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

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Resistance is growing in Colombia

Colombia bore witness to a remarkable uprising in recent weeks. Hundreds of thousands of small and medium scale farmers, miners, students, health workers, lorry drivers and teachers staged a national 'agrarian and popular strike' for almost three weeks, despite facing a military response by President Juan Manuel Santos' government which left at least twelve protestors dead and over 200 injured writes Patrick Kane of War on Want. The strike was the latest, and largest, in a wave of protests across different sectors which have engulfed the country this year. The unrest is only set to get deeper as the country's disastrous bilateral trade agreements increasingly impact upon a population already suffering two decades of neoliberal economic policies.

The Eemis Stane by Hugh MacDiarmid

I' the how-dumb-deid o' the cauld hairst nicht
The warl' like an eemis stane
Wags i' the lift;
An' my eerie memories fa'
Like a yowdendrift.

Like a yowdendrift so's I couldna read
The words cut oot i' the stane
Had the fug o' fame
An' history's hazelraw
No' yirdit thaim.

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Collins Review – a slippery slope leading unions to the margins of politics

The interim report by Lord Ray Collins on the Labour Party’s constitutional review has been rightly ridiculed for its schoolboy error claiming that ‘Margaret Thatcher’s government established a legal right to contract out of paying that (political) levy:’

Thursday, 19 September 2013

UNISON backs annual Miami Five vigil

A large UNISON contingent supported the Cuba Solidarity Campaign's rally and vigil in support of the Miami Five outside the US Embassy in London on Tuesday night. A number of union leaders from Britain and the US were present, including UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis and UNISON international committee Chair Jean Butcher. All backed the world wide call for justice for the Five and the release of the four remaining political prisoners who have spent 15 years in jail:

Stop privatisation of probation services

UNISON and other probation unions are organising lunchtime protests today throughout England and Wales in opposition to Government plans to hive off over 70% of probation services to the private sector. 35 existing regional probation trusts will be replaced by 21 government companies which will tender out the work of supervising more than 200,000 offenders each year considered to present low or medium risk:
   Locations of today’s protests can be obtained from UNISON regional offices and an on-line Parliamentary petition opposing privatisation can be signed at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44403

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Challenging prejudice, promoting equality

A new version of the TUC’s comprehensive guide to combating homophobia at work has been published. ‘LGBT Equality at Work’, provides legal tips for challenging harassment at work and practical advice on how unions can best represent their LGBT members.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Private sector investment strike continues

The UK’s biggest companies have increased the piles of cash on their balance sheets by more than £40bn since the start of the financial crisis - enough to cut the UK’s annual deficit by a third - reports City AM:

NHS - The Road to Privatisation. Say NO on 29 September

#NHS299 Check out this superb campaigning video made in response to the Government's continued programme of cuts and privatisation of the NHS. It includes a call to march to save the NHS at the Tory Party conference on Sunday 29 September 2013 in Manchester

Monday, 16 September 2013

Video - Cuba young trade unionists speak at CSC fringe @ TUC Congress

Young Cuban trade unionists Yamil Eduardo and Yudith Camps spoke at this year's Cuba Solidarity Campaign Fringe at TUC Congress. They were part sponsored on their visit to the UK by the Ken Gill Memorial Fund. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufrKPAzIWT0&feature=youtu.be

The battle for the economic narrative

‘Framing the Economy’ is a great piece of work by the New Economics Foundation providing essential ammunition in the battle to wrestle back the economic narrative from the proponents of austerity. Seven alternative critiques of austerity are identified ranging from a 'casino economy' to austerity as 'a smokescreen' for a neo liberal attack on public services and the welfare state. The authors conclude that for opponents of austerity to win over public opinion, an alternative narrative is not enough in itself, we will need to be 'more coordinated, responsive to public opinion and find more credible messengers’

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Being Osborne-lite won’t work for Labour

Despite the slowest UK economic recovery for more than a century and overwhelming evidence of the failure of austerity policies, the Tory lie machine has dominated the political narrative, writes David Blanchflower in the New Statesman. He calls for bolder economic policies from Labour - ‘being Osborne-lite won’t work. So many people are hurting and need some hope. Coming up with credible plans to raise real wages, create jobs and reduce youth unemployment looks like the way forward’

Cable Cars by Shigeji Tsuboi

Deep at the bottom of a precipice
a swift stream intensely blue goes bubbling by,
in the unlimited sky beyond
a cable car moves along
burdened by a load that is heavy
and unseen by eyes.