Saturday, 31 December 2011

Review of 2011 - Celebrate the Successes... It’s going to be a Long War

A review of 2011 from the unofficial UNISONActive blog calls on us to celebrate our successes but focus on organising for the challenges ahead. http://unisonactive.blogspot.com/2011/12/review-of-2011-celebrate-successes-its.html

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Public sector employment in Scotland

The latest public sector employment figures highlight the impact public spending cuts are having on jobs and services. Branches have a received a briefing today but the headlines include:
  • There are 588,900 people employed in the public sector in Scotland, a decrease of 23,500 (3.8%) since last year. Public sector employment accounted for 23.7% of total employment, down from 24.7% 2010.
  • This has been driven by a decrease in local government (inc. Police & Fire) employment. Total local government employment decreased by 13,300 (4.5%) over the last year. 
  • Employment in the NHS decreased by 4,200 (2.7%) over the year, from 158,800 to 154,500.
  • Other Public Bodies (inc NDPBs) down by 1,000 (6.0%); Public Corporations down by 50 (0.4%).
  • Further Education colleges down by 2,000 (11.8%). HE is not classified as public sector. 
This is also grim news for the economy. For every public sector job lost, more than one goes in
the private sector. That's why, contrary to the Chancellor's claim, private sector jobs are not
plugging the gap. The consequential unemployment figures are highlighted in today's STUC analysis 'Christmas on the dole in Scotland'.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Pensions negotiations updates

No decisions till UNISON service groups meet 10 January: STUC unions to meet in January. See website links for latest briefings:

19 Dec: Health pensions - UNISON response http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=2556

19 Dec: Local Govt briefing (England and Wales) No change before 2014 http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/LGPS_PoP_Campaign8.pdf

Dec 2011: Scottish pensions Bulletin No 28 - December 2011 http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/pensions/scotpensionsbulletin28_dec11.pdf

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Climate Change - two ways to get involved in early 2012


SCCS bike stunt and Earth Hour 2012

Calling all cyclists - SCCS needs your help with our campaign stunt.

We need as many people on bikes as possible to gather outside St Andrews House (which is the main office of the Scottish Government), in Edinburgh, at 1pm on Wednesday 11th January.

We need your help for just one hour to urge Scottish Ministers to increase funding for cycling and walking. Read more



Earth Hour 2012 takes place on Saturday 31 March and branches are being encouraged to get involved.

UNISON Scotland supports Earth Hour and works with WWF to encourage branches to promote the event and include it in Green Workplace action. 

This year a special WWF / UNISON Earth Hour toolkit is available for branches with ideas for activities that could help raise awareness and involve members and the public in taking action on climate change. More here 


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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

PPP/PFI in Scotland

Scottish Government ministers talk of Scotland being "set free from the shackles of PFI." Sadly as UNISON Scotland's latest briefing shows this is far from the case.  

The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) – the quango that was originally proposed by the SNP as an alternative to PFI - is currently in charge of a £2.5 billion Scottish Government PPP pipeline of PPP projects rebranded as NPD and hub DBFM projects. One of the biggest programmes of its type in Europe. Ministers talk mainly about NPD, arguing that it removes the "excessive profits and financing costs" of PFI, although officials admit it is still a PPP scheme. DBFM is a traditional PPP model.

The SFT says they differ from PFI in various ways including that profits are capped to prevent "super profits". However, Mark Hellowell, of Edinburgh University and expert adviser to the House of Commons Treasury Committee for its summer 2011 PFI inquiry, says that the long-term cost to taxpayers of NPD is "similar" to that of the classic PFI model and that it "makes PFI a bit more politically acceptable without changing any of the economics."

There is no doubt that the new models are an improvement on the original PPP schemes. Officials have learned some lessons from the mistakes of the past. However, for schools in particular PPP has returned "as the only game in town" for councils who want Government support.

So why have the SNP abandoned their opposition to PPP? Probably for the same reason the last administration continued with it - keeping the costs off the balance sheet. The problem is that in the real world you still have to pay the bills and PPP bills are always bigger.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Our Future, Our Fight - sign the NUS petition on college funding

13 December 2011 
The UNISON Scottish FE committee strongly supports the National Union of Students (NUS) Campaign concerning the funding of colleges. Please sign their petition and get your members to sign this petition.


Colleges have been severely hit by the funding cuts, losing 30% in 3 years. This has already led to substantial job losses and a poorer service to students and things are going to get worse. In this time of high unemployment, particularly in young people, the colleges play a vital role in getting people prepared and trained for the job market.

We already know that:
  • there have been over 1000 job losses
  • many courses have been cut
  • there are less students in colleges
  • the support students gets is decreasing so staying in college is becoming increasingly more difficult
  • many of our members in colleges are not even paid the living wage
Colleges play a vital role in our communities, so please sign the petition. When you sign, your MSPs will be automatically emailed. Make sure they know that the slashing of college budgets is unacceptable.

Thank you for your support

Emma Phillips, Regional Organiser, UNISON Scotland FE Committee

Monday, 12 December 2011

Durban: ITUC: No Guarantees for Climate as Governments Again Delay #COP17

The international trade union movement today expressed its disappointment after climate negotiators in Durban agreed a platform to continue negotiations, but without any guarantees that will make the cuts to emissions demanded by science to stop a climate disaster.

Trade Unions in Durban demanded the extension of the Kyoto Agreement, a globally negotiated legally binding agreement and a plan to operationalise and fill the Green Climate Fund.

"The Kyoto Protocol, a critical piece in the climate agreement, survived the talks but without key countries, without commitments on emission reductions and with major loopholes. A Green Climate fund was agreed, but without commitments to fill the fund. And a new negotiating round was launched aimed at being implemented in 2020," said Sharan Burrow.

Scientists, environmental groups have warned the delay to 2020 puts the planet, and people at great risk of irreversible damage from rising temperatures.

“Governments must not abandon the principals of equity, social justice and historical responsibilities, as they start the new round of negotiations.

"This delay must not distract from the immediate action governments need to take to invest in a low-carbon economy and create green jobs and a Just Transition,” said Sharan Burrow.

"Unions will not wait until 2020 for action to reduce emissions and reshape economies. In Rio in 2012 and beyond, workers will call for a renewed, more ambitious mandates from our governments, for green and greener jobs, and for social justice to prevail over the current economic order, that once again won in Durban.

"One trillion dollars of investment is now being directed towards the green economy, but too many nations are left out, Instead of waiting for an agreement to be negotiated and implemented in 2020, nations need to act now to deliver green jobs for the future," said Sharan Burrow.

The international trade union movement will be taking the call for climate action to the G20 Summit in Mexico and the Rio+20 Earth Summit next June as well as mobilising workers in each country.

"We have been vocal in calling for a Just Transition where workers are involved and shape the social and economic transformation to tackle climate change. Now our voice will only get louder as the urgency for government action becomes greater," said Sharan Burrow.


Read more here

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Sunday, 11 December 2011

SCCS: Durban - disappointment at desperate lack of ambition #COP17

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland today expressed disappointment at the desperate lack of ambition contained within the UN climate agreement in Durban.


Despite the growing warning from scientists, the reality is that this will be woefully insufficient to avoid global temperatures rising by more than 2 degrees, as was committed to at the talks last year in Cancun.
Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said:
"It is really disappointing to see such a desperate lack of ambition resulting from the Durban talks. What we are left with falls short of what scientists say will be needed to avoid runaway climate change.
"Climate change is a truly global issue and must be tackled by countries coming together with a global climate change agreement. In spite of the outcome in Durban countries must not be distracted from the urgent need to support people in developing countries survive the impacts of climate change, nor the responsibility to ensure their own houses are in order.
"Scotland's Climate Change Act commits us to emissions reductions which are in line with climate science and was appreciated by many nations in Durban. But, to maintain that leadership, Scotland must ensure that those promised emissions cuts are actually achieved, and that the government's commitment to establishing a climate adaptation fund to support developing countries is made a reality."


Monday, 5 December 2011

Ask Scotland’s climate change minister a question at UN talks in Durban



Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and international trade union campaigners are in Durban at the important UN Climate talks.


On Wednesday 7 Dec SCCS will be meeting Scottish Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson.

You can post questions to be put by them to Mr Stevenson in South Africa on Facebook or via Twitter. A video recording of the meeting will be posted online afterwards.

The International Trade Union Confederation is also at the talks. Read about what they are doing – including about the need for a Just Transition to a low carbon economy on the Touchstone blog
 
You can see the ITUC reports from Durban here, including the ITUC contribution to the talks.


SCCS is running a blog from Durban and you can see updates here A video of the Stop Climate Chaos online debate last week with UK Energy and Climate Minister Chris Huhne is here

SCCS also produced a briefing for MSPs on the Durban talks.

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Public service pensions benefit business

Strathclyde Pension Fund is launching an innovative £100million scheme to benefit small and medium size businesses in Scotland. The aim is to deliver a return for the fund, boost the economy and create jobs.

Proposals from Scottish firms will be studied by a panel of experts who will sign off loans or equity deals. The fund will target firms looking to expand and willing to pay the "living wage" of £7.20 an hour.

Fund Chair Councillor Paul Rooney said: "By making these funds available for appropriate investments, we can generate jobs. But there will have to be a return for the pension fund and for people's pensions. It's important the small firms we invest in have a clear business plan and meet the criteria we set."

This plan highlights the economic benefits of the Local Government Pension Scheme in Scotland. Across the country nearly £20bn of assets are available for investment. UNISON has long argued that this resource gets insufficient recognition and should be used for public investment and to promote the living wage. 

However, UNISON has also warned that there is a real risk that the UK Government's attack on public service pensions could result in increasing numbers of workers opting out from these schemes. Something that even Lord Hutton highlighted again this weekend. That would undermine the viability of the schemes and have a knock on effect on investment into the economy. Not to mention increasing the burden on the state welfare systems in retirement.  

Friday, 2 December 2011

Rodney Bickerstaffe at Edinburgh #N30 - video


Rodney Bickerstaffe's speech to the magnificent Edinburgh Rally on November 30. Public Sector Workers stand united against attacks on pensions.

More on http://www.youtube.com/user/UNISONScotland and http://www.youtube.com/user/STUC1

Mike Kirby's speech to the Glasgow Rally #N30



Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary of Unison and STUC President addresses the Public Services Pensions Rally in the Barrowlands Glasgow on the 30 November 2011.



More on http://www.youtube.com/user/UNISONScotland and http://www.youtube.com/user/STUC1

Thursday, 1 December 2011

BBC News - Public sector strikes in Scotland: video

BBC News - Public sector strikes in Scotland: Services across Scotland have been disrupted as up to 300,000 public sector workers joined colleagues in the rest of the UK in a strike over pension and job changes.

Some good footage of rallies around Scotland and vox pops. There's a token numpty for "balance" but you'll spot and ignore him.

Morning Star: Strikers Show The Tories Who's Boss

Strikers Show The Tories Who's Boss: 2 Million Out To Save Their Pensions / Britain / Home - Morning Star: In Scotland over 300,000 workers took to the streets while in Wales an estimated 170,000 walked out in opposition to the brutal cuts.

Rallies up and down England drew tens of thousands - and received the overwhelming support of the public.

Speaking at a rally in Birmingham TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "On this unprecedented day when 30 unions have members taking action together we are sending a crystal-clear message to the government.

"That we are strong, that we are united, and that our campaign will go on until we secure justice and fairness for every public servant."

More...

South Lanarkshire pickets pic

Strike pics from Dumfries, Stirling, Glasgow Life, GHA & Argyll & Bute



On the picket line in Dumfries























Lots more pictures from Dumfries on Picasa here





















Picketing in Stirling

















And at Glasgow Life's Gorbals swimming pool
















And at Glasgow Housing Association 



















Argyll & Bute branch picketing. See lots more from them here


All the pictures from the strike on Picasa here
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Inverness Courier on strike rally and Danny Alexander 'robbery'



DEAFENING cheers and the sound of claxons reverberated throughout the Mercure Hotel in Inverness this afternoon as hundreds of public sector workers gathered at a rally to make a stance against proposed changes to public sector pensions.
Before the rally, workers, holding placards and banners, marched to the hotel past MP Danny Alexander’s office in Huntly Street just before noon where one striker, dressed as ‘Danny the Robber’, mockingly ran away from the workers holding a pensions 'swag bag'.
Over 300 hundred workers packed  the hotel at noon to listen to hard hitting speeches from different trade union representatives.
Etta MacKay, a midwife at Raigmore Hospital and a member of UNISON, gave a heart felt speech which received a standing ovation.


Full story from Inverness Courier here

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Highland News: Inverness strikers vent fury at "robber" MP Alexander


ANGRY strikers in Inverness vented their fury at local MP Danny Alexander over pension changes as public services were crippled in the national day of action by trade unions.
Picket lines formed outside many buildings in the city and were visited by a character named "Danny the Robber". 

Dressed in comic book burglar gear and carrying a "swag bag" of stolen pension cash, the character had a face mask of Mr Alexander and was the centre of ridicule and hostility.
The Inverness MP is the Chancellor’s right-hand man as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and was viewed by picketing public sector workers as the architect of the controversial plans which sparked the national strike.

Full story from Highland News here   

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Shetland Times: Strike action wins strong support in Shetland and disrupts public services #unisonscotN30 #N30

Dozens of public sector workers in Shetland braved torrential rain and cold winds this morning to march in protest against UK government cuts to their pension schemes.

Around 70 members of trade unions including Unison local government and health branches and the GMB marched from the shopping centre at Toll Clock to the Market Cross under dark winter morning skies.

Hundreds of workers took part in the strike action, which caused widespread disruption to public services within Shetland Islands Council and NHS Shetland. Most schools were shut for the day and inter-island ferries were shut down, though the NHS stressed it had maintained “adequate” emergency provision.

Full Shetland Times report here

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Shetland Branch slideshow #unisonscotN30 #N30

Hugh Henry MSP supports pickets in Paisley #unisonscotN30 #N30

From Paisley 30 Nov 2011

West Dunbartonshire picket line pictures #unisonscotN30 #N30

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde branch pickets with their fantastic banner - more in slideshow below #unisonscotN30 #N30 #welovethenhs


Fantastic rally in Aberdeen for pensions justice

Over 2000 folk gathered in the Castlegate for a fantastic rally in Aberdeen today. #unisonscotn30 They were there to show huge anger at attacks on pensions and determination to fight for pensions justice for all. Congratulations to our union colleagues around the country for a fantastic show!
Kate Ramsden, Aberdeenshire UNISON http://www.aberdeenshireunison.com/index.html

Johann Lamont MSP shows her support on the Glasgow march

pic.twitter.com/x3VeGi1W

Johann Lamont MSP joined marchers in Glasgow

http://johann4leader.org/

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Teamster offer support

Teamsters and members of the national nurses union are today showing solidarity with our members with a demonstration outside the Briish Consulate in Washington today

Dave Prentis: Today history has been made by millions of ordinary men and women #unisonscotN30 #N30

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis today told a rally in Birmingham that today's strike was "the biggest demonstration of determination and defiance that this country has witnessed for almost a century."

He said that the millions taking part in today's action - mostly women, many first time strikers and tens of thousands of young people newly drawn into the union movement - were "the people against the powerful" who should take courage from today's success.

He added: "Today, history has been made - not by politicians - not by bankers and business leaders, but by the millions of ordinary men and women - few of them militants or hardened activists, many thousands who have never taken industrial action before, who, with courage and quiet resolve have said: ‘enough is enough’.

“They are decent men and women, who on any other day of the year are working tirelessly for this country; dedicated – devoted – to the people, the families, the communities they serve; ensuring we are safe, healthy, our children educated, our future protected. Little noticed, rarely thanked, often maligned, taken for granted.

“But today, for one day you’ll see them: the people we rely on for so much, gathering outside every school, every hospital, every library or public office, lining the high streets and filling in town squares - making their stand, with bravery and dignity."


Dave told the striking workers that instead of putting bankers in charge of whole countries, as in Greece and Italy, we should be putting the people in charge of the banks.

He said: "The stand we are making today is part of a wider awakening as people around the world demand an alternative to more cuts, more job losses, more poverty and austerity, enforced with a blatant denial of democracy.

"It’s the people against the powerful, the 99 per cent against the one per cent, the millions against the millionaires - and we know which side we are on."


Dave's full speech is here

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Evening Times: Picket Line Scotland - 300,000 join pension strike #unisonscotN30 #N30

Glasgow's Evening Times today reported on "Picket Line Scotland".


AROUND 300,000 public sector workers in Scotland went on the picket line today in the biggest strike for more than 30 years.

Across Glasgow and west Scotland schools, hospitals, courts, transport and Government offices were hit by closures and cancelled services.

Picket lines had been mounted outside schools, hospitals, JobCentres, courts and other buildings, while more than 1000 rallies and other demonstrations were held across the UK in a row over proposed pension reforms


Full report here

Bick: You have a legal right and moral duty to stand up to bullies

Upwards of 10,000 public service workers were treated to a barnstorming performance by Rodney Bickerstaffe today outside the Scottish Parliament. #unisonscotn #N30. Reaching out to the young people on the rally, he was cheered as he urged them, “You wonderful young people, you have a legal right and a moral duty to stand up to bullies and diktat or they will walk all over you”.

Marchers were still coming down the Royal Mile as the rally began and they cheered in their thousands when Rodney told them, “Thousands and thousands are out today and we’ll do it again and again if and when necessary.”

Rodney, president of the National Pensioners Convention and ex UNISON general secretary, rounded on the hypocrisy of the ‘millionaire’ cabinet. “They rightly stand and show respect for dead at the Cenotaph for one day. But they go on to show disrespect for the living for 365 days”, he said.

We rightly mourn the death of thousands in the World Trade centre “but when 25,000 old people die every year from winter related illness, nobody sheds a single tear”.

The hypocrisy that says we have to pay the price when it was “they and their city friends who caused all this mess in the fist place”.

Rodney challenge government accusations that public service workers were ‘uncaring’. “Who was it out in the fog that night on the motorway pulling bits out of the tarmac? Who is it that wipes the noses and bottoms day in day out? Not them. They wouldn’t know what caring was if it sat on them!”

“Uncaring? They’re the ones closing the hospitals, throwing people out of jobs, cut, cut cutting.

He tore into the attempts to create a public-private divide on pensions. “It’s like saying that because one person has had their leg cut off, it is only fair that everyone gets a leg cut off”.

“You’ll need two legs if you’re going to beat the b****** - and that’s what we’re going to do!” said Rodney as the rally erupted.

“The government call us unpatriotic because 2.5 million of us are out on strike. What about the 2.5 million unemployed they’ve created – lost days every day of every year. Who is it who’s not patriotic?

And to those who crossed our picket lines today out of so-called ‘principle’, he asked, “Will they show the same principle and say ‘we don’t want that pension you have won for us because we didn’t stand up and fight for it?’”

Mike Kirby: Our solid strike with great public support shows government must stop great pensions robbery

UNISON's Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby told the rally in Glasgow that today's strike is being led by women who won't be fooled by government ministers.

He said that the real pensions crisis is in the private sector, where two thirds of employers don't pay a single penny towards their workers' pensions.

Mike said: "It could cost this country up to £15 billion to support the millions of private sector workers who have been locked out of saving for their retirement."

He added: "Never before have so many public service workers and so many women taken action. We know that today's strike is being led by women - 3.7 million could be affected by the plans to make detrimental changes to pensions.

"And they won't be fooled by government ministers' claims that their justified action will hit jobs.

"They know the real reasons that the dole queues are growing are the disastrous choices the government is making.

"The critics of today, the bonus billionaires and Tory Cabinet millionaires know nothing of the value of public services, where we care for elderly and infirm people, we teach children, empty bins and save lives."

See full news release here

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Pensions Justice: marching to Holyrood photo - lots more in Edinburgh slideshow below

From Edinburgh 30 Nov 2011

Message of support to UNISON from Impact union in Ireland

Peter Nolan
Good wishes and solidarity to all Unison Scottish workers fighting today to defend their basic conditions of employment.

Today is a crucial day for workers in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the UK.

It is also an important day internationally as trade unionists and governments throughout Europe and the world look to see Unison’s one million plus members take a stand to defend their pensions.



Message sent to Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby from Peter Nolan, National Secretary, IMPACT Municipal Employees Division

STV: Public sector workers strike across Scotland

30 November 2011 10:59 GMT Scotland is facing the biggest day of strike action in a generation with public sector workers across the country striking over changes to their pensions.

Video includes Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary
Full report here

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BBC: Striking staff march on Holyrood















Thousands of striking public sector workers have marched outside the Scottish Parliament, in protest at UK government pension changes. Full report here


Picket lines, march and rally pics in Orkney #unisonscotN30 #N30

Moray council branch slideshow

Gathering for rally in Aberdeen - slideshow

North Ayrshire pickets slideshow

Marchers in Edinburgh gather below the castle

From Edinburgh 30 Nov 2011

Strathclyde Police and Fire Branch pickets picture slideshow

Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health branch picture slideshow

Glasgow City picket lines slideshow

Slideshows from Lanarkshire Health, Edinburgh City and Skills Development Scotland

Pictures from Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire and Tayside

Edinburgh City UNISON branch flag waving to support picket lines around the capital
More from an Edinburgh council picket line


pic.twitter.com/pzPaSqip

UNISON Tayside Health pickets at Kings Cross, Dundee

North Lanarkshire branch pickets


More strike pictures from around the country

Pickets at the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway

Pickets in Greenock



On the steps at Glasgow School of Art's historic Charles Rennie Mackintosh building

Out at Foresterhill Health Campus, University of Aberdeen


Pickets at SEPA in Edinburgh

More pictures from picket lines. More to follow!

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
Staff taking action at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen this morning


Early pickets at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank












Picket line in Edinburgh


aaieh.jpg
Tooting up support outside Strathclyde Police HQ in Glasgow

Herald: Public sector staff in mass walkout

Public sector staff in mass walkout:

Last updated 30 Nov 2011 - 3:50 am

Schools, transport and hospitals in Scotland face disruption as public sector workers stage a 24-hour strike
More than 300,000 public sector workers across Scotland are taking part in the biggest day of strike action in decades.

Schools, transport, hospitals and courts will all be affected by nationwide industrial action against pension reform.

The action is in response to UK Government plans to increase the amount of money public sector workers pay into their pension, raise the age of retirement and introduce career-average pensions.

David Watson, Unison organiser for Scotland, said "just about everyone" will be affected by the day of action in the same way as on a public holiday.

More...

BBC News: Public services grind to halt as 300,000 workers strike across Scotland

BBC News - Public sector strike cripples services in Scotland: Public services across Scotland have ground to a halt, after 300,000 public sector workers went on strike over planned UK pension and job changes.

Most schools have closed for the day and thousands of NHS appointments cancelled. Travel is also being hit.

As workers picket the Holyrood building for the day, SNP ministers will use a government debate to brand the pension plans a "cash grab".

More...

Morning Star: Walkout to be 'biggest since 1926' - Prentis

Walkout to be 'biggest since 1926' / Britain / Home - Morning Star: A mass walkout by millions of workers over pensions on Wednesday is set to be the biggest strike since 1926, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis predicted today (28 Nov).

Mr Prentis said there was "absolutely no chance" of reaching a deal that would prevent the strike from going ahead.

Nurses, teachers, council workers and many others are set to walk out on Wednesday against government plans to short-change them on their pensions.

More...

Video: Scotland ready for 'day of action' - Daily Record

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/videos-pics/2011/11/29/scotland-ready-for-day-of-action-86908-23597866/

Video features Ronnie Smith EIS, Lynn Henderson PCS and Grahame Smith STUC speaking about Nov 30 strike for fair pensions

Piping hot strikers at Glasgow Caley


GCU UNISON members walk out on strike at midnight led by pipers and filmed by BBC and STV camera crews

N30 pensions strike begins at midnight - Tayside Police staff

Tayside Police branch - after walking out on strike for fair pensions at midnight

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Autumn Statement

While many of the detailed spending measures in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement don't apply to Scotland, it does impact on overall spending and on reserved issues.

There will be £433m of additional Capital spend although this is spread over four years. The Revenue consequences are unclear.

Other announcements that do impact on UNISON members in Scotland include:

·         Raising the state pension age to 67 by 2026. Further proof you can’t trust this Government on pensions.

·         More public sector job cuts. 710,000 across the UK and that could mean around 70,000 in Scotland

·         A public sector pay cap of 1% for the next two years when inflation is topping 5%. The cumulative effect of 2 yr pay freeze, 2 yr 1% pay cap + pension contributions increase will be a 16.48% pay cut in public sector.

·         Looking at Regional Pay so he can give ungrateful public sector workers in the most deprived regions of England and Scotland a further pay cut.

·         Promised increases in Child Tax Credit abandoned.

·         Creating further job insecurity by undermining employment rights on unfair dismissal, redundancy and TUPE.

·         And if you still have a job you are more likely to die at work when health and safety rules are abandoned.

The UK Government is planning to borrow £billions to keep workers on the dole rather than investing to get people into work and growing the economy. Even those in work will be less willing to spend when they see what’s coming.

For more see Dave Watson's analysis.

Message of support from Ian Davidson MP



Public service workers and their families should not be paying the price of a crisis caused by the bankers – whether through pay freezes or cuts, job cuts, service cuts – or cuts to pensions.

That’s why I am supporting the pensions action on 30th November – and so should Labour!

Our party has for too long seemed to be taking its natural supporters – including UNISON members – for granted. 

As the first of the candidates in the Scottish leadership elections to support the action - and I am glad that the other candidates have all now said they also support it - I will be out on picket lines in solidarity with public service workers campaigning for fair pensions for all. 

Ian Davidson MP

Message of support from Drew Smith MSP


Unison members taking strike action as part of the national pensions dispute have my support and solidarity.  Pensions are deferred wages, not perks.  The UK and Scottish governments should be getting around the table with the public service trades unions to negotiate a settlement but instead they have forced the issue to the point of crisis.  Paying more, working longer and getting less is an insult to hardworking public servants across Scotland, and I will be joining Unison picket lines in Glasgow to make clear my opposition to the government’s unreasonable and foolish stance.

Drew Smith MSP, Glasgow, Scottish Labour Party

Young Labour & Students support N30

Pensions are often seen as an issue for older people. Far from it. It will be young people who will pay the biggest price of the Government's pension robbery. So we welcome this statement of support.

Scottish Young Labour and Scottish Labour Students are proud to announce their support for those workers and organisations taking industrial action on November 30th.

With University lecturers, teachers and public sector workers taking industrial action across Scotland to protect their pensions and ultimately their livelihoods, it important that we acknowledge the hugely positive effects these individuals have on the young people of Scotland and in recognition of these facts support them at this difficult time.

As ConDem and SNP cuts eat away at our public services these pensions proposals shift an unfair financial burden on to those in our society who work to ensure a bright and prosperous future for Scotland’s students and young people. These strikes are the only way some of the youngest workers have a chance to express their anger over the future of their own pensions and the pensions of their families. When we increase the contributions to pay for Osbourne’s deficit reduction we lay a heavy financial burden on those just starting to make their way in the jobs market.

Many of Scotland’s best and brightest young graduates go on to work in our schools, hospitals and public services and these proposals present a serious threat to future economic and holistic wellbeing of those graduates who chose to use work in the public interest.