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

Saturday, 3 August 2013

National Archives reveal parallels between Thatcher era anti union strategies & Miliband proposals

Documents released this week by the National Archives revealed a 1982 Tory paper on trade union reform which has an uncanny similarity to Ed Miliband’s proposed changes to the Union labour link. Leading Thatcherite strategist, Ferdinand Mount, then head of the Number 10 policy unit, set out a Government objective for the year 2000 of “a trade union movement much reduced in size” but added that the Conservative Party also wanted "a trade union movement whose exclusive relationship with the Labour Party is reduced out of all recognition... it is absurd and unjust that millions of Conservatives, Liberals and Social Democrats should be supporting the Labour Party directly or indirectly.”

Heroes by Gary Corseri

Do not call them “heroes”

if they have done your killing for you.
Say that they have done your bidding;
say they were your “soldiers.”

Friday, 2 August 2013

Collective affiliation is a historic principle of continuing contemporary importance

Politics for the political elite may have gone into six weeks of care and maintenance mode but life goes on. So too does the debate about the future of the Union Labour link despite defeatist mutterings of some in the trade union movement who believe that concessions must be made to Ed Miliband because it would be unthinkable for him to 'lose face.' Anyone harbouring such thoughts would do well to read Keith Ewing's powerful article in today's Morning Star - 'Miliband appears to have bought the Tory line on trade union "bosses" hook, line and sinker. Had he any experience of the movement he purports to lead he would have known that his proposals are not in the gift of general secretaries to deliver. Trade unions are democratic organisations, in which, unlike the Labour Party, the views of members cannot be casually denied.'  

50 years on from the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom

The SEIU has produced a video to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington - best known for the "I Have a Dream" speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr - which highlights the ongoing fight for social justice in the USA:

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Drinks lobby, tobacco lobby and now the car lobby run rings around the Tories

After the Government’s abandonment of minimum drinks prices and restrictions on tobacco advertising following effective lobbying by cash rich industry lobbies, today we have Local Government Minister Eric Pickles responding like Pavlov’s Dog to RAC Foundation criticism of local authorities for enforcing their own democratically agreed parking regulations and services: "This profit shows why we need to review and rein in unfair town hall parking rules. Councils aren't listening, and local shops and hard-working families are suffering as a result. The law is clear that parking is not a tax or cash cow for town hall officers." In a week when his Government has introduced ET fees which will rake them in tens of millions from low paid workers, this is rank hypocrisy from Pickles:

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

What the frack is he talking about?

‘Let them eat cake’ are the words attributed to a spoilt French princess who on learning that the peasants had no bread suggested brioche instead - as opposed to ordinary bread, Brioche was enriched with butter and reflected the princess's ignorance of the plight of the peasants.

Minimum Wage or Living Wage? Time to close the gap

Professor George Bain, who was the first chair of the Low Pay Commission, is quoted in the Independent as saying that the national minimum wage is 'no longer working' because its value has fallen as increases have consistently been outstripped by inflation.
    A similar case was made in more trenchant terms on this blog back in December 2010 by former UNISON General Secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

September 29 – Stand up to the Tory Anti-NHS Lie Machine

‘The Tories and their camp followers invented 13,000 hospital deaths in hospitals ahead of a report by NHS chief Bruce Keogh. The figure was a complete fabrication, denounced by a mystified and angry Keogh. Cameron and Hunt are taking people for fools. The NHS remains the nearest we have to a national religion. The backlash when it comes, and it will, is going to be ferocious’ wrote Kevin Maguire in yesterday’s Mirror: http://www.mirror.co.uk/opinion/news-opinion/kevin-maguire-david-cameron-smears-2100255

The Living Wage to underpin pay structures in Local Government – an idea whose time has come

The political consensus which supports the Living Wage in principle is not reflected in the numbers of workers who benefit from that measure – only 45,000 out of 5 million low paid workers according to a Resolution Foundation report ’Beyond the Bottom Line’ published in January. How can momentum be stepped up to ensure a critical mass is achieved for the Living Wage? How can public sector employers lead the way, not only locally but in national pay structures?

Monday, 29 July 2013

Wheel of justice goes full circle as Tribunals outlive usefulness for employers and the state

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady speaks for all trade unionists in condemning the introduction of expensive fees for access to Employment Tribunals: “Today is a great day for Britain’s worst bosses. By charging upfront fees for harassment and abuse claims the government is making it easier for employers to get away with the most appalling behaviour. These reforms are part of a wider campaign to get rid of workers’ basic rights at work. Its only achievement will be to price vulnerable people out of justice.”

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Defend the Union Labour Link

A new campaign has been launched to defend the trade union Labour link in response to the Collins review which will make recommendations on a new relationship between the Labour Party and members of affiliated organisations. The campaign will hold its first meeting at 7PM on 3rd September at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London with speakers including Manuel Cortes General Secretary of railway union TSSA and Professor Keith Ewing, leading expert on UK political party finance and independent adviser to the Kelly Commission on the funding of political parties:

As by Paul Muldoon

As naught gives way to aught
and oxhide gives way to chain mail
and byrnie gives way to battle-ax
and Cavalier gives way to Roundhead
and Cromwell Road gives way to the Connaught
and I Am Curious (Yellow) gives way to I Am Curious (Blue)
and barrelhouse gives way to Frank’N’Stein
and a pint of Shelley plain to a pint of India Pale Ale   
I give way to you.