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

Saturday, 24 November 2012

'Benefits stigma' and undermining of the Welfare State

In recent years sections of the tabloid press and politicians across the political spectrum have sought to justify benefit cuts by demonising claimants as undeserving and workshy. The British policy and politics blog at LSE examines public attitudes to the benefits system and finds public support for the welfare state is holding up despite the 'toxic combination' of negative press coverage and (unjustified) public perceptions of widespread benefit fraud:

Tommy McGhee, Corby Works by John Burnside

He had been there since '55,
his lungs thick with smoke
and urea, the wicks of his eyes
damp, like the walls
of the furnace he tended for years,
till they laid him off.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Unions call on police chiefs to arrest employment rights slide - UnionNews

UNISON, Unite and GMB are calling on newly-elected police and crime commissioners and chief constables to sign up to a new ‘Police Staff Employment Charter’. In signing up to the charter, police and crime commissioners and chief constables would agree to prevent a two-tier workforce, by ensuring the same terms and conditions for staff, regardless of where they are employed.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

UNISON members escalate strike action in Mid Yorkshire NHS

Hundreds of clerical and administrative workers employed by Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust in Dewsbury, Pontefract and Wakefield hospitals are today completing a three day strike in opposition to 70 job losses and the threat of pay cuts to many more staff. This follows an initial day of industrial action three weeks ago. Messages of support can be sent to midyorksunison@aol.co.uk.

#DEMO2012: Educate, Employ, Empower

Yesterday’s demonstration by the NUS brought 10,000 students from across the country on to the streets of London to show their anger towards the government’s attacks upon young people and education. Marching from Temple to Kennington Park the crowd, populated by a much bigger proportion of FE students than NUS demos of previous years, made their voices heard throughout the day.
  Students travelled overnight just to get down to London - the group I travelled with comprised of 250 students from Edinburgh College and Edinburgh University.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Growing Privatisation threat to UK Universities

#demo2012 A central demand of both education unions and student movements worldwide is for state funding and provision of higher education. Yet in the USA 'For Profit' Universities are the third fastest growing industry - having grown on average by 13.6% each year since 2002 - with extensive use of TV programmes and the internet as low cost alternatives to the classroom. A recent University and College Union (UCU) report revealed how private equity funds are taking over post-secondary education and Luke Martell, writing this week on the Open Kingdom website, highlights the unprecedented threat of privatisation to the UK's universities:

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

National Demonstration 24 Nov - End Israel's War on Gaza‏

Assemble 12.00 Saturday 24 November at Downing Street, London and march to the Israeli Embassy. The demonstration is being organised by The Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Stop the War Coalition, CND, British Muslim Initiative and Palestine Forum in Britain. For more details and transport from outwith London see www.facebook.com/

Monday, 19 November 2012

Not Labour's finest legacy - increased private provision in the NHS

'It was Labour that built that bridges the Tories now march over. That laid the foundations for the privatisation of the NHS' said UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis in his speech to UNISON conference in June. A report in today's Guardian confirms that the policy of the last Labour Government to allow private health firms to be paid from public funds has resulted in their share of NHS patients increasing massively:

Sunday, 18 November 2012

LGBT members, Stronger Together in UNISON

#ulgbt12 UNISON is the only union that brings together such a large gathering of LGBT activists, Roger McKenzie, Assistant General Secretary pointed out in his address to UNISON's LGBT conference in Brighton this weekend. His impassioned speech captured the mood of conference, which has spend much of the time discussing the devastating impact of the Tory led Government's austerity and attacks on workers. Roger highlighted not only where UNISON is fighting but where we are winning such as Edinburgh, Southampton and Cornwall.

Public Services are fundamental to community well-being

A recent conference organised by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU) examined how public services – which constitute 26% of the European Union’s GDP and 30% of its workforce - play a fundamental role in promoting well-being:

Organising campaigns empower workers & transform unions

Elaine Bernard, a union educator based at Harvard, makes several excellent points about the importance of an active, informed and committed union membership who ‘understand that they are the union and that the power of the union rests with them’.

Meeting Walt by George Szirtes

The year of Cuba and Sleeping Beauty, it was
my third year to heaven in a London Primary
with Mrs Haynes on dinner rounds, her summary
justice a smack with the spoon, reminding us
of virtue and the starving multitudes.