Friday, 20 December 2013

Job advert - Living Wage Accreditation Advisor

Living Wage Accreditation Advisor (LWAA13)
Salary: £29,448 (PO1) + 6% Pension, 35 hours per week

The Living Wage has been one of the most high profile social justice initiatives in Scotland in recent years. An exciting opportunity has now arisen to engage with employers to secure the Living Wage for more workers across Scotland. The Poverty Alliance, Scotland’s anti-poverty network, is seeking to appoint a Living Wage Accreditation Advisor to work with companies and organisations to support them to become accredited Living Wage Employers. Candidates should not only have an excellent understanding of Scotland’s economy and the issues of low pay, but should have experience of working with employers in all sectors, and of using negotiating and networking skills for social change. We would expect candidates to have a strong commitment to economic and social justice and to working with employers for social good. The appointment will be made for an initial period of 1 year.

The closing date for applications is Wednesday, 15 January 2014 at 12pm.
Interviews will be held on Wednesday, 22 January 2014.

Further details and an application form can be downloaded from our website at or requested from:

The Poverty Alliance, 162 Buchanan Street, Glasgow, G1 2LL.
Tel: 0141 353 0440 or email:

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

First Minister asked to deliver on free school meals pledge

First Minister Alex Salmond was today asked to make sure all primary one to three pupils receive a free healthy school lunch.

Unions, churches and children's organisations joined together in the call for the Scottish Government to deliver on earlier pledges.

UNISON is a signatory to the letter to Mr Salmond, which is below.

See reports on STV, Real Radio and in The Herald today, and last week's news release.

                                                                                                17th December 2013
Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MSP
First Minister
Scottish Government
St. Andrew's House
Regent Road

Free School Lunches

Dear First Minister,

As you will be aware there is growing belief, and expectation, that your government must now grasp the current opportunity it has to deliver on its long standing free school lunch ambitions and commitments. As children’s charities, anti-poverty campaigners and unions representing teachers, caterers and working parents we have welcomed the progress that your governments have made on widening access to free healthy lunches as part of efforts to tackle the health, education and child poverty barriers that prevent too many of our children from enjoying the best possible start in life. Nevertheless it has been a matter of real concern and disappointment that, to date, the roll out of free school meals to all pupils in P1 to P3, as announced by the Scottish Government in 2007, and reaffirmed in 2010, has not yet been implemented.

New Scotland in UNISON online now

The lay edited newspaper includes stories on pay, pensions, Worth It campaign, courses for 2014, comms awards, independence white paper, Clutha tragedy and Mandela tribute.

The newspaper goes out to 5,000 activists across Scotland six times a year. Your branch can order bulk copies for distribution to members - contact for details. Or just use the links at to share Scotland in UNISON with members.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Contempt of court ruling on Edinburgh social workers – UNISON Response

UNISON is calling for an urgent legislative review following a contempt case verdict at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today (Monday) which could have wide-ranging implications for workers across Scotland.

Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, said: “Our social work members have an overriding duty to ensure the child’s welfare is paramount in all that they do. However, it seems the paramountcy of the welfare of the children is not considered relevant during contempt proceedings. This is quite clearly a conflict of laws.

“Social work staff deal with complex and challenging cases on a daily basis and this decision merely muddies the water and puts those working on the frontline in a very difficult and vulnerable position.

“The fact that individuals, rather than the organisation they work for, have been put in this position has wide-ranging implications for the employer/employee relationship and could have a ripple effect on all frontline workers.

“Today’s decision highlights the need for a legislative review and one that ministers need to address as a matter of urgency.”

New @ThunderclapIt action from @scccoalition Tell @JohnSwinney we #wanttoseedouble

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland has launched a brand new ThunderClap action on active travel - the first of its kind by SCCS.
This is the final part of the We Want to See Double campaign, calling on the Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney to double the budget for walking and cycling.

Enabling more people to walk and cycle is a crucial part of reducing Scotland's transport emissions as well as being a healthy travel option. Yet, at present only a tiny fraction (just over 1%) of the total Scottish Government transport budget is for active travel.
The day of action takes place on Thursday 9 January 2014, but you can make sure today that you are involved.

The Thunderclap tool means that people can take action immediately - any time between now and 9 January - but their message (on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr) will be sent out at the same time on Thurs 9 Jan.

The aim is to grab Mr Swinney's atttention just before he publishes his Budget Bill.
Please sign up to take part here and read more about the campaign on the SCCS website here

Support the campaign for flexible and affordable childcare - sign the petition today

Members and branches are urged to show their support for Save the Children's campaign - Give us a Hand with Childcare - by signing their petition.

The campaign, which is supported by UNISON Scotland, is calling on the Scottish Government to give all families a right to high quality, affordable and flexible childcare. Childcare (nursery and out of school care) is a vital service in tackling poverty and supporting families. It helps children learn and grow, can reduce inequalities (in the early years), as well as helping balance raising children with employment and study, thus providing economic security and routes out of poverty.

The Scottish Parliament will be looking at childcare in the Children and Young People Bill and Save the Children will be presenting the petition on Thursday to show public support for the government to do more on childcare.

If you haven't already shown your support, you can add your name to the online petition here

To find out more on the campaign click here.

Pressure builds on Scottish Government to deliver on free school lunches

The Herald on Saturday reported on the growing pressure on the Scottish Government to deliver on its pledges on free school meals. This is the news release from Friday.

Friday 13 December 2013

Children’s charities join unions and Church to write to Education Secretary following Autumn Statement

Children in Scotland, Children 1st, Save the Children, One Parent Families Scotland and the Child Poverty Action Group have today joined the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), STUC, UNISON and the Church of Scotland in pressing for a commitment that free healthy school lunches will be rolled out to all Scottish primary school pupils in primaries 1 to 3 next year.

The call follows last week’s Autumn Statement announcement that the Scottish Government is to receive £308 million extra spending resource, including consequentials from confirmation that all pupils in the first three years of English primary school will get a free school lunch from September 2014.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Gathering in honour of Nelson Mandela - Glasgow 5pm today Fri 6 Dec

Gathering in honour of Nelson Mandela
Friday 6th December      5pm
Nelson Mandela Place, Glasgow G2 1QY

All welcome

ACTSA Scotland in collaboration with the STUC and Glasgow City Council

More details:

Find out how you can continue to support the cause here:
Action for Southern Africa and Community Heart

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela: “One of the great men of our time” – UNISON Scotland tribute

UNISON Scotland today paid tribute to Nelson Mandela who has died aged 95.

Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said: “Nelson Mandela rightly received many honours and awards in the course of a long life which exemplified courage and struggle against the odds.

“One was from UNISON’s predecessor NALGO, who in 1984 gave him Honorary Life Membership of the union.

“While we were giving Nelson Mandela life membership, the Tory Government of the time were opposing sanctions against South Africa and refusing to talk to the ANC.

“Their backbenchers described the ANC as terrorists and demanded that their offices in London be closed. Our view was different and our members showed their commitment to ending apartheid with their time, money and political support over decades.

“So whilst we are sad today at the passing of one of the great men of our time, we celebrate his life of achievement and we take pride in the fact that this union has never wavered in our support for freedom and justice in South Africa.

“This is a commitment that continues today through our links with Action for Southern Africa and Community Heart.”

Chancellor's mirage of 'economic recovery' does not mask real world - UNISON on Autumn Statement

Thu 5 Dec 2013

UNISON today branded the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement talking up the economic recovery as a “mirage”.  The picture he paints is not being felt by ordinary working people across most of the country, the union said.

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said:

“The Chancellor can produce this mirage of an economic recovery and massage the figures as much as he wants, but it doesn’t mask what is being felt in the real world.  Prices have risen faster than wages for 40 out of the 41 months in the past years.  Average earnings are ?1600 lower in real terms than when they came to power.  There has been a massive explosion in the number of people forced to work part-time, on zero hours’ contracts and stuck on low pay.

“Raising the state pension age is cruel and unnecessary. It may be ok for the better off to work until they are 70 because they will have some years to enjoy their retirement.  But for millions, they will never see their pension because they will die before that age. 

“But does anyone seriously expect a 70-year old paramedic or nurse attending them in a medical emergency.  And should we expect people who sweep our streets, clean our hospitals and schools to carry on doing those jobs?

“The fact is the Chancellor is rushing into saving money for today’s Government, but putting future generations at risk.  Not all actuaries agree that we are all living longer so there should be a proper, evidence-based enquiry before any rash decisions are made.  What about the quality of  people’s life in retirement as well as the quantity?”

The union also called for the cuts juggernaut to stop,pointing out that unless people had money to spend in their local shops andbusinesses, tax cuts wouldn’t do them any good. Dave Prentis added:

“Many millions of workers have had their pay frozen for the past three years -  a pay cut of up to 15% - while those at the top still get their huge pay, perks and  bonuses.

“Local government is almost on its knees – and I know somecouncils may have to stop delivering services.  And make no mistake these services are important.”


UNISON UK news release:

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Support HE members out on strike today

UNISON Scotland sends a big message of support to all of our members across the higher education sector who are embarking on strike action today in a bitter row over pay.

This is the second walk out by unions representing all sectors of the higher education workforce – UNISON, EIS, UNITE, UCU Scotland. It’s not an action our members have taken lightly, but following a 13 per cent decrease in the value of pay over the last few years, the workforce serving our students have had enough. Staff are being asked to do more and take home less to their families year after year.

John Graham, a UNISON member at Queen Margaret University, said: “The strike was strong before but it’s even better this time. We’re delighted by the numbers picketing and it’s clear we have huge support from our colleagues.”

UNISON Scotland continues to back our higher education members’ right for a reasonable pay rise and urges universities to get back around the table and offer fresh proposals to reverse the wage cut. 

For more information visit our website

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Glasgow tragedy - Message from UNISON President

I just want to send my support, that of the Presidential Team, General Secretariat, the NEC and the whole union to you and the region. Especially those in Police Scotland who are dealing with a potential loss of colleagues.
  All public service workers many of our members will be working on and involved in this terrible incident.
  I would ask that you pass my message on to Police Scotland.
Email from UNISON President Maureen Le Marinel (herself a police staff member) to UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby

STUC St Andrews Day march cancelled. Rally GFT at Noon

#clutha As a mark of respect to all those affected by the tragedy at the Clutha Vaults last night and in view of the pressure which has been placed on the resources of Scottish emergency services, STUC has decided to cancel its annual St Andrew's Day anti-racism march. The march which had been due to leave from Glasgow Green at 11am will now NOT take place, but participants are invited to attend a short rally at the Glasgow Film Theatre at 12 noon as planned

Friday, 29 November 2013

Celebrating classroom assistants

UNISON Scotland is calling on parents, students and teachers to support of the vital contribution made by hard-working classroom assistants, as part of a national celebration day (29 November).

The union, which represents classroom assistants, is campaigning for all school support staff to be rewarded for their tireless work through a proper career structure and better pay, terms and conditions. With the dedicated help of classroom assistants, children who would otherwise struggle, get support to keep them in mainstream education.

The focus of the campaign at UK level is the threat from the coalition government to phase out the role of teaching assistants. While this role does not exist as such in Scotland, classroom assistants (and similar job titles) undertake a huge and varied range of tasks in Scottish schools. Independent research by the EOC and others shows that Scottish classroom assistants are working at high levels of responsibility - including planning and organising learning activities.

UNISON Scotland Education Chair, Carol Ball said:
“As local government is bearing the brunt of spending cuts in Scotland, school staff are facing growing demands to do more for less. Their pay is being squeezed, and they are working an increasing number of unpaid hours as staff who leave are not replaced. In addition, as the Glasgow dispute demonstrates, they are being forced to take on new roles without adequate training.”

UNISON Scotland also welcomes Scottish Parliament Motion S4M-08426: submitted by Jayne Baxter MSP, (Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour) and urges all MSP’s to support the motion.

“Celebrating Classroom Assistants
That the Parliament considers that classroom assistants in Scotland make a valuable contribution; welcomes what it considers the positive impact that classroom assistants make by enhancing the learning environment for children and supporting teachers and other school staff; acknowledges the role of Unison Scotland in speaking up for the many of its 160,000 members who are classroom assistants, and supports Unison’s Celebration Day on 29 November 2013, which recognises the difference made by classroom and teaching assistants to the education and support of children in schools across the UK.”


Note for editors:
Job titles for support roles in Scottish schools vary significantly, as do the range of roles. Classroom Assistant is a common generic title.

The Glasgow dispute relates to pupil support assistants, instructors and care workers who are being forced to undertake specialist healthcare tasks, including the administration of medicine, in addition to their core duties. Further details here.

For further information please contact:

Dave Watson, UNISON Scottish Organiser, on 07958 122 409
Carol Ball, UNISON Scotland Education Chair, 0141 552 7069/ 07803 952 263

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Whistleblowing petition response

UNISON Scotland response to Scottish Parliament PE1488 petition on whistleblowing in local government.

UNISON Scotland is sympathetic to the petition’s aims.

Effective whistleblowing procedures are an essential part of good staff governance. Councils should be workplaces were staff are encouraged to speak out without risk of victimisation. Such an approach benefits the council, staff and the wider community.

While we deal with only a few cases each year, we are aware of surveys that indicate a high degree of dissatisfaction with the current provisions across all workplaces. In May of this year PCAW released a disturbing survey that indicated that 60% of whistleblowers received no response to their concerns from their managers; one in five were disciplined and 15% dismissed.

Most councils already have whistleblowing procedures in place. However, they are framed in the context of the current legislation. In addition, trade unions have to advise members within that context, because if members actions fall outside the very limited protection in the legislation, they are not protected from dismissal. UNISON believes that the current UK legislation is complex and in need of reform. In particular, we are concerned about the recent amendment to PIDA (s43B) that introduced a public interest test. We believe that this amendment will lead to further legal uncertainty and discourage whistleblowing.

We would draw the Committee’s attention to the recent report of the Whistleblowing Commission (November 2013). It covers many of our concerns and makes helpful recommendations including a code of practice that might be helpful in addressing this petition.

A number of the disclosures raised by the petitioner would not be ‘qualifying disclosures’ and therefore would fall outside the current statutory protection. In addition, the hotline procedure might fall outside the process set out in the legislation unless it was part of the council’s internal procedures. This is because the legislation only provides for a disclosure outwith the employer in specific circumstances. We would therefore need to address any potential disconnect between the proposed procedure and the statutory protection from dismissal that is reserved to Westminster.

There are a number of other practical issues that would need to be addressed in any model procedure and if this matter was to proceed we would be pleased to support those discussions.

De-regulation of food safety wrong approach in Scotland and UK

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, is calling for stricter control of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), after doubts were cast over its independence. The body is calling for greater deregulation of meat inspection in the UK and Europe, which the union believes could pose a health risk to consumers.

A survey by the Corporate Europe Observatory* reveals a tangled network of links between the EFSA and big business interests, adding up to a potential conflict of interest. UNISON is warning that, on EFSA advice, the UK Government, is introducing visual only pig meat inspection from June 2014 which it believes poses a threat to food safety and quality.

Paul Bell, UNISON National Officer for Meat Inspectors, said:

“There is no safe substitute for hands on meat inspection. Inspectors tell us that simply looking at a pig carcass will not deliver the high standards of protection of safety and quality that consumers have a right to expect. There is a real danger that ending physical inspection, will lead to meat containing an abscess or tumour getting into the food chain. It will be minced into processed food like sausages and ham and customers will be none the wiser.

Consumers need to know that any decisions about meat inspection are being made in their best interests and it seems clear that this is now not the case.This survey casts many doubts over how the decision to change the inspection regime was made. It cannot be right that such a potential conflict of interest between the EFSA and consumers is allowed to continue.

In light of this information the Government should put any further decisions about meat inspection on hold until tougher controls are made on the EFSA.”

In this week's independence White Paper the Scottish Government said they want to reduce the burden of European livestock regulations.The paper says (p282):

"We will argue that Europe’s regulatory burden should be reduced in recognition of Scotland’s good animal health record and disease-free status."

In light of this information the Scottish Government should be rethinking their own de-regulatory approach.

UNISON supports disability WOW campaign - add your name to e-petition now

28 Nov 2013 - update

UNISON is supporting the disability WOW campaign and petition which calls for an end to the war on welfare and for a cumulative impact assessment of welfare reform and a new deal for sick and disabled people and their families and carers based on their needs, abilities and ambitions.

Sign the Petition here: 
The petition currently has 96,000 signatures. 100,000 signatures before closing date on 12 Dec will mean it has to be considered for a Parliamentary debate at Westminster.

UNISON's UK Policy officer Allison Roche said: "UNISON believes that the current cuts of £23 billion in disability benefits are not creating a better welfare system but an ill fare system for disabled people and their carers and families.

"It's not just about people losing care services, it's also the quality of care they receive with the increased pressure on staff to cover more clients."

Sign the Petition here:

Workforce takes the brunt of spending cuts

Audit Scotland’s report on the public sector workforce shows that workers are taking the brunt of spending cuts through job losses and real term pay cuts.

Since the high point before the financial crash the public sector workforce in Scotland (excluding financial sector) has fallen by 48,700 people - 5,500 in the last year alone.

At least £1bn has been slashed from staffing budgets and that doesn’t reflect the real term pay cuts all staff have suffered. While many older staff have retired early, recruitment freezes mean younger staff are not being recruited and the workforce is getting older.

The report also recognises that boards and elected members may need to prioritise services and identify if service cuts are necessary. The salami slicing approaches identified in the report cannot go on indefinitely.

Workforce planning at all levels is not as good as it should be and UNISON has long argued that there needs to be a national workforce framework in Scotland.

UNISON Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said:
“This report clearly shows that it is public service workers that have born the brunt of cuts in the ideological drive to slash public services. Those staff who remain are facing increasing workloads and associated stress while they seek to maintain a service to the public. We agree that better workforce planning at Scottish and local level can help, but it’s only a sticking plaster on the gaping holes that are developing in service provision.”


Note for editors:
The job loss numbers above are larger than those in the report because Audit Scotland have used a formula to convert the headcount numbers in the Scottish Government workforce statistics into whole time equivalents. Both are correct, but we prefer to focus on actual workers.

For further information please contact:
Dave Watson, UNISON Scottish Organiser, on 07958 122 409

UNISON Scotland Website / Blog / Twitter  / Facebook / Public Works blog
UNISON House, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow G2 6RX.
Tel: 0845 355 0845 Fax: 0141 342 2835  

Monday, 18 November 2013

Glasgow’s pupil support staff set for further strike action over imposed healthcare duties

Mon 18 Nov 2013

NB Picture and interview opportunities available on morning of Tuesday 19 Nov 2013

School support staff will be lobbying Glasgow City Council tomorrow (Tuesday) in the latest round of strike action over the imposition of healthcare duties to their roles.

The move – being taken by pupil support assistants, instructors and care workers in the North West of the city – is in response to the council’s decision to force all pupil support assistants to undertake specialist healthcare tasks, including the administration of medicine, in addition to their core duties.

More than 200 UNISON members will lobby Glasgow City Council, calling for an end to the imposition of these duties and to settle the dispute.

Carol Ball, Education Convener for Glasgow City UNISON, said: "Strike action is seen as a last resort for our members, but we are determined to do what it takes to get the council to sit up and listen.

“Our priority is our pupils and to be asked to administer medicine to children with little or no training is absolute nonsense. Parents, teachers and head teachers know that schools would crumble without the hard work and dedication of school support staff and to force them into this difficult position is both unfair and unnecessary.

“The council needs to get back around the table and put the needs of the children first.”



Media organisations are invited to send a reporter, photographer and/or crew to the lobby which will take place from noon tomorrow, Tuesday, November 19, at Education Services, City Chambers East Building, 40 John Street, Glasgow.

Picket lines will be held from 8.30am at:
- Scotstoun Primary School, 21 Duncan Avenue, Glasgow, G14 9HN
- Bankhead Primary School, 66 Caldwell Avenue, Glasgow, G13 3AS
- Dunard Primary School, 65 Dunard Street, Glasgow, G20 6RL
- Broomhill Primary School, 57 Edgehill Road, Glasgow, G11 7HZ

Notes for editors:

1. PSAs are currently paid an annual salary of £11,800 and Glasgow City Council has not offered any pay increase, or formal training, for the additional duties.

2. Further information on action being taken by school support staff in Glasgow please see previouss news releases:

Savage and unnecessary cuts will damage East Ayrshire communities, warn unions

Mon 18 Nov 2013

Trade unions have issued a stark warning to East Ayrshire Council that proposed budget cuts are unnecessary and bad news for communities.

The joint trade unions representing the council’s workforce – UNISON, Unite, GMB and UCATT – issued their response to the council today (Monday) and say the council must acknowledge its budget does not meet the needs of the people of Ayrshire.

The unions say cutting vital services – which is a direct result of unnecessary austerity measures introduced at Westminster, followed through by the Scottish Parliament and implemented by the council – is not the way forward and that councillors should not feel powerless in the process.

Speaking on behalf of the joint trade unions, Simon MacFarlane, UNISON Regional Organiser, said:

“The cuts the council’s currently making, together with the proposed cuts in this budget, are unjust and unnecessary. The council must acknowledge its budget doesn’t meet the needs of the people of East Ayrshire and, alongside the actual budget, publish a shadow budget which shows what is required to deliver the services people need and deserve.

“Hundreds of jobs will be lost which will not only be devastating for those individuals and their families but also for the services that the community relies on. The council needs to be upfront about the damage that’s being caused, rather than trying to gloss over the cuts.

“We want to work with the council but we need them to offer assurances around three key areas: no compulsory redundancies; no attacks on terms and conditions and no enforced cuts in hours for individuals.”

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

'We educate, not medicate' - school support staff strike again over imposed healthcare tasks

Wednesday 13 Nov 2013
More than 400 striking school support staff in Glasgow will take to the streets tomorrow (Thursday) to lobby the City Council again over forced changes to their roles.

The move - being taken by pupil support assistants, instructors and care workers in the South of the city – is the latest round of strike action in a series taken by UNISON members in response to the council’s decision to force all pupil support assistants to undertake specialist healthcare tasks, including the administration of medicine, in addition to their core duties.

UNISON members will lobby Glasgow City Council, calling for t an end to the imposition of these duties and to settle the dispute.

Carol Ball, Education Convener for Glasgow City UNISON, said:
“Strike action is the last resort but feelings are running high. Pupil Support assistants are angry at reports that they are only after more money and falsehoods that they are already paid for this task.
The lies need to stop and an agreement reached that puts the educational needs of the children first.” 

“Our members want to do the best for our pupils, however we are being asked to administer medicine with little or no training. Pupil Support Assistants chose their job to be educators not health care workers– you wouldn’t risk asking a painter to be an electrician for a day.” 

“Parents, teachers and head teachers know that schools would crumble without the hard work and dedication of school support staff and to force them into this difficult position is both unfair and unnecessary. 

“ Glasgow City Council expects the lowest graded workers to undertake medical/healthcare tasks, with no formal training and no increase in pay. We strongly disagree with this and call on the council to treat our members with the respect they deserve.”


Notes for editors
1. UNISON members will be lobbying from 10am tomorrow, Thursday, November 14, at Education Services, City Chambers East Building, 40 John Street, Glasgow.

2. PSAs are currently paid an annual salary of £11,800 and Glasgow City Council has not offered any pay increase, or formal training, for the additional duties.

3. Further information on action being taken by school support staff in Glasgow please see our earlier news release: 

Lobby at 10am, Glasgow City Council, as above
Picket lines- Hazlewood School, 50 Dumbreck Court G41 5DQ Bellahouston
- Hampden School 18 Logan Cres G5 0HP
- Langlands School Glenside Ave G33 5SD
- Hillington School 227 Hartlaw Cres G52 2JL

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Police to be taken off beat to do admin tasks says police staffs union

Wed 6 November 2013

Police Scotland today announced plans to take police off the beat to do the work of 67 police staff jobs they intend to make redundant. Police Scotland want to abolish the post of police staff legal document officers and instead have the work done by uniformed patrol officers. They will attempt to carry out these extra tasks in addition to dealing with the usual job the public expect of police officers.

About 1/4 of the 67 posts are currently vacant as Police Scotland have allowed staff to take voluntary redundancy in the expectation that they will be abolishing their posts. This has happened before entering into any formal consultation period with staff.

UNISON has obtained a copy of the guidance which is being distributed to officers in Glasgow on how to carry out the various processes involved in the serving of legal documents. This is not simply a case of dropping a letter through a post box but can mean visiting a premise several times to receive the appropriate response and thereafter recording the actions taken. This is a time consuming and administrative burden which patrol officers do not need.

Gerry Crawley, UNISON Scotland regional organiser for police staffs said:

“Police Scotland have freely admitted that this work, the equivalent of 123,000 hours a year, is not disappearing. It will be given out to beat officers who will have to meet deadlines and carry out administration of the citation process which takes them away from their role of keeping people safe.
This is yet another example of Police Scotland making cuts at the expense of service to the public. Proposing to axe legal document staff and giving their work to police officers will have an impact on policing. This isn’t the ‘reduction of duplication’ people were promised; it is slash and burn to meet a budget.”

George McIrvine, Secretary of UNISON Police Staff Scotland commented:
“We were promised blue sky thinking when it came to meeting the budget cuts imposed by the Scottish government. Instead we have policing being taken back to the 1970s, reversing the progress we have made towards a modern police service by sacrificing police staffs to maintain an artificial target of uniformed officers.

It is difficult to see how Police Scotland and the SPA will meet their budget for 2014/2015, if their only response is doing away with police staff posts and giving the work to police officers. This is not best value and will not produce the most effective police service for the people of Scotland.”

For further information contact:George McIrvine, Secretary, UNISON Police Staff Scotland branch, 07842 542 677
Gerry Crawley, UNISON Regional Organiser for police 07958 121 805

Notes to editors: 
1. Proposals are being put to affected police staff across Scotland today which will see 67 posts deleted and work transferred to patrol police officers.

2. The amount of work is calculated by multiplying the number of posts (67) by the amount of hours worked annually in an individual post (1840).

3. Staff in this function have been released on voluntary redundancy / early retirement terms since April 2013.

‘Speak-out’ survey reveals children and disabled services hanging by a thread, says UNISON Scotland

Wed 6 November 2013

A ‘speak-out’ survey of community, voluntary and housing workers has exposed services to the most vulnerable people in society as “hanging by a thread”. The UNISON survey, which polled more than 400 workers in Scotland, uncovers dangerously underfunded services leading to hardship and exposing children and the disabled to risk.

UNISON is calling on the Scottish Government to have a major rethink in its attitude to the third sector and to put an end to the ‘sink or swim’ philosophy which is leading to a struggle for survival. 
Almost unnoticed by the public, many charities have become increasingly financially dependent on winning contracts from the public sector.

Scotland’s largest public sector union says procurement is the key to change and says the Procurement Reform Bill gives MSPs the opportunity to ensure the private and voluntary sectors are not left in the cold.

The survey will be a key focus of the community sector conference later this week. Organised by UNISON and the STUC, the conference – Holding the Line: Maintaining Standards in a Time of Austerity – will bring all the major agencies together, including those who procure the services, those who work in the field and representatives of users and carers.

Lilian Macer, UNISON’s Scottish Convener, said: “This survey must ring alarm bells. The Scottish Government should give charities the means to do what they do best and that is to improve lives and care for people.  

“As austerity has bitten, funding for these contracts has been squeezed to breaking point. Staff morale dips, low pay is endemic, leading to rising levels of personal debt and long-term financial hardship for many in the sector. 

“While charities are reputable and trusted by the public, they do not have a magic wand, so cuts are putting vulnerable people at risk.”

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said: “The voluntary sector attracts many thousands of dedicated, hardworking staff, who know that they won’t be paid big bonus salaries but who have a right to expect a fair deal for their clients and themselves. Instead many workers are bearing of damaging cuts to their pay and conditions.

“Charities increasingly rely on winning public sector contracts just to survive. It is vital that procurement legislation is used to change this. It should be made mandatory that those bidding for public sector contracts pay their workers the living wage, so that workers in the private and voluntary sectors are not being paid less for doing work of equal value. We must also ensure that those who provide these services are adequately funding to maintain levels of service.

“We have always campaigned alongside our communities for equality and social justice. Our community sector conference will bring all of the major agencies together – including those who procure the services, those who work in the field and representatives of users and carers – to find a way to maintain the essential services provided by the third sector.”


Key survey results from Scotland (406 workers were surveyed)

Services for children69% are concerned that children may be slipping through the safety net 

High risk areas15% do not have enough time to monitor children and follow up on concerns of neglect or abuse.
15% report an increasing risk in administering medications
39% do not have enough time to prepare risk assessments and support plans
42% can now provide fewer resources (such as toys)
44% can now provide fewer outside activities (such as visits)
Since austerity 39% have less time to spend with each child 

Services for disabled people73% say clients are being left at risk because their care package has been reduced. 
49% are seeing more clients moved into “the community” without proper support. 
63% report that service users are becoming more socially isolated, and 72% of these are concerned that this results in self-harm and depression. 
57% of staff report less time with each service user. 
46% are not able to provide clients with all the help they need. 
49% believe that less frequent care reviews are leading to inadequate support. 
45% report delays in replacing faulty equipment. 
63% are concerned about high staff turnover.

Housing services72% report more tenants are falling behind with their rent 
35%* (*please note this is a UK-wide figure) said the top reason was the bedroom tax. 
The next most common reasons were: 
– complex benefit changes 
– the rising cost of living 
– under-employment and un-employment 
– financial hardship.
38% have seen an increase in tenants being evicted or forced to move because of financial pressures. 
32% have seen a reduction in non-statutory services (such as play schemes and community centres). 
60% report more debt management advisors being employed by their housing 
42% report a rise in anti-social behaviour from tenants.

Other services 
Workers in the many other services in the community and voluntary sector also expressed their concern about being able to do a good job.
36% of respondents said they had less time with each service user. 
Only 41% said they were able to provide service users with all the help they need.

Impact on the workforceIn the last year, 15% reported that their take-home pay has decreased 
55% of staff said their pay had remained the same
20% of staff don’t get paid the living wage
The average level of personal debt is around £1,500
24% reported they were over £10,000 in debt
22% have more than one job
4% have four or more jobs
7% are on a zero hours contract

Notes to editors

1. The speak-out survey was carried out throughout the UK with more than 3,000 workers surveyed. The figures included in this release are based on the results of the 406 workers surveyed in Scotland.

The report is on the UNISON UK site here: On%20line%20Catalogue/21929.pdf

2. The community sector conference – Holding the Line: Maintaining Standards in a Time of Austerity – will be held on Friday, November 8, in Glasgow.

3.  As part of Living Wage Week, UNISON – together with the Scottish Living Wage Campaign and the STUC – will be lobbying the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, November 7, calling for changes to public sector procurement.