Friday, 28 November 2014
Dave Watson argues that, "Our public debt continues to rise, productivity is low, wages are dropping, inequality is increasing and youth unemployment is high.The idea that our present economic woes are a crisis stemming from out-of-control public finances is the neo-liberal myth of our times."
He also draws attention to UNISON Scotland's series of reports on the impact of cuts on particular groups of workers, "Unison has been systematically surveying groups of our members and the evidence is broadly the same – corners are being cut and plates are kept spinning in the hope that the whole façade doesn’t come crashing down."
Finally he sets out a better way, "We can invest so we can create demand and quality jobs, building an economic system that delivers a decent standard of life for all. We could reform our tax system to make it more progressive and crack down on tax dodgers. We need to agree that tax and public services are a good thing and value for money. We need to end the regressive council tax freeze and allow local democracy to flourish, invest in houses to rent and give Scotland a pay rise."
The full column can be read here.
Thursday, 27 November 2014
employment regulation, equalities and minimum wage. These are areas required if inequalities in society are to be addressed. We will continue to press for this”, said Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary.
“The reference to a durable constitutional settlement is to be welcomed, and this as Lord Smith made clear, is an agreement between political parties and has yet to be tested against the opinions and aspirations of the Scottish people. The Commission lists additional areas for consideration, and received a remarkable number of submissions, and that civic engagement must be developed as the proposals now make their way through the Westminster process.”
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Mike Kirby, Scottish secretary of UNISON, said ‘UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union and we welcome the First Minister’s programme for government. There was much in Nicola Sturgeon’s statement to commend.
We welcome her commitment to protect public services and to increase NHS funding; her commitment to the living wage and to mitigate the problems of welfare reform; and her commitment to put gender equality and women’s rights at the heart of her government; and to increase childcare.
Review of local government financeUNISON also welcomed the commission to review local government finance but we are disappointed that the council tax freeze will remain in place until 2016. This freeze hits the most vulnerable people, those who need public services the most.
We need a fundamental reform of how we pay for local services. Local government is experiencing the worst of the cuts. It has lost the bulk of the jobs and it is the only sector to get a real cash cut. We can no longer pretend to get better services for less money. We favour a progressive property tax where we all pay our fair share.
UNISON condemns chief constable statement that it is ‘inevitable that more police staff face further jobs cuts next year'
Wed 26 Nov 2014
George McIrvine, secretary of UNISON police staff Scotland branch said:
"This shows UNISON is right. Civilian police staff are facing big job losses and are the victims of the Scottish Governments policy to maintain police officers while cutting £1.1bn from the police budget. Both the chief constable and Scottish Justice Secretary are hiding behind the political statement to ‘maintain 17,234 police officers’ to pretend they are meeting the public’s priorities. This means the £1.1bn police cuts will decimate civilian police staff jobs."
"We have built a modern balanced Scottish police force of hard working, high skilled civilians who are value for money and work side by side with our police officers to fight crime. Finger print officers, crime scene investigators, anti-fraud officers, intelligence analysis, forensics, legal clerical, custody officers, community safety officers, call centre staff and many more. These people have local knowledge and high technical skills and have reduced crime to its lowest level ever. The police service will not survive this outdated political pledge, it is death by 1000 officers."
Gerry Crawley UNISON police staff organiser said:
“The cuts confirmed today will take policing back to the 1970s, which will mean 1970s levels of crime. Civilian police staff are paying the price of the £1.1bn Scottish Government cuts. Frankly it’s the worst gutter politics. Ministers and senior police protecting their own jobs over hard working civilian police staff who actually fight crime on our streets. Just so they can say to the public we are ‘maintaining 1000 extra police officers’. UNISON will not stand by and see our modern police force decimated like this. The public need to recognise that a £1.1bn cut means losing every civilian post in the police force. Which will mean a rise in crime. It's politicians and top police putting their own job security over public safety.”
Notes to Editor
1. Sir Stephen House gave evidence to MSPs yesterday 25 November 2014, along with the new justice secretary, Michael Matheson. Scotland's top police officer has said force support staff face further job cuts next year. Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said he was confident of making a target to save £1.1bn by 2026.But he warned the path ahead was "not smooth" and said every area, apart from police officer numbers, would be considered in the drive for savings. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-30198580
2. UNISON is the biggest trade union in Scotland, and we are the biggest trade union representing police staff
3. Police staff stay in the job longer, specialise and advance in particular areas of work and are better value for public money. A police officer filling in the jobs left by redundant police staff costs the public more and takes an officer off of the street and putting them behind a desk. What’s the sense in that?
Monday, 24 November 2014
Closing date is Wednesday 14 January 2015 and an entry form, poster and all the details are on the website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/comms/competition/index.html
Thanks again to the UNISON family of sponsors:
Thompsons Solicitors Scotland
Lighthouse Financial Advice
“The outbreak of C difficile at Vale of Leven in 2007/08 was tragic and, even this long after the deaths, our thoughts must be with the people who lost relatives and friends because of the failures set out in Lord MacLean’s report.
“Public service workers don’t go to work and expect to find themselves at the centre of such heartbreaking and difficult circumstances. Our members want to help people get better and we are pleased this report recognises the reasons for this tragedy were systemic, rather than person-centred.
Thursday, 13 November 2014
So on this front alone, our campaign has already had an impact as we expected the 40% cuts to have been confirmed by now. We continue to collect petitions and have collected over 2500 signatures to stop GAMH cuts. Please keep up the good work and keep those signatures coming as the political pressure key to preventing the scale of the cuts proposed from happening. The campaign strategy committee will be meeting on Tuesday 18th November to discuss our next steps and we will issue more information then.
Finally, a big thanks is due to everyone who attended and helped out on the day – there are genuinely too many to thank individually. A special thank you is required for our speakers on the day, Julie Ballantyne, Cathy Miller and Brian Smith from UNISON. We also need to thank the UNSION NHS CVS Branch for their financial support with the flags and t-shirts and the UNISON Glasgow City Branch for their support and the use of their PA system. A final special thanks has to go to the GAMH service users who made their own placards and banners – this really added colour to the day.
GAMH Cuts Will Cost Lives!
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
The judge confirmed that regular additional payments such as overtime should be included in the calculation of holiday pay. The ruling only applies to holiday pay guaranteed under the Working Time Directive which covers the first 20 days of annual leave each year.
This means that going forward employers will have to work out what an employee has actually earned and reflect this in pay when the employee takes annual leave.
The judgement also contained a surprise ruling that significantly restricts the ability to claim back pay for previous underpaid annual leave.
Any claim for unpaid wages has to be made within three months of the underpayment. Claims can be made for a series of underpayments, but only if there is less than 3 months between underpayments.
The EAT decision may be appealed but for now any underpayments must be linked by gaps of less than three months in order to form a series for back pay claims. Click here for more details, examples and action to take if you think you are affected ...
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
Under pressure – UNISON survey shows Scotland’s occupational therapists struggling to maintain service
Tue 11 Nov 2014
Those surveyed in the report – Under Pressure: Scotland’s occupational therapists speak out – said they had huge concerns about the impact cuts are having on the service. An overwhelming majority (82%) reported increased workloads, 60% reported having to cope with reduced members of staff and almost half (48%) reported funding cuts.
There were recurring themes among the concerns: assessments being overruled because of resource pressures; and failure by management to replace absent colleagues, specifically for maternity leave which, given the virtually all-female composition of the workforce, is more common than in many other groups of staff. When asked if they regularly worked more than their contracted hours 60% of respondents said they did – an extra five hours a week was the average. While the majority (58%) of respondents reported their standard of living had dropped in the last 3-4 years.
‘Cuts cost lives’ says UNISON – campaigners lobby Glasgow City Council over savage cuts to mental health charity
Tue 11 Nov 2014
The scale of these savage cuts are likely to force Glasgow Association for Mental Health (GAMH) – which receives nearly all of its funding from the council – to close, risking the lives of hundreds of vulnerable adults across the city.
Chrissy McKeag, a project worker at GAMH, said:
“We provide essential support - emotional, social and practical - to those who experience mental health difficulties across Glasgow. The support we offer transforms people’s lives and helps to prevent them from developing problems that are likely to require costly help and support from statutory services such as health, housing and criminal justice. Savage cuts of this level will leave Glasgow’s most vulnerable with nowhere to turn and end up costing the city much more in the long run.”
Saturday, 8 November 2014
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Monday, 3 November 2014
This triggers the time limit for claims with the effect that many claims may go out of time. Where this has been done by a large employer like a local authority, you will already have received advice from UNISON.
If your pay now includes an element of additional pay, the time for bringing a claim will have started from the date on which you were last underpaid holiday pay. If there are more than three months since the last time holiday pay did not include additional sums, then you will be unable to pursue a claim.
Your branch will be sending out a more detailed briefing very soon, but you should contact them now if you think you are running out of time because your employer has made additional payments for past underpaid holidays. More details at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/holidaypay.html
Sunday, 2 November 2014
UNISON, Scotland’s largesttrade union, has given its backing to Katy Clark MP in the contest for the nextScottish Labour Deputy leader.
UNISONScotland Labour Link Chair Gordon McKay said:
"KatyClark has a great record of campaigning on the issues that matter to UNISONmembers in Scotland. On public services, employment rights, pensions, inequalityand many other concerns."
"Herviews have remained consistent with Labour’s traditions and values and that isvital if Scottish Labour is to build its support in Scotland. Katy has shownbefore and after becoming an MP that she is on the side of working people."
Responding today to the announcement that UNISON Scotland Labour Link has decided to support her campaign for Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Katy Clark said,
"I warmly welcome this decision and the fact that thousands of trade unionists will be participating in this election which is a real opportunity for the leadership and deputy leadership candidates to engage with the thousands of trade unionists up and down the country who will have a vote on who leads Scottish Labour. Trade union members and Labour Party members have a shared agenda of wanting a Scottish Labour Party which fights to defend and improve public services and living standards. Scottish Labour needs to listen to what trade union members are saying. I hope that this contest will see a genuine debate as to how we can build stronger links between Scottish Labour and the trade union movement and trade union members."
Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish secretary explains: “Like all trade unions, UNISON is required in law to have a political fund for campaigning generally and specifically to affiliate or donate to any political party.
Saturday, 1 November 2014
UNISON, Scotland’s largest trade union, has given its backing to Neil Findlay MSP in the contest for the next Scottish Labour leader. This followed a hustings event in Glasgow today (1 November 2014) at the UNISON annual Labour Link Forum.
Members were impressed by the analysis from both Sarah Boyack and Neil Findlay of the challenges facing Scottish Labour and need for a new approach.
UNISON Scotland Labour Link Chair Gordon McKay said:
“Members have been hugely impressed with Neil Findlay since he became an MSP and in particular as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing. Neil understands that politics as usual isn’t good enough and we believe he offers a fresh approach with a real experience and understanding of the concerns of working people”.
“At today’s meeting Neil Findlay outlined a radical new policy approach that will be welcomed by our members.”
ENDS Note for editors:
Labour Link is UNISON’s affiliated political fund.
For further information please contact:
Dave Watson, UNISON Scottish Organiser, on 07958 122409