Sunday, 30 November 2014

Graph of the week - deficit is due to reduced taxation not too much spending

This week's graph of the week comes from The Resolution Foundation's report In The Balance: Public Finances in the Next Parliament. It is figure 15 on page 36.

What this graph clearly shows is:
  1. The massive deficit in public sector finances that happened in 2008 was not because of an increase in spending, but due to a huge fall in tax receipts because of the recession caused by the global banking crash.
  2. There has been a levelling off in spending in absolute terms, but given that this does not include inflation and increased demands due to an ageing population this actually amounts to massive cuts to services.
  3. The best way to fix the deficit is to increase tax receipts so they match spending.
The best way the government can do this is to:
  • have an economic plan that delivers good well paid jobs (as oppose to the zero hours low paid jobs that currently exist) so that workers then pay income tax and VAT and help build tax receipts.
  • reverse the cut to the 50p tax rate for high earners.
  • ensure that tax dodging companies like these pay their fair share
Spending cuts that hit the poor and the vulnerable are unnecessary and avoidable. There is a better way to close the deficit.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Huge Mobilisation and Growing Public Support for NHS Strikers

Health workers on strike yesterday received tremendous support during their four-hour stoppage. Tens of thousands walked out in protest at the Government’s decision to deny a paltry 1% pay rise to all NHS staff.

There were picket lines at every acute hospital, ambulance station and across many community health services in the West Midlands and while on strike workers provided life and limb cover and cared for anyone in need of emergency treatment.

Franco Buonaguro, UNISON West Midlands Regional Head of Health said:

“While the anger is spreading, so is the public support for NHS workers’ fight for fair pay.  NHS workers don’t go on strike lightly but they do so carefully and safely. Patient safety is paramount and this is why workers stopped for just four hours. All we’re asking for is fair pay, and the public understand that.

The growing public support for health workers is overwhelming. They understand health workers are being reasonable. We are not talking big money or bonuses here, it’s simply the money that the Independent NHS Pay Review Body said they should have.

NHS services were affected in every major hospital and ambulance station.” 

He went on to say:

“It is irresponsible of the Government to not even try to resolve this dispute. Their behaviour is in danger of putting patients and the public at risk.

NHS workers will now take part in action short of strike action between Tuesday 25 November and Sunday 30 November, with members working to rule.”

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Police Front Counter Closures

We were shocked to hear the announcement yesturday from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner of the extent of the cuts to take place to police front desks.
A review had been taking place but the announcement that twenty seven are set to close was unexpected. The closures will happen over the next 12 months and will mean that just ten front offices will remain open between 8am to 10pm and only Birmingham Central will remain open 24/7.
Our Regional Organiser for Police and Justice, Charlie Sarell said in response:
“UNISON is of course worried about the extent of these cuts and the service this will provide to the general public. The reasoning behind this review and the extent of the closures is clear, it is the fault of the Conservative government. The ongoing cuts to police funding is penalising the West Midlands unfairly, while some County forces in the south are not being affected. UNISON will be working hard to protect our members jobs but given the extent of the cuts we are significantly worried that they and other staff will be facing compulsory redundancies.”
While the Branch Secretary of West Midlands Police branch, Jill Harrison added:
“This is going to have a massive impact on our members and all the police staff across the West Midlands. We will be working hard to support all those affected by these significant changes, but this is about more than just jobs, it is going to impact on the local economy too. There is an unemployment issue in the West Midlands and making more people redundant will only make this worse”
The details of the announcememt can be found here

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

And the Winner is...

Votes counted, trophies polished and speeches written: Tonight is the night that our regional awards take place at The Rep Theatre in Birmingham with 9 categories to be decided with over 25 nominations; competition was tight!
The awards ceremony is our opportunity to celebrate the past year and the successes of our many branches across the region.
To keep up to date with the action throughout the evening follow us on twitter @unisonwestmids using #wmuawards14

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Second Day of Action by Health Workers

Following the last NHS stoppage on 24th October we were hopeful that the Government would sit round the table and continue discussions about pay but they haven’t! So the Service Group Executive (Nationally) has been forced to take the decision to move to a second day of action on Monday 24th November 2014.

We are not doing this alone and a total of eleven trade unions will be taking part. These include:

  • Royal College of Midwives (RCM)
  • Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT)
  • Society of Radiographers (SoR)
  • British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT)
  • GMB
  • Unite the union
  • Managers in Partnership (MiP)
  • Prison Officers Association (POA)
  • Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association* (HCSA)
  • British Dietetic Association * (BDA)

More information on the action can be found @