation. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19611375

Lucania by Rocco Scotellaro

The screeching of crickets is always with me,
and the tinkling bell on the neck
of a restless goat.
I am bound by the wind
in weightless silver ribbons.
Up there, lost in the clouds’ shadows,
lies a Lucanian village, in its tiny fragments.