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 It's time to care

 

 

15th April 2014

 

 

 Access All Areas in Scotland

  The newsletter for UNISON Scotland Disabled Members

  To read issue 3 of the newsletter Click here or go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/disabled/

 

 7th April 2014

 Welcome to our Spring Issue of our new

Scottish Activist & Member Learning Bulletin

In this issue we’ll bring you up to date with the latest and forthcoming initiatives across UNISON’s Learning & Development spectrum:-

  • Adult Learners Week 17th to 23rd May

  • Members workshops

  • Financial support available to members and discounts available

  • Open University discounts

  • Crossbows discounts

To read more Click here

 

 

4th April 2014
Worth It campaign banner

You're worth it logo

Worth It is UNISON’s UK-wide, cross service group campaign on pay. It aims to raise the profile of pay within the membership, with influencers and the wider public, and to find a new way of talking to people about the impact of the continued pay injustice - making pay about people. To do this, we need members to share their experiences and to show the real reasons why pay matters.

To read more go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/worthit/index.html

 

To Join the Campaign click Sign in

 

 

3rd April 2014

Social Work Watch

'Social Work Watch’ takes place on 29th April – tell your colleagues!

UNISON, in partnership with Community Care, is launching ‘Social Work Watch’ to shine a light on a typical working day in social work.

On 29th April we want as many social work staff as possible to fill in a survey about their working day. We will use the results to promote understanding of social work, and highlight the daily pressures staff have to contend with

  •  In advance of the 29th April we will email details of the initiative nationally to all social work members on RMS where there is an email address

  • In the meantime, staff can also pre-register and get sent a reminder by emailing socialwork@unison.co.uk stating ‘Social Work Watch’ reminder (see attached flier).

 

 

2nd April 2014

 

SCOTTISH DISABLED MEMBERS

UNISON helps disabled members by fighting discrimination and campaigning on issues such as:

·         improved anti discrimination legislation;

·         negotiating branch disability leave agreements;

·         improving inaccessible workplaces;

·         replacing information systems that don't meet disabled people's access needs;

·         eliminating negative attitudes and prejudice from employers, service users and the general public.

 

 

24th March 2014

 

 

24th March - 6th April is Fair Pay Fortnight. This Briefing aims to set out some of the facts around the decline of wages in recent years and, through testimonies collected as part of UNISON's Worth it Campaign, outline the impact this is having on peoples lives.

To read more go to http://fairpayfortnight.org/

 

 

27th March 2014

 

WIN £200 towards your winter heating bills

You could clean up in every sense this spring! That's because we're offering one lucky UNISON member the chance to win a tidy £200 so you can give your home a fresh look.


 

 

19th March 2014

 

SPRING FUTURES - for people who care about public services.

 

In this edition:-

  • Learn about Health and Social care Integration

  • Read about Welfare reform

  • Read an article 'Don't get old or sick'

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks/PublicServiceFutures08_Spring2014.pdf

 

 

17th March 2014

Renfrewshire Council leader shows the way by committing to

Ethical Care Charter on World Social Work Day

 

Renfrewshire Council are leading the way in the commissioning of homecare services today (18 March 2014) with the Leader of the Council committing to supporting the UNISON Ethical Care Charter on World Social Work Day.

 

The Charter sets minimum standards to protect the dignity and quality of life for people who need homecare. It commits councils to buying homecare only from providers who give workers enough time, training and a living wage, so they can provide better quality care for thousands of service users who rely on it.

 

Mark Ferguson, Branch Secretary of Renfrewshire UNISON and Chair of UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Committee, said:

 

“UNISON members working in Renfrewshire Council are proud that their council is leading by example, committing to our Charter that tackles the problems with homecare contracts head on. Making this commitment to decent employment conditions for care workers is all about improving the quality of life for the people they care for. A living wage, more secure employment and time to care will help make it possible for dedicated care workers to stay in the job and focus on giving the best possible care."

 

Renfrewshire Council Leader Councillor Mark Macmillan said:

 

"I am delighted to be able to support UNISON's Ethical Homecare Charter. Home carers do a vital job helping older and vulnerable residents live with dignity and independence in their own home. We believe clients benefit from a higher quality of care when properly rewarded home carers take pride in the work they do.  Renfrewshire Council pays its own home care workers the living wage and we successfully negotiated with employers in the private sector to pay their 300 staff the living wage too.”

 

Dave Watson UNISON Scotland Head of Bargaining and Campaigns said:

 

‘UNISON Scotland congratulates Renfrewshire Council and the hard work of UNISON members. It is a real example how unions work in partnership with councils to make sure we really deliver for those we care for. It’s also a positive response to the issues raised by care staff in our recent ‘Scotland – It’s Time to care’ report”.

  

Ethical Care Councils pledge to commission care only from providers who:

 

              Give workers the freedom to provide appropriate care and be given the time to talk to their clients.

              Allocate clients the same homecare worker(s) wherever possible.

              Do not use zero hour contracts.

              Pay the Living Wage (£7.65 per hour)

              Pay homecare workers for their travel time, their travel costs and other necessary expenses such as mobile phone use.

              Schedule visits so that homecare workers are not forced to rush their time with clients or leave their clients early to get to the next one on time.

 

 

 

11th March 2014

 

Procurement is key to making decent pay the norm, says UNISON

 

UNISON Scotland is calling on MSPs to support an amendment to the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill which would make paying a living wage an essential condition of bidding for a public sector contract.

The Bill – which is being considered tomorrow (Wednesday) at stage 2 by the Infrastructure and Capital Investments Committee – will change how public contracts are handed out to businesses. Scotland spends approximately £10 billion a year on procurement and UNISON wants those employed in public contracts to be paid the living wage, currently £7.45 an hour.

While the Scottish Living Wage is working well across the public sector, many public services are outsourced to the private and voluntary sectors, including vital areas such as social care.

 

Cheryl McCormick, a support worker in Glasgow and vice chair of UNISON’s Scottish Community Service Group, said:

“There is an army of low-paid workers who care for the most vulnerable people in our society who earn less than the living wage, many less than the minimum wage when travelling time and sleepovers are taken into account; who are on zero hours contracts, and don’t have time to care properly.

“The people delivering these services are really struggling. A living wage would mean the difference between having to scrape by from month to month and worrying whether or not they can pay their bills, to being able to relax a little and maybe even have a little left at the end of the month.

“If decent pay is going to be the norm in Scotland, then procurement is the key to driving up employment standards.”

 

Currently, one in five Scots are paid below the living wage. UNISON’s Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, Dave Watson, gave oral evidence to the Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee yesterday (Monday) to express the union’s concerns over the impact of zero hours contracts on workers. He told the committee that the growth in casual employment is contributing to the growth of in-work poverty, damaging public services and the economy.

 

Dave added: “At a time when workers have experienced the longest  real wage squeeze since 1970, with inflation going up faster than pay for 43 months, this is the way to make a major step forward by boosting the income of many thousands more low paid families in Scotland.

“Companies are cutting corners in order to win contracts. Unless we opt for principled procurement these issues are not going to go away. We need MSPs to support the amendment to this Bill and make paying a living wage a stipulation for all public contracts, by including this in performance clauses.”

 

19th February 2014

It’s time to care, says UNISON as survey reveals Scotland’s care crisis

A survey of Scottish homecare workers has exposed the shocking reality of the country’s care services.

 

The majority of workers polled in the UNISON survey believe the service is not sufficient to meet the needs of the elderly and vulnerable people they care for – both from the time they can spend and the quality of care they can provide. Almost half of carers (44%) said they were limited to specific times to spend with their clients. One in two workers are not reimbursed for travelling between client visits, while three in four said they expected the situation to get worse over the coming year.

 

The survey – Scotland: It’s Time to Care – also revealed that one in ten are on zero hours contracts. This is being fuelled by the way councils commission care and is leading to worse services for the elderly and some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

 

UNISON Scotland Deputy Convener Stephen Smellie said:

 

“Our care services are hanging by a thread and this survey shows that as austerity has bitten, it is the elderly and vulnerable in our community who are paying the price. The elderly in our society deserve better – much better – and so do care workers.”

 

The shocking results of this survey will be a focus of a debate on Scotland’s care services that will take place later today (Wednesday). Organised at The Gathering, the event – Scotland’s Care of the Elderly: a national disgrace? – will bring together key figures in the public and voluntary sectors, including UNISON, Alzheimer Scotland and Labour MSP Neil Findlay.

 

Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland’s Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, will be speaking at the event and will say:

 

“This report gives staff at the front line of care delivery the chance to tell their story about care in Scotland and it doesn’t make comfortable reading. It should be a wake-up call for the Scottish Government and commissioning bodies to take action to end the race to the bottom in care provision.

 

“Procurement action includes a requirement that all care provision should mandate:

 

·         The Scottish Living Wage: this will help the recruitment and retention of staff and support continuity of care;

·         Improved training: to ensure that care is delivered by properly qualified staff;

·         Proper employment standards: ending the abuse of zero and nominal hour contracts;

·         Adequate time to care in every care visit.

 

“Fairly paid, well-trained staff on proper contracts with time to care is the very least older people in our communities have a right to expect.”

 

13th February 2014

Local Government in Scotland is bearing the brunt of cuts

The double whammy of austerity measures and the council tax freeze has left local government in Scotland bearing the brunt of cuts. Local councils across Scotland are setting their budgets for 2014-15. Communities across Scotland will see services being cut. There have been 39,300 job losses in local government in Scotland out of a total of 49,500 job losses across the public sector in Scotland. Local government is the only major Scottish spending portfolio to take a cash cut since the crash.

 

The union says cutting any vital services – which is a direct result of UK coalition government’s unnecessary austerity measures and the Scottish government’s council tax freeze – is not the way forward. Local people should have a say in their local services and should not feel powerless in the process. It is also the most vulnerable who will be most affected.

 

Mark Ferguson, Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Committee, said: “Local government makes up half of the public sector workforce, yet accounts for 8 in 10 of the job cuts. These cuts are completely unnecessary and terrible for our communities. It is the most vulnerable for example the elderly, disabled, and young unemployed who feel it the most. And its ordinary families already struggling with cost of living increases who have to stump up extra for increased charges for services like bulk refuse uplift, swimming and leisure services and school breakfast clubs“

 

UNISON is calling for:

·         councils to be able to control their own budgets including council tax and not have them set centrally through the council tax freeze

·         all political parties to accept the council tax is broken and get around the table to agree how to take forward reform of local government finance

 

12th February 2014

To read UNISON's briefing on the Public Bodies (Joint Working) Bill Click here

 

21st January 2014

PRELIMINARY NOTICE

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

TUESDAY, 4th MARCH 2014

AT 6pm (Buffet from 5.30pm)

MEADOWBANK INN, MONTROSE ROAD, ARBROATH

 

7th February 2014

THOMSON's - Personal Injury Report re cases pursued on behalf of members.

HEADLINE STATISTICS

The headline statistics for October to December 2013 are as follows:-

  •  181 cases opened;
  •  108 successful cases concluded;
  •  £570,661 obtained in damages;
  •  £5,283 average award in each case;
  •  £190,220 average damages per month;
  •  53% of cases unable to proceed;
  •  97 wills prepared;
  •  58 members were given general free legal advice;
  •  10 members sought criminal law advice or assistance.

 

17th January 2014

Scottish Budget Bill 2014/15

To read the ebrief Click here

 

15th January 2014

To read the newsletter Click here

 

15th January 2014

WIN £200 towards your winter heating bills

Feeling the pinch after the festive season? Let us help banish the January blues with our latest prize draw! This winter UNISON Protect is offering one lucky UNISON member the chance to win £200 towards their heating bills.
 

Enter Now

 

14th January 2014

Young workers vanishing from the public sector, says UNISON

Young people are the biggest losers of public service job cuts as figures reveal the number of young workers has fallen by a quarter.

Workforce data published by Audit Scotland shows there are 1,545 people aged under 20-years-old working in Scotland’s public services, down 25 per cent since 2009.

The cuts have led to an ageing workforce. In 2013, the average age was 44 years and four months, compared with 43 years and nine months in 2009. With nearly 40 per cent retiring in the next 10-15 years – although the reality is many will leave sooner – there is a very real concern of serious skills shortages across the public sector.

The workforce is also shrinking at an alarming rate. Since the financial crash, 49,500 jobs have been lost across the public sector; 4,400 in the last year. However, this is thought to be the tip of the iceberg as data from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) indicates a further 60,000 jobs could be lost over the next five years.

The job cuts have been implemented largely by salami slicing services – in other words, cutting staff and services that the public may not immediately notice - rather than direct service cuts. This leads to increased pressures on the staff that remain to deliver the services when demand is rising.

Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland’s Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, said:

“The numbers are staggering and evidence the disastrous consequences of spending cuts for Scotland.

“The recruitment freeze is already condemning a generation of young people, many of whom have trained for years, to a life of unemployment. We are seeing an ageing workforce with well over a third of the workforce due to retire in the next 10-15 years, leading to serious skills shortages. Better workplace planning at both Scottish and local level can help, but it’s only a sticking plaster on the gaping holes that are developing in service provision.

“Cuts in services and jobs are destroying the local economy. Taking billions of pounds out of public services means taking billions of pounds out of the Scottish economy. Around 70p in every pound spent on public services finds its way back into the local economy. Not to mention the fact that 92 per cent of the cost of employing a public sector worker is recouped through increased tax revenues and reduced benefits payments.

“The workforce is shrinking at an alarming rate and creating very special problems for the workers who are left behind, as they try to keep the plates spinning on deteriorating Scottish public services.”

For further information:

 

9th January 2014

Scottish LGPS Pensions

To read the latest Pensions bulletin Click here

 

9th January 2014

SCOTTISH PUBLIC SECTOR WORKFORCE

To read the Briefing Click here

 

17th December 2013

TUC Dog exposes benefits

A new TUC animation tackles some of the myths about the benefits system, with the aid of a talking dog.

It outlines how, for every £100 spent in benefits, the breakdown is:-

  • £42 on old age pensions

  • £14 for people in work - subsidising employers paying low wages

  • £13.50 on housing and council tax benefits

  • £11.50 on disability and sickness benefit

  • £10.50 on child benefit

  • £6 on child benefit

  • £2.50 - yes just £2.50 on jobseekers allowance

Oh, and 70p on fraud. According to come analysts that is 260 times less than is lost through tax evasion.

See the video at www.tuc.org.uk

 

16th December 2013

Contempt of court ruling on Edinburgh social workers

– UNISON Response

UNISON is calling for an urgent legislative review following a contempt case verdict at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today (Monday) which could have wide-ranging implications for workers across Scotland.

Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, said: “Our social work members have an overriding duty to ensure the child’s welfare is paramount in all that they do. However, it seems the paramountcy of the welfare of the children is not considered relevant during contempt proceedings. This is quite clearly a conflict of laws.

“Social work staff deal with complex and challenging cases on a daily basis and this decision merely muddies the water and puts those working on the frontline in a very difficult and vulnerable position.

“The fact that individuals, rather than the organisation they work for, have been put in this position has wide-ranging implications for the employer/employee relationship and could have a ripple effect on all frontline workers.

“Today’s decision highlights the need for a legislative review and one that ministers need to address as a matter of urgency.”

 

13th December 2013

NHS Scotland - Launch of Everyone Matters: 2020 Workforce Vision

- Implementation framework and plan 2014-15

The first implementation plan, launched today, is for 2014-15. It sets out five priorities for action which are: 

·        healthy organisational culture

·        sustainable workforce

·        capable workforce

·        integrated workforce

·        effective leadership and management.

       To read the full report Click here

 

6th December 2013

COSLA's pay delay claim 'utter nonsense'

Local Government branches met to respond to COSLA imposing a 2 year 1% pay rise - completely outwith the bargaining framework - instead of honouring their agreement of 1% for 2013/14.

Dougie Black, UNISON's regional organiser, said: "COSLA's claim that UNISON is dragging it's heels is utter nonsense. Our members were balloted and had accepted the one year offer. It's completely unacceptable for COSLA to renege on the deal and it's a kick in the teeth for Scotland's council staff who  work hard to deliver Scotland's council services."

"Imposing a deal is no way to conduct bargaining and our members deserve more than these underhand tactics. COSLA needs to get back around the negotiating table and conduct their business in a fair, open and transparent manner and show our members the respect they deserve."

 

5th December 2013

Public Services Futures

Please find attached the winter edition of Public Service Futures. This edition contains information on a range of issues affecting public services including the new Commission on Local Democracy,  the regulatory Reform Bill and taxation in Scotland.

The newsletter is also available on the UNISON Scotland website

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks/PublicServiceFutures07_Winter2013.pdf

 

5th December 2013

Scotland’s Future:

Independence White Paper

The Scottish Government has published its White Paper on Independence. The document covers matters that are consequential from becoming an independent country like currency and international relations. In addition, it sets out a policy prospectus if the SNP are the first government of an independent Scotland. In this briefing we highlight the issues most relevant to UNISON members.

To read the white paper Click here

 

3rd December 2013

Paying for Local Government

A UNISON Discussion Paper

Branches received a  discussion paper: Paying For Local Government on 11th November from Dave Watson - see below

The paper seeks to develop UNISON's policy on this issue so that we are able to influence the developing debate as the parties start their manifesto process for the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections. Attached is the summary briefing that was promised in that email.

The links below take you to both papers on the UNISON Scotland website.

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/PayingforLocalGovernment_UNISONdiscussionpaper_Nov2013.pdf

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/b044_PolicyBrief_PayingforLocalGovernment_Nov2013.pdf

 

3rd December 2013

Quarterly Unison Report (Personal Injury) July - September 2013

Thomsons provided it's quarterly report. The headline statistics for July to September 2013 are as follows:-

  •  226 cases opened;
  •  99 successful cases concluded;
  •  £863,345.84 obtained in damages;
  •  £8,720 average award in each case;
  •  £287,781 average damages per month;
  •  42% of cases unable to proceed;
  •  162 wills prepared;
  •  92 members were given general free legal advice;
  •  4 members sought conveyancing advice or assistance.

To read more click here

 

29th November 2013

Celebrate Classroom Assistants Day

UNISON Scotland is calling on parents, students and teachers to support of the vital contribution made by hard-working classroom assistants, as part of a national celebration day (29 November). 

The union, which represents classroom assistants, is campaigning for all school support staff to be rewarded for their tireless work through a proper career structure and better pay, terms and conditions. With the dedicated help of classroom assistants, children who would otherwise struggle, get support to keep them in mainstream education. 

The focus of the campaign at UK level is the threat from the coalition government to phase out the role of teaching assistants. While this role does not exist as such in Scotland, classroom assistants (and similar job titles) undertake a huge and varied range of tasks in Scottish schools. Independent research by the EOC and others shows that Scottish classroom assistants are working at high levels of responsibility - including planning and organising learning activities.

UNISON Scotland Education Chair, Carol Ball said: “As local government is bearing the brunt of spending cuts in Scotland, school staff are facing growing demands to do more for less. Their pay is being squeezed, and they are working an increasing number of unpaid hours as staff who leave are not replaced. In addition, as the Glasgow dispute demonstrates, they are being forced to take on new roles without adequate training.”

UNISON Scotland also welcomes Scottish Parliament Motion S4M-08426:  submitted by Jayne Baxter MSP, (Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour) and urges all MSPs to support the motion.

“Celebrating Classroom Assistants
That the Parliament considers that classroom assistants in Scotland make a valuable contribution; welcomes what it considers the positive impact that classroom assistants make by enhancing the learning environment for children and supporting teachers and other school staff; acknowledges the role of Unison Scotland in speaking up for the many of its 160,000 members who are classroom assistants, and supports Unison’s Celebration Day on 29 November 2013, which recognises the difference made by classroom and teaching assistants to the education and support of children in schools across the UK.”

 

26th November 2013

29 November 2013 - Speaking up for teaching assistants
Teaching assistants and classroom assistants are under threat due to unfair criticism from the Treasury and right-wing think tanks. UNISON is committed to speaking up for teaching and classroom assistants, and promoting their role in the education and well-being of our children.
 

Teaching assistants graphic with gold star

Sign up to our campaign to support teaching assistants
Keep up to date with UNISON in Schools on social media.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/UNISONinSchools.
Twitter: @UNISONinSchools

 

21st November 2013

Education - Audit Scotland

The project brief for Audit Scotland’s performance audit of school education is now available to download from our website at: http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/docs/fwd/pb_school_education.pdf

The aim of the audit is to answer the question “how efficiently and effectively are councils using their resources to maximise pupil achievement in schools?”

 

11th November 2013

Paying for Local Government

A UNISON Discussion Paper

UNISON is the largest trade union in Scottish local government. Our members deliver local services and also have a wider citizenship interest in how services are provided and paid for.

The funding of local government has been a difficult issue for political parties. At best proposals have been sticking plaster solutions because change is viewed as being politically challenging. However, we simply cannot go on as we are with short-term fixes that damage services and undermine local democratic accountability. We need to develop a new consensus that provides a long-term solution.

In this discussion paper we set out our view of the taxation options for local government in Scotland. The primary aim of the paper is to enable UNISON branches in Scotland to reach a view on this issue, but we would welcome views from others who have an interest in this important issue.

To read the whole discussion paper Click here and please contact us on office@unison-angus.org.uk with your views.

 

7th November 2013

Scottish LGPS Pensions

The SLGPS ballot closed 7th November - the result was 94% to accept and 6% to reject.

 

5th November 2013

Living Wage Week

This week is Living Wage Week - and new rates have been announced this morning: £7.65 an hour outside London and £8.80 in London.

UNISON will be at the forefront of campaigning this week to win the living wage - the minimum amount needed for workers to provide a decent life for themselves and their family - and highlighting the economic benefits.

Throughout Living Wage Week, keep an eye on the UNISON website for news of the campaign, and check out our campaign pages at http://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/unison-campaigns/a-living-wage/home/

 

5th November 2013

Child welfare must be the priority –

school support staff strike over imposed healthcare tasks

More than 400 school support staff will take to the streets tomorrow (Wednesday) to lobby Glasgow City Council over forced changes to their roles. To read the article Click here

 

4th November 2013

Procurement is key to rolling out benefits of living wage across Scotland

To read the article Click here

 

28th October 2013

UNISON brands COSLA’s delay claims ‘utter nonsense’

UNISON has dismissed COSLA’s delay claims as ‘utter nonsense’ and says the organisation’s decision to rip up its one year pay offer is a kick in the teeth for hardworking council staff. Click here to read more

Scotland’s largest public service union reacted angrily to COSLA’s plans to impose terms on workers for a two year period - completely outwith the bargaining framework - instead of honouring their agreement of one per cent for 2013/14

Dougie Black, UNISON’s regional organiser, said: “COSLA’s claims that UNISON is dragging its heels is utter nonsense.

“Our members were balloted and had accepted COSLA’s one year pay offer. It’s completely unacceptable for COSLA to renege on the deal and it’s a real kick in the teeth for Scotland’s council staff who work hard to deliver Scotland’s council services.

“Imposing a deal is no way to conduct bargaining and our members deserve more than these underhand tactics. COSLA needs to get back around the negotiating table and conduct their business in a fair, open and transparent manner and show our members the respect they deserve.”

 

24th October 2013

Toxic cocktail of spending cuts and violence

A 'toxic cocktail' of spending cuts and violence against public service workers has resulted in another increase in violent incidents across Scottish councils and NHS Scotland.

 

33,689 incidents were reported to public service employers last year - almost 14,000 more than when the first survey was first conducted in 2006. To read the article Click here

 

17th October 2013

Access All Areas in Scotland

  The newsletter for UNISON Scotland Disabled Members

  To read issue 3 of the newsletter Click here or go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/disabled/

 

14th October 2013

UNISON Protect

As the evenings close in and the weather gets colder, UNISON Protect have got a clutch of great customer discounts and competitions to cheer you through even the darkest of days. Plus there's news of their recently revised website and advice on how to keep your finances secure - whatever the future holds.

UNISONProtect Newsletter - Issue 12

 

10th October 2013

Latest News on Scottish LGPS Pensions

Scottish Pensions Bulletin 38

To read the bulletin go to

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/pensions/ScotPensionsbulletin39oct13.pdf

 

10th October 2013

Meals for school children and hospital patients must be protected from looming cuts

 The quality of meals for school children and hospital patients must be protected from further public spending cuts, UNISON said today. The public services union warned that public service catering standards are under pressure as ‘austerity’ cuts bite, with more deep cuts on the way.

“UNISON is today launching our new Food for Good Charter which lays out key ways in which food in schools and hospitals, nurseries, care homes, prisons and other public services should be fresh, local, healthy and sustainable.

To read the full article Click here

 

9th October 2013

23rd September 2013

Pensions in an independent Scotland

The Scottish Government has published a paper today on pensions in an independent Scotland.

This is an important contribution to the debate and is worth a read if only to get past the rather misleading media headlines.

To read UNISON comments go to http://publicworksscotland.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/pensions-in-independent-scotland.html

 

19th September 2013

UNISON Welfare

To read the latest newsletter click here

 

12th September 2013

Draft Scottish Budget

2014-15

The Scottish Government has published its draft budget for 2014-15 with an indicative budget for the following year as well.

To read more click here

 

9th September 2013

PAY CLAIM 2013 - 2014

The Scottish Employers have a made a new offer on pay to the trade unions. The offer is for a two year period 2013/14 and 2014/15 and is for 1% in each year. It also includes a Scottish Local Government Living Wage at £7.50 per hour from 1 April this year. This rate will be uplifted by the 1& offer from 1 April 2014 to £7.58 per hour with a further uprating if the Living Wage Foundation recommend an amount greater than this hourly rate.

This offer was again made outwith the agreed SJC Bargaining Framework for Local Government and despite the fact that UNISON had written to the Scottish Employers accepting the offer of 1% for the year 2013/14 follow2ing our unsuccessful ballot for industrial action. It is unacceptable for the employers to continue to act in such a way and show such disdain for the agreed bargaining machinery. We will now consider how best to respond to this.

This situation has also been exacerbated by Unite consulting and formally accepting the terms of the offer prior to the offer being made. Therefore not only are the employers acting outwith the agreed machinery but so also is one of the SJC constituent trade unions! The SJC Trade Union Side now requires to resolve this as soon as possible.

UNISON’s position following Friday’s Scottish Local Government Conference will be to write to the Scottish Employers restating the fact that we have accepted the original offer of 1% and the introduction of the Living Wage and pressing for this to be paid to members immediately. It is also our view that we should consult with branches on the content and shape of a pay claim submission for next year and build on our Fair Pay Campaign. Whilst the campaign did not deliver a vote for industrial action it has raised the issue of pay with our members and created the building blocks to take our campaign forward and be stronger next year. It is also our intention to write formally to Council Leaders outlining our position.

 

4th September 2013

OPEN UNIVERSITY K101 “UNDERSTANDING HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE”

Please click here for an information flyer for the Open University K101 qualification, “Understanding Health & Social Care” course.

 

3rd September 2013

Scottish Government unveils programme for coming year

The Scottish Government has published its legislative and other activity programme for 2013/14 - 'Empowering Scotland'. This briefing highlights the main legislative proposals that impact on UNISON members.

Dave Watson has  written a short summary of  the Scottish  Government’s  Legislative Programme   pointing out where it seems likely to impact on UNISON members and Branches.

It can be found on UNISON's new  Public Works blog  here.  

 

2nd September 2013

Fully funded Distance Learning Courses Now Available To Enrol!

Tribal, in conjunction with the newly formed West College Scotland, is pleased to offer a range of high-quality, fully funded distance learning programmes. These courses covering lifestyle, personal development and vocational subjects are only available to adult learners (19+) living or working in Scotland.

 Places are limited and are offered on a first come, first served basis.

 Programmes include:

·         Level 2 Dementia Awareness

·         Level 2 Safe Handling of Medicines

·         Level 2 Provision of Activities

·         Level 3 Diabetes Awareness

·         Level 3 Palliative Care

·         Level 2 Nutrition and Health (Healthy Eating)

·         Level 2 Understanding Equality and Diversity

To secure course places please email westcollegescotland13@tribalgroup.com.  They will then send you an enrolment form for you to complete and return to us so we can then get the course materials out to you to commence the programme.

These courses are available to anyone 19 yrs or older so please feel free to forward this onto friends, family and colleagues who you think may also be interested in undertaking one of the above courses.

For more information contact Marc Wensley, Business Development Manager, Specialist Learning Solutions at 07921 233551 or e-mail: Marc.Wensley@tribalgroup.com

 

2nd September 2013

'Judging the public mood for opposing austerity'

To read the (surprising results of the research report click here

 

29th August 2013

Bin the Bedroom Tax

There will be a Bin the Bedroom Tax march and rally to the Liberal Democrat Conference at the SECC in Glasgow on Saturday 14th September 2013.

To read the flyer click here

 

22nd August 2013

Strike over ‘savage cuts’ by Stirling Council

Local government workers in Stirling will begin strike action on Monday (26 August) against ‘savage cuts’ being imposed by their employer.

UNISON Stirling Council branch believes that the package of cuts proposed by the council will damage the vital services which local people rely on - and further reduce wages which have already been devalued by 13% over the last three years as a result of a pay freeze.

Members of UNISON and other unions have voted to take industrial action beginning with a one day strike on Monday 26 August.

Branch secretary James Douglas said: “We have been left with no option but to proceed with a strike due to the savage cuts proposed by our employer.

 “The council’s offer is insulting - the combination of a 1.5% pay cut and the requirement to work an extra 7.5 days a year, actually amounts to a 4.5% pay cut for the majority. This comes on top of a three year pay freeze which has meant a real terms pay cut of about 13%. And the proposal to move to a 37 hour week also means a reduction in hourly rate of pay for all including the lowest paid.

“These proposals are by far the worst faced by any council in Scotland. But it was not local government workers or the people who rely on our services who caused the economic crisis - and we should not be forced to pay for it. We certainly do not appear to be ‘all in this together’.”

 

14th August 2013

PAY CLAIM 2013 - 2014

The Pay Ballot closed on 13th August and resulted in a very narrow rejection of moving towards a programme of industrial action in support of an improved offer. 49.78% voted in favour of industrial action and 50.22% voted against.

The Scottish Local Government Committee met this morning to consider the outcome and agreed that UNISON will not take industrial action over pay this year. It was also agreed to inform the employers that we should now accept the 1% offer and the introduction of the Living Wage, inform the employers of this, and press for an early payment date.

To read the full press release go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2013/index.html

 

10th August 2013

Multicultural Festival for a Multicultural City

On Saturday 17 August the racists and Nazis of the Scottish Defence League (SDL) plan to march through the centre of Edinburgh during the Festival. Edinburgh is a multicultural city and the Festival is an international cultural celebration.

The people of Edinburgh welcome citizens from around the world. Tourists want to soak up the city and Festival not be confronted by racists. Racist and fascist groups are trying to use the tragic murder of soldier Lee Rigby to whip up racism and direct hatred at all Muslims.

We must not give an inch to those who try to judge an entire religion, race or nationality on the actions of a few.

On Saturday 17 August join the anti-racist protest with people from all faith groups, community and trade union activists and all decent people.

To get more information and updates go to https://www.facebook.com/events/201521596674400/

 

8th August 2013

Latest News on Scottish LGPS Pensions

Scottish Pensions Bulletin 38

Pension Champions gathered in Glasgow this week to get an update on negotiations over the new Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and consider the options on improved benefits. The core benefit of the new scheme are the accrual rate; member contributions and scheme governance. To read the bulletin go to:

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/pensions/ScotPensionsbulletin38aug13.pdf

 

6th August 2013

PAY CLAIM 2013 - 2014

The ballot on industrial action closes on 13th August 2013 so make sure you have your say.

UNISON is proposing 3 days of industrial action - 2 national days and one regional strike.

If you back the Fair Pay campaign and support strike action please vote Yes.

If you are not willing to strike please use your vote and vote No.

To read more go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2013/LEAFLETA5_20130603.pdf

 

 

6th August 2013

Members benefits - Legal work

Thomson Solicitor has announced its Quarterly Report on Personal Injury April to June 2013

The headline statistics for April to June 2013 are as follows:-

• 175 cases opened;

• 101 successful cases concluded;

£919,408.65 obtained in damages;

£9,103 average award in each case;

• 192 wills prepared;

• 126 members were given general free legal advice;

To read the full report click here

 

31st July 2013

The Damage - Trading Standards

Cuts to trading standards services are seriously affecting our members' ability to protect the public and genuine businesses. With fewer staff there are more ways for criminals and scammers to slip through the net. To download the leaflet with more information and details of the epetition go to

http://www.unison.org.uk/upload/sharepoint/On%20line%20Catalogue/21721.pdf

 

26th July 2013

UNISON wins right to a judicial review of tribunal fees

UNISON won the right to have the government's introduction of fees for taking cases to Employment Tribunals subjected to a judicial review, in a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice this morning.

The fees, which can be as high as £1,200 for "complex" cases came into force today. UNISON's arguments against them are scheduled to be heard in October.

General secretary Dave Prentis said today: "The timing could not be more critical, but today we are one step closer to justice for workers.

"The government should not put a price on justice. It is disappointing that, in the interim, fees will still be paid, but we will be making a strong case for a judicial review in October because we believe that these fees are unfair and should be dropped."

 

19th July 2013

Access All Areas in Scotland

  The newsletter for UNISON Scotland Disabled Members

  To read the first of the newsletter Click here or go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/disabled

 

18th July 2013

One Workplace

The STUC – Scotland’s Trade Union Centre – is seeking to recruit a Development Officer and an Administrative Assistant for the One Workplace Equal Rights project. One Workplace Equal Rights supports trade unions in Scotland to promote equality and tackle racism in the workplace.

To read the advert for Development Officer Click here and for the Admin Assistant Click here

 

18th July 2013

   

UNISON Protect

This month there are £200 worth of holiday vouchers up for grabs! With the long school break just around the corner, what better way to get the summer off to a sizzling start than entering now for free.

The winner can pick from Thomas Cook, Thomson or Love2Reward.com vouchers and enjoy fun in the sun, at home or away, without the financial baggage that often goes with it. You can forward the details to as many members as you like.
Click
here for the entry form and T&Cs. The closing date is August 19th. Good luck!
 

 

 

8th July 2013

PAY BALLOT HELPLINE NUMBER

Please direct all enquiries regarding members who have not received/need replacement ballot papers to

UNISON Direct on 0845 355 0845 .

This number will be available between 10 July and 12 noon on 7 August. No ballot papers will be sent out after this period. We have been advised that it will take up to 3 working days for replacement/other ballot papers to reach members.

 

4th July 2013


UNISON Protect

Whether it's a week on Crete or a week in Cornwall - vacation or staycation, we all relish the thought of a well-earned getaway.  Throughout July and August, UNISON Protect are offering one lucky UNISON member the chance to win £200 of holiday vouchers to put towards the cost of your
dream holiday.

Enter today for your chance to win!
 

 

2nd July 2013

FAIR PAY CAMPAIGN

UNISON calls on councillors to back Fair Pay as strike ballot opens

Local government union UNISON today (Tuesday) emailed Scotland’s councillors asking them to support Fair Pay for council workers. To read more go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/2013/julaug/0207.htm

 

1st July 2013

Spending review - UNISON reaction

Commenting on the spending review, Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said:

“Today’s spending review reveals the true extent of the Government’s failure.  The Chancellor has got it horribly wrong"

To read more go to http://www.unison.org.uk/news/spending-review-unison-reaction

Block on incremental pay progression

 
“The Chancellor has demonstrated yet again, that he has no idea how pay progression works in practice” said Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, following the Spending Review today

To read more go to http://www.unison.org.uk/news/spending-review-block-on-incremental-pay-progression

 

27th June 2013

UNISON IN SCHOOLS

You can now download the Summer 2013 Edition of the Newsletter for School Staff at

http://acrobat.unison.org.uk/acrobat/21261.pdf

UNISON launches campaign to save teaching assistants

Delegates at UNISON's 2013 local government conference voted to launch a high profile campaign to protect teaching assistants and to highlight the huge role they play in educating children.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the government in Westminster had asked the teachers review body to look at teachers' contracts with a view to them taking on duties currently performed by teaching assistants. In the last month, a right wing think tank with close links to the government has also called for teaching assistants to be sacked.

UNISON has secured an urgent meeting with Secretary of State Michael Gove over these reports.  We will be making clear that the coalition will have a fight on its hands if it makes any serious moves to take teaching assistants out of classrooms. More information can be found on the UNISON website: http://www.unison.org.uk/news/media-centre/unison-launches-campaign-to-save-teaching-assistants

TV star backs UNISON’s campaign

UNISON’s campaign to defend teaching assistants has received the high profile backing of Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson

http://www.unison.org.uk/news/articles/royle-family-star-supports-unison-campaign-to-protect-teaching-assistants

 

UNISON survey reveals shocking level of poverty in schools

A UNISON survey of nearly 3,000 school support staff reveals the shocking impact of poverty on the children in their schools.

·         87% say children are coming to school tired

·         85% say children are coming to school hungry

·         80% see children coming to school without proper uniforms or in worn out clothes

·         73% believe that poverty has a negative impact on the education of the children in their school

·         57% see the children in their school in poor physical health

·         55% believe that some children at their school appear to be suffering mental health issues as a result of rising poverty levels

·         55% have seen an increase in the number of children who rely on breakfast clubs in this school year

UNISON will be using these shocking findings in our campaign against this government’s austerity policies.

Full copy of the press release can be found on the UNISON website http://www.unison.org.uk/news/media-centre/schools-survey-reveals-shocking-levels-of-poverty 

 

26th June 2013

UNISON wins historic equal pay case worth millions of pounds for members

Nearly two thousand women members of UNISON are celebrating a historic equal pay victory today.

They have finally demolished the long-running defence by Scottish councils of paying men discriminatory bonuses that are denied to women.

 To read more Click here

 

25th June 2013

Fair Pay Day of Action for local government workers

Unions today launched a Fair Pay Day supporting Scottish local government workers as they prepare to vote on strike action.

Trade unionists on the STUC Austerity Uncovered tour asked why council workers are being offered a ‘measly’ 1% pay rise when ‘fat cats’* on the Sunday Times Rich List saw their wealth soar by £116 billion in the last three years.

UNISON branches across Scotland are holding workplace events and lobbying councillors today as they campaign for a Yes vote in the strike ballot, which opens next week. 

And in Dundee the Austerity Uncovered anti-cuts ‘battle bus’ continues its tour of local communities hit hard by the UK Coalition Government attacks on jobs, pay and benefits that are hitting the most vulnerable so hard.

Dougie Black, Regional Organiser, said: “Local government workers are struggling to make ends meet after the value of their pay has gone down nearly 13% in three years, while their daily bills go up and up. 

“What communities need is workers spending money locally. We know that council workers do that, so giving them a Living Wage, with annual increases, and a fair pay rise, will boost local economies.”

Dave Moxham, STUC Deputy General Secretary, will speak at the Fair Pay day event in Dundee at lunchtime. He said: “Just a few days into the Austerity Uncovered tour, STUC has confirmed through what people tell us that, along with unemployment, low pay is a major cause of suffering.

“Local government workers have tightened their belts following serial real terms pay cuts and many can go no further with debts mounting. Council tax freezes, which most benefit those in big houses, are squeezing council budgets and causing cuts in services and workers’ pay.”

 

24th June 2013

UNISON National Delegate Conference

Gordon Watson and Shona McLean, Stewards in Social Work and Health, attended the National Delegate Conference

in Liverpool 18th to 21st June 2013.

To read more about Conference and the decisions taken go to http://www.unison.org.uk/about/events-and-conferences/conference-updates/

 

24th June 2013

BEDROOM TAX CONFERENCE

29th JUNE 10.00am – 2.30pm

MEADOWBANK STADIUM, EDINBURGH.

For the Agenda Click here

 

20th June 2013

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE INTEGRATION - Briefing

Please find below Bargaining Briefing No. 37 on a new Bill published by the Scottish Government on its plans for Health and Social Care Integration.  The new Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill sets out the framework for the new integration arrangements that the Government intends to legislate for.  There is no timetable set for the Bill’s conclusion as yet, although it is reasonable to expect that they will want it to become law by Summer 2014, with a starting point in 2014/15.

We welcome feedback and the Branch will forward this on to inform the national discussion. Please send comments to us at office@unison-angus.org.uk

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/b037_BargainingBrief_IntegrationOfHealth+SocialCare_Jun2013.pdf

 

13th June 2013

Effects of Cuts in Local Authority Planning Departments

Severe cuts in Local authority planning departments are leading to potential safety risks for the public, reducing the quality of the service delivered and worsening inequalities. These are the results found by a survey UNISON Scotland has conducted amongst our members in planning departments. Alongside the service cuts members report decreasing morale and rising stress levels as a result of cutbacks.

To read the survey go to:-

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/b035_BargainingBrief_CutsInPlanning_Jun2013.pdf

 

12th June 2013

UNISON warns social work standards are at risk from austerity cuts

Social workers meeting in Glasgow today warned that managers and the Scottish Government must do more protect services to the most vulnerable in the face of austerity cuts.

Stephen Smellie, Vice Convener of UNISON Scotland, told a seminar on ethical social work that cutbacks are placing unprecedented pressures on services and on staff working to ensure professional standards are upheld. 

He said: “It has never been more difficult to deliver social work services. The austerity policies have resulted in increasing social problems, increasing burdens on families and service users and at the same time cuts in services. 

“Social work staff in all sectors have seen the demand for their services and their workloads increase. UNISON members want to provide high quality services but are under increasing pressure.

“As a union we will support members to ensure they are able to maintain the appropriate professional standards and at the same time are safe in their workplaces.

“The employers and government need to do more to protect social work services and to ensure that there is no race to the bottom through contracting out services.”

Stephen, chair of the public service unions Social Work Issues Group, said that a number of challenges potentially put standards at risk, without strong attention to protecting them. These include health and social care integration, the roll out of personalisation and increasingly complex caseloads.

 

12th June 2013

UNISON warns of risks from planning and regulation cuts  

Severe cuts in council planning departments are leading to potential safety risks for the public, reducing the quality of the service delivered and worsening inequalities, a survey of UNISON members has revealed today.

And the union argues that the essential protections needed to “protect the public from unscrupulous and dangerous practices” - and to ensure that Scotland is a safe place to live and work - will be weakened in the Scottish government’s new Regulation Bill.

Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, said:

“We have surveyed our members at the sharp end of planning – and they describe a variety of serious problems, including some potential public safety risks. One authority was reported as having effectively abandoned its asbestos register. And there were reports of increasing numbers of properties having either out of date electrical certificates or no certificate at all.

“The vast majority believe the service provided to the public is being adversely affected by cuts - mostly due to decreasing staff numbers - either through redundancy or leaving vacancies unfilled. Almost 60% described the level of cuts already as ‘major’ or ‘severe’ and most believe there are further major or severe cuts still to come.“

The survey results were published today, as UNISON gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism on the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Dave Watson said: “Regulations don’t just protect the public from unscrupulous and dangerous practices. They protect other businesses as well. Companies who don’t follow the rules can offer a cheaper or faster service. This makes it difficult for those who do the right thing to compete. Fly tippers can charge a lot less than those who pay to have their waste disposed of or recycled. This drives down profit margins and increases costs for taxpayers who have to pay to have streets cleaned. But this Bill places regulatory reform in terms of economic growth - rather than protecting the public.

Dave Watson added:

"The proposal by ministers to link planning fees to performance is without doubt an unwarranted interference in local democracy. This kind of top down performance management framework has been a dismal failure everywhere else it has been tried. System thinkers have been highlighting this for a decade or more. All the evidence - for example on hospital waiting times - shows that other services suffer and staff are forced under pressure from above to ‘game’ the system."

 

6th June 2013

Homes for a fairer Scotland

Our homes are not just buildings in which we sleep and eat - they are much more than that. Our homes are the bases from which we create our own lives, our families and our communities, our culture and our society. Improving housing is essential if we are to make Scotland a fairer more socially just place to live. Housing must provide a safe, affordable and sustainable environment for people to thrive - with sufficient space for privacy and intimacy, and also shared space for social interaction amongst friends and family, neighbours and other people.

To read the new UNISON policy on housing launched today go to:-

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/housing/MakingHomesForAFairerScotland_June2013.pdf

and UNISON's groundbreaking proposal for the funding of social housing:-

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/housing/FundingAndBuildingTheHomesScotlandNeeds_Mar2013.pdf

 

6th June 2013

UNISON Scotland's "Public Services FUTURES" magazine

To read the Summer edition go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks/PublicServiceFutures06_Summer2013.pdf

Three things to do today:

  •  Learn about the impact of welfare changes on local government
  • Check out middle class advantage
  • Ask a friend to join

 

6th June 2013

Regulatory reform (Scotland) Bill

UNISON has given evidence to the economy committee at the Scottish parliament regarding the regulatory reform Bill. This bill will impact on a range of members particularly those working in planning , environmental health and environmental protection. UNISON is concerned that rather than improved regulation the proposed bill is aiming for less regulation. To read the full consultation go to

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/RegulatoryReformBill_EvidencetoSPEconomyEnergyTourismCmtte_Jun2013.pdf

 

4th June 2013

PAY CLAIM 2013 -14 - BALLOT

The Regional Secretary today approved the request from the Scottish Local Government Committee to pursue an industrial action ballot in support of an improved pay offer for 2013. 

The key ballot dates are as follows:-

26 June  -  Notice of intention to ballot sent to employers

3 July  -  Ballot opens

13 August  -  Ballot closes

5 September  -  First day of action

Building a campaign of support for an improvement to the offer within our membership and as such a programme of engaging members and raising awareness of the issue of pay within the branches under the banner heading of Fair Pay will be key to our success. The campaign will include designating specific days as Fair Pay days, gaining support from all UNISON members, lobbying councillors and councils and raising the issue with local media. Whilst the principle focus will be on pay and the fact that our members have had a pay freeze for the past two years and not received other payments that other public sector employees have had, cuts to services and jobs will also feature heavily.

The Branch Secretaries meeting on 28th May agreed an industrial action strategy which will include an initial one day of action by all members, followed by a rolling programme of single days over a five week period where branches will be placed within one of 10 groupings. Two groups per week which will include all members within the designated branches will then take a further day of action. If required a further one day of action by all members will be planned for week 7. This means that all members will participate in three days of industrial action. A programme of selective action is also being planned to support this. Whilst it is hoped that we can bring the employers back to the negotiating table to discuss how the offer can be improved we should also be aware that to do so may take a planned and sustained programme of industrial action supported by our members.

Further details will be posted on the web site as they become available or go to

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2013/

.

 

4th June 2013

Austerity Uncovered

Scotland & Britain are hurting.

Too many politicians have no idea just how tough life is for the many.

Prices are rising while wages are held back. Service cuts are biting hard.

And getting tough on so-called cheats is used as an excuse to cut vital benefits and tax credits for millions who have played by the rules.

In June 2013, the STUC & Scottish Trade Unions will be visiting towns and cities in Scotland and Britain’s trade unions will be travelling across the country, letting people tell their own story about life across the countries of the UK.

To read more about events locally click here Austerity uncovered programme pdf.pdf

 

3rd June 2013

LOCAL UNISON SUCCESS STORY

The Angus College branch of UNISON has just completed it's annual round of negotiations.

It has been able to negotiate:-

  • 3.5% Consolidated on all scale points

  • £ 7.20 minimum wage bringing all lower staff up by a considerable percentage.

  • 2 days extra annual leave

  • 15 minutes shorter working week without loss of pay.

 This has been accepted by 90% of the membership.

Congratulations to Dougie, Jennifer and Andy who have worked tirelessly trying to fight the college merger and working so hard to get a good deal for their members.

 

3rd June 2013

Member's benefits

£106,000 reasons to be a member of UNISON

UNISON won £106,853 in personal injury settlements for Scottish members in one month. The members came from 10 Local Government branches, 4 health care branches and 2 in the community and voluntary sector.

Free Legal Insurance

Did you know that you can avoid paying extra for Legal Expenses Insurance because you already get it free just by being a UNISON member?

Professional Indemnity

Did you know that UNISON provides up to £1 professional indemnity for nurses?

 

24th May 2013 

TEACHERS IN PRE-5 AND PRIMARY SECTORS RAISE CfE WORKLOAD CONCERNS

The results of a major national survey of nursery and primary teachers have highlighted growing workload concerns associated with the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.  The survey was carried out by the country’s largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), which represents 80% of Scotland’s teaching professionals including most of the country’s nursery and primary teachers.  Almost 4,000 teachers replied to the online survey over a 3 week period.

To read more click here

To read the survey results click here

 

24th May 2013

Food safety requires independent regulator says meat inspectors union

UNISON warned today that the new Scottish version of the Food Standards Agency must have the powers and resources to safeguard the public and stand up to the food industry.

To read more click here

 

22nd May 2013

UNISON Protect

Back by popular demand, our latest prize draw is offering one lucky UNISON member the chance to get their hands on a tasty £200 towards the weekly grocery shop.

Spend the vouchers at a supermarket of your choice and - for once - fill your trolley without fearing the checkout. The competition is free to enter and you can forward the details to as many UNISON colleagues as you like.

Click
here for the entry form and T&Cs. The closing date is June 24th. Good luck!

 

21st May 2013

PAY CLAIM 2013-14 - CONSULTATION

UNISON recently voted to reject the pay offer of 1%.

A ballot re industrial action will now be held but we need your views!

Are you prepared to work to rule? Would you go on strike?

Would you support selective action or an all out strike?

Please contact us with your views on office@unison-angus.org.uk

 

21st May 2013

RECRUITMENT EVENT

There will be a drop in recruitment event at Montrose Library between 4.30pm and 6.30pm on 3rd June.

This is targeted at school staff but is open to anyone so if you'd like to join, come along and pick up an application pack. If you are a member come along for a cup of coffee, meet your stewards and have a chat.

 

14th May 2013

Wages, inflation & inequality

To read this briefing go to

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/b034_BargainingBrief_WagesInflation+Inequality_May2013.pdf

 

13th May 2013

Get Involved in Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 13-19 May and is themed around physical activity and wellbeing.

Physical activity is often described as something we ‘ought to do’ to avoid developing health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. What's less often explained is the huge potential it has to enhance our happiness and quality of life and reduce mental illness. This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week aims to shift our motivation for physical activity to something we choose to do to increase our wellbeing.

Lots of Mental Health Awareness Week activities are planned around the UK next week, and those we know about have been plotted on our activity map. Take a look for events in your area.  

 

10th May 2013

Recruitment in Angus

There will be lunch time UNISON Recruitment events in Angus:

Academy Lane, Arbroath     13th May

Ravenswood, Forfar              15th May

Invertay House, Monifeith     20th May

Forfar Academy                       22nd May

Angus House, Forfar              27th May

and visits to Saltire Leisure Centre, Arbroath Leisure Centre and Montrose Leisure Centre on 29th May.

If you are a member, come along and tell us what the issues are in your work place!

If you're not a member, come along to find out more about the benefits of joining and to pick up an application form.

 

1st May 2013

Council tax freeze is costing public services dear - UNISON

Hard-pressed Scots are facing massive increases in charges for vital local services to pay for the Scottish government’s Council Tax freeze, public sector union UNISON has revealed.

 The union has called for a new debate over the Council Tax freeze - which mainly benefits those living in better off neighbourhoods.

 Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, said: “It is clear the Council Tax freeze is costing public services - and those who rely on them most – very dearly indeed.  We asked all the Scottish councils, using a Freedom of Information request, how their charges have changed since the Council Tax was ‘frozen’ in 2007. The responses reveal that people on modest incomes are having to pay far more for costs like their rent, school meals for their kids, and charges for care in daycentres for their vulnerable relatives – and still services are being cut back. Meanwhile those in the leafier suburbs benefit most from the unfair Council Tax freeze. It is not socially just or fair.”

 Dave Watson said: “It is time for the debate on the Council Tax freeze to change. Discussions around the Council Tax usually use the Band D charge for comparison but the average bill rate gives a better idea of what people are actually paying. The average council tax bill in Scotland is £985 while the average band D charge is £1149.                             The freeze disproportionally benefits the wealthy; while charges are being increased and services cut. Band H households are “saving” on average £441 per year while those in the cheapest homes (Band A) “save” £147 a year.

 “UNISON’s FOI request shows increased charging far outweighs the claimed savings. Rents in some areas are going up by over £900 per year. It’s much fairer for everyone to pay a small amount extra in tax than have big increases in charges that bear no relation to ability to pay for services.”

 

26th April 2013

UNISON marks International Workers’ Memorial Day with call for safer workplaces                                              

UNISON today warned that the appalling toll of death and injuries from the collapsed clothes factory in Bangladesh highlights the vital importance of strong health and safety laws.

Trade unionists across Scotland will be marking International Workers Memorial Day (28 April) at a range of events over the next few days.

But UNISON Scotland’s Scott Donohoe said the 21st IWMD comes at a time when the UK Coalition Government is making unprecedented attacks on health and safety at work. 

Scott, Health and Safety Committee chair, added: “This week the House of Lords backed a legislative amendment we have been fighting because it puts safety laws back more than 100 years. 

“It will make it much harder for people to gain compensation for personal injury.

“Work-related deaths, ill-health and ‘accidents’ are not acceptable. Yet budgets for enforcement have been slashed, employers need report fewer of the injuries to their workers and unannounced inspections of so-called ‘low-risk’ workplaces have been stopped.”

The Health and Safety Executive’s budget has been cut, as has the money from central to local government, which employs environmental health officers, who deal with health and safety.

 

24th April 2013

SCOTTISH RETIRED MEMBERS COMMITTEE

ANNUAL BOWLING TOURNAMENT 2013

The Annual Bowling Tournament will be held at Kettle Bowling Club, Kingskettle, Fife at 2.00 pm on Wednesday 21 August 2013. 

The Committee would be grateful if numbers of bowlers and/or spectators could be communicated to Bob Miller, 37 Buchanan Park Ceres, Fife, KY15 5NW (Tel:  01334/828582) by Wednesday 14 August 2013.   Also contact Bob if you need any further information.

 

12 April 2013

2013 Pay claim

At the Local Government Conference in Glasgow today it was announced that in the recent ballot, members had rejected the pay offer of 1% with 59.7% voting to reject and 40.3% to accept with a turn out of 25.4%.

The offer was rejected by UNITE but the GMB voted to accept.

The Scottish Local Government committee will go back to the employer's to try to re-open negotiations but will commence talks with UNITE on a timetable and strategy for a ballot on industrial action.

 

11 April 2013

MAY DAY MARCH AND RALLY - ABERDEEN - Saturday 4th MAY 2013
 
UNISON is looking to provide transport to enable members, their family and friends to attend a May Day march and rally in Aberdeen on 4th May. The march is being organised by the Aberdeen Trades Council and affiliated organisations such as UNISON. The rally will provide an opportunity for trade union and community activists to show their solidarity to working together to overcome the UK Coalition Government's Austerity & Welfare Cuts Programme, and also send a message to our elected representatives that change is needed now.
 
The assembly point is Rubislaw Terrace Gardens, in the centre of Aberdeen, and the march begins at 11am, and proceeds down Union Street to the Castlegate for the rally.
 
It is proposed to have a bus from Montrose via Inverbervie, Stonehaven and Portlethen, arriving in Aberdeen at 10.30am, departing Aberdeen at 3pm for the return journey.
 
If you, would like to book seats, please contact the UNISON office in Aberdeen on 01224 620624 or email grampianresourcecentre@unison.co.uk no later than Friday 19th April letting them know your name, where you wanted picked up from (Montrose, Inverbervie, Stonehaven or Portlethen), how many seats you want to book and a contact number. 
 
Once the buses are finalised, you will be contacted with the pickup locations and times.
 

6th April 2013

Pay offer 2013

UNISON's Scottish Local Government Committee has recommended rejection of the pay offer. A vote to reject the offer will mean a further ballot asking you to take part in strike action.

The ballot closes at non on 11th April 2013.

If you haven't received a ballot paper, phone the helpline on 0131 226 0090 or go to membershipteamscotland@unison.co.uk by noon on 8th April 2013 to get one sent out.

 

4th April 2013

UNISON PROTECT

Fancy sprucing up your garden but worried you'll have to work over-thyme to fund it? We've got a great new prize to get you mow-tivated - without outlaying any money. Enter our FREE competition for your chance to win £200 of garden centre vouchers.

Perhaps put the funds towards a little plot on the patio. Or maybe to extend your windowsill herb garden. There are plenty of ways to spend the £200, from decking your front door with flora to forking out on some new allotment tools.

Forward this to as many friends as you like - but make sure you've got your green fingers on the prize first by clicking below to enter.
 

ENTER NOW

 

22 March 2013

Support public water services as a human right for all on

World Water Day

UNISON today marked World Water Day with a call for water to be a human right and not for sale.

The public services union used today, March 22, to urge support for a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) that states water and sanitation are essential public services for all.

UNISON is encouraging people in Scotland to sign the water ECI’s online petition demanding that the European Commission stops plans to liberalise water services.

Andy Nisbet, secretary of UNISON’s Scottish Water branch, said: “In Scotland we enjoy the benefits of Scottish Water being publicly owned, a policy which has very, very strong public support.

“Today on World Water Day I encourage everyone who believes water is a human right to sign the petition at right2water.eu .

“We are calling on the European Commission to legislate to implement the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all citizens."

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis is a member of the organising committee of the ECI, which will be formally launched on 1st April.

Andy added: "The ECI is a new form of European action created by the Lisbon treaty.  It provides an opportunity to get the European Commission to listen to citizen views rather than just lobbyists in Brussels.

“Our petition has been the first to gather more than the required one million signatures, to submit the proposals as draft laws. This is a phenomenal achievement.

“But we want to have as many names as possible to deliver the message that water should not be privatised. Adding your name to this petition really can make a difference and you will be part of the historic first ECI to be launched.”

The petition is at www.right2water.eu

 

20 March 2013

UNISON Scotland slams Osborne Budget as

‘a broken record of broken hopes’

 

UNISON Scotland leader Mike Kirby has described today's Budget by George Osborne as a "broken record of missed targets and broken hopes" and slammed the government's austerity strategy which makes public service workers pay for the sins of the bankers and the markets.

 UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said: “Even in the Chancellor’s own terms, this Budget is a broken record of  missed targets and broken hopes, which shows that austerity is not working. A budget of the rich for the rich who will gain from the removal of the 50p tax rate, and for those of the middle England stereotype who gain some small tax breaks. The increase in personal allowance does little to assist many public service workers, who are still in a job, and in lower income households, having suffered by falling real wages, cuts to tax credits and rising gas and electricity prices. The single tier state pension to be introduced from 2016 will present many more losers than winners, a £6 billion windfall for the Treasury from 2016-17, alongside big national insurance increases from the ending of contracted out rebates on NI for those who’ve been providing for life after work through occupational pension schemes. The announcement that the government will seek significant further savings through reforms to progression pay is another disgraceful attack on public service workers who are being punished for the sins of the bankers and the markets.  Progression pay is the contractual process by which staff reach the rate for the job. It is not a pay rise. The £2.5 billion extra cuts in public services may fund house building and other projects, but at the cost of revenue for other public services, when the public has greater trust in services that are delivered locally, so the chancellor should devolve resources for housing, infrastructure and jobs, not cut local budgets for central projects.”

             UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said the Chancellor was "out of ideas and should be out of a job. 

“The Chancellor is clearly bankrupt of ideas. His bleak austerity agenda and fiscal inertia is leading to stagnation, robbing the country of the Government’s prized AAA rating and tipping it towards a triple dip recession. Attacking public services is the Chancellor’s default setting. Osborne talks about supporting people with aspirations but does exactly the opposite. On top of the three-year public service pay freeze workers will now have their pay pegged to 1% until 2015/16 – what does that say about giving people aspirations? Osborne can’t dig the country out the hole he has made – more cuts are not the answer to revitalising the economy. Cutting Whitehall budgets further will simply lead to the loss of more services that the millions of people rely on with little gain for the country as a whole. Reversing the tax cut for millionaires would have been a much fairer way to raise revenue. It’s Bleak House for the majority but the minority get to party on.”

 

15 March 2013

UNISON recommends members reject 1% local government pay offer

 

UNISON Scotland is to recommend that its local government members reject a final pay offer from councils.

Branch delegates meeting in Glasgow today (15 March) agreed to recommend rejection of the 1% offer from COSLA.

 A full postal ballot will start later this month.

 Stephanie Herd, Chair of the union's Local Government Committee, said: "Delegates today reflected the mood of workers throughout Scotland. An offer of 1% simply isn't enough after suffering years of real terms pay cuts. We will now move into the ballot."

 

11 March 2013

UNISON RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN

On 11 March UNISON launches a major recruitment campaign to boost our strength in workplaces at a time when public services are under sustained attack from the coalition government.

 General Secretary Dave Prentis wants the union to represent thousands of workers who have not joined a union and who have little or no defence against the government’s attack on their jobs.                                                                         He has told UNISON members and activists: “In many workplaces we’re 50% unionised. We should be 100% unionised. And he promises that UNISON will do everything in its power to help its activists achieve that saying: “We need to strengthen the union, we need to make sure that the activists are supported and we need to make sure that our members and potential members know that UNISON is there for them.”

 The first phase of the recruitment campaign kicked off on 11 March, spearheaded by a national advertising campaign including television adverts, national and local press advertising, online and social media. 

 A range of new recruitment materials is available for branches to use in workplaces and the union has reviewed how it processes applications to ensure that people find it quick and easy to join UNISON.

 This recruitment campaign is happening against the backdrop of disastrous government policies that Mr Prentis describes as “the most frightening we’ve ever dealt with, more so even than those under Margaret Thatcher.              “Our members are in the eye of the storm. What keeps them awake at night is the worry about losing their jobs, about privatisation and how they can continue to make ends meets after living with a pay freeze that has lasted over three years.                                                                                                                                                                                             “As their union, they turn to us to help. And we’ve got to be there for them. So it’s important that we as their union are strong. To be a strong union you have to have growing membership, you’ve got to speak on behalf of the whole workforce, not just a small part of it.                                                                                                                                          “This is about increasing density, making the union strong, putting the union in a position where it will weather the storm and set a legacy for future public service workers.”

What you can do

Find out what is happening in your branch and make sure you volunteer with recruiting new members in your workplace. You can put up posters, talk to your colleagues or make sure that our recruitment leaflets are available to non members where you work. If you want to know more about what is happening locally, contact us at office@unison-angus.org.uk

 

11 March 2013

Trade union membership pays dividends for UNISON members around Scotland

UNISON said today that a living wage deal at one of Scotland’s biggest universities is the latest success in the union winning hundreds of thousands of pounds for members.

Low paid staff at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) are celebrating the decision to start paying the Living Wage of £7.45 per hour.

To read more, go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/2013/marapr/1103.htm

 

9 March 2013

UNISON in Colleges - Spring issue 2013

The new UNISON college newsletter is now available. The newsletter can be downloaded from the UNISON website:-    

http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/21358.pdf

 

8 March 2013

International School Meals Day

UNISON calls for free sustainable meals in all schools

A goal for International School Meals Day should be that all school children can have free healthy, fresh meals, prepared and sourced locally where possible, UNISON said today. The public services union welcomed the first day to promote healthy school meals and awareness of hunger and poverty issues addressed through school meals. But UNISON says recent scares around horse meat have highlighted that not enough is being done to ensure our children have quality meals.

 Stephanie Herd, Chair of the Local Government Committee, called for UNISON’s Food for Good Charter to be adopted in all schools and across the public sector. She said: “It is important to recognise the excellent work that goes on in schools across the country to provide nutritional meals that encourage young people to eat healthily. However, we believe that all children should receive free school meals and that our Food for Good Charter offers ways to deal with some of the issues that have arisen following recent food scares. It calls for sustainable food, locally sourced, using fair trade where possible, with consideration given to less meat-intensive diets and excellence in procurement and staff training and conditions. The Charter gives an excellent framework for providing healthy meals that can also be a major contributor to improving health and tackling childhood obesity.”

 

8 March 2013

INTEGRATION OF ADULT HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

The Scottish Government has published its response to the consultation comments on its proposals to integrate Adult Health & Social Care prior to a bill being published later in the year. The response gives further insights into their plans.

To read UNISON briefing No 32 go to

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/b032_BargainingBrief_IntegrationofAdultHealth+SocialCare_Mar2013.pdf

 

7 March 2013

Don't treat Scotland's colleges and support staff like Cinderella, UNISON tells MSPs

Scotland’s college support staff union UNISON will today (Thursday 7 March) demand that our colleges should be properly funded and call on the Scottish Government to stop treating Further Education as a Cinderella service.

A postcard petition representing the 1,300 jobs which have been lost in FE as a result of recent cuts will be delivered to Scottish ministers, pointing out that short terms cuts mean long term damage to our economy and some of our neediest communities and people.

UNISON activists will lobby MSPs in the Parliament and a meeting will be held in Committee Room 1 at 2.45PM hosted by Neil Findlay MSP.

 

To read more, go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/2013/marapr/0703a.htm

 

7 March 2013

HOUSE OF LORDS THROWS OUT ATTACK ON PEOPLE INJURED AT WORK

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, today welcomed a decision by the House of Lords to throw out part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which would have made it virtually impossible for people to claim for injuries sustained at work.

Calling the move to ditch clause 62  “a victory for common sense,” the union is urging the Government to do the same in order to protect workers against careless employers. The clause would have removed the ability of an employee to enforce a civil claim for workplace injury on the grounds of a breach of workplace regulations, and made it much harder to win compensation for injury at work. The Bill will now go back to the House of Commons for further consideration.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said:

 “We are pleased that the House of Lords has listened to UNISON’s concerns, and we urge the government to do the same. This damaging clause would have made it much harder for workers to win compensation for workplace injuries and sent a green light to irresponsible employers to disregard the law.“
 

 

6 March 2013

Child care costs: Parents 'see rise of £5 a week'

Average childcare costs across England, Scotland and Wales rose by £5 a week (or 6%) per child in a year, according to the Daycare Trust's annual survey.

To read the whole story and comment go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21668842

 

5 March 2013

UNISON Scotland's "Public Services FUTURES" magazine

To read the Spring edition go to

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks/PublicServiceFutures05_Spring2013.pdf

Three things to do today:-

  • Learn how to access social data
  • Read about the private sector's changing attitude to outsourcing
  • Ask a friend to join (go to the Join UNISON page to download a membership form)

     

1 March 2013

UNISON to ballot members on local government pay offer

UNISON Scotland is to ballot its local government members on a final pay offer from councils. Branch delegates will meet in Glasgow next month (15 March) to decide on any recommendation on the 1% offer from COSLA, before a full postal ballot takes place. Dougie Black, Joint Trade Union Side Secretary, said the local government unions had wanted to negotiate to have the offer improved, but that the employers had made it clear this was their final offer.

It has two parts – a 1% increase for all staff and a Scottish Local Government Living Wage, set at £7.50 per hour. The offer is for a single year, applicable from 1 April 2013.

 Dougie said: “We welcome the fact that the employers have finally gone some way to addressing low pay by the introduction of a Living Wage. This has been a key component of our pay claims for the last few years. However, we are disappointed at the level of the offer at 1%. This has to be seen in the context of local government workers only having seen pay increase by 0.65% over the last three years, while many other public sector workers earning under £21,000 have received an annual payment of £250. And of course the cost of living has gone up, with big energy and food price increases.”

UNISON is also concerned that COSLA has not promised to uprate the Living Wage annually, leaving this up to individual councils. The union will continue to pursue this.

To read more on the Fair Pay campaign, go to                     http://www.unisonscotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2013/

 

28 February 2013

A Fairer Scotland

UNISON calls for fresh powers to create a fairer Scotland.

With the "Fairer Scotland and Devolution" document, UNISON opens up the debate and argues that new devolved powers for the Scottish Parliament are essential to create a Fairer Scotland and improve the lives of working people.

To read more go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/scotlandsfuture/

 

26 February 2013

Major cuts in food safety and environmental health are putting the public at risk

UNISON Scotland warned today that new figures and staff surveys show cuts to local council environmental health departments and to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are putting public health at risk.

To read more Click here or to read the UNISON Bargaining briefing Click here

 

20 February 2013

PAY CLAIM NEGOTIATIONS 2013/14

Local Government Branches met on 1 February and heard that pay talks held with the employers on 24 January brought no progress but further talks were scheduled for 5 February. Branches decided to reconvene after that to hear a report on any progress before deciding the way forward.

Previously Local Government branches had met on 30 November and heard that Local Government employers had made an offer of 1% from 1 April 2013. If after the 1% is applied, there are staff who fall below the 'Living Wage', this will be brought up to £7.50 an hour from 1 April 2013. The offer also calls for a 'working party' on pay for 2014/15 and on 'flexible and adaptable' working practices.

The Scottish Employers have now informed the SJC Trade Unions that the offer made in November last year constitutes a Final Offer. A Special Local Government Conference will be convened on 15 March 2013 in Glasgow.

Glasgow has submitted a motion which will be discussed. The text is as follows:-

"Reject the pay offer - Campaign for Industrial Action

This UNISON Local Government Conference agrees to recommend rejection of the Scottish Employers 2013/14 pay offer in the forthcoming members ballot. The ballot materials should also make the case for adoption of an industrial action strategy to force the Scottish Employers into offering an acceptable pay rise and dropping any moves to attack local government workers terms and conditions."

Angus Local Government Branch will be represented at this Conference and we would like your views on the pay offer and the possibility of industrial action in support of this.

Colin Patterson from the Scottish Local Government Committee will attend the Branch AGM on 26th March 2013 and will be able to give an update, answering questions and listening to your views.

Please e-mail your views to office@unison-angus.gov.uk

 

8 February 2013

UNISON urges support for library services – National Libraries Day 9 February

UNISON today hit out at cuts to library services and urged councillors to defend libraries at the heart of local communities.

Tomorrow (Saturday 9 February) is National Libraries Day, which celebrates the role of libraries and the range of information and entertainment they provide.

To read more Click here or go to http://www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk/

 

8 February 2013

Scottish Government Budget 2013/14

The Scottish Government has published its draft budget for 2013-14.

To read more go to http://www.unisonscotland.org.uk/briefings/b028_Policy%20Brief_ScottishDraftBudget2013-14.pdf

 

8 February 2013

Benefits Cap and the Bedroom Tax - Lobby of LibDem Conference

As part of the wider national campaign for fair welfare and an end to the attack on benefits, STUC is organising a Lobby of Liberal Democrat Conference in Perth on 16th March at Westpark conference centre in Dundee.

Below is a link to the STUC website page which carries details of the lobby and will be regularly updated.

http://www.thereisabetterway.org/benefit-campaigns-page

 

7 February 2013

Latest News on Scottish LGPS Pensions

Scottish Pensions Bulletin 35

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/pensions/scotpensionsbulletin35_feb13.pdf

 

6 February 2013

Scottish Budget - UNISON calls for funding review

Public services union UNISON today warned that vital council services are being hit hardest by budget cuts and called for a review of local government funding.

UNISON Scotland warned that already councils have lost 34,500 jobs since 2008/9, with severe impacts on services right across the country. And they are taking the brunt of budget cuts in the Scottish Government’s three year spending plans.

Stephanie Herd, chair of the union’s Local Government Committee, said: “Local services that people rely on daily are already under immense strain, with more spending cuts to come. “Given the scale of the damage that is being done, the further cuts we face and the ongoing unfair council tax freeze, we need a much wider review of how to fund services." Stephanie added: “There are stealth cuts too, where staff are struggling with massive workloads and increased demand. We cannot continue like this if we want to retain proper quality services. Essential services provided by councils, including education, home care for elderly and disabled people, social work, environmental health, trading standards and many more are all affected by cuts and job losses. The austerity measures imposed by governments at Westminster and Holyrood are not needed. There is a better way and we will fight to retain good quality services. Paying off council and other public sector workers does not help local economies. UNISON is challenging councillors who are setting budgets this month, asking whether they will be the agents of cuts, or will they instead champion their local communities.

 

5 February 2013

The Damage is a new series of reports from UNISON looking at some of the vital services provided by Councils. In it UNISON explores the long-term damage to the public and to the economy caused by ongoing austerity cuts.

To read the report on Trading Standards go to http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/21254.pdf

 

3 February 2013

The Branch AGM will be held on the 26th February 2013 at The Letham Hotel in Letham. For more information please go to the AGM page on the web site.

 

12 January 2013

On Wednesday (16 Jan) MSPs have the final chance to debate the weak Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill. We want them to support amendments to protect and strengthen FOI rights.

 UNISON and the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland have organised an easy to do ‘email your MSPs’ campaign.

Please can you take a few minutes to ask your MSPs to vote to stand up for FOI. The easy link to do this is here. Details of why the amendments are needed are here.

UNISON thinks it is essential that the public has full rights to information on PPP/PFI contracts, leisure trusts, Arms Length External Organisations (ALEOS), housing associations and other bodies currently not covered by FOISA. There is strong and widespread support for information rights to ‘follow the public pound’.

 

9 January 2013

UNISON warns Borders Council against breaking from national pay framework 

Local government union UNISON today called on Borders Council to step back from imposing an unpopular pay and conditions deal on its workforce. The move would introduce a two-tier workforce – leaving new staff significantly worse off - at a time when a Scottish Government and STUC protocol aims to eradicate these.

UNISON - along with the other staff unions Unite and GMB - wants the local authority to return to talks based around the respected national pay framework.

 Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary of UNISON, said: “Borders Council has decided to unilaterally impose a separate set of terms and conditions on new staff which amount to pay cuts over and above the wage freeze our members have had to face for years now. None of the unions were involved in any discussion about this with CoSLA, the local government employers’ body. The Scottish Government, CoSLA and the unions support the aim of a Living Wage for all workers providing public services – what Borders Council is now doing runs directly counter to that aim.

 “This move by Borders Council is unacceptable – there is already a national pay framework which is respected by all the unions and all other councils. We will be raising the issue with CoSLA at the first opportunity. In the meantime we call on Borders Council to step back from imposing this and return to talk to the three unions about an agreed way forward within the national framework.”

 UNISON’s Borders local government branch has joined with Unite and GMB to plan a joint campaign against the unpopular move by the council.

 Branch secretary Edith Moody said: “We are angry that our employers the Borders Councillors have seen fit to impose this on us against national agreements and without any proper consultation.

 “It is absolutely unfair for new staff to join on different and worse terms and conditions. They will be on spot pay at the bottom of the grade. This flies in the face of the job evaluation scheme outcomes and, in our view, could potentially leave the council open to equal pay claims

 “Borders Council is one of the main employers in this area where work is increasingly hard to find. They are doing this because they believe they can get away with it. But the impact on the community of this seems totally missed by the council.

 “The pay freeze has already led to a long term decrease of money within the area, and we fear that more young people will potentially leave the area to find better paid work which will further damage the local economy.”

 

31 December 2012

New Year's Message

2012 has been a tough year for our vital public services and our members who work hard to provide them. And 2013 looks as though it will be just as challenging.

The austerity measures imposed by governments at Westminster and Holyrood continue to impact heavily upon our public services - so vital to local communities. UNISON will continue to challenge the need and the basis for these attacks by government on our public services in the year ahead.

 Local councils across Scotland will set budgets in February. We will be challenging them too: will they be the agents of cuts or will they be champions of their local communities?

 We will continue fighting to protect jobs and services in specific sectors - including our long-running campaign on police staff jobs, and in the further education sector - where fierce cutbacks are being imposed.

 We know the whole issue of pay is bound to feature strongly on our campaigning agenda in the coming year, and the TUC and STUC will consider co-ordinated action the defend and improve the position of our members and the important services we deliver.

 We have been winning the argument for the Living Wage and will continue to fight to have this extended not just to directly employed public service staff but to those working in the private and third sectors who are contracted to provide public services.

 And UNISON Scotland  will work throughout 2013  to ensure all of our issues are better reflected in the debate on the constitution. We are more interested to determine in who’s interest power will be exercised than where it will lie.

 Our document A Fairer Scotland outlines some of the principles on which we will challenge the political parties and the platforms ahead of the referendum in 2014. Some key questions we want answer to include:

PUBLIC SERVICES - What will you do to keep services public and maintain standards?

RIGHTS AT WORK - What sort of rights should people have at work - and what will you do to improve them?

JOBS & THE ECONOMY - What will you do to create full employment?

EQUALITY - What will you do to make Scotland a more equal place?

 These are just some of the challenges we will take on in the coming year. If you work in the public services, come and join us so we can face them together and win a Fairer Scotland.

 Happy New Year

 Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary, UNISON

31 December 2012

 

24 December 2012

Delivering vital public services through the Christmas period

A message from Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary of public services union UNISON

 At this time of year, when people take time off for holidays and family time and festivities, thousands of UNISON members will be working and on call – caring for people at all stages of life in the NHS; in local councils from social work to the roads department to home care services, libraries and leisure centres; in public utilities like gas, electricity and water; in the police and fire services and many more.

As a union, we are proud of our members and the vital work they do throughout the year to provide decent public services for our communities. People rely on the public services especially at this time of year and come to recognise their importance.

The Christmas break can be a time of stress. Of course we always face the impact of cold and severe weather. And in the current cold political climate, more stress and strain is being caused by economic conditions.

Many thousands of our members have suffered three years of wage freeze. The real wages of public service workers have dived far below the freezing point and many are being frozen out from real pay rises for up to ten years into the future. The pensions tax of 3% which faces many of our members adds an extra burden. All this is as a result of the unfair and unnecessary austerity measures being visited upon us through all levels of government.

Our pledge at this time is to fight for our vital public services and the jobs, pay and pensions of those who deliver them – this Christmas, and all year, every year.

UNISON Scotland wishes everyone who provides our public services and all who benefit from them all the best for a safe and happy festive period - whether on holiday or at work – over Christmas and the New Year.

 

 

WORRIED ABOUT PAYING YOUR

WINTER FUEL BILL?

‘There for you’ has set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income by way of a one-off payment of up to £40.

('There for you’ is the working name of UNISON Welfare)

To apply or find out more about other help that is available and how to reduce your costs in the future visit www.unison.org/thereforyou or contact the UNISON branch office in Forfar.

 

19 December 2012

It needn’t necessarily be a teacher in the pre-five sector – just an expert

Teachers in Scotland’s nurseries need a background in early years methodology in order to have the maximum impact on the children in their charge, according to a new study.

To read more go to http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6309553

 

11 December 2012

EIS in fresh court bid over nursery staff

 
A NEW legal action has been launched to stop Scotland's largest council appointing non-teachers to run nursery schools.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/education/eis-in-fresh-court-bid-over-nursery-staff.19613832

 

5 December 2012

Believe it or not, ‘see me’ is now ten years old!  The campaign was launched in the autumn of 2002 with the ambition that, within in a generation we would put an end to the stigma of mental ill-health.  So, what’s happened since then? 

To read more go to https://www.swiftpage8.com/speasapage.aspx?X=300VYSMFI4W4TFD000XJWX

 

5 December 2012

Cost of college mergers almost doubles to £54m

Regionalisation programme savings won't surpass investment until 2015

http://www.holyrood.com/2012/12/cost-of-college-mergers-almost-doubles-to-54m/

 

4 December 2012

UNISON's Local Government Network e-newsletter for councillors across Scotland

The Council Connections eNewspaper can be read at:-

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/councilconnections_003_November_2012.html

 

30 November 2012

School children with health needs are at risk and guidance must be updated urgently

UNISON said today that a disturbing new survey showing school children with health needs are being put at risk backs our call to the Scottish Government for urgent action to update guidance and improve training and support for staff.
UNISON and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are jointly calling for action to protect children and young people with health needs in schools. A survey of school support staff and school nurses for UNISON and the RCN reveals a worrying picture.

Despite many examples of good practice, a growing number of children with increasingly complex health needs are being put at risk as staff are being pressurised into caring for them without enough training, supervision and support.
 As teachers’ contracts do not include giving or supervising medicines, the responsibility often falls onto school support staff. More than one in four (28%) of support staff say that they do not feel comfortable or competent to give pupils medicines, or to support their health needs. This can include tube feeding, airway suctioning, tracheostomy care and catheterisation. Full details of the UK-wide survey are in the news release below.

 UNISON is about to conduct a more detailed survey in Scotland covering the administration of medicines and medical procedures in educational establishments, and has recently raised the issues with Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell.

Carol Ball, chair of the union’s Education Issues group, said: “We met with Mr Russell and pointed out that the main guidance on this is considerably out of date, going back to 2001. Indeed this was highlighted in last month’s report by the Scottish Children’s Commissioner Tam Baillie on a Freedom of Information survey of Scottish councils about the administration of medicine in schools. The Scottish Government must act urgently to protect children and update the guidance, ensuring proper training and support for all staff involved. Otherwise, as UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis warned today, this situation is a tragedy waiting to happen.”

 

30 November 2012

Match our vision for a Fairer Scotland  – UNISON issues referendum challenge

Scotland’s largest union in public services today issued a challenge to campaigners in the independence referendum.

UNISON Scotland said both sides must answer questions about how their scheme will match the aspirations and vision of UNISON members.  

 Tomorrow (Saturday) sees the formal launch in Glasgow of “For a Fairer Scotland” – a document which outlines the union’s priorities in the forthcoming debate on the constitution.

 Alongside this, the union has framed questions that members will be encouraged to put to all those campaigning around the referendum in the coming months.

 “For A Fairer Scotland” does not advocate support for either the “Yes” campaign or “Better Together”.  Instead it challenges those campaigns and others to show how their plans can match UNISON’s vision.

 For a Fairer Scotland states:

 “UNISON’s approach to constitutional questions is one that is driven by the interests of our members, by the sort of Scotland we want to, and deserve to, live in.  This means that for us precise constitutional arrangements are the end, not the starting point of the debate. We must first define the sort of Scotland we wish to see and then try and examine the likelihood of differing constitutional arrangements on offer to deliver on that vision.”

 UNISON Scottish Secretary  Mike Kirby said:  “We are not interested in an argument about national identity.  It’s not where the power lies, but in whose interest that power is exercised that really matters. Today we have outlined our principles for a better, fairer Scotland. It is the task of others to show how their proposals match up to those principles.”

 Lilian Macer, Scottish Convener, said: “What we are looking for is a willingness to tackle inequalities, poor health and deprivation. Doing that is social change. Unless it is explained how this is to be achieved, arguments for or against constitutional change mean very little.”

 

Latest News on Scottish LGPS Pensions

Scottish Pensions Bulletin 34 - 30 November 2012

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/pensions/scotpensionsbulletin34_nov12.pdf

 

28 November 2012

Scottish public service pensions should be managed in Scotland - UNISON

UNISON Scotland today warned the governments in Westminster and Holyrood not to play politics with Scottish public service pensions.

 Scotland’s main public services union was responding to Finance Secretary John Swinney’s announcement in the Scottish Parliament today (Wednesday 28 Nov) on the Public Service Pensions Bill going through the Westminster Parliament.

Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland Head of Bargaining and Campaigns said:

“Public service pensions are too important to play politics with. Over a million Scots are relying on these pensions – which are hard-earned savings for income in retirement. At present Scottish public service pensions are designed and run in Scotland – and that is the way they should stay.

 “It is very clear that the Bill going through the Westminster Parliament is effectively a Treasury power grab over public service pensions in Scotland which is totally unjustified.

 “From a Scottish point of view the Public Service Pensions Bill will impact mainly on the design and effectiveness of the Scottish Local Government Pensions Schemes (LGPS). We have argued that MPs should not agree to this legislation unless it is amended to retain the independence of these excellent schemes.“

 UNISON has called on the Scottish Government to demand a Legislative Consent Motion (Sewell Motion) to allow the independence of Scottish pension schemes to be retained. We have also called on MPs to amend the Bill at Westminster to achieve the same ends.

 Dave Watson added:

“The UK Government's approach also impacts on other Scottish pensions schemes including health. Workers in these schemes are still subject to the UK government’s unfair and punitive pensions tax and Treasury veto. We believe the Scottish government could still do more to minimise that damage here in Scotland and we have tabled detailed proposals with them about this."

 Dave Watson concluded:

“If these two governments can manage to come to an agreement over a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, they can surely come to a working arrangement which will retain the independence of well-designed and well-managed Scottish pension schemes on which over a million people are depending.”

 

27 November 2012

Scottish government must choose a better way than council funding cuts - UNISON

The poorest and most vulnerable in Scotland who depend on vital council services are bearing the brunt of austerity – and it is up to the Scottish government to choose a better way. That is UNISON’s response to John Swinney’s local government budget allocation announced in the Parliament today (Tuesday 27 Nov).

Scotland’s main public services union believes the Scottish government must act to end the Council Tax freeze so local government can continue to provide vital services rather than impose cuts or charges.

 Stephanie Herd, chair of UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Committee said:  “Today’s local government budget allocations announcement confirms once more that Scottish councils are bearing the brunt of the austerity measures imposed by the Tory-led coalition in Westminster – and passed on by this Scottish administration.

“It is not enough to say a big boy in Westminster did it and ran away. To govern is to choose – and John Swinney has chosen to freeze Council Tax for years at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable.

“These allocations are often discussed in terms of council winners or losers. But the reality is all of our communities are losing out, across Scotland.

“We need an end to the Council Tax freeze and action to make the tax fairer. We need to enable councils to continue providing vital services rather than impose damaging cuts or punitive charges. And our members, who provide these vital services despite being forced to accept a pay freeze for the last two years, need a pay settlement which will redress some of that burden.”

 

27 November 2012 - White Ribbon Scotland

Days of Action for the elimination of violence against women runs from 25th November to 10th December (International Human Rights Day) each year. It is an international campaign that started in 1991 and now has over 2000 organisations from over 130 countries participating.

The campaign aims to highlight the prevalence of violence against women, raise awareness of violence against women as a human rights issue at a local, national and international level, show the solidarity of women around the world organising to challenge violence against women and work towards the elimination of all forms of violence.

White Ribbon are also organising a Twitter Storm to support 16 days which will kick off around 1200 noon on Monday 26 November 2012.  If you have a Twitter feed please lend you support by using the hashtag #16Days and tweeting the following messages:-

"Sign the @WhiteRibbonScot pledge to never commit, condone or stay silent about #VAW for #16Days http://www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk/makepledge"

"Read about what men can do to end #VAW in the new @WhiteRibbonScot resource #16days http://www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk/files/WhatMenCanDo-Interactive%20version.pdf "

 

23 November 2012 - Angus Council will pay the Living wage from 1st January 2013.

UNISON Angus Council Branch initiated a joint letter from UNISON, Unite and GMB to the Elected members and were told the Council would pay the Living wage of £7.45. The amount was reviewed in November and the increased rate will be paid in the new year as a supplement to worker's salaries.

 

22 November 2012 - UNISON Scotland comment on local government pay offer

 UNISON Scotland is set to consult members on a pay offer for local government workers.

Dougie Black, Joint Trade Union Side Secretary, said that today’s offer from COSLA will be discussed initially at a conference in Glasgow next Friday (30 Nov).

He said: “The offer was made to us at a meeting of the joint secretaries which was not a negotiating meeting.

“The employers are offering a 1% pay increase from April 1 2013, a one year settlement. That is no real surprise given government pay policy.

“They have also made an offer to apply what they call a Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.50 per hour from April 1 2013.

 “We welcome the fact they have made an offer on the Living Wage as this has been part of our claim for the last couple of years. We would need to discuss with the employers their proposals for implementation and the details of how it would apply.”

 Stephanie Herd, Chair of the union’s Local Government Committee, said: “We have a local government conference on Friday next week. We will ask delegates how they want to consult members over the next few weeks. We would then expect to take the results of that consultation back to the employers in the New Year.”

 

November 2012: Public Service Pensions Bill - email campaign
Contact your MP and MSPs direct by email now - click here -
to lobby for amendments to the Bill which will leave Scottish public service pension schemes free to design a scheme that meets Scottish requirements.

 

Latest News on Scottish LGPS Pensions

Scottish Pensions Bulletin 33 - November 2012

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/pensions/scotpensionsbulletin33_nov12.pdf

 

25th October 2012

Young Members Survey

Attached you will find a short survey designed to capture people’s opinions on Youth Culture, both in work and society.  As part of our 2012/2013 campaign the UNISON Scottish Young Members Committee are going to produce a 2013 Calendar highlighting the main issues faced by young people today, and we are using this survey to try and capture these opinions. We have been granted some money from the FDO to produce this and these would be given for free to branches in Scotland to use to raise awareness of young people’s issues, and hopefully assist in increasing membership of under 27’s.

If you are under 27 could you please complete this survey.

If you work with someone who is under 27 please pass this on.

 

23rd October 2012

Lease car users may be able to claim tax back on the difference between the 10p allowance paid by the Council and the 45p rate which is the Inland revenue figure.

For an updated version of the Motor Allowances Factsheet click here  

 

Latest News

STUC March in Glasgow 20th October 2012

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/oct20/index.html

For details of buses from Aberdeen and Angus Click here

 

Pension schemes auto-enrolement

Auto-enrolment into pension schemes will affect millions of workers, including those directly employed by the public sector but also in outsourced services.

 Because in outsourced services fewer workers are members of a pension scheme, there is a particularly big impact, and this is an ideal opportunity to organise and recruit in those sectors.

To read more click here

 

Latest News on Scottish LGPS Pensions

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/pensions/scotpensionsbulletin32_oct12.pdf

 

Latest copy of The Library Campaigner

http://www.publiclibrariesnews.com/2012/10/library-campaigner-free-edition-of-the-regular-magazine-for-supporters-of-public-libraries.html

 

Latest copy of the Newsletter for staff in schools

http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/20990.pdf

 

 

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