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

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Unions & Union Rights under fierce attack in USA

Amongst the news reports on Jimmy Saville's serial sex crimes, the Royal rush to hospital with morning sickness and the continued denigration of the poor, you may have noticed that union members in Michigan USA were demonstrating over something called the `Right To Work` Bill (RTW). Far from being a progressive statute to increase employment rights and terms it is designed to finally break trade unions:

The Guardian takes the pulse of UNISON

As the Con Dem Government passes the halfway mark in its term of office, Andrew Sparrow, the Guardian's political correspondent, has conducted a wide ranging interview with Dave Prentis which includes strong criticism of Labour's front bench - "They are avoiding all the big issues. There's no doubt whatsoever they want to avoid a discussion on privatisation. They want to avoid a discussion on public service pay. We won't let them"

No pride in Israeli apartheid

A group of delegates at the UNISON LGBT conference in November took part in a short film telling Israel they are not fooled by its attempts to woo them over by presenting Israel as a gay-friendly destination. Pinkwashing, a PR technique, aims to use opposition to homophobia to legitimise Israel and undermine support for Palestine:

M.A.D. by David Harsent

It will be the rat, he told her, the rat that first emerges
from the crud
and crap after the infinite rapture of the megaton strike,
its head
slick with what it burrowed through, what fell, what kept
it fed.

Friday, 14 December 2012

69% support state benefits increasing with inflation or more

The political elite and media collude in the myth that public opinion is hostile to state benefit claimants. This is the win-win assumption driving Con Dem attacks on the welfare state and so called benefit dependency.
 A new poll by Ipsos MORI confounds this myth. 69% of those polled oppose Chancellor Osborne's plan to cap benefit increases at 1 per cent for the next three years - 59% said they should increase in line with inflation and 10% said they should rise by more than inflation.
The Parliamentary Labour Party must oppose this draconian attack on the poor:

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Trident tangle and CND conundrum

Malcolm Burns' Morning Star criticism of Scottish CND's decision to throw their lot somewhat naively in with independence, has provoked a wee tizzie in the letters page from John Cox, CND vice-president. accusing the paper of 'giving comfort to the warmongers'. Those of us who are suspicious of independence and the SNP, but also opposed to Trident, are a wee bit insulted at this intemperate language. It is often the kind of language that surfaces when people find themselves in a mess of their own making.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Neither the Shadow State nor the Micro State but Universal Public Services

A new report by Social Enterprise UK correctly identifies the emergence of a ‘shadow state’ in which a small number of large companies providing outsourced public services are 'becoming too big or complex to fail'. Yet the report's call for 'a more level playing field for social enterprises and charities to bid alongside traditional private sector providers' is not the solution to the problem. Third sector organisations run on a shoestring are no substitute for democratically accountable local authorities and public bodies. The Con Dem Open Public Services agenda is a breeding ground for Sharks. And Sharks come in all sizes!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Where Have All The Wages Gone?

A new TUC report examines the reduced share of wages in the UK national income over the last 35 years. Data from the Office for National Statistics show that between 1977 and 2008 the wage share fell from 59 per cent of national income to 53 per cent, while the share of profits in national income rose from 25 per cent to 29 per cent. If wages had kept pace with growth in overall UK output between 1980 and 2010, median annual earnings for full-time workers would now be around £7,000 higher than they actually are:

Monday, 10 December 2012

Icelandic Parliament investigating stopping banks creating money!

Is Iceland – the island with just 300.000 citizens – going to be the first country seriously questioning the privatised money creation and considering Full Reserve Banking proposals (the requirement to hold £1 on account for every £1 lent out)? It seems that it might well be the case:

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Support Early Day Motion 773 - Private Healthcare Companies & Freedom of Information

Grahame Morris MP has placed an important motion before the Commons demanding that 'all private healthcare companies be subject to freedom of information requests under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in the same way as existing NHS public sector organisations.' So far only 35 MPs have supported this demand for greater accountability and transparency from predatory companies - whose unscrupulous business practices such as submitting loss leader tenders and poaching of NHS staff require much greater public scrutiny: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/773

How I love the world, the air, its breath by Franco Loi

How I love the world, the air, its breath
How I love the world, the air, its breath!
the trees, the grass, the sun, those houses, the lovely streets,
the ever-changing moon, the ivy over the houses;