Thursday, 28 May 2009

Increase support roles to help police fight crime

Thursday 28 May

Increasing the proportion of ‘civilian’ staff in Scotland’s police forces will mean police officers can concentrate on key policing requiring their specialist skills and experience, says a new report released by police staff union, UNISON, today (Thursday 28th May 2009).

The report highlights the important roles that ‘civilian’ staff (more accurately known as police staffs) carry out within Scotland’s police forces, the variations in numbers employed by different forces, and recommendations for further increases, as well as a potential future for neighbourhood policing in Scotland.

28% of personnel employed by Scotland’s police forces are police staff, carrying out a wide variety of jobs ranging from administration and clerical posts to specialist forensics and IT posts. Increasing numbers of police staff are taking on operational roles in areas such as custody and detention, investigation and surveillance. However there are wide variations of the use of police staffs across Scotland’s police forces; comprising 25% of staff employed in Strathclyde Police but 33% in Dumfries & Galloway.

The research highlights the potential to extend police staff posts. Either by extending police staff use to existing police officer roles (eg dispatcher posts in some forces) or by creating new roles (such as the use of Police Community Support Officers in England & Wales).

Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser said:
"This research highlights the need to look at the varying use of police staff across each police force, - Central Scotland for example, employ no police staff in dispatcher posts, whereas Dumfries & Galloway employ only police staff.
"By following the example of those forces who have used police staffs widely, more police officers can concentrate on using their specialist skills and experience to fight crime directly, while police staff can apply their specialist skills to support them."

The report also provides a comparison between Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and community wardens and suggests the possibility of introducing the PCSO to Scotland. PCSOs (not to be confused with Police Custody & Security Officers who are already used in Scottish police forces) would be employed directly by the police and have a wider range of enforcement powers than those available to Community Wardens.

Dave Watson said:
"We suggest a study is needed on the potential to establish Police Community Support Officers in Scottish Police Forces – these would be staff employed by the police and would have a wide range of enforcement powers to help tackle antisocial behaviour and improve neighbourhood policing."


Note for editors:
The report entitled ‘Civilianisation of the Police in Scotland’ was carried out by Stewart Research on behalf of UNISON. It is available on the UNISONScotland website ( ) or from Kenny MacLaren (

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

SCCS disappointment as SNP and Labour join to frustrate climate change progress

26 May 2009


Hopes that Scotland's Climate Change Bill would lead the world were put at risk during today's Stage 2 discussions of the Climate Change Bill by the Scottish Parliament Transport Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee.

The TICC Committee failed to support an amendment to increase the target for cutting greenhouse gases by 42 per cent by 2020. This target would have brought the Bill in line with the scientific consensus of what action needs to be taken and set a strong example for other world governments.

The SNP made a clear manifesto commitment to deliver at least 3 per cent emissions reductions every year which would deliver around a 42 per cent reduction by 2020. However they now propose a target of 34 per cent rising to 42 per cent only if other nations make specified commitments at UN climate meetings in Copenhagen in December, suggesting a reluctance to lead internationally and no more ambitious than the target set by the UK Government.

Mike Robinson, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said:

"There has been good progress on a number of areas but on the crucial issue of taking early action to cut Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions the Bill is looking desperately unambitious.

"The LibDems and the Greens provided good amendments to toughen up the 2020 target and deliver strong year-on-year reductions from the start. Other parties have not risen to the challenge unfortunately.

"The SNP have failed to deliver on their manifesto promise of 3 per cent cuts every year and on the First Minister's claim that the Scottish Bill would be more ambitious in every way than the UK Climate Change Act. In the end, the SNP have proposed a 2020 emissions target which is no more ambitious than the UK Act, even though they have already told the Climate Committee that they can do more.

"The position of Labour is the biggest disappointment. They have talked eloquently about the need for rapid action in the early years, but when they had the chance they failed to put in any credible proposals of their own or support those proposed by others. You have to question whether Labour is serious about having a tough Climate Change Act.

"They have one last opportunity in three weeks to make good on their rhetoric".

Currently this Bill does not live up to the demands of the 20,000 individual people who responded to the Government consultation, the expectations of the 1.5 million Scottish people represented by our coalition and the urgent need felt by millions around the world.

Notes to editors:
[1] Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is a diverse, growing coalition of organisations campaigning on climate change. The SCCS Coalition has 60 Scottish members, representing more than 2 million supporters, ranging from environment and development groups to faith organisations, trade unions, student societies, care providers and many more. For full details visit
[2] In December world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to agree a new international climate deal that will come into force when the first phase of the Kyoto treaty expires in 2012.
[3] SCCS will be helping organise a Climate Change march in Glasgow on 5th December.

Monday, 25 May 2009

The Herald: Climate Bill Not Good Enough Warns Green Coalition

Climate Bill Not Good Enough Warns Green Coalition
Martin Williams
The Herald
Date: Monday 25 May 2009

A coalition of 60 charities, unions and churches has told Alex Salmond that a bill to tackle climate change does not go far enough, and accuses him of reneging on manifesto commitments on the environment.

Politicians have already voted to support the general principles of the Scottish Climate Change Bill that has set targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and by 34% by 2020.

The Scottish Government also wants to ensure the target rises to at least 42% when the EU agrees to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020.

Now, in a stinging letter to Alex Salmond, the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition - made up of organisations including Oxfam Scotland, the Church of Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, RSPB Scotland and Christian Aid Scotland - has insisted that the targets should be raised....

The Herald Editorial: A Climate for Change

UNISON Scotland is a signatory to this SCCS coalition letter. The full letter is at:

Friday, 22 May 2009

Opening up public contracts is key to building justice around the world

Friday 22 May 2009

A Scots public health expert will today say that transparency of public service contracts and public accountability at all levels is vital to delivering justice for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Professor Allyson Pollock will also demand international action to prioritise health and social issues alongside trade deals.

As one of the key speakers at a conference at the Edinburgh World Justice Festival, Professor Pollock will say public service contracts must be placed in the public domain to allow public scrutiny and ensure accountability for tax payers money.

She said yesterday:
"You can’t have access to justice if you don’t have access to information and data and if you don’t have systems to ensure strong public accountability for decision making at all levels."
International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander is opening the Festival at today’s ‘Building Justice Out of Crisis’ event in the City Chambers Business Centre.

The other speakers are Benedict Southworth, Director of the World Development Movement, and Iain Macwhirter, the Herald and Sunday Herald political columnist and Edinburgh University Rector.

Professor Pollock, Director of the Centre for International Public Health Policy, added:
"The mandate of the WTO and EU is trade, and public health and social welfare are increasingly marginalised in the international policy arena unless they facilitate trade. A new economic movement is required which will put health for all at the centre of policy making."

Mike Kirby, UNISON Scotland convener, is chairing the event, which will focus on the global economic crisis, climate change and how to build a new world order delivering justice and sustainability.

He said:
"The Edinburgh World Justice Festival (EWJF) was inspired by the massive Make Poverty History demonstration and the G8 alternative conference, held in Edinburgh in early July 2005. Four years on we have a backdrop of global economic crisis and the threat of catastrophic runaway climate change. We need to build justice in ways that put people first."

Douglas Alexander said:
"Millions of people in Britain campaigned four years ago to make poverty history, but millions worldwide face a future of poverty if the world fails to tackle climate change. We have to move to a low-carbon future if we’re going to create a better life for all - here and around the world."


Notes for Editors

1. The Building Justice Out of Crisis event takes place on Friday 22 May at Edinburgh City Chambers Business Centre, High Street, from 12.30pm -3.30pm. Douglas Alexander is due to speak at 12.35pm, with a question session at 1pm.

2. Other EWJF highlights include: a European Election hustings, a film by Dalkeith High School pupils on the injustice of climate change; a discussion on Mordechai Vanunu, human rights, arms sales and nuclear disarmament; and a debate on what is needed from the UN Climate Change talks in Copenhagen.

3. Contributing groups include African HIV Policy Network, Amnesty International St. Mark's Group, Bookmarks, Christian Aid, Depletion Scotland, Edinburgh Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Edinburgh Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, Edinburgh Stop The War, Friends of the Earth, Hadeel/Palcraft, HIV Scotland, Impact Aids, Jubilee Scotland, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Sanctuary, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, Shakti Womens Aid, Stop Climate Chaos, Unison, Waverley Care, World Development Movement.

4. The full programme is at


Friday, 15 May 2009

Hope not Hate - Stop the BNP

From Inverness - Anti BNP leafletting for Union Friday 15 May 2009 - Hope not Hate

UNISON members and supporters along with the STUC and other unions were out in force across Scotland today with the message: "Stop the BNP - use your vote against the fascists in the European elections on 4 June."

The Scottish campaign was part of Hope not Hate's UNION Friday, and included lunchtime street stalls in Inverness (pictured above), Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock. PCS union activists also leafletted rail stations in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Kirkcaldy. The STUC Black Workers Committee and supporters are currently leafletting commuters at Glasgow Queen Street station as we write.

Great response from people in the street and at least in Glasgow city centre campaigners faced down a couple of vile BNP leafletters who quit in short order.

No Pasaran!

More on the UNISON Scotland website and at the Hope Not Hate site.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

International Development Secretary to launch World Justice Festival

Douglas Alexander MP, the International Development Secretary, is to open Edinburgh’s fourth World Justice Festival (EWJF) next week.

Mr Alexander will speak about the UK Government’s development response to global economic and environmental crisis at the ‘Building Justice out of Crisis’ conference in the City Chambers.
His speech, on Friday May 22, will focus on what steps are needed to create a new regime to deliver justice and sustainability for the world’s population.

The unique Edinburgh World Justice Festival (EWJF) was inspired by the massive Make Poverty History demonstration and the G8 alternative conference, held in Edinburgh in early July 2005.

EWJF organisers include UNISON Scotland, Edinburgh Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Friends of the Earth, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and the World Development Movement.

Mr Alexander said:
“Millions of people in Britain campaigned four years ago to make poverty history, but millions worldwide face a future of poverty if the world fails to tackle climate change. We have to move to a low-carbon future if we’re going to create a better life for all - here and around the world.

“I am delighted to take part in this important event and congratulate the many organisations which have put together an impressive programme.”


For further information please contact:
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 07715 583 729(m)
Sara Thoms (Department For International Development Press Office) 0207 023 0849 (w) 07932 954867 (m)

Notes for Editors

1. Other speakers at the Building Justice Out of Crisis event include: Allyson Pollock, Centre for International Public Health Policy, Edinburgh University; Iain Macwhirter, Sunday Herald journalist and Rector of Edinburgh University; Benedict Southworth, World Development Movement. Mike Kirby, Convener of UNISON Scotland, will be in the chair.

2. The event takes place at Edinburgh City Chambers from 12.30pm -3.30pm. Douglas Alexander is due to speak at 12.35pm, with a question session at 1pm.

3. Other EWJF highlights include: a European Election hustings, a film by Dalkeith High School pupils on the injustice of climate change; a discussion on Mordechai Vanunu, human rights, arms sales and nuclear disarmament; and a debate on what is needed from the UN Climate Change talks in Copenhagen.

4. The full programme is at


Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Which Way to Equal Pay? – UNISON launches campaign

UNISON Scotland is launching a campaign to highlight the consequences for workers who have been drawn to so-called "No Win No Fee" solicitors. In a national advertising campaign UNISON highlights the fact that the Court of Session recently awarded an interdict to prevent a prominent No Win No Fee firm pursuing an Edinburgh homecare worker for payment.

Cross & Co have recruited thousands of Scottish workers in their equal pay campaign, but a growing number of workers are now following Edinburgh carer Jacqueline Quinn and switching to the free legal service provided by UNISON. The Stefan Cross contract seeks to charge his clients if they change their mind and pursue their claim through their union. In Jacqueline Quinn’s case, the charge was £500 for every six months. However there was also provision for additional charges in the contract. These could require additional payment by Jacqueline Quinn if she continued to pursue her claim - even if Stefan Cross was no longer acting on her behalf.

A UNISON spokesperson said:
"We are delighted that the Court of Session has declared that Jacqueline Quinn’s contract with Stefan Cross is void. The interdict gives Jacqueline the peace of mind she was looking for. We can now get on with the business of fighting for equal pay for her and her UNISON colleagues. Our advertising campaign is very simple - we are keen to let other members know that UNISON believes that equivalent charges should be unenforceable. Where our members encounter problems similar to Jacqueline Quinn we will help them."


For Further Information Please Contact:
Peter Hunter (Regional Organiser) 07903 814 118 (m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 07715 583 729(m)


Monday, 11 May 2009

Kerelaw Report - initial response from UNISON

Monday May 11 2009

UNISON, the union representing the social care staff working in the Kerelaw residential school, today agreed with the general trend of the conclusions and recommendations of the Frizzell report – particularly the criticisms of the council’s own earlier investigations.

Ronnie Stevenson Convenor of UNISON’s Glasgow City Branch Social Work stewards said:
“While it will take us some time to look in full at the 154 page report from Mr Frizzell, our preliminary view is that we find ourselves in agreement with the general trend of its conclusions and recommendations.

“We particularly welcome his criticisms of the Investigatory Team’s work and its reporting. They left many staff unaware and isolated. They left many perfectly good child care staff “broken” people with devastating effects on their families. Their actions left all ex-Kerelaw staff, regardless of their practice, with their reputations tarnished and often their ability to find employment compromised.”

UNISON also says that many of the report’s recommendations are about issues which they have been raising with Strathclyde Regional Council, Glasgow City Council and the external inspection regimes for years.

Andy McCallion, Residential Convenor of UNISON’s Glasgow City Branch Residential Social Work stewards and also a Child Care Worker, said:
“Despite the staff raising these concerns the employers have done little about them. A question still remains of what confidence we can have that this failure to react in the best interests of children, young people, services and the staff will change.

“Nevertheless we still hope that we can look forward to a more positive engagement with our employers to improve the quality of residential care for children and young people in Glasgow.”


Sunday, 10 May 2009

Glasgow's pay freeze call 'ill-informed or malicious' - UNISON

Sunday May 10 2009

The main union representing Scotland's public service staff today condemned comments by Glasgow City treasurer, Cllr Gordon Matheson on today's BBC Politics Show as 'either ill-informed, or malicious'.

Cllr Mathieson appeared to call for a public sector pay freeze in the current year on the programme, apparently unaware that his Scottish council colleagues had agreed a number of pay deals covering his own staff, including police and teaching staff.

Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary of UNISON, the largest public service union said:
"Councillor Matheson is either woefully ill-informed, or is malicious enough to suggest reneging on agreements his representatives have already signed. All local government staff including teachers, police and chief officials are in the middle of multi-year deals - deals that the employers insisted on. Other public service staff - like healthcare workers also have agreed multi-year deals that Labour Government Minister Alan Johnson MP has publicly guaranteed."

Matt Smith also condemned the call for a pay freeze:
"To cut staff pay in a recession simply further deepens that recession, as fewer people have less money to purchase goods and services. Is Councillor Mathieson seriously suggesting he wants to further depress demand in Glasgow and the rest of Scotland?"


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Video: What Scotlands Living Wage Campaign means for Dalmarnock

Check out this video in support of the Campaign for a Living Wage of at least £7 per hour in Scotland.

Dalmarnock in Glasgow is where the 2014 Commonwealth Games will be centred. Local community activists want the event to be a Living Wage Games, like the London Olympics in 2012.


Employers urged to ‘Grasp the Thistle’ on living wage

The Scottish Living Wage Campaign today urged employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors to put an end to poverty wages by raising the earnings of their lowest paid workers to the Scottish living wage level of £7.00 per hour.

The Campaign will launch the Scottish Living Wage Employer award at 10.30am today (5 May), at Dalmarnock Community Centre, 3 Lily Street, Glasgow, G40 3HJ.

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said; “At least 700,000 workers in Scotland earn less than £7.00 per hour. The majority of these are women and work in the private sector although a significant number also work in the public and voluntary sectors. At a time of recession it is vital that all employers take steps to make ensure that their most valuable assets, their workers, are protected. Evidence shows that paying a living wage is good for workers, business, communities and the wider economy. These are challenging times that require brave decisions”.

The Scottish Living Wage Award will be awarded to those employers who pay all of their workers no less than the Scottish Living Wage of £7.00 per hour.

Dave Moxham Deputy General Secretary of the STUC said: “Poverty wages are bad for people, bad for business and bad for society as a whole. Establishing a Living Wage at a basic decency threshold will not solve the problems of low pay, but it can go a significant way to improving the situation of tens of thousands of workers in Scotland. We are looking forward to uniting trade unions, community groups, faith organisations and enlightened employers in local campaigns across Scotland.”

The Scottish Living Wage Campaign is supported by voluntary and community organisations, trade unions and the faith community. The award will be launched in Dalmarnock where guests will hear from local people about their experiences of living on low incomes and the difference a living wage would mean to them.

Kenny Faulds a community activist in Dalmarnock said: “Supporting the campaign for a living wage - means supporting sustainable local communities" Campaigners believe that there is a strong social, economic and moral case for employers to end the practice of paying poverty wages to the hundreds of thousands of workers doing jobs that many would find unappealing. Evidence suggests that many of these workers have two or even three jobs to afford to feed their families and heat their homes.

Martin Johnstone from the Church of Scotland said:: “In the midst of a recession one of the challenges is to come out of it with a more equal society. The Living Wage, if implemented, will help to create a healthier and better society for all.”

The launch will include the presentation of the first Living Wage Employer Award to Glasgow City Council, after they increased the pay of all of their low paid staff to the Scottish Living Wage level.

Steven Purcell, Leader of the Council, said: “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of Glasgow City Council and congratulate the Scottish Living Wage Campaign on the work they have done to raise awareness of low pay in Scotland. It is simply unacceptable that almost one in five of Glasgow’s workers are paid less than £7 an hour and the Glasgow Living Wage has the potential to make a huge difference to thousands of families across the city. In times of economic difficulties, we know that the lowest paid workers suffer disproportionately. I believe that the introduction of the Glasgow Living Wage is the right thing to do and it is another vital step towards ensuring that all of our citizens can share in the city’s success.”


Notes to editors:
The Scottish Living Wage Campaign is lead by the Poverty Alliance, The STUC, Faith in Community Scotland and UNISON. The Campaign is working with community groups, voluntary organisations, faith based organisations and trade unions to improve the pay of workers across Scotland.