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

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Report of Co-op Bank Crisis: Ways Forward for the Co-operative Movement‏

On 17 January 2014 a conference was held in Manchester to explore predominantly the impact of the coop bank crisis on the future of a (truly) cooperative bank as well as the wider crossroads for the cooperative movement. Delegates came from a range of backgrounds including trade unions, retail coops, credit unions, and 'coop consultants'.

Consumption by Paul Lojeski

When it’s all about money,
it’s about nothing. And not
the Taoist nothing of nonbeing, but the other nothing,
the one that fills hospitals,
battlefields and dark alleys.


Friday, 24 January 2014

Pay rising in real terms? You're having a laugh!

The Big Lie technique has worked wonders for the Con Dem's since 2010 - softening up public opinion for cuts in public services with a dishonest narrative that Britain has been living beyond its means because of profligate Labour public spending. Now laughably they claim that most British workers have seen their take-home pay rise in real terms in the past year. Millions of public sector workers whose pay settlements have been held down at 0% - 1% will this morning have woken up in disbelief at claims that earnings are raising at 2.5% or more. Not to mention the 2011 rise in VAT from 17.5% to 20% as well as cuts in council tax benefit and tax credits which have squeezed millions of low income workers. At national level unions have a responsibility to deal head on with this Tory offensive, today and every day until workers in Britain get the real increases in pay necessary to restore and improve living standards. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25869001

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Pickles & Local Government – an abusive relationship

Between 2011 and 2016 councils in England will have been subjected to cuts of up to 40% which according to the Local Government Association have left many councils facing ‘financial breakdown’. The cuts have been accompanied by relentless attacks on local authorities by local government minister Eric Pickles MP – accusing council’s of being ‘incompetent rotten boroughs’, employing workers in ‘non jobs’, ‘stuffing billions into reserves’, ‘anti car dogma’ etc. Yesterday the Commons Communities and Local Government committee ran an #AskPickles session in which questions from the public were put to the hard right Tory MP for leafy Brentwood and Ongar. Asked why he constantly bashes local government Pickles answered that he does it because he ‘loves local government’. A line of justification deployed by perpetrators of domestic violence the whole world over: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=14698

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Lowdown on Community Budgets & City Deals

Irrespective of the political colour of Government, public service reform continues apace in the UK. UNISON members are caught in a vortex of reconfiguration and transformation of public services. The latest incarnation of initiatives to join up or pool the budgets of local authorities and other public services is Community Budgets and its City Deals offshoot. The Commons Library has published a useful note on the progress of the four ‘whole place’ pilots and the nine smaller ‘transformation network’ pilots:

HE pay dispute – branches build for strike action on 6 February

Following two well supported joint union strike days on 31 October and 7 December last year, UNISON’s members employed in Universities across the UK will be talking national industrial action on 6 February. Alongside colleagues from UCU and the EIS in Scotland staff will walk out in support of a pay rise for 2013/14 at least equivalent to the rate of inflation (RPI). A derisory 1% offer has been on the table since last May. This week many UNISON branches are organising protest actions to build membership support and momentum for the planned strike action:

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Roll up! Roll up! Private firms tap into another NHS cash cow

Another wheeze from this sleazy government to look for new profit opportunities from the health of people. Later this year drugs, insurance and other corporations will be able to buy patient information trawled from GP practices across England. The confidential and highly personal information will be uploaded onto a central medical data register. We now know that nothing is sacred when it comes to making a buck. The government spent billions of pounds wrecking the NHS in order to be able to move shed loads of services into hands of greedy privateers. But never could we have foreseen the lengths the government would go in order to open up new streams of potential profit for their corporate friends.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Free schools & academies have no part to play in a democratic society

Next month Labour’s national policy forum will publish new consultation papers before a final forum meeting in July agrees basis of the manifesto for the 2015 general election. There is no shortage of Con Dem destruction to make good and nowhere more so than in the state education system in England. Graham Lane, writing in Tribune, makes a compelling case for a future Labour government to abolish academy chains and free schools: ‘Labour should make it clear that the privatisation of the delivery of education is not appropriate for a democracy. That means free schools and academies have no part to play in a democratic society’

Dear Margaret by Laura Taylor

For Orgreave, the Beanfield, and Hillsborough.
For Operation Swamp 81.
For the miners, the unions,
the working class heroes,
the people whose skin you denied.
For the innocents turned into criminals.
For giving the Force a free rein.
to wield batons and tear gas and horses,
to weaken and batter them all.