Saturday, 23 August 2008

The Herald: Unions claim a win in return to negotiating table

The Herald Sat 23 Aug

"Local authority unions yesterday agreed to return to the negotiating table in the wake of this week's strike by up to 200,000 council employees which crippled public services across Scotland."
More...

See also UNISON press statement Successful strike action brings reopening of talks

Friday, 22 August 2008

On strike in Scotland - from UNISON TV



Check out the UNISON Scotland YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/UNISONScotland

One in a million - Fair Pay now!

The 2008 pay claim is just part of UNISON’s ongoing campaign for Fair Pay. We need a good annual increase in local government pay to keep pace with rising prices, but we need much more besides.

UNISON is pursuing over 15,000 equal pay claims in Scotland alone. Council workers in Scotland have already received around £400 million in compensation and the issue has yet to be resolved. Do you need information about equal pay?

Check out www.unison-scotland.org.uk/fairpay.html for more info. You can download the One in a Million leaflet there too.


Successful strike action brings reopening of talks


UNISON Scotland Press Statement
Embargo: For immediate Release
Date: Fri 22 August 2008

Successful strike action brings reopening of talks

The 24 hour stoppage that closed and disrupted council services across Scotland on Wednesday has won a reopening of talks with the employers, the main council union – UNISON said today.

A meeting of UNISON’s Scottish local government branches today welcomed the news that council employers had suggested further talks, and congratulated the members who struck last Wednesday.

Dougie Black, UNISON regional Officer and Secretary to the TU negotiators said

“We are pleased that CoSLA has approached us to reopen talks on this years pay award, following the successful strike by members of the three unions on Wednesday. We also note that the invitation to talks addresses some of the contentious issues. Obviously we want a solution to this dispute, so we hope that discussions around a new offer more acceptable to our members can start quickly.”

The meeting of branches welcomed the news but also agreed to maintain the dispute and make preparations for further strike action in the event of any failure of talks.

Dougie Black said

“Members made it very clear on Wednesday that they want a settlement that protects them from inflation and does not lock them in to multi-year awards. The talks are welcome but are not in themselves a solution. We will be talking to our fellow unions to agree future action should it be required, and will announce this later.”

Cathy Jamieson and Bill Butler standing firm with UNISON Scotland

MSPs Cathy Jamieson and Bill Butler, UNISON Scotland's nominees for Scottish Labour Leader and Deputy, both confirmed their support for the Fair Pay campaign by making solidarity visits to local picket lines. Cathy spoke at Motherwell and then at the rally at George Square in Glasgow. She is pictured here with Dave Prentis and Mike Kirby.

She said: "I have always campaigned against low pay and the current offer will leave many low paid workers substantially worse off. Rising fuel and food prices are hitting workers hard. I wanted to express my support for Unison members and those of the other trade unions taking action."



Thursday, 21 August 2008

Big Ian's North Ayrshire strike pics

Looks like this strike picture thing is catching on across UNISON... Here's Big Ian's North Ayrshire strike picture gallery...
http://picasaweb.google.com/bigianwallace/UnisonStrike200808

UPDATE: North Ayrshire UNISON have a strike picture gallery on the branch site...
http://www.unison-northayrshire.org.uk/image/tid/2

Check them out. Here's a couple of Ian's snaps...















Joint union action on the picket line outside North Ayrshire HQ...
Look out, here comes the boss...

















We like Ian's own caption:
Yeah we know Mr Mc Farline 2.5%, but some of our members will need to work for 10 years to reach your salary of £100000

Some of these pics are already on our Picasa gallery
http://picasaweb.google.com/unisonscotland


Anyone else got any?

The Herald: Unions in threat to step up council dispute

The Herald Thu 21 August 2008

"Union chiefs are warning of an escalation in their dispute with Scotland's councils "within weeks" as a strike by tens of thousands of workers brought disruption to key services across the country.

Up to 200,000 local authority employees across Scotland were estimated to have taken part in the 24-hour walkout which yesterday left schools closed, bins left unemptied, ferries cancelled, day care and sports centres shut and libraries closed.

The leaders of the main unions have said the action provides the councils with a "window of opportunity" to restart negotiations but said that strategies were in place which could see an autumn of discontent with further days of action within the next month."

more...

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

BBC News: Union v CoSLA

BBC NEWS | Scotland: Council Strike - Union v CoSLA video
Unison's David Prentis and Michael Cook from local government umbrella organisation Cosla give their views on the strike action. "

Link to BBC video

BBC News: Views from the picket line

BBC NEWS | Scotland: Council Strike - Views from the picket line

Council workers across Scotland taking part in a 24-hour walkout over pay explain why they are taking action.

Link to BBC video

BBC News: Council strike sparks disruption

BBC News | Scotland:
Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 15:08 UK

"Local services including schools, bin collections and ferry crossings have been disrupted as thousands of council workers staged a 24 walk-out over pay.

Up to 150,000 members of the GMB, Unite and Unison unions joined the dispute across the country after rejecting a 2.5% pay deal over three years.

The local government umbrella group Cosla said it was willing to meet with unions to discuss the dispute."

More...

Also: Read Brian Taylor's blog on Labour MSPs support for the pay claim...

Under the UNISON umbrella

Cathy Jamieson MSP at the Glasgow rally.

3.30pm update: 150,000 out as Scottish Councils hit by strike action

Local council services across Scotland have been hit by closure and disruption as hundreds of thousands of union members struck today. The largest council union UNISON, and colleagues from GMB and Unite unions all voted by large majorities to strike as part of their campaign against the below-inflation pay offer made by Scotland’s councils.

The 24 hour stoppage affected all council services – schools across Scotland were shut, and many of those that stayed open had limited services – no school meals for example. Rubbish collection, street cleaning, and environmental protection were halted in many councils, and social work offices and day centres shut. Housing, leisure and recreation services, home and residential care, libraries, etc. etc were disrupted as around 150,000 staff took strike action across Scotland.

In Aberdeen the main call centre at Woodhill House was closed – covering large number of services for Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray councils. In East Ayrshire all schools were closed; office staffing was drastically reduced and main depots are closed. And these stories are repeated across Scotland.

Glasgow rally shows strength of feeling

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis, addressing a rally in Glasgow’s George Square today said: "It is time that Scotland’s employers took note of the strength of feeling amongst their staff and reopened their ‘final offer’ for negotiation. The level of solidarity that I have seen going round the picket lines indicates that our members and their colleagues from the other unions are determined to win a better deal. Council staff in Scotland have delivered nearly £200 m worth of efficiency savings that councils should share with staff as well as with council tax payers."

Matt Smith – UNISON’s Scottish Secretary said: "According to recent media statements it seems that Steven Purcell (Leader of Glasgow City Council) and Michael Cook (Employers’ Side Chair) have been impressed by the backing for the strike and the arguments about the levels of inflation. But they need to come back to the unions with clear proposals to address the impact of rising prices on our members. If there is no movement then we will have to look to further action in the near future."

Action will go on for fair pay General Secretary tells Edinburgh stewards

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis told Edinburgh Council UNISON members today that the industrial action which crippled council services today will continue until staff get fair pay.

The action will continue "until the employers who haven’t talked to us for three months, come back round the negotiating table and talk about the real issues affecting their workers – the issue of not being able to pay the bills", said Mr Prentis.

"I believe the public understand the frustration at an offer that would lock council workers into a 2.5% pay offer for three years, when inflation is way ahead of that and rising. Yet the employers have failed to invite us back to talk to them since before the strike ballot was called," he added.
Edinburgh UNISON has welcomed the ‘resounding’ response from its members to the strike.

"The resounding response to the strike shows just how angry our members are at taking what is a pay cut when the cost of living is soaring. Members always respond well in Edinburgh but this time the support for the action has surpassed even our expectations", said John Stevenson, Branch President.

"The public response on the picket lines has been fantastic. They clearly understand the fairness of our case. Our low paid members cannot go on subsidising services".

UNISON will now make representations to the full council on Thursday 21 August calling on it to urge CoSLA to reopen talks. We will also be calling on the First Minister Alex Salmond to take his responsibility and ensure the money is made available for a fair settlement.

Photos from strike action around Scotland



Striking workers from UNISON, GMB and UNITE hold a rally at Inverness Castle
(See earlier BBC story on this blog.)




Picket Line at East Ayrshire Recycling Centre & Civic Amenity Site



Picket at Motherwell Civic Centre



Stirling Picket Line



South Ayrshire Council workers on a picket line in Ayr



Stephanie Herd, Chair of UNISON's Local Government Service group, addresses the rally in Glasgow

More pictures from around Scotland are being added throughout the day.See web picture galleries at
UNISON Scotland Website Strike Picture Gallery
Picasa Picture Albums
Pics copyright UNISON Scotland unless otherwise credited. For media enquiries about photographs, please contact Communications Officer Chris Bartter on 0771 558 3729

Aberdeen: UNISON ad trailer "huge success"

UNISON ad trailer in AberdeenFrom: Craib, Sandra
Sent: 20 August 2008 11:05
To: Bartter, Chris
Subject: Aberdeen

Hi Chris

Just thought I’d let you know that the trailer was a huge success – it’s now on its way to the rally at Inverurie. The Press & Journal & also the BBC were at Woodhill House – so got some good coverage. There were also photos taken by a news agency outside Aberdeen Sheriff Court – so no doubt some of them will appear in the press. Lynne has the camera & will be forwarding on photos when she gets back from the rally.

The Regional Communication Centre at Woodhill House was completely closed – this call centre covers : Community Alarms, Out of Hours Street Lighting, Emergency Planning, Environmental Health, Homelessness, Fire & Intruder Alarms, Fire Alarms, non-housing repairs and many other emergency functions for the following councils:

Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray & Highland.

By the way the driver of the trailer Martin deserves a medal for reversing all 40ft of van and trailer up a very narrow street.

Sandra Craib
Assistant Admin

====

More pictures from around Scotland are being added throughout the day.
See web picture galleries at
Pics copyright UNISON Scotland unless otherwise credited. For media enquiries about photographs, please contact Communications Officer Chris Bartter on 0771 558 3729

BBC News: Staff hold strike rally at castle

BBC News: Scotland
Page last updated at 10:36 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 11:36 UK


"Striking Highland Council workers have staged a rally at Inverness Castle during a 24-hour walkout over pay.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar staff have also taken industrial action..."

More...

Successful action by Moray Council workers

From Moray UNISON. Unison members across Moray went out on strike as part of the nationwide campaign for a fair pay offer. With a pay offer now half that of inflation, workers cannot afford to accept another pay cut. Pickets were organised around a number of key council services, including the council headquarters and schools. A number of workers were successfully turned back at picket lines with many more staying away from work. Five schools were completely closed as a result of strike action, with others severely distrupted by catering and other support staff staying at home.

A big thank you to everyone who went out on strike today - especially those able to attend picket lines. Your support for this campaign is greatly appreciated.


For more Moray pictures click here

To see Moray on UNISON Scotland's Google Day of Action map, click here


'New Recruits' Desperate for Fair Pay on March to Dundee Rally





Some new recruits in Dundee heading for the joint union Rally at City Square - Thanks Desperate Dan (famous local statue of the cartoon character from The Dandy)
and thanks Minnie the Minx (from The Beano)

More pictures from around Scotland are being added throughout the day.See web picture galleries at
UNISON Scotland Website Strike Picture Gallery
Picasa Picture Albums

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis in Edinburgh


UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis joins a wet picket line in Edinburgh


Dave Prentis waves the Fair Pay flag on a picket line in Edinburgh

Above pictures by Peter Hunter, copyright UNISON Scotland.
(For media enquiries about photographs, please contact Communications Officer Chris Bartter on 0771 558 3729)


More pictures from around Scotland are being added throughout the day.
See web picture galleries at

March and rally for Fair Pay in Paisley

PAISLEY 10:30am - 11:15am - March and Rally, Brodie Park to County Square. Speakers: Mike Kirby Scottish Convenor UNISON, Mark Ferguson Renfrewshire UNISON. Other speakers to be announced Joint union balloon release at 11:15am

More UNISON Day of Action events across Scotland...

Cold, wet but solid support in Edinburgh

Cold, wet, very very wet. But at 7.15 this morning UNISON pickets turned out in force at Waverley Court to be joined by UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis, Scottish Secretary Matt Smith and lead negotiator Dougie Black.

Balloons, a battle bus and a huge ad trailer made it a carnival atmosphere. Oh, but it was wet!

Dave went on to visit pickets at the city chambers and made an attempt to hand out leaflets which pretty soon became pulp as the rain bucketted down.

The Branch thanks all pickets for putting up with the weather. From the response they got it was clear the public are on our side. And a big thanks to all the members who came out in one of the most solid strikes in years. Together we will win a fair deal.

07:00 Edinburgh picket line - Prentis launch of ad trailer

EDINBURGH 07:15 - 08:00 - General Secretary to join pickets outside City of Edinburgh HQ City of Edinburgh Council HQ, Waverly Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BG - Launch advertising of advertising trailer highlighting the action.




06:50 Campaign Bus
The campaign bus leaves the Edinburgh UNISON office - pic by Kevin O'Neil










More UNISON Day of Action events across Scotland...

The Herald: Oneday strike to halt all public services

The Herald Wed 20 August 2008

"More than 150,000 local government workers are expected to bring core services across Scotland to a standstill today in the biggest day of industrial action for several years.

Hundreds of schools, leisure centres and libraries across the country are due to close, with ferry services, burials and refuse collections cancelled, and social work and emergency services provided to only the most vulnerable in an unprecedented multi-union 24-hour strike over pay.

A further 5000 Scottish Government civil servants who are members of the Public and Commercial Services union are today taking a second day of strike action." more...

BBC News: Thousands strike in pay dispute

BBC NEWS | Scotland
Page last updated at 00:27 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 01:27 UK

"Council workers are staging a 24-hour walkout over pay, disrupting local services such as schools, bin collections and ferry crossings."

More...

00:21 And so it begins...

00:21
Message of Support for UNISON Scotland
from Alex in Paisley


"Concierges in Renfrewshire began their strike at midnight. We were joined by our Branch Secretary Mark Ferguson. Come on Scotland we can do this!"

Alex

UNISON Scotland Day of Action Google Map - Paisley

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

UNISON General Secretary supports 100,000 members on strike on 20 Aug


Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, will tour picket lines, address a major rally and explain to commuters why members are striking for fair pay.

Dave will join UNISON’s Scottish Secretary Matt Smith to support around 100,000 members of the largest council union, who will be on strike with colleagues from the GMB and Unite unions.

He said: “Our members are taking this action very reluctantly. They care deeply about the vital services they provide and those who depend on them and we apologise for any disruption. However, members feel that they have no choice when the employers’ offer is effectively a pay cut.

“I believe the public understand the frustration at an offer that would lock council workers into a 2.5% pay offer for three years, when inflation is way ahead of that and rising. Yet the employers have failed to invite us back to talk to them since before the strike ballot was called.”

Dave and Matt will tomorrow join pickets at 07:15 at the City of Edinburgh Council headquarters at Waverley Court, where they will launch an advertising trailer highlighting the reasons for the strike.

They will later distribute leaflets to members of the public at Waverley Station, explaining why UNISON members are taking action.

The pair will then support picketing workers at West Lothian Council and Dave Prentis will address a rally in George Square, Glasgow at 12.30pm.

UNISON members will be staffing picket lines and holding rallies across Scotland, with other rallies and demonstrations in Paisley, Inverness, Motherwell, Dundee, and Inverurie. Updates are on the website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2008/events.html

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Message of Support from Past President Nancy (Coull) Flynn

Just wanted to wish all local government members the very best of wishes for the strike on 20th August. I know how hard it is for members, and especially the lower paid, to take action and lose a days pay. The time comes though when we have to say ‘enough is enough!’ All we want is a fair days pay for a fair days work. With inflation running at over 4% and probably worse to come, it is time to take a stand.

My daughter and brother are both members of the Fife Branch and will be playing their part on Wednesday. Sorry, I can’t be with you but GOOD LUCK TO ALL.

Nancy Flynn (Coull)
Past President
and former Scottish NEC member

CoSLA Olympics: synchronised swimming


Cartoon by Peter Hunter

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Events for Strike Day 20 August

As we approach the Local Government strike on 20 August, there is now a page on the UNISON Scotland website with all the events we have been informed of so far. See http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2008/events.html

If you have an event you have not yet notified us of, email the details to webmanager@unison-edinburgh.org.uk.

CoSLA Olympics: weight lifting


Cartoon by Peter Hunter

Friday, 15 August 2008

Heather Wakefield Video: Supporting local government workers in Scotland

Message of Support from Heather Wakefield, UNISON Head
of Local Government




Check out the UNISON Scotland YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/UNISONScotland

Events planned for Day of Action 20 August


EDINBURGH
07:15 – 08:00 - General Secretary to join pickets outside City of Edinburgh HQ
City of Edinburgh Council HQ, Waverly Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BG

- Launch advertising of advertising trailer highlighting the action.

PAISLEY
10:30am – 11:15am - March and Rally, Brodie Park to County Square. Speakers: Mike Kirby Scottish Convenor UNISON, Mark Ferguson Renfrewshire UNISON. Other speakers to be announced

Joint union balloon release at 11:15am

INVERURIE
10.30 a.m. at British Legion Club, Victoria Buildings, Blackhall Road, Inverurie
Speakers Dougie Black – Lead TU Negotiator, Bob Revie – Aberdeenshire UNISON

MOTHERWELL
10.30am Joint rally with GMB/UNITE in the morning, at the Civic Centre in Motherwell.
Picket lines will be mounted at certain key workplaces including the Civic Centre, Education HQ in Coatbridge and Coates House, Social Work HQ.

INVERNESS
11 am - Joint union rally outside Inverness Castle. Speakers from UNISON GMB and Unite. Balloon release.

DUNDEE
12 Noon – 1:00pm – Joint Union Rally at City Square. Speakers: Rory Malone UNISON, Richard Whyte Unite, John Begley GMB. Other speakers to be announced

GLASGOW
12.30 pm - 2:00pm - Rally at George Square. Speakers to be confirmed – will include Dave Prentis - UNISON General Secretary

NB: Check back here or www.unison-scotland.org.uk for updates

CoSLA Olympics: the low pay award


Cartoon by Peter Hunter

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.”

Friday, 8 August 2008

Local government pay campaign steps up

(06/08/08) UNISON is urging MPs to help resolve the local government pay dispute by lobbying the Local Government Association.


Negotiations with employers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are scheduled to reopen later this month and unions have agreed to suspend further action in the meantime.

The agreement to back the talks over pay and conditions follows a two-day strike in July, when around half a million council workers walked out to protest a below-inflation pay offer of 2.45%.

Local government workers have become the 'poor relations' of the public sector, earning thousands of pounds less a year than other public servants, said UNISON senior national officer Lucille Thirlby.

"If we allow this worrying trend to continue, we run the risk of sparking a recruitment and retention crisis," she said.

"Our communities cannot afford to lose staff who provide essential services such as looking after children or teaching them to swim, cleaning our streets or keeping our libraries running smoothly."

Meanwhile, 100,000 UNISON members working in local government in Scotland are gearing up to walk out over a similar below-inflation pay offer.

The union's industrial action committee has given the go ahead for an all-out strike on 20 August.

"Our members have a sound case," said general secretary Dave Prentis. "Inflation has outstripped the pay offer and our members are being hit hard in their pockets with massive hikes in food, fuel, housing and transport."

The union is urging Scottish local government employers to take reopen talks to avoid the strike.

Dave Prentis on Youtube



Check out the UNISON Scotland YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/UNISONScotland