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

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Austerity & Debt - a CLASS analysis

A new publication from the CLASS think tank tackles head on the lies used by the Con Dem government to justify its catastrophic austerity policies.

As the 2015 general election approaches, the pamphlet provides essential ammunition to combat the economic distortions and myths peddled by the Tories, Liberal Democrats and their media mouthpieces. Essential reading for all trade unionists

Europe’s shame by Günter Grass

Close to chaos, because the market is not just,
you’re far away from the country which was your cradle.
What was searched and found with one’s soul,
is now considered to be as worthless as scrap metal.
As a debtor put naked on the pillory, a ,
about which you used to say you were grateful, suffers.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Happy Lands - out now on DVD

In these days of Hollywood blockbusters with mega publicity budgets and associated merchandising, geared more to the needs of the film companies than the audiences, it’s refreshing to come across a film like The Happy Lands. And very unusual. It’s rare to come across a film about the 1926 General Strike, far less one filmed professionally with a £1m+ budget.
    But what makes The Happy Lands special in this story of a Fife mining community’s response to austerity and adversity is that:

• All the actors are local people

Misdiagnosed labour pains

The Economist has highlighted the continued drop in the `labour share’ of national income around the world - a drop from 66% to 62% - and it is going to continue to curve down according to the OECD. This is consistent with a decline in union power across the world and the continued race to the bottom between global companies. But the house journal of big business presents this as a natural and unavoidable state of the world economy. It claims it is down to immigrant labour, to technology and to deregulation:

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Jack Jones' Annual Lecture

On 14 November (6PM) the National Pensioners’ Education & Welfare Centre will be holding the Jack Jones’ annual lecture in Unite head office, Holborn, London. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady will address ‘The Challenges We Face’ in the centenary year of Jack Jones’ birth. There will be time for questions and discussion.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Hurricane Austerity hits community & voluntary sector

New research by UNISON highlights the devastating effect of cuts in council budgets on community and voluntary organisations – both vulnerable clients and workers in the sector are bearing the brunt of cuts which have removed 20% of spending from adult social care since 2010:

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Off with her head

Even Thatcher refused to sell off the Queens head but no such monarchic reverence was shown by Cameron. The very British disease of privatisation left the Royal Mail headless and up to £6 billion lost to the public purse in the disastrous sell off. In this excellent analysis on the Open Democracy website the international failure of privatisation is laid open but shows that only in Britain are politicians, the public, and the trade unions, inept in challenging the privatisation machinery that supports the asset stripping of the public sector and lines the pockets of the elite.
Anna Rose

20 years of failed rail privatisation

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Act that privatised our railways. 'That’s 20 years of privatisation that has failed on all of its promises. Fares have rocketed, public subsidy more than doubled and there has been little in the way of new private investment', says Action for Rail - People Before Profit: http://actionforrail.org/public-ownership-for-our-railways-end-20-years-of-failed-privatisation/#sthash.NK58ihIr.dpuf
The campaign involving the TUC, ASLEF, RMT, TSSA and Unite will be out at rail stations today putting the message across and urging people to email their MP to support Early Day Motion 419 in support of publicly owned railways. There is also a campaign video at http://campaign.actionforrail.org/page/content/actionforrailfilm

Monday, 4 November 2013

Time to strengthen links between Labour & Unions

All Labour Party organisations have been invited to make submissions by 24 December 2013 to the Lord Collins led review 'Building a One Nation Labour Party' which is examining the relationship of the Party and affilated organisations and other secondary constitutional issues.
    The Defend the Link Campaign has published a useful summary of model responses to the review with the aim of increasing individual membership and participation of trade unionists in the Labour Party without weakening the collective affiliation of millions workers via their trade unions.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

You Cannot Trust The Tories With The NHS

Co-op Bank – from ‘supermutual’ to carcass for vulture funds

Many in the labour movement were dismayed by the recent news that the Co-op Group had lost control of the Co-operative Bank – the bank of choice for generations of trade unionists and the joint owner with a consortium of trade unions (including UNISON) of the Unity Trust Bank. A disturbing report in today’s Sunday Telegraph claims that 70% of the bank’s equity will be controlled by a group of private equity funds (including so called vulture funds) and 1,000 redundancies are in the pipeline - 10% of the bank’s workforce. How and why has this happened? Daniel Tischer writing in Red Pepper unlocks the background to this salutary tale of the vulnerability of the mutual model in the capitalist market place:

A letter to the playground bully, by Andrea, age 8½

maybe there are cartwheels in your mouth
maybe your words will grow up to be a gymnasts
maybe you have been kicking people with them by accident
I know some people get a whole lot of rocking in the rocking chair
and the ones who don’t sometimes get rocks in their voice boxes,
and their voice boxes become slingshots.
maybe you think my heart looks like a baby squirrel.
but you absolutely missed when you told the class I have head lice