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

Saturday, 17 November 2012

General Strike call – a premature proposition?

This week saw general strikes in several European countries which represented a powerful trade union response to austerity, finding its most militant expression in Greece where over 20 national stoppages have been called in the last two years. A demand for similar action has surfaced in Britain in recent months and the TUC is reviewing the practicalities of a general strike within the straitjacket of UK labour law. An effective national strike across the whole economy is desirable but not a serious runner in the short term according to Professor Gregor Gall in examining the whys and wherefores of such action: ‘What would make the holding of a general strike much more probable and potent would be if the general level of strike activity was much higher. If there was then there would a more palpable sense that a general strike came out of and feed back into a rising level of more confident struggle by workers where their sectional and class consciousnesses were of a higher order’

In Hell by Najwan Darwish

In the thirties of the past century
it occurred to the Nazis
to put their victims in gas chambers
Today’s executioners are more professional:
They put the gas chambers
in their victims.

To Hell, 2010
To Hell, you occupiers, you and all your progeny
And may all mankind go to Hell if it looks like you
May the boats and the planes, the banks and the billboards all go to Hell
I scream, “To Hell . . .”
knowing full well that I
am the only one
who lives there.

So let me lie down
and rest my head on the pillows of Hell.


Gaza Violence - UNISON statement

Commenting on the escalation of violence in Gaza, Chris Tansley, UNISON President, said: “The escalation of violence following the assassination of Ahmed Jabari by Israel on 14 November will only lead to the loss of more innocent lives in both Gaza and Israel and will do nothing to lead to a lasting peaceful resolution of the conflict in which a viable, independent Palestine exists alongside a secure Israel.
"In fact, the so-called Operation ‘Pillar of Defence’ is further proof of the failure of Israel’s 6 year blockade including the brutal attack on Gaza in 2008/9. UNISON calls for an immediate cessation of violence and an end to the Israeli blockade on Gaza.”

Friday, 16 November 2012

Support Palestinians Under Attack in Gaza

Protests are being organised across the UK against Israel’s inhumane bombing campaign against defenceless Palestinians blockaded in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign website provides details of the many protests taking place today and tomorrow: http://palestinecampaign.org/

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A neo-liberal EU will collapse - Frances O'Grady

Yesterday's co-ordinated protest action across European Union member states was a resounding success particularly in Southern Europe where general strikes paralysed the economies and transport systems. In London a solidarity rally held outside the European Commission building was addressed by TUC General Secretary elect Frances O'Grady who said:
  'Those in the corridors of power in Brussels and Frankfurt need to understand this - that if ordinary European workers feel that the EU is about little more than cuts, open markets and privatisation, then the European project will collapse just as surely as night follows day. It's time for change, it's time for a workers' Europe. In place of austerity, we need policies that promote decent jobs, decent wages and decent services. In place of cuts, we need tax justice so the super-rich pay their fair share at long last. And in place of attacks on our rights, we need to get tough on the bankers who caused this mess.'

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Across Europe workers say No to Austerity

#14N As the EU political elite and national governments impose ever harsher austerity measures on the working people of Europe, those bearing the brunt of pay cuts, jobs losses and tax rises are taking a stand today with co-ordinated strike actions and protests across several countries. General strikes and national stoppages are being held in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

PCCs - 'making the best of a bad job'

UNISON members working in police services in England and Wales have a lot at stake in Thursday's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections. Imposed by the Con Dem coalition in the face of Labour opposition, PCCs will set the agenda on issues such as deployment of PCSOs, privatisation, shared services etc in a framework of 20% budget reductions (£1.5bn by 2014/15). With turnouts expected to be at an all time record low for a national election, it's important that UNISON branches mobilise votes for candidates pledged to support the union's campaign aganinst police privatisation:

Monday, 12 November 2012

Speaking up for Libraries

Saturday's 'Speak up for Libraries' conference was a resounding success. UNISON is a member of a national coalition of organisations campaigning against library closures and privatisation. National Officer Helga Pile was a keynote speaker and libraries campaigner Alan Wylie has blogged an excellent report on the London event:

Sunday, 11 November 2012

NHS Jobs Carnage - Time to Resist

Up to 200,000 NHS jobs could be at risk by the time of the next General Election in 2015, according to an analysis by Dr Éoin Clarke. The summary of announced NHS redundancies in their tens of thousands highlights the urgent need for increased campaigning and workplace action to halt the job losses:

Thinking Imperially by Hugh Owen Meredith

In London docks the sails are furl'd
Of ships that come from all the world:
Piston and screw find rest at last,
That over every sea have pass'd.

Here are delivered by the crews
All things a nation needs to use:
They bring us meat, they bring us drink,
They bring more thoughts than we can think.

If England holds the world in fee
And tribute draws from every sea-
is every shore, is every wave,
More free thereby, or more a slave?

Published 1911