Monday, 22 June 2009

UNISON calls for action following public sector agency pay report

Date: Mon 22 June 2009

UNISON Scotland has strongly welcomed proposals by the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee to tackle unfairness, delay and low pay in the wage bargaining system for public sector agency staff.

UNISON - the largest public sector union - is calling on Cabinet Secretary John Swinney to engage directly with unions and employers to implement the recommendations of the Finance Committee's Report on Public Sector Pay.

Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser for UNISON, said:
"We welcome the recommendations from this report, and strongly urge the Scottish Government to act on them as soon as possible. The committee has clearly listened to the evidence led by UNISON and others about the delays, bureaucracy and complexities that bedevil the current system for paying public sector agency staff."

The Report on Public Sector Pay by the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee published today includes recommmendations to: ensure that low pay is addressed properly; review pay systems and the costs of addressing discrimination; and review controversial senior staff bonuses.

The Finance Committee states that the process used to determine pay for workers in public sector agencies has "further room for improvement". The report is critical of delays in wage awards, and stresses the need for formal bargaining machinery, relevant benchmarks, and local flexibility.

Dave Watson said:
"It is clearly also unfair that the senior agency staff - like those running the Government's new Scottish Futures Trust - can attract huge salaries and substantial bonuses, even topping the chief executives of our largest councils, while lower-paid staff experience substantial delays to get less than the rate of inflation, with little or no opportunity for negotiation or flexibility."


Notes for Editors:

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest public sector trade union representing 165,000 members across public services. UNISON members work to deliver vital services not just in Scotland’s NHS and local government, but in a significant number of Non Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) such as Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA); Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA); Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (SCRC); Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park (LLTNPA); and Careers Scotland/Skills Development Scotland.

2. The UNISON Scotland submission on Public Sector Pay to the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee in December 2008 can be found on our website

3. The Report on Public Sector Pay by the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee can be found at


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