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

Saturday, 1 June 2013

May Day in Cuba – where the 99% rule!

A great report on Cuba Solidarity blog from Ian Sutcliffe, who took part in a UNISON young member delegation on CSC’s May Day Brigade to Cuba 2013:

The British by Benjamin Zephaniah

Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
And let them settle,
Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.

Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
Add lots of Norman French to some
Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Union membership - stopping the rot

It’s not often that the Daily Telegraph is the source of a good news story for trade unions, but yesterday’s headline about ‘unions growing amid austerity cuts’ provided a surprise boost to union morale. It reported on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2012 labour force survey which estimated that individual union membership rose by 59,000 to 6.5m thus bottoming out a 10 year period of decline. ‘We are pleased that membership has increased over the last year, especially given high unemployment and swingeing government cuts. This shows that staff, both in the public and private sector, know that a union membership card is still the best guarantee of skills training, job security and fairness at work’ said TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady. It also shows that renewed focus on organising by UK unions is beginning to pay off.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

LGPS funds paying hundreds of millions to City fund managers for the management of our pensions

Research by the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times has finally backed UNISON’s national position that the LGPS funds need to merge and cut fund management costs to improve performance. The management of our assets should be bought back in-house to keep it away from the Maserati drivers of the City of London and New York.
    What we now know, and have known for some time at UNISON, is that the fund managers are extracting vast fees for terrible performance, due in part to the poor governance of the LGPS.

Legal aid is a trade union issue

The ability to access legal representation is a fundamental plank of the UK justice system, and one which trade unions helped to fight for. The Tories are now trying to smash this with the usual hype of people making a fast buck out of the system or trawling for stories of one off misuse as part of the ‘norm’ for ‘scroungers’ or ‘chavs’. It will result in huge injustices for the most vulnerable. Sign the epetition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/4862

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

LGA to Con Dems – stop killing local government

The Local Government Association (LGA) has responded to Chancellor Osborne's 2015/16 budget announcement yesterday, in which he claimed that local government was one of “seven Government departments have agreed provisionally to cuts of up to 10 per cent,” Sir Merrick Cockell, LGA Chairman, said that "local government bore the brunt of cuts in the last Spending Review. For the sake of the public it cannot afford to do so again."

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Salford looks to maximise impact of Living Wage

Salford Council in Greater Manchester has recently introduced a living wage in a negotiated agreement with UNISON and other local government unions. Not only have 1200 staff receive a pay increase (in some cases of up to £1300) but City Mayor Ian Stewart is aiming for Salford to become the UK’s first living wage city: ‘Our role as a Living Wage employer does not stop just our own employees. We have a role as a civic and community leader, to encourage other public sector organisations, the Third Sector and progressive Private Sector business leaders to follow our lead.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Support safer working conditions in Bangladesh factories

War on Want has launched a petition calling on Primark, Matalan, Mango and Bonmarche to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement to prevent the future deaths of garment workers. The death toll from the collapse of a Dhaka garment factory complex in April has now risen to a horrific 1129. These disasters must not be allowed to continue:

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The vested interests behind NHS privatisation

Caroline Molloy, writing on the Open Democracy website, looks at the implications of ex-New Labour Health Minister Alan Milburn's appointment to the health board of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. She identifies a major public policy concern that 'the revolving door between government and the private consultancies gives ample opportunity for political influence by the consultancies private sector clients. These clients include not just private healthcare firms and pharmaceutical companies, but telephone and IT companies, data collectors, private care home congolmerates, insurers and financial brokers'

William Blake says: Everything that Lives is Holy by Adrian Mitchell

Long live the Child
Long live the Mother and Father
Long live the People