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

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Employment Tribunals & Fees - law of diminishing claims

Fees were introduced for employment tribunals from 29 July 2013 and already there has been a dramatic impact on the numbers of individual and group claims lodged. UNISON's judicial review challenge to the legality of the fees on equalities and other grounds will be heard at the High Court next week (22/23 October) and is of vital importance to the defence of workplace justice:

Here's My Pitch by Jackie Kay

Let Arthur Wharton come back from the dead
To see the man in black blow the final whistle.
Let the game of two halves be beautiful,
Not years ahead. Let every kissing of the badge,
Every cultured pass, every lad and lass,
Every uttered thought, every chant and rant,
Every strip and stripe – be free of it.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The relentless march of ‘for profit’ universities

A brilliant article on the LRB website charts the relentless march of private capital and ‘for profit’ universities in the UK’s higher education sector – ‘future historians, pondering changes in British society from the 1980s onwards, will struggle to account for the following curious fact.
   Although British business enterprises have an extremely mixed record (frequently posting gigantic losses, mostly failing to match overseas competitors, scarcely benefiting the weaker groups in society), and although such arm’s length public institutions as museums and galleries, the BBC and the universities have by and large a very good record (universally acknowledged creativity, streets ahead of most of their international peers, positive forces for human development and social cohesion), nonetheless over the past three decades politicians have repeatedly attempted to force the second set of institutions to change so that they more closely resemble the first’

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Call for G4S to pull out of contracts in Israel & occupied Palestine

UNISON is backing the call for G4S to end commercial activity in Israel and Palestine. The British-Danish private security firm provides services and equipment to Israeli prisons, checkpoints, the Apartheid Wall and the Israeli police. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is co-ordinating opposition to G4S including lobbying of the company's AGM and running leverage campaigns targeting G4S clients such as the BBC:

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

UCU, UNISON and Unite call HE pay strike for 31 October - mobilise to end pay restraint

Industrial action ballots in UCU, UNISON and Unite have all resulted in votes for strike action in higher education following the overwhelming rejection of a 1% pay offer from University employers. UNISON's HE service group executive meeting on Monday endorsed strike action and, following approval by the NEC's Industrial Action Committee, it has been confirmed that a united day of strike action will be held on Thursday 31 October 2013:

Local Government - time for employers to walk the walk on low pay

#njcpay2014 Local government NJC Unions unanimously agreed the 2014/15 pay claim yesterday (for submission to the employers next week) and will be seeking a minimum increase of £1 an hour on scale point 5 to achieve the living wage and the same flat rate increase on all other scale points. If cross party support for the living wage principle is to have any meaning and the joint union commitment to ending low pay in local government is to have any credibility then 2014 must be the year when an increase in excess of the 1% Con Dem pay cap is secured.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Labour's embrace of 'parent-led' academies is a retrograde step

This is what happens when you put public school boys in charge of policies they have no concept of understanding. As a product of University College School Tristram’s view of the world is clouded by an idealistic education that so called independent ‘parent led’ schools will not and do not now replicate. Will it be the parents of children from households where no one is working, living on a sprawling council estate that will get together to form parent led independent schools or it will be the sharp-elbowed middle-classes sucking the life blood from scarce local resources that take up this so called offer of support? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24510283

Goldberg opens World Justice Festival

#ewjf2013 The planet's only World Justice Festival was launched in Edinburgh at the weekend by Denis Goldberg who spent 22 years in prison after being convicted with Nelson Mandela in 1964.
   The festival kicked off with a session on ‘World Justice and Austerity’ and will be followed this week with a of unique programme of 21 events. The seventh festival presents a window on to the world justice movement through a two week series of talks, films, concerts, workshops, a walking tours and many other events. http://www.ewjf.org.uk/

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Unions stand together against fascism

Over 5,000 anti fascists marched through Liverpool yesterday in a show of strength against racism and fascism. Hundreds of UNISON members joined the demonstration and riverside rally at the Pier Head. Roger McKenzie (UNISON Assistant General Secretary) spoke alongside Joe Anderson (Mayor of Liverpool), Len McCluskey (Unite), Christine Blower (NUT), Billy Hayes (CWU), Mohammad Taj (TUC President), Paul Nowak (TUC) and speakers from anti fascist and community organisations.

Roger McKenzie
A unifying message of the march was the importance of removing Nick Griffin as a North West representative in next year’s European Parliament elections:

Crawlin on Em’tee by Mike Jenkins

Now I know wha-a Big Society is really,
it’s like a ewge ole in-a stomachs
of my small famlee.

My two kids, Jade an Shania,
I carn afford t feed em no more,
school olidays ‘re worse ‘an ever.