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

Saturday, 22 February 2014

STUC independence study everyone should read

The Herald newspaper has, well, heralded the STUC's 'A Just Scotland' comprehensive analysis of the key referendum issues. http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/union-study-on-union-everyone-should-read.23486896
    "It bypasses the entrenched positions, debunks the overblown rhetoric and provides a realistic assessment of various possible outcomes following a Yes or No vote", writes political editor Magnus Gardham. "Refreshingly, it comes at the whole question of independence with a genuinely open mind."
   On social justice, currency, Europe and economic policy, the Herald says the report "doesn't make entirely happy reading for either side. That alone should be enough to commend it to all open-minded, undecided or downright confused voters."
See the full report at http://www.stuc.org.uk/news/1053/stuc-publish-second-just-scotland-report

New campaign to tackle 'endemic homophobia' in UK workplaces

A joint study of more than 1200 workers by Manchester Business School and Plymouth University has found that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) workers are twice as likely to experience bullying in the workplace as their heterosexual colleagues. It found that one in 10 of those who described themselves as LGB had been discriminated against in the past year, compared to one in 20 heterosexuals. Last month Stonewall launched a national campaign to tackle endemic levels of homophobia in Britain’s workplaces. Featuring two people at work, the campaign states clearly that: ‘One is gay. If that bothers people, our work continues’.

Be prepared by William Letford

wear three T-shirts and one hooded top
layers are important
they can always come off
remember your oilskins
it's always raining somewhere
wear a scarf
cold air moves down from the neck

Friday, 21 February 2014

Care workers must be paid for travel time

UNISON has welcomed a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision – which confirmed that under the National Minimum Wage (NMW), hourly-paid care workers must be paid the NMW, both for travel time between assignments and also for time spent sleeping on overnight stays - as setting a “very clear benchmark” for what is expected of employers in the care sector. This is a massive boost for UNISON’s campaign in support of an ethical care charter which is attracting growing support from councils across the UK:

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Where are the unions in the independence debate?

As the Scottish TUC publishes its second 'A Just Scotland' report today, the Scotsman newspaper queries why both sides of the independence debate seem so far to have failed to woo the unions on their social justice agenda. http://www.scotsman.com/news/andrew-whitaker-the-referendum-and-the-union-vote-1-3312820
   While it is the case that public pronouncements from both camps have been thin on the ground, there is no doubt that there is behind the scenes nudging and winking about how each settlement would best serve workers' interests. Nevertheless, the article is right in its main thrust that most of the effort seems to be going into getting big business and celebrities on board.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

UNISON survey reveals Scotland’s care crisis

Workers tell the human stories behind the cuts as a UNISON survey exposes the shocking reality of Scotland's care services.
   “It’s getting worse. I don't know where its going to end, no one cares about the patient or client anymore”, one worker told the 'Scotland: It’s Time to Care' survey which was published today.
  Another warned: "“Clients are losing out, care is not given properly, clients are missed out or forgotten about, no one cares or listens to staff or clients.”
  Poignantly one worker said “I feel worthless.” If that is how they feel, what about the people they are desperately trying to care for?

Campaigning for Palestine - A trade union conference

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is organising a conference for delegates from trade unions, sponsored by the TUC, on Saturday 5 April. It will hear about the latest developments from speakers, including trade unionists, from Palestine and from the trade union and solidarity movement in Britain. It will take place at the TUC, Congress House, Great Russell St, London WC1B 3LS

Monday, 17 February 2014

Time to stand firm on local government pay

#njcpay2014 Last Friday, the Local Government Employers excelled themselves by cancelling a meeting with the Joint Secretaries to make this year’s pay offer for local government and school support workers. With 1 April as the date for a pay rise, they suggested a meeting on 1 May, after the announcement of the new National Minimum Wage (NMW), which takes effect from October! They also hinted at a 1% pay ‘envelope’, from which they would have to pay the NMW before thinking about a rise for anyone above the lowest pay point!

US Union Organising Drive stalls at Volkswagen Plant

Much glee is in evidence on the Republican right over the ballot result on union recognition in the VW plant in Tennessee. There the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) had look set to win a ballot of the workforce in favour of a recognised trade union, alongside a European style works council. After a ferocious campaign by local Republican politicians the workers voted by a close majority not to have a union, the UAW losing the vote by 626 votes for and 712 against. This was to be a show piece battle for how the UAW was going to unionise car plants across the traditional redneck deep south, but the result has led to serious questions about the organising campaign US style.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Israeli Apartheid Week 2014

‘The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa’ says Naomi Klein in a new trailer for Israeli Apartheid Week - an international series of events that seeks to raise awareness about Israel's apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The rare gift by Kiki Dimoula

New theories.
You should not leave children to cry.
Take them in your arms immediately. Otherwise
the feeling of abandonment undergoes
premature growth
their child trauma comes of age abnormally
grows teeth hair nails crooked knives.