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

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Mirror highlights victimisation of NHS Union Reps

Victimisation of union reps during and in the immediate aftermath of industrial disputes is not unusual. But it's rare that a mass circulation national tabloid puts the case of the trade unionists. Paul Routledge writing in the Mirror exposes the anti union actions of management at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, where UNISON members are taking industrial action to resist pay cuts:

The Coin by Christopher Reid

Being dead, I was ready for
the journey. They put a coin,
one obol, the standard fare,
under my tongue – now still,
but not yet cold.

Friday, 17 May 2013

The privatisation of education in Chile – a failed neoliberal experiment

Chile has the most expensive higher education in the world. Per student, the country spends less than any other, and the student spends more. The Boston Review reports on the rampant expansion of for-profit education in Chile over the past four decades and the student protests which are starting to turn the tide of public opinion against educational profiteering:

Thursday, 16 May 2013

In defence of universal health care

The latest in a series of reports examining the 'Social State' has been published by the CLASS think tank. David Price and Professor Allyson Pollock examine the assault on universal health care across Europe where health service budgets are being cut in order to deal with debts created by the banking crisis. The report poses the question why the NHS cannot be sustained today when the UK was able to create it when the country was bankrupt in the immediate aftermath of the second world war:

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Deregulation & privatisation are entrenched in the EU

The modern European Union has given ‘a failed neoliberal model of capitalism the force of treaty, entrenching deregulation and privatisation and enforcing corporate power over employment rights’ writes Seumas Milne in the Guardian. It may be the case that EU withdrawal on the terms of the Tory right would lead to a (worsening of the) ‘carnival of reaction’ yet the default position of the labour movement should not be support for the status quo. As Milne points out, the EU's ‘profoundly undemocratic and dysfunctional structures have been brutally exposed by the eurozone crisis and the devastation wreaked by Troika-imposed austerity.’

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Mandy & Unions - The pot calling the kettle black

'It takes quite a lot of gall to be accusing the unions of trying to fix Labour parliamentary selections when you yourself have been engaged on doing exactly that for the last 20 years' writes Michael Meacher about Peter Mandelson's complaint that unions are exercising too much influence on Labour Party candidate selection processes:

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Boy Who Cried Wolf & Union Bogeymen

Twice disgraced former Labour Cabinet Minister Peter Mandelson used this weekend’s Progress conference to create false alarm about union influence in Labour Parliamentary and MEP candidate selection.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Union branches – adapting to survive

The local branch is the cornerstone of union organisation and usually the basic unit of decision making in a union’s democracy. In late 2012, LRD conducted a survey of 350 union branches across 15 UK national unions. The findings report on how branches are coping with austerity, employer fragmentation and in many cases membership decline, although a third say membership has increased in the past 5 years. The LRD articles about the survey are now available on line:

Song (2) by Edwin Rolfe

Keep the dream alive and growing always.
You will have far to go to find
substitute visions for the one you hold
living, newly born, warm in your cupped hand.
Infant, it needs protection: warmth against cold,
the finger-barrier to ward off wind,
the closed palm against rain and snow,
the eye to see and the nourishing will.