Monday, 31 December 2012

Challenges ahead for 2013 – a New Year message from Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary of public services union UNISON

Monday 31 December 2012 (Hogmanay)

2012 has been a tough year for our vital public services and our members who work hard to provide them. And 2013 looks as though it will be just as challenging.

The austerity measures imposed by governments at Westminster and Holyrood continue to impact heavily upon our public services - so vital to local communities. UNISON will continue to challenge the need and the basis for these attacks by government on our public services in the year ahead.

Local councils across Scotland will set budgets in February. We will be challenging them too: will they be the agents of cuts or will they be champions of their local communities?

We will continue fighting to protect jobs and services in specific sectors - including our long-running campaign on police staff jobs, and in the further education sector - where fierce cutbacks are being imposed.

We know the whole issue of pay is bound to feature strongly on our campaigning agenda in the coming year, and the TUC and STUC will consider co-ordinated action the defend and improve the position of our members and the important services we deliver.

We have been winning the argument for the Living Wage and will continue to fight to have this extended not just to directly employed public service staff but to those working in the private and third sectors who are contracted to provide public services.

And UNISON Scotland  will work throughout 2013  to ensure all of our issues are better reflected in the debate on the constitution. We are more interested to determine in who’s interest power will be exercised than where it will lie.

Our document A Fairer Scotland outlines some of the principles on which we will challenge the political parties and the platforms ahead of the referendum in 2014. Some key questions we want answer to include:
PUBLIC SERVICES - What will you do to keep services public and maintain standards?
RIGHTS AT WORK - What sort of rights should people have at work - and what will you do to improve them?
JOBS & THE ECONOMY - What will you do to create full employment?
EQUALITY - What will you do to make Scotland a more equal place?

These are just some of the challenges we will take on in the coming year. If you work in the public services, come and join us so we can face them together and win a Fairer Scotland.

Happy New Year

Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary, UNISON
31 December 2012

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