Sunday, 4 October 2015

Graph of the Week - What percentage of voters voted for their MP?

We've blogged about this before but with today's TUC demonstration at the Tory Party Conference and the proposed Trade Union Bill we thought it would be worth reprising this graph.

The government's Trade Union Bill aims to introduce a 50% voting threshold for union strike ballot turnouts, and a requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote must back action in "essential public services" - health, education, fire and transport. 

The recent General Election resulted in only 84 out of 650 MPs (less than 13 per cent) meeting the threshold of 40 per cent of the electorate voting for them. 

This week's graph of the week (to make it larger click on it) shows the proportion of the electorate voting for their MP. All parliamentary seats are shown by a bar but due to space limitations not everyone is labelled on the vertical axis. The graph shows the 566 red bars showing those that do not meet the 40 per cent threshold and the 84 green bars where the threshold was met.

West Midlands Regional Secretary said:
"Compared to the increasingly out of touch Tory MPs, working people now have a second class form of democracy when they fight for workplace justice,  It's one law for MPs and another law for workers."

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

There is an alternative to austerity

There is an alternative to austerity, says UNISON

Speaking on the austerity and public services motion at the Labour party conference in Brighton UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

"Millions of working people didn’t cause the recession. But they are now paying a heavy price, and will go on paying a heavy price throughout this parliament./So far the Tories have been able to convince many people that austerity is the only way, that there is no alternative./Our public services have been cut, closed down and privatised. Savage spending cuts have seen thousands of jobs axed, with those left behind fearful they will be next, and even more fearful for the survival of the essential services they provide.

Cuts so severe that many local councils worry that soon they will only be able to provide those services required by law. This vicious government must be held to account as it slashes and burns all we hold dear. Our NHS is under siege, and there’s a pay cap for another four years, on top of the five we’ve already had. And billions more will be cut from public finances in the spending review later this year. Tax credit cuts will penalise the poor and low-paid. A teaching assistant earning £16,300 with one child will see her net pay fall by £1,800 a year, and millions of other working families will see their incomes hit hard. For too long, working people have made do with half-baked promises from our own politicians. Yes, promising fewer cuts than the Tories, less privatisation than the Tories.

Labour must become a real opposition to take on the Tories, not sit in its shadows. It must expose the cruel and vindictive plans being pushed through parliament and offer a clear alternative, not a paler shade of the Tories’ so called ‘middle ground’. Now, with the election of a new Labour leader, there’s hope for the future, a belief that there is another way, of growth and investment in infrastructure, of a balanced economy that works in the interests of the many. People will now hear of a kinder, more compassionate world, one where public services matter and its people matter before profit. We’ve been given a vision of a better world that works for everyone, not just the self-serving few.

Of course Labour has to develop a credible economic alternative, without that only more opposition lies ahead. We need to convince the public that there is another way, and that unchallenged, austerity risks irreparable damage to public services.

We don’t want fewer cuts than the Tories, we want no more cuts to our public services. We don’t want less privatisation than the Tories, we want no more privatisation of our NHS, our local government, our police and probation services. We cannot afford the £20bn that Trident’s replacement will cost. Not when adult social care is on the point of collapse, when wards are closing in every city, and when thousands of police support jobs are to go, depleting our police forces so that the only winners are burglars and muggers. New guidance says that quality care cannot be delivered to the elderly and the vulnerable in their own homes in 15 minute visits, but now 15 minute visits are the norm. And the ever-increasing pressure on budgets will force councils to push dedicated homecare workers for even more in even less time. Try telling that to the homecare worker who has to wake, feed and shower a frail 90 year old with dementia. That same homecare worker who has no time to get to the next visit, and who won’t be paid for any time spent travelling.

Try telling that to the dedicated staff at Addenbrooke’s – who saw their hospital placed in special measures last week. Through no fault of their own, but simply because the government’s tight-fisted approach to the NHS funding means there’s no money to employ the extra staff so desperately needed.

This is our time to smash the consensus that austerity is here to stay. It’s our time to create a new path that offers hope and opportunity for those already left behind. It’s time to set out an alternative to the cuts agenda, the privatising agenda, and to the pay freeze destroying lives."


Thursday, 3 September 2015

NUT take industrial action at Bluecoat School,

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are taking industrial action at Bluecoat school, Coventry. UNISON members are not taking part in this action but George Sands, Chair of Coventry City Branch said:

“UNISON Coventry City  Branch offer our full support and Solidarity to our colleagues in NUT on their two days of Strike actions on 3rd and 10th September. UNISON may ballot our members on industrial action.”

He went on to advice UNISON members:

“UNISON members should not undertake any duties that they would not normally carry out and should not provide cover for their NUT colleagues during the Strike Action”

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Personal Injury claim Success

Every month UNISON wins thousands of pounds for our members who are injured at work through no fault of their own. Unlike no-win no-fee lawyers the union does not charge for this service and all the compensation goes to the member.

In August this year we won over £145,000 for our members.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

UNISON to continue fight over Employment Tribunal fees in Supreme Court

UNISON has vowed to take its battle to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal rejected its appeal against the government’s introduction of employment tribunal fees.

Describing this case as ‘troubling’, the Court of Appeal expressed a ‘strong suspicion that so large a decline [in claims] is unlikely to be accounted for entirely by cases of ‘won’t pay’ and [that] it must also reflect at least some cases of ‘can’t pay’.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

“Today’s decision is a huge disappointment and a major setback for people at work. Many unscrupulous employers will be rubbing their hands together in glee at the news. 

There is stark evidence that workers are being priced out of justice and it is women, the disabled and the low-paid who are being disproportionately punished.

Our fight for fairness at work and access to justice for all will continue until these unfair and punitive fees are scrapped.”

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Smoke and Mirrors over NHS pay

UNISON has today slammed the government over a Treasury letter to the chair of the public sector Pay Review Bodies (PRB) – including the NHS PRB – which stated that not all staff will get a pay rise as promised in the Summer budget.

Ravi Subramanian, UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary said:

“It is clear from this letter that the government’s promise of a one per cent pay rise for public sector workers was all smoke and mirrors.

There was no substance to Osborne’s claim and NHS staff will be bitterly disappointed to hear many of them may not even get an extra penny for five more years.

The letter states that ‘the government expects pay awards to be applied in a targeted manner’ and that some workers could receive less than one per cent.'

It is difficult to see how much targeting you can get from a miserly 1 per cent without resulting in hundreds of thousands not getting a pay rise at all.

Ministers’ acknowledgment of saving at least £8bn with the pay caps and freezes imposed on public sector pay proves it is nurses, healthcare assistants, porters and paramedics who are still paying for a deficit they have nothing to do with.”

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Attacks on unions are attacks on working people too, says UNISON

Commenting on governments latest proposals to prevent people who work in the public sector from paying their union membership fees directly from their wages:

Ravi Subramanian, UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary said:

“This latest malicious manoeuvre from ministers shows how far a Conservative government are prepared to go to attack ordinary working people.  In simple terms they are planning to go to deny nurses, care workers, teaching assistants, hospital cleaners and town hall staff a voice at work.

Anyone with a job in the public sector must wonder why the government dislikes them so much that it is set on a series of such spiteful attacks on them through their unions.

Allowing union subs to be taken directly from peoples’ salaries is convenient for individual employees, their unions and their employers – and it works well in both the public and private sectors of the economy.

The suggestion that this costs the taxpayer is simply not true, in much of the public sector, unions pay the hospital trust or the local council the cost of taking the subs at source, so there is no cost to the public purse.

Employees in workplaces where there are unions are more likely to earn more, be better trained, and have safer working conditions, than those where there is no union.

Ministers are undermining our public services by putting partnership working between unions and employers – that benefits the public – at risk. This is nothing more than a cheap political gesture.

The government is showing once more that by making it harder for unions in the public sector to stand up for their members, it can never be the party of working people. Attacks on unions are attacks on working people too.