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 union’s 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 And there were reports of increasing numbers of properties having either out of date electrical certificates or no certificate at all.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:-
and UNISON's groundbreaking proposal for the funding of social housing:-
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:
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
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
4th June 2013
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:-
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
£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?
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
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.
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 email@example.com
21st May 2013
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
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
MARCH AND RALLY - ABERDEEN - Saturday 4th MAY 2013
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 firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on 8th April 2013 to get one sent out.
4th April 2013
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
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 email@example.com
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:-
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
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.
To read more, go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/2013/marapr/0703a.htm
7 March 2013
LORDS THROWS OUT ATTACK ON PEOPLE INJURED AT WORK
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
Three things to do today:-
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
8 February 2013
Scottish Government Budget 2013/14
The Scottish Government has published its draft budget for 2013-14.
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.
7 February 2013
Latest News on Scottish LGPS Pensions
Scottish Pensions Bulletin 35
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.
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 visitwww.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.
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
4 December 2012
The Council Connections eNewspaper can be read at:-
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.
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.
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
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
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
Latest News on Scottish LGPS Pensions
Scottish Pensions Bulletin 33 - November 2012
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
STUC March in Glasgow 20th October 2012
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
Latest copy of The Library Campaigner
Latest copy of the Newsletter for staff in schools
Send mail to email@example.com with questions or comments about this web site.