UNISON joins Brussels protest against austerity

On Tuesday 12 December, a delegation of UNISON representatives joined thousands of people at a rally in Brussels to demand an end to austerity, better public services and fairer working conditions.

The Europe-wide mobilisation, On the Road for a Fair Deal for Workers, was organised by The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). It took place during EU negotiations over the new Stability and Growth Pact, which aims to limit debt and deficits for member countries.

The ETUC, which represents 45 million members, claims that under the current draft proposal for a reform, 14 member states will be forced to cut a combined 45 billion euros from their budgets next year alone.

“Under the current proposal, member states with a deficit above 3% of GDP will have to reduce their budget deficit by a minimum of 0.5% of GDP every year,” a spokesperson said. 

“That would lead to fewer jobs, lower wages, stretched public services and leave most EU member states unable to make the investments needed to meet the EU’s own social and climate targets.”

London NEC member Abiola Kusoro attended the rally. She said: “It’s fantastic to be in Brussels today as part of a UNISON delegation to the On the Road for a Fair Deal for Workers demonstration.

“We are marching united with unions from across the European continent in a powerful display against austerity and for a fair deal for workers.

“It is so important that UNISON has such a visible presence here today and it’s been a fantastic opportunity to meet and speak to activists from our sister unions to discuss recent member-led campaigns and how we can work together in the future.”

The article UNISON joins Brussels protest against austerity first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Thirteen years of Conservative austerity have left public services reeling

Opening four days of debate at the 155th Trades Union Congress in Liverpool today (Sunday) with a motion on the importance of investment in public services, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“After 13 years, not a single part of our public services have been immune from Conservative cuts. Years of austerity have left services reeling. 

“The longest NHS waiting lists in history, huge cuts to police forces and councils going bust. Care services are unable to deliver for patients, their families, or the workforce, but generate huge profits for offshore private equity trusts. 

“Inmates are escaping overcrowded prisons and unsafe schools are crumbling, although you can bet Eton, Winchester and Harrow won’t be among them.  

“The blame for all this belongs firmly at the door of the government in Westminster.  

“Workers across all public services, and everyone who relies on them, can see austerity has fractured and smashed the economy.   

“After more than a decade of Conservative failures in Westminster, living standards are lower and the country poorer.  

“Britain is broken. When spending is slashed, services crumble. Now the austerity chickens are coming home to roost. 

“This is the most venal, corrupt, inept government I can remember. One only concerned with boosting the profits of offshore companies and private equity firms. 

“Ministers have been determined to cut public services. When public servants demand pay increases, the government accuses them of risking higher inflation. But it’s not public sector wage rises that cause costs to spiral. 

Tax loopholes for oil and gas giants, booming corporate profits and tax cuts for the wealthiest are what drives inflation.

“To grow the economy, deliver better living standards and fix Britain, strong public services are essential. 

“As the general election approaches, the focus must be on how working life can be made better by a Labour government. 

“The British public must never forget it’s the Tories who caused all the chaos and choked the economy.” 

Notes to editors:  
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.  

Media contacts:  
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk 

The article Thirteen years of Conservative austerity have left public services reeling first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Thirteen years of Conservative austerity have left public services reeling

Opening four days of debate at the 155th Trades Union Congress in Liverpool today (Sunday) with a motion on the importance of investment in public services, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“After 13 years, not a single part of our public services have been immune from Conservative cuts. Years of austerity have left services reeling. 

“The longest NHS waiting lists in history, huge cuts to police forces and councils going bust. Care services are unable to deliver for patients, their families, or the workforce, but generate huge profits for offshore private equity trusts. 

“Inmates are escaping overcrowded prisons and unsafe schools are crumbling, although you can bet Eton, Winchester and Harrow won’t be among them.  

“The blame for all this belongs firmly at the door of the government in Westminster.  

“Workers across all public services, and everyone who relies on them, can see austerity has fractured and smashed the economy.   

“After more than a decade of Conservative failures in Westminster, living standards are lower and the country poorer.  

“Britain is broken. When spending is slashed, services crumble. Now the austerity chickens are coming home to roost. 

“This is the most venal, corrupt, inept government I can remember. One only concerned with boosting the profits of offshore companies and private equity firms. 

“Ministers have been determined to cut public services. When public servants demand pay increases, the government accuses them of risking higher inflation. But it’s not public sector wage rises that cause costs to spiral. 

Tax loopholes for oil and gas giants, booming corporate profits and tax cuts for the wealthiest are what drives inflation.

“To grow the economy, deliver better living standards and fix Britain, strong public services are essential. 

“As the general election approaches, the focus must be on how working life can be made better by a Labour government. 

“The British public must never forget it’s the Tories who caused all the chaos and choked the economy.” 

Notes to editors:  
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.  

Media contacts:  
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk 

The article Thirteen years of Conservative austerity have left public services reeling first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Avoid outsourcing services unless there’s a clear public benefit, says UNISON

A future Labour government should do all it can to bring outsourced contracts in health, education, police and councils back in-house, says a new report from UNISON today (Friday).Any decisions by public bodies to privatise essential services should have to pass a key public interest test, according to the research. This means the running of important local services should only be offered up to private contractors if there is deemed genuinely to be a public benefit.The test that contracts should have to pass would include the following points:

  • Value for money
  • The quality of the service that would be delivered
  • The effects on workers’ job conditions such as pay and holiday entitlements
  • Any implications for other public services and their budgets
  • The impact on the local economy and its job market
  • The ability of the contractor to meet climate targets and equality considerations.

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Local services are always best provided by publicly accountable organisations that are based in the local communities they serve.“But central government has put the squeeze on health, care and school budgets, causing local councils and hospitals to put key contracts out to tender to reduce costs.“This isn’t good for anyone. Essential public services should be run for the public, not to make a profit for shareholders.”Notes to editors:– The report was presented at a fringe event at UNISON’s national conference, which has been taking place at the ACC Liverpool throughout this week. Further details of the conference can be found here– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors. Media contacts:Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

The article Avoid outsourcing services unless there’s a clear public benefit, says UNISON first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Growth won’t happen without strong public services

Commenting on the budget delivered by Jeremy Hunt today (Wednesday), UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“There are more holes in this budget than on most public highways.

“It’s funny how the chancellor can lay his hands on billions when he wants. Ministers have sounded like a broken record, insisting the country can’t afford to pay key workers more.

“Yet, in a flourish, there’s cash for another fuel duty freeze, tax cuts for those who need them least, and no action to curb the mega-profits of the oil and gas giants. But not a dickie bird on public sector pay.

“It’s meant to be a budget for growth, but allowing public services to wither away and failing to invest in the workers tirelessly delivering them will come back to haunt the government. Economies can’t thrive with weak public services.

“The government’s childcare pledges are a helpful start but no panacea. Many nurseries struggle to offer enough free hours as it is, and can’t recruit the workers to deliver extra.

“Altering the ratios so fewer minimum wage childcare staff end up looking after ever more youngsters is not the answer. Valuing the workforce with proper rates of pay to match their skills should be the order of the day.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union and the largest union in the NHS and in the ambulance sector. It has more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

The article Growth won’t happen without strong public services first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Chancellor must not cut public services to fix economy, says UNISON

Commenting on new figures published today (Wednesday) showing inflation has risen again, to its highest level for four decades, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“Families already at rock bottom will be aghast that their financial misery is worsening.

“The record gap between wages and price rises mean workers in understaffed public services are ?either planning their exit route ?or have long gone. But essential services can’t function without their key resource – people.

“Unless the chasm between pay and household bills narrows soon there won’t be anyone left to look after our health, run schools, provide community services and care for the vulnerable.

“On Thursday the government must act to breathe new life into public services on the verge of collapse. Not deliver the final blow.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

The article Chancellor must not cut public services to fix economy, says UNISON first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Government should focus on those in need rather than foolish tax cuts

Responding to the government’s u-turn on the abolition of the 45p tax rate, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said today (Monday): “This pointless tax cut was foolish from the off.

“It’s deeply disturbing that it took a week of financial worry for millions and damage to the UK’s international reputation before the government listened to reason.

“The Prime Minister and Chancellor should be focusing on those who can’t make ends meet, not lining the pockets of the already wealthy.

“If ministers really want to get the country back on its feet, they could start by increasing benefits in line with inflation, paying staff properly and investing in the public services on which everyone relies.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

The article Government should focus on those in need rather than foolish tax cuts first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Government must stop the chaos and abandon its disastrous financial experiment, says UNISON

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s defence of the mini-budget and the news that public services may face ‘efficiency savings’, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“The government needs to take its head out of the sand. Ministers must listen to the world’s economic experts urging them to junk this disastrous financial experiment.

“?Borrowing to fund huge tax cuts for the super wealthy has taken the UK economy to the brink and ?is in danger of risking much that we hold dear.

“Suggestions that benefits won’t rise with soaring inflation and beleaguered public services are to be squeezed is a terrifying prospect. The government ?seems to have no idea of the damage its foolhardy approach is wreaking.

“Essential services need support and investment so they can hold onto experienced staff and deliver for the public. Not cuts that will harm communities irreparably.

“Liz Truss must stop the chaos and abandon last week’s mini-budget. There must also be an election soon so people can tell ?the Prime Minister what they really think of her plans to take us all to hell in a handcart.”

Notes to editors:

– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk

The article Government must stop the chaos and abandon its disastrous financial experiment, says UNISON first appeared on the UNISON National site.

A Labour government can’t come soon enough, says UNISON

Commenting on Keir Starmer’s speech to the Labour Party conference in Liverpool today (Tuesday), UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“This was a speech from the Prime Minister in waiting.

“Keir set out how he will lead a government that protects the economy and living standards, and gives people hope of a better life.

“A government that will work for a fairer, greener future, where people can live in affordable homes, feed their families and pay their energy bills.

“Labour in power would understand that well-funded public services, with properly paid staff, help grow the economy and are the bedrock of a decent society.

“It was an inspiring speech. Keir’s vision is a world away from that of the Tories, who only care about the very rich and are gambling with the country’s future.

“An election cannot come soon enough so working people can elect a government that’s truly on their side.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

The article A Labour government can’t come soon enough, says UNISON first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Genuine living wage and public service investment show why Labour should be in government

Commenting on the speech from shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves to the Labour Party conference in Liverpool today (Monday), UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“This shows the difference a Labour government would make to working people and public services. A windfall tax so our children’s children aren’t still paying off the cost of our energy support in years to come and sustained investment in rundown public services.

“Rachel Reeves is a future chancellor who understands that public services are both the bedrock of a decent society and help fuel the economy.

“Committing to a genuine living wage that keeps up with costs and a huge investment in the NHS will be music to the ears of struggling low-paid workers and exhausted health employees alike.

“The need for a proper plan to increase the number of key workers in health and care is something the current government seems unable to grasp. Labour gets it, and the need for a green future that’s made in Britain. A Labour government in Westminster can’t come soon enough.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

The article Genuine living wage and public service investment show why Labour should be in government first appeared on the UNISON National site.