Friday, 15 August 2008

Scotland’s local service providers to strike on 20 Aug

Around 100,000 UNISON members working for Scotland’s local councils will strike on Wednesday 20 August. Members of the largest council union, and colleagues from GMB and Unite unions have all voted to down tools as part of the campaign against the below-inflation pay offer made by the councils.

The 24 hour stoppage will affect all council services. Schools, cleansing and environmental protection, housing, leisure and recreation services, home care and residential care, libraries, etc. will all be disrupted as around 200,000 staff take action across Scotland.

Stephanie Herd Stephanie Herd, chair of UNISON’s Scottish local government service group, said
“Our members do not want to have to take strike action. They want to do what they do best – provide vital services to the people of Scotland. We apologise for any disruption to those services, and we hope the public knows that our members need to be treated fairly. However, they are angry that the employers want to lock them into 2.5% increases for the next three years, while inflation is way ahead of that already and set to continue rising. The 2.5% pay offer is already a pay cut. Food is up 6%, transport 7%, mortgages 8%, electricity and only recently gas up by an additional 35%. Pay in the private sector is rising by 4%.”

Branch members will be picketing workplaces across Scotland and UNISON is organising a series of demonstrations and rallies at different venues across Scotland.(see list below). UNISON’s UK General Secretary, Dave Prentis will be in Scotland undertaking some of these events, and visiting picket lines.

Members will be staffing picket lines and holding rallies across Scotland. An adtrailer with a message about the strike will be unveiled in Edinburgh and travel round the city during the morning, before moving off to Dundee, for a lunchtime rally. A major Rally will take place in Glasgow in George Square from 12.30pm – Dave Prentis will address this rally.
Other rallies and demonstrations will be taking place in Paisley, Inverness, Motherwell, Dundee, Inverurie (see attached list which will be updated regularly on-line).

UNISON dismisses employers’ claims that they can’t afford a decent rise. Dougie Black, Regional Officer and secretary of the TU negotiators, said
“The employers say that they can’t afford a better rise. But they agreed that they didn’t need to raise council tax, and they have saved £170 million over the last year in efficiency savings – efficiencies that have been delivered by our members. They also have at least £100million in unallocated reserves. It is time for members to share in the savings that they have made.”

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