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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Part time workers rights

This guide is intended to provide a brief introduction to equal treatment rights for part-time workers. It also contains information about other basic rights which part-time workers are entitled to in the workplace.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Lambeth Labour

It is better to have a Labour administration running Lambeth than any other party, that is at least the theory and those of us who have been active in the Labour constituencies for years know this to be a fact. But if one looks at the history of what has happened since 1996 we will see that even though Labour administrations have done better than others Labour was also guilty of getting into adventures with private companies that did not produce the results and affected members jobs and terms and conditions. So I am hoping that Steve Reed and others will be careful and not make the same mistakes as they did before?

Friday, 29 July 2011

Message from Dave Prentis

Donation request for strike action at Southampton

I am writing to tell you about the action UNISON is taking to support striking members in Southampton City Council and to ask for donations towards their strike fund.

Members at the council have been involved in strike action since 23 May 2011.

The action is in response to the employer's actions of dismissing all members of staff and rehiring them with a pay cut of up to 5%, a two year increment freeze and other cuts to terms and conditions. Some members have seen their pay shrink by up to 15%.

UNISON and Unite members have taken selective strike action in parking services, Itchen Bridge toll collection, street cleaning, port health, social services, libraries and refuse collection.

All members in the council except schools-based staff are also taking action short of strike. This includes refusing to use their own cars for council duties, refusing to work overtime, only working contracted hours and withholding all goodwill.

UNISON will work with members concerned and the employers to seek a fair and just resolution to these disputes; but the employer needs to negotiate with us, not sack staff to impose changes.

In order for strike action to be effective and sustainable I am writing to ask for donations to their hardship fund which will be held in the South East regional office. The South East regional council has already agreed a significant contribution to assist the hardship fund.

You can send donations to the Guildford office by cheque, made payable to UNISON South East region:

Beckham and undrpants

Looks like the world and its oysters will be saved by an act of bravery. David Beckham who will no doubt end up being a Lord one day will now produce (well not himself exactly) underpants for H&M which is the cheaper version of a high street store. I am sure we will all be rushing to H&M to buy a pair before Victoria produces her own bras? Anyway maybe David should be making sure that those working to produce these pants are paid a fair wage? That way he can be more useful.

Tunisian TUs

from the TUC newsroom

Tunisia's revolution earlier this year sparked off uprisings that continue to reverberate across the Arab world. Malika Achour from the Tunisian union movement told festival goers at Tolpuddle exactly how it all began.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Libraries victory, a lesson

We had the big march in March where around one million of us gathered to protest against the governments obsession with targeting public services, then we had the day of action taken by the NUT on the 30 June. These were good days for activism as it showed us that we can mobilise.

Lambeth Libraries also showed us that where members take action things can change and pressure can be applied on the employer who will only take notice when we show willingness to fight. I hope that we can now get organised and move on to built on what has been already achieved before the Con the Libs government comes back for more nasty surprises.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


Where is Murdoch these days and why are we not hearing more about the things this person has allegedly done? Is Vince Cable the only one with the courage to take them on? He could make a good Labour party Leader but of course he is in the other party. Shame!

London Olympics 2012

The opening ceremony will be one year from today and hopefully Ken of the Livingstones will be the one doing the presentations apart from that it is a good thing to know that we Londoners have something forward to look forward to. The doom and gloom around us right now is doing me head in. Hoping that those managing the Olympic product contracts will do something about the workers in developing countries who are paid low wages to produce the goods for the games. It isn't right!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

ACT NOW: release the Iranian Two

The TUC and Amnesty International UK have launched an online appeal demanding the immediate release from detention of Reza Shahabi Zakaria and Ebrahim Maddadi of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed).

Murdoch gate?

Whatever happened to the serious allegations made against the Murdochs? I hope no one has forgotten about what they have been getting up to? There was a programme last night on telly where about how Rupert (not the bear) operates. It is despicable and unacceptable that elected Prime Ministers were afraid (still are) of this one individual, and whilst I do not want to join the hysterics brigade on this one I am astonished and shocked to see that a mature democracy can allow this level of control by just one individual? It isn't right!

Ed Hall

Worth mentioning Ed Hall a good friend and comrade who served as Branch Secretary with Lambeth Unison, I was in fact Deputy Secretary with Ed Hall for a period of 7 years so we worked closely together before our other great friend Jon of the Rogers came in to replace Ed, I was then Secretary on my own for two years and then did a job share with Jon for 5 years. So long history there.

Ed Hall wasn't just a good friend and a great activist he is also known for his banner making talents and many organisations have used Ed to make their banners. Here is a link to some of his work. He has had a national exhibition in Manchester and a bigger one in Paris. All good work and all done in the name of the Trades Union movement! Well done Ed.

Monday, 25 July 2011

USA and Greece with the same problem?

Looks like the USA economy is in a worst state (relatively speaking) than Greece or Portugal with the US having until the end of the week to come up with immediate reforms to its financial system or face having to default on its huge debts. The crisis could be avoided if the Obama administration proposal to increase taxes on the wealthy was agreed but for that to happen the Republicans would have to agree to the measures and this does not seem to be happening right now. So it will seem that the Greeks are in the same boat with the all mighty USA? None of this makes sense... should the entire world system be changed? Why should the markets decide what democratically elected countries can or cannot do? Who are the markets? A small ruling elite of super rich men...

Reprive on pensions?

Looks like the government has agreed to allow the Local government pension schemes the freedom to reform without the requirement of increasing contributions paid by employees by 3.2%. This has a lot to do with pressure put upon the government by the TUC and Unison. More information at

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Norways tragedy

A terrible day yesterday for humanity as a whole. A disturbed gunman murders Innocent young people without a reason. Our thoughts are with the people of Norway. No idea what can make someone do what this person did but it makes me sad and angry.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

George Papandreou, can he save Greece? by Nick Venedi

George Papandreou is the current Prime Minister of Greece. He served as foreign Minister during the 'golden years' of the Simitis administration and he is of course the son of Andreas Papandreou, who was PM in the 80s and the grandson of George Papandreou was was the PM during the 1967 crisis, so he is the 3rd of the strong dynasty of politicians. His sister, Vaso is also commissioner in the EU.

Any way that is just a way of a back round that don't necessarily mean much other than to say that he was brought up thinking politics. George was a very close friend of Tony Blair, they used to have holidays together (not just the two of them of course..) and he was inspired by the Blair project, so he is the Greek version of a Blairite.

He won the election two years ago and inherited the mess the ND party with Cosas Karamalis created. He was of course the nephew of Constantine Karamalis. Now George is also working closely with his ex rival Evangelos Venizelos who also comes from another political family.

George Papandreou has shown clear leadersip in the latest crisis by pushing through parliament very tough measures that are extremely unpopular with the general population so if there was an election tomorrow he would definitely not be winning it, it remains to be seen whether the measures adopted (which ensure fiscal convergence with Europe) will work, if they don't the entire Euro project and George will go down the toilet of history.

Nick Venedi

Evagoras Palikarides

Interesting that the high court has allowed a claim from those who suffered under the hands of the British colonial army in Kenya to take the case to court. I think these people were treated badly and they deserve at the very least an apology.

Evagoras Palikarides was a 17 year old student who refused to obey instructions during the days when Cyprus was a British colony to attend assembly and pay homage to the British flag, he was also accused of taking part in demonstrations (as one does at that age) and other activities. He was finally put in jail and they kept him there until he was 19 so that he could be hanged. This is of course an atrocity committed against a people who wanted to govern their own country. Should the British establishment not be apologising for that execution as well? I think they should!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Fiscal integration in Euroland?

Looks like the Eurozone member states have used the crisis with PIGS to push for fiscal integration. This will mean that the countries that are part of the Euro will have their finances integrated (and thus regulated) by some central European bank. Britain will of course be out of this club/zone. Remains to be seen whether this will stop new crisis similar to the current one developing again or whether it will create more problems in the near future. This could perhaps be the final step for total unification? But at what cost to the working people of these countries? They will be the ones paying for the mistakes made for years to come.

Lambeth O'Oclock clubs campaign

Lambeth Unison has started a campaign to fight against proposals to downgrade the importance and the quality of work done by workers in the O'clock Clubs a very popular service with parents who live and work in the borough.

Management forced through reductions in the hours of the valuable and popular clubs, now they have a service that doesn't work with the number of staff left.

There is a better way...

Workers in the service have shown how the service could work better. The cuts in hours and jobs which were made were not financially necessary. Unison believes that some managers are hostile to the committed group of staff.

We say no to

Unplanned closures
Routine use of overtime to deliver a core service
Cutting the fronline and increasing management.

Unison will work with community groups to fight against any attempts to downgrade and cut the service. Join us by contacting the Unison office at 6a Acre Lane SW2 5SG


Lambeth Libraries

Good news about the Libraries dispute in Lambeth. The decisive action of activists within the branch and the successful ballot that took place helped secure an agreement reached yesterday with the Council accepting that there is no need for compulsory redundancies in the area. The strike was therefore called off as we have met the objective.

This is a clear message to all the unions facing the great challenge of attacks on jobs and services, there is a better chance of winning a battle if decisive action is taken. More than 90% of Library workers voted to take strike action a fact, in my opinion and that of others, that helped secure the agreement. Well done to the Librarians!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Greek crisis and me...

Yes I know, I have no idea why someone who I vaguely know decided to blame the Greek and PIGS financial crisis on me today. This person had a go blaming me for the fall of the Euro. I know I have been attacked before by one of my ex's (I had 4 in total most of them wonderful) who accused me of all sorts including the invasion of Belgium by Germany in 1936 but this latest one takes the cookie? Anyway I hope he feels better soon...

Glen Kelly and Bromley

I can understand why those who were suspended by Unison from holding office would feel fed up and leave Unison but I think this could be the wrong decision. I know Glenn and the others quite well and they were well respected so I think that we in Unison are losing out. On the other hand I think that they should have stayed and argue their case.

Euro crisis will spread

It looks like the Euro crisis will spread given that the draconian measures imposed on Greece and Portugal do not seem to have worked. The consequences will be devastating on every other country within the Euro zone but its effects will also damage member and non members states of the European union. The system is obviously not working and more should be done perhaps to find alternative ways of managing our economies. I am not talking about re introducing communism but something else needs to be looked at before the doom and gloom spreads every where.

Lambeth Libraries industrial action

All of Lambeth libraries will be closing tomorrow following an almost unanimous decision taken after members were balloted to take industrial action. This is the first wave of resistance in Lambeth by Unison members and it follows the action taken by the NUT on the 30th of June this year. Picket lines from early tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Lambeth One O'Clock clubs

Lambeth management are returning back to proposals to reduce the excellent service provided by union members who have worked for years to develop and provide a service in the One O'clock clubs.

Lambeth Unison aims to work with other unions and community groups to resist this latest round of irrational attacks. A campaign group will shortly be set up to spearhead the resistance starting with a morning lobby tomorrow outside Phoenix House.

Hands off the One O'Clock service and its dedicated team of workers!!

Nick Venedi

The importance of recruitment and recruitment, by Nick Venedi

Recruitment and recruitment are two of the most important and fundamental ingredients that will ensure the success of the trades union movement, so there is no other way around the problem that we have we must put our efforts in that basket and we need to go out and get those who are still not members to join one of the main trade unions.

I still think that it is a great shame that we have not been able to have one union agreement which will allow say Unison to represent those in the public sector. Divisions within the unions are a thorn in our backsides and we need to deal with how to resolve this as a matter of urgency.

Nick Venedi

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Murdoch gate and the plate

I am not at all happy about what happened this afternoon in the select committee room where the Murdoch's were being questioned. But I am totally amazed that someone was allowed to go into that room with a plate? What happened to strict security? He managed to go in with a plate and a bottle of cream? What kind of security is that??

Murdoch gate, by Nick Venedi

Managed to get back from my Unison meeting in central London by 5 today and was able to witness part of the questioning of the two Murdochs. I am of course totally annoyed that some idiot in the audience decided to attack RM in the committee room. Does he realise that he will now take away the attention from the real issues and allow other newspapers to get sympathetic with RM? He has not done anyone a favor.

I am still not sure what I think about the session this afternoon and will read papers and watch detail on other channels to make my mind up. Did the MPs' look a bi scared when they were asking questions? Not sure...

Nick Venedi

Select committee day, by Nick Venedi

We are all of course awaiting to hear who says what and how at today's hearing of the select committee. I am not, unfortunately, going to be able to watch this on telly as I will be in a Unison meeting this afternoon. But the event promises to be an interesting one providing that those questioning do not get scared on what treatment they will receive afterwards by those in power (and I don't mean the MP's)

Today's proceedings can (if handled correctly) be a triumph for democracy and for the ordinary person on the street who can be the victim of games played by those who have the resources to control the media and in some instances (not always) destroy peoples lives. The committee need to be careful however not to be seen to be scoring political points against the Murdochs so they should avoid sensationalising stuff. They should perhaps have George Galloway and Dennis Skinner asking the questions? Or his magnificence the Lord Prescot of the Prescots?

Nick Venedi

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Sun takes over?

I am hoping that rumours that the Sun will be producing a Sunday edition of NOTW is not true and that this does not happen. Call me a cynic but R Murdoch would want to come back and bite those who have dared to challenge him. That wont be good for democracy.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Is democracy the winner?

We all welcome I think the fact that those responsible for the News of the World scandal could be brought to justice and I am of course glad that the Labour Leader played a part in showing other politicians that they can take on the powerful unelected media tycoons. But I am hoping that whoever investigates the allegations does a good and thourough job and is no longer afraid that they will be targeted at a later date by another part of the powerful press. This is a triumph for democracy and the rule of law.

Tolpuddle, by Nick Venedi

My friend Jackie and others are there right now and am getting feedback as to who is sharing tents with whom, all fun am sure but on the serious side of things I must make sure that I visit and am hoping that I will be able to get there next year. I am not too keen on living in a tent for 2 nights as I demand my comforts (like a good cappuccino socialist) but I must aim to go next year as it sounds like a wonderful experience!!

Nick Venedi

by Nick Venedi

Clare's law, by Nick Venedi

Under current proposals and if Clare's law is passed, women will be allowed to get information about their male partners from the police and they will, in that way, know whether a prospective partner has a criminal record and was specifically found guilty of domestic violence or abuse.

I feel this is a good way to ensure that abusive husbands or boyfriends are reminded of what their social obligations are and it is, in general, a good idea although the finer detail of the proposal needs to be looked at so that there is a balance between rights and misuse of information.

Nick Venedi

by Nick Venedi


Those supporting the re unification of the divided island of Cyprus will be gathering later on today in central London to demonstrate their demand for a fair and just solution to the problem. Cyprus was invaded 37 years ago, in July 1974, by Turkish forces that are still occupying 37% of the republics land. Although negotiations have been taking place for many years the problem remains unresolved.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Apprentice and Ed Miliband

Alan Sugar, who was made a Lord by the last Labour administration, has allegedly donated 30k something so that Ed's office can be done up. This was apparently necessary because donations to the party have fallen sharply.

In addition Nick, one of Alan Sugars assistants on the apprentice remarked that he could not see Ed Miliband in office for too long and he placed a bet with William Hill or someone thinking that he is right. Saying that Ed did very well this week by taking charge of the Murdoch situation, there is no doubt Murdoch will come back and try and 'get him' but I hope that this is not the case...

Animal experiments

I was furious to read an article in the Sunday Times last week which dealt with the treatment of young dogs by medical research companies in this country.

The dogs are kept in very small cages and are only allowed out once a week for a total of 20 minutes. As a dog owner myself I know that 'man's best friend' needs regular exercises, love and attention and it is a total disgrace that a nation of animal lovers allows this sort of behaviour. When are we going to learn to treat other creatures better? I understand the need perhaps for experiments but it is not right to treat these kind and loving animals like objects.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Domestic abuse and violence is up

Not clear as to whether the rise in the figures re domestic violence and abuse are up by 35% because of wider reporting or because our society is becoming more violent.

The majority of those who suffer are women in abusive relationships. I know for a fact of few women in north London who have had problems with their partners and have been reluctant and in some instances terrified to report incidents. This is of course not the right thing to do but you can understand the difficulties these women have when they will in some instances have to face criticism from those withing their own communities. Many community leaders refuse to admit there is a problem but this is not the case at all and we all know it. More should be done to help and support those in need and cutting down budgets that finance certain schemes is completely unacceptable.

Press manipulation

I am no royal fun at all but everyone can see how the media and specifically the press are manipulating the stories around William and Kate middle class. Hours of BBC coverage on all its channels with their visit to Canada and going to see whether Posh Spice is wearing the right sort of nickers, I am sure that is in the public interest, or is it?

Then you have Charles left over here with his popularity going down the toilet. Then we get the sister on every paper in the land and stories about her and what she gets up to. Of course this leads to the sale of more papers and more money through advertising for them. The next stage, however, would be to find a reason to flood the system with negative stories (ensuring that more papers are sold) and bring poor Pipa down! Not very nice is it? But that is how some of the press work??

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Cyprus, 37 years of illegal occupation

The Republic of Cyprus was invaded in July 1974, the invasion by the huge Turkish army created 200,000 refugees, people who were forced out of their own homes, around 2,500 civilians were killed on both sides. Turkey occupied 37 % of the island and later on in the 1980s declared a state in the north part that no country recognises apart from Turkey.

The situation continues and the issue of reunification remains unresolved. There are numerous UN resolutions making it clear that there is only one Cyprus Republic and talks have been taking place but with no result.

It is my belief that the reason there hasn't been a solution is because of the immaturity of politicians on both sides and the intransigence of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey insists that their military should have control over the island something that is of course unacceptable to the Republic.

I am hoping that the two communities will be able to see that they can definitely live together in peace and harmony. I see members of the Greek and Turkish community forming close relations and friendships here in north London so there is no reason as to why that can't be done on the island. Remove the military occupation of the north part and unify the island. That is what all sensible people would want. The rule of international law must apply to the Turkish military as well!!!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Unified industrial action

Jon Rogers is right to say that we need to ensure that we have unified action across all the unions if our efforts to stop the government over its attack on our pension scheme is to have any Chance of success. Dave Prentis is also correct to say that one day of action isn't going to be enough. I think we all know that!

But coming from the front line and having seen efforts that my own branch was involved with for more than 20 years I would say that 3 things are important for success.

First, we must have long action, in other words one day won't do.

Second, it has to be unified and if we use Lambeth as an example it will be no good for Unison going out for a week if GMB members go into work (it happened many times..)

Third, we should consider long term selective action where those who go out are supported financially. Plus we must have a clear STRATEGY.

If we don't have a strategy that is inclusive of all 3 elements as expressed above then we will fail and we must not do that, not this time!

R Murdoch

It was inevitable that given the first opportunity politicians from all parties would close ranks and have a go at R Murdoch an individual that our system has allowed to become more powerful that it is democratically acceptable.

I am glad that Ed Miliband has taken this man on and it is also good news that the rest of them will probably be voting for the motion in the House of Commons to ensure that the b sky b take over does not take place. But they better be aware that this won't be the end of it and that Rupert (not the bear) will come back for them. This cannot be allowed. We must not have politicians who are scared to do their jobs because one individual has the power to 'go for them'? It is not democratic.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cyprus tragedy

Twelve people have been killed and 62 injured and Cyprus main power station has been destroyed. Significant damage to private properties and utility supplies. This is the result of what appears to be criminal negligence on behalf of officials who left containers full of munitions exposed to the elements for more than two years without cover, so every H&S regulation was ignored..

The huge explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base at Mari in the early hours Monday killed the navy chief and the base commander along with four other sailors and six fire-fighters. Two Ministers have already resigned and there is a huge demand for a full inquiry into how this was allowed to happen.

Cyprus, 37 years of illegal occupation

The President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the United Kingdom, Peter Droussiotis, is this week calling on UK Cypriots and friends of Cyprus to demonstrate their collective commitment to a free, united Cyprus. Mr Droussiotis is urging British Cypriots and friends of the island to remind Prime Minister David Cameron of the strength of opposition to Turkey’s continuing military occupation of Cyprus’s northern part, by joining a picket, march and rally in London on Sunday 17th July 2011.

The annual rally, organised by the Federation to mark Turkey’s military invasion of Cyprus in July 1974, is the biggest opportunity for the UK Cypriot community and friends of Cyprus to voice their feelings on the tragic and scandalous division which still plagues the island 37 years after the Turkish army invaded and occupied its northern territory.

Monday, 11 July 2011

B Sky B

Well didn't take much of an interest in this take over before and why should I? But it now looks like Vince Cable was right. It is not healthy for a democratic country to allow for one individual to gain control over a large section of the media especially if what he or they take over can be influenced by their politics? This can't be right?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Ken Livingstones statement on Boris Johnson

I am glad that Ken Livingstone is confronting Boris Johnson by reminding us all bout his lack of judgement. It is important that we all remember who the Mayor is and how he handles major issues some times. Here is Ken's statement which I have reproduced below:

"Over the last few days the horrible truth about the reality of what was going on at the News of the World has been exposed for all to see. There are few words that can describe the hacking of murder and terrorist victims as well as the families of those who died serving our country abroad.

But I wanted to share a video with you today that I’ve just filmed. Last year Boris Johnson said that the phone hacking allegations were “a song and dance about nothing” and “politically motivated codswallop”. Click here to view

This morning when faced with the allegations he tried desperately to change his tune for ‍ an immediate enquiry”. Yet in April, just three months ago, he made light of the whole thing, saying it is “embarrassing for any self-respecting celeb that they haven’t been hacked”.

He has shown dire judgement. As Mayor, if he had taken a different approach when this story was first published the whole course of events could have been different.

I’m asking Boris Johnson a series of questions on my website that I think he has to answer. Click here to view

If you agree please share on twitter and facebook using the hashtag #codswallop.

Best Wishes, Ken"

Victims of domestic abuse

It is still the case that most murder victims are killed by someone they know and more often than not by someone who lives with them or they know quite well. That has not changed.

But very little is done to help women who are often the victims of violent and abusive husbands or boyfriends. The police will rarely act when given information and they will more often than not wait until some major incident takes place. This is, more often than not, very late.

It would appear that even though we have matured and have moved on in many ways as a society our sophistication has not changed attitudes towards women in abusive relationships and I think much more needs to be done to change that balance.

Ed Milliband and Rupert Murdoch

Is Ed taking on Rubert (not so much a bear) Murdoch by being critical about this individuals handling of the NOTW affair? I think he might be and if he is then good for him. Andrew Marr out it to him at his programme this morning that he might be seen as a left wing leader and of course Marr was simply trying to stir things up but I don't see how he could be seen as left wing if on the 30 of June he told the unions it wasn't right that they were going on strike? Have we got our understanding of concepts mixed up here??

News of the world

I have to confess that I never bought a copy of this paper although I have to say that I did, on a few occasions, had a look at its content when staying or visiting friends who had a copy. It never impressed me as a serious paper but I accept that if 7.5 million people liked reading it then it must have been, in a strange sort of way, a successful journal.

So with the above in mind I would have thought that the proprietor could have sold it to some other organisation and allow the title to continue or re brand the whole thing as an act of moving away from the huge mistake committed by some of those who worked there? I would still not buy the 'thing' myself but at least this move would have secured the jobs of those who work there. Rubert the not so bear Murdoch is obviously more concerned about taking over the b sky b banana boat than saving 168 years of history so he thought that by ditching the NOTW it would open up the way to his take over? Am I right?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Freedom of the press issues

A friend pointed out last night that the News of the World has been in business for 168 years so, according to him, it was sad that it has been closed down. I can understand why someone can feel sentimental about the death of a paper (I wouldn't call it newspaper) and I also feel that the proprietor is killing the journal to deflect the real issue in question.

Glad of course that the people who work for NOTW will be found other jobs and I hope they will be protected. The fact is that some news organisations have gone beyond what is sensible journalism and have abused the right of expression. A new law which ensures that ordinary people are not subjected to abuse is introduced quickly but at the same time we must not censor real and true stories.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Freedom of the press

We are all for having freedom of expression and indeed that is why and how some of us are able to write blogs such as this one, but the freedom comes also with the obligation to act in a responsible way and not to use methods that are wrong or unacceptable to get information.

It is good that the paper accused of wrong doings will be closing down but of course those who work there will be effected severely and pay the price once again.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Euro crisis

I was astonished to hear on Greek television a demand made by the Finland PM who wants Greece and the other country's that are getting the loans from Euro land that they would need to mortgage most of the property owned by the state as a form of a guarantee. The talk in Greece is that the country is slowly losing its independence and there are now questions over sovereighty. I do not think for a single minute that the Greek state does not need to implement reforms to improve systems for tax collection etc but at the same time it is not right that the country is now been told what to do? Is this what European Federalism means? And do the measures involve the poorest members of society having to pay for the mistakes? This cant be right?

Unison retired members, a real force

It is always good to see retired members who are still active and want to support the activities of their own branch. This was the case on the 30 June when the Lambeth branch joined in with other unions in support of the NUT day of action. I saw at least 4 retired members from the Lambeth branch march with the protesters and take part in the gathering opposite the Tate library. Retired members can and indeed are a force that can link up with the rest of the branch in support of action. Unison very correctly identified this a few years ago and has put some effort and resources in organising this part of the union. My own branch will continue the good work.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Unison pensions campaign

Worth keeping an eye out for updates to be found on the Unison website or follow the link below

NHS 65 years of excellence D Prentis statement

I reproduce below the statement from our General Secretary Dave Prentis on the NHS.

'Our National Health Service celebrates its 63rd birthday this week. It is one of our greatest achievements that has saved the lives and stopped the suffering of countless millions, regardless of their ability to pay.

We celebrate, too, this week the men and women who worked tirelessly from the very start to make the NHS what it is today.

But our NHS faces its greatest challenge yet. This coalition government’s Health and Social Care Bill still poses the serious threat of privatisation and a return to the bad old days of queue-jumping by those who can afford to pay.

So, in celebrating 63 years of a great success story, remember we have to do everything in our power to defend it from attack. '

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Boat to gaza initiative

During a press conference in Athens on Tuesday, members of the "Boat to Gaza" initiative and representatives of Radical Left Coalition parliamentary alliance criticised the Greek government, accusing it of backing out and rejecting a foreign ministry proposal for the transportation of the humanitarian aid to Palestinian territory on board Greek vessels.

Many in Greece see this move by the government as a way to appease the USA and Israel something that is unpopular with the general public view.

NEC Lobby

We are all in agreement that public service pensions must be protected and we had a major event last week held by other unions. It is now important that we develop a strategy within our own union, Unison, which includes a programme of Industrial Action. I am reproducing below a letter written by Jon Rogers, NEC member, inviting branches and individuals to attend the lobby of the Unison NEC. I am sure Jon won't object to me publishing this:

Dear UNISON activist,

The first meeting of UNISON's newly elected National Executive Council takes place from 2pm on Tuesday 12 July to 1pm on Wednesday 13 July. I am sure that one of our main topics of discussion will be the current pensions dispute.

A number of UNISON activists, believing that it is important that we maintain the maximum unity, both between health and local government (and other sectors!) within UNISON and with other trade unions, intend to lobby the NEC members on their way in to the meeting on the morning of Wednesday 13 July.

I am therefore sending this message "unofficially" to UNISON branches in London for whom I have an email address to encourage you to attend this lobby next Wednesday morning, 13 July. I believe that if we are to avoid the trap of "divide and rule" tactics from the Government it is important that we plan now for unified action in the autumn.

The lobby will take place from 8.30am onwards outside the new Headquarters building in the Euston Road (nearest tube, Euston). Those of you on Facebook can access details at

Monday, 4 July 2011

Time for the more reliable banana?

Picture this, February 2014 and all is not well in Euro land, more bail outs and the value of the Euro has collapsed, a return to the Mark, Frank, Drachma or Peseta is not possible as they are no where to be seen. English currency remains strong so there is no alternative other than to adopt the banana as the only reliable form of currency in the Euro zone. And of course if nothing else works you can always eat the banana thus getting the feeling of satisfaction...

Can this happen? Of course not but the situation right now in Europe is looking chaotic. Greece has gone down the Khyber pass with Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy waiting to join in.

I have always declared my support for the European project for political and not economic reasons but have never expected the current situation to arise. On the other hand how the hell can you have common currencies between states with completely different and unequal economies? And how do you have monetary union when there is no central bank regulating all economies in the zone with real powers? Call me old fashion but I would prefer to see the banana!!

Leaders and reactions to them

Its nothing new and it always seems to happen. We always tend to end up hating those who lead us mainly because they make difficult decisions when in power that we disagree with.

I have a slight difficulty with this one as well. I have to confess that I am not too keen on the man as he displayed a huge level of arrogance following the biggest demonstration ever against the war in Iraq. He ignored all those voices and took us into an unpopular war. I don't think history will forgive him for that. But at the same time he did win 3 elections for the Labour party and he was quite dynamic.

I would say that all leaders are always disliked after they end their term in office. This is fuelled by those left behind who are paranoid about the level of influence an ex leader can exert. It happened to Thacher, Churchill, Blair and now Brown and it will continue happening for ever. It also happens in smaller organisations where a leader moves out, I have experienced that myself but I am big enough to know that's how it works. There are always those who appreciate what one has done and they are what matters.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

5th installment agreed

European Ministers agreed the 5th installment of loans to Greece. The Greek press has welcomed this move but the main opposition party ND (Conservative) made it clear that they will not be voting with the government when it comes to budget setting later on in the year. That vote would require 180 MPs to be in favor and the PASOK government can only rely on 155. Does this mean that there will be an election soon and if yes how would the 'agreement' with Europe work? Its a mess!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

In favor of the banana as the currency of trust

I don't think there will be many tears shed if the euro was ditched in favor of a new currency, lets call it the banana? Its obvious the euro has not worked out so lets go for a banana? You can at least eat a banana if it's value goes down... just a thought..

Friday, 1 July 2011

Do we abandon the euro and swap it for a banana?

I don't think there will be many tears shed if the euro was ditched in favor of a new currency, lets call it the banana? Its obvious the euro has not worked out so lets go for a banana? You can at least eat a banana if it value goes down... just a thought..