Tuesday, 17 March 2009

‘Funeral’ for lost jobs and services in Scotland’s voluntary sector

Date 16 March 2009
Embargo: Not for Release before 00.01am 17 Mar 2009

Members of UNISON who work in Scotland’s voluntary sector will gather outside the Scottish Parliament at 11.00 am today (Tuesday 17th March) to mourn the loss of jobs and services, and to warn that if funding is not improved more will follow. UNISON members will be wearing mourning black and will have a horse drawn hearse and coffin to drive home the message to MSPs. This action will be held jointly with Unite the other leading union in Scotland’s voluntary sector.

UNISON’s lobby comes before a delegation comprising UNISON along with the STUC, Unite, the SCVO, and Community Care Providers Scotland, will appear before the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee in support of Petition PE1231. The 4,000 signature petition calls on the Government to ensure that frontline voluntary sector members receive the same pay and conditions as public sector workers through adequate public funding.

Simon Macfarlane, UNISON Scotland’s Regional Organiser for the Community & Voluntary Sector said: “This lobby is to highlight to politicians what is happening on the ground. Vital projects providing lifeline services are being shut and increasing numbers of jobs are being lost. We are mourning what we have already lost and say to the government now’s the time to act. We need fair funding for the voluntary sector and pay and conditions equity for our members.”

Simon Macfarlane continued: “In the current economic crisis Scotland needs a vibrant voluntary sector but that can’t be funded on the cheap. Members currently work in a climate of fear. Funding is more and more precarious and employers are cutting pay and conditions in response to this. This is not only bad news for our members but for those who the voluntary sector supports. In the care sector staff are stressed through threats to their jobs and demoralised by low pay and poor conditions while looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. Our members deliver first rate services but they really feel at breaking point. Increasing responsibilities are loaded onto frontline carers with no increased resources. If things don’t change, even in this tough economic climate, dedicated staff will vote with their feet and leave.”


Note for Editors:
Petition PE1231 calls on the Parliament and Government to implement the principles of the Fair Funding Statement the petitioning bodies signed up to in November 2007. This calls for voluntary sector workers to receive the same pay and conditions as public sector workers, an improved contracting environment and for contracts to be for a minimum of five years.

For Further Information Please Contact:
Simon Macfarlane (Regional Organiser) 07703 194 132 (m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)

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