Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Sunday, 24 May 2015

UNISON demands pay uplift for further education staff

Sun 24 May 2015

UNISON today calls for Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Education, to intervene in national pay negotiations for further education staff, which have all but broken down.

UNISON leaders are astonished at the responses they have recovered from further education employers.

UNISON lodged its pay claim on 3 February 2015.  The union is looking to agree a new pay settlement to commence on 1 April 2015. However, negotiators were astonished when employers said they needed to get the agreement of all 27 college boards before they could progress any talks and they estimate a further delay until at least October 2015.

UNISON has responded that unless employers can return with a something on the table in June 2015 then the union will consider industrial action.

Chris Greenshields, chair of the UNISON Scotland further education committee said:

“National negotiations have become farcical. College bosses say they cannot respond to UNISON’s reasonable claim until October at the earliest.

"Our members, who have delivered significant organisational change and who have suffered big job losses and increased workload, have lost patience. There is a meeting in June and, unless there is a firm proposal, then we are headed for industrial unrest in this key sector."

John Gallacher, UNISON Scottish organiser with responsibility for FE, said:

“The further education employers and Scottish Funding Council are saying there is no money in the sector, yet colleges have a £100 million nest egg hidden in arm's length trusts.

"This is public money and UNISON calls on Angela Constance to get a small part of that very large fund on to the bargaining table to address UNISON’s reasonable pay claim.

"Student attainment in FE is very high thanks to the hard work and commitment of our members.

"It is perfectly reasonable that this should be rewarded.”


Notes for Editors

1. UNISON claim is for £1,000 flat rate with effect from 1 April 2015. This would cost £4.4 million.

2. There are 4,443 FTE support staff in FE Scotland (3,526 FTE Lecturing staff) in 27 colleges.

3. UNISON is the largest trade union in Scotland.

Friday, 22 May 2015

UNISON warning over public services in Stirling and Clacks

Friday 22 May 2015

Council staff have grave concerns about the future of public services in Stirling and Clackmannanshire, says UNISON.

UNISON will present a report to senior managers in both Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils today which raise grave concerns about plans to run Clackmannanshire's education services from Stirling, and Stirling's social care services from Clackmannanshire.

UNISON’s report is based on a survey of 331 staff from both councils. Staff were asked to give their views on what is being called ‘lead council model’ for shared services between Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils. The proposals being considered would mean that education for both councils would be run by Stirling Council and social care services for both councils would be run by Clackmannanshire Council.

Staff who were surveyed said that these new proposals will result in a ‘poorer service with potential for serious consequences’ that services will ‘continue to deteriorate’ and some staff even suggested that if these plans go ahead it will be an ‘unmitigated disaster’.

Staff also said there will be increased confusion saying, ‘how will you know where to find out if you qualify for a service’; ‘people will be confused over who provides their services’; and ‘they will be confused over where to go if you have any problems’. Staff also said they would be confused about ‘which policies to follow from which council’

Pam Robertson, UNISON secretary for Clackmannanshire branch, said “This report shows that council staff views are clear. They think these proposals will cause confusion for the public, that services will be less accountable to the public, and that local jobs will be lost. Council services are complicated enough to navigate and many of the people we serve are vulnerable and in need of care. They will not cope well with a change like this."

Lorraine Thomson, UNISON Secretary for Stirling local government branch, said: “Our two councils work very well together already. Staff welcome joint working where it improves our services to the public. But we have looked across the world to see where this type of reform has been tried before and the concerns raised by our staff are exactly what has happened elsewhere. It creates confusion, has no accountability, local jobs are lost and it ends up costing council tax payers more for worse quality services.”

Lorraine also said “We want to discuss how we improve all our services by working together, but in this case we just have to persuade elected councillors not to make a bad decision.”

This staff survey report was handed to the Chief Executive Officers of both Stirling and Clackmannanshire councils today, it is also being circulated to all MP's, MSP's and Councillors who represent our constituencies.


Notes for editor

1. UNISON is the public service union for the UK. It is the biggest trade union in Scotland and the biggest trade union representing local government staff in both Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils

2. The full report can be read on UNISON Stirling branch website here: 

3. The full report can also be read on UNISON Clackmannanshire Branch website here:

4. The report was carried out because UNISON was concerned about the lack of staff engagement that Ernst & Young had undertaken as part of their work on the business case for the Shared Services project. UNISON implemented a full and detailed staff survey to find out what front line staff really thought about the Shared Services project so far, and what their thoughts were for the future.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Scotland united against austerity - Demo in Glasgow 20 June 2015

The STUC, in partnership with organisations comprising the People’s Assembly in Scotland will hold a major anti-austerity rally in George Square, Glasgow, on Saturday 20 June.

The event, now entitled, “Scotland United Against Austerity”, will take place on the same day as a number of rallies throughout the UK. The event in Glasgow will take the form of a rally and will be taken forward in co-operation with the People’s Assembly in Scotland and the main organisations involved in that coalition.  The event explicitly aims to involve a range of organisations opposed to austerity.

The main focus of the rally will be to unite opposition to austerity and provide a show of strength in opposition to the Tory Government.  You will also have noted the immediate announcement by David Cameron of proposed legislation to further attack trade union freedom.  Therefore, it has been agreed that trade union freedom and the need to join a union and get active as clear statement of opposition to austerity will be a key message for the event.

It is of immense importance that the plurality of the anti-austerity consensus in Scotland is represented on 20th June.  An organised trade union presence and trade union banners are particularly important.

Facebook event has been running  (, over 2000 people responded in the first 24 hours to indicate attendance.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

UNISON courses coming up

There are still places available on the following courses. To apply, get an application form here and contact your branch for approval.

Organising Stewards – Glasgow – 30 June-1 July (part 1); 4-6 August (part 2) – 2 spaces available

Discussion Leaders (residential) – Edinburgh – 3-5 July
This is the first course in the tutor training programme and covers the basics of facilitating discussions together with an introduction to various education methods. The course is open to branch officers and experienced stewards. Although this is a weekend residential course, applicants can attend as a day delegate.

Branch Leadership Module 2, Managing the Branch – Edinburgh – 8 – 9 July. Attendance at one of the key Branch Officer courses (Branch Secretary, Chair, Treasurer, Education Coordinator, Equality Officer, Communications Officer) is required to be eligible to attend this course.

Negotiating Skills – Glasgow – 14-15 July

Further Representation Skills – Glasgow – 22-23 July
This course was formerly Representing Members and is the second course in the new stewards training path (completion of Organising Stewards is required to be eligible to attend). 

ERA Refresher – Edinburgh – 28-29 July
If you have any stewards/branch officers who have not attended any training in the last 5 years, this particular course or Developing Representation Skills or Negotiating Skills are essential to gain reaccreditation under the ERA.

Further information regarding these courses can be found on the course programme

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Statement by UNISON Scotland Labour Link on Scottish Labour Leader, Jim Murphy

Tuesday 12 May 2015
"The scale of Scottish Labour’s defeat in the General Election result last Thursday indicates the need for a radical change in approach. The problems of Scottish Labour long pre-date this election and the current leadership.

"It is unprecedented for a party leader not to stand down after such a defeat, particularly when he loses his own seat. The campaign may have been energetic, but it lacked focus and clearly voters do not regard Jim Murphy as a credible messenger of Scottish Labour values.

"Scottish Labour has a limited period of time to reorganise itself to provide a credible challenge in the Scottish Parliament elections next year. There is very little time for a new leader to take the necessary actions, which require more than simply a change of leadership. Against that is the risk of further damage being done in next year’s election if no change takes place.

"The current leader was elected fairly recently by a clear majority of members. However a majority of UNISON Labour Link members did not share that view. Given that, we do not believe it is UNISON’s place to initiate a change in leadership. However, if there is a wider movement proposing change UNISON Labour Link would not oppose it."

UNISON Scotland Labour Link Committee

Monday, 11 May 2015

SCCS Rally for the Climate - 27 May at the Scottish Parliament

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is holding a Rally for the Climate on Wednesday May 27 at the Scottish Parliament as part of its 'For the Love of' campaign.

UNISON members are urged to take part, even if you can't attend on the day, by telling First Minister Nicola Sturgeon what you love that is at risk from climate change, and that the Scottish Government needs to do more to cut emissions.

The Scottish Government has already missed the first three targets set under the Scottish Climate Change Act. 

Scotland is rightly proud of this world-leading legislation but, as the Committee on Climate Change highlighted in March, the Scottish Government must do more to deliver what is set out in the Act. 

This is also crucial to retain our credibility in urging other countries of the need for, and benefits of, the switch to a low carbon economy. Scotland should be making a strong call to action as part of the build up to the meeting of world leaders in Paris in December to thrash out a new international agreement on climate change.

As Lord Stern, and others, warned earlier this month, pledges made to date in advance of the United Nations talks will not be enough to keep global warming rises below the 2 degrees Celsius threshold.

Please support the rally and send your message to Nicola Sturgeon calling for action here, and for Scotland to be proactive in working for an ambitious deal in Paris. SCCS says that 'it's time to show the love.' 

SCCS partner The Climate Coalition is also holding a lobby of MPs and a rally at the House of Commons on Wednesday 17 June. It's a chance to put climate change at the top of the political agenda following the general election. Thousands are expected from across the UK. More details of how to take part are here

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

UNISON react angrily to Scottish Government claims that they have maintained 1000 extra police officers

Tuesday 5 May 2015

UNISON Scotland condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the Scottish Government putting out a press release celebrating that they have maintained 17,234 police officers, just hours before the General Election 2015.

UNISON members who work hard to keep our communities safe take a completely different view to this arbitrary statistic being re-released today.

Gerry Crawley, UNISON regional organiser said, ‘Scottish Government Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, fails to mention the fact they are making £1.1bn cuts to the police force in Scotland by 2020 and that 1300 police civilian staff have lost their jobs in recent months.  Meaning more and more police officer are being taken off the streets and are working in the back office covering for our members who have lost their jobs. And police staff do vital jobs to fight crime like finger print officers, intelligence analysts, forensics, scenes of crime officers, photographers, emergency control room staff, mechanics, custody officers, finance controllers and many others. These jobs are being cut.’ 

Gerry continued ‘The 17,234 police officer target is a political statistic from 2007. It is not based on any strategic analysis of the skills we need to build a modern effective force to fight crime. Scottish Government, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, and the Scottish Police Authority should have issued a press release to say they are reversing their policy to direct all the  £ 1.1bn cuts at skilled police staff as it’s taking the Scottish police service back to the 1970s.’

Notes to Editor

·         Scottish government press release is here:

·         UNISON represents police staff in Scotland who has been subject to significant cuts. Local police stations, local 999 emergency control rooms, local community police desks and other parts of community police services have been closed.  

·         Police Officer numbers in England and Wales have been falling but interestingly so has crime.

·         Scottish Government ministers demand that Police Scotland make £1.1bn cuts by 2020. As police officers are protected (17234 police officers, target set in 2007), it is the police staff who are wholly subject to these £1.1bn cuts. 1300 police staff have lost their jobs so far, undermining all the work done to build a modern police force. It also means that police are stuck in offices doing the work previously done by skilled civilian staff that police officers are not trained to do, or are overpaid to do. This is not best value for money or strategically effective in keeping communities safe.

·         Other documents giving analysis of the Police reform process and UNISON’s campaign for a balanced, modern police force – rather than cutting thousands of police staff jobs – are available on UNISON’s police pages (

Sunday, 3 May 2015

May Scotland in UNISON now online

Election special, Health conference reports, Glasgow strikers and reports from UNISON at the STUC on TTIP, local government, pay, union rights, poverty, environment, child care, BME workers, ethical care charter, flexible working, pay and much more. Take your copy into your workplace and share it or see it online at at and on issuu at along with back issues.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Make work fair for parents and give children decent childhoods, say UNISON and Child Poverty Action Group

CPAG, Scotland’s most high profile child poverty charity, and UNISON, Scotland’s biggest trade union have joined together to call on political parties to lay out policies to tackle in-work poverty.

The call comes as the two organisations release their report Fair Work and Decent Childhoods – policies for those who work to live lives free of poverty. They call for investment in the social security system and say we must not allow a race to the bottom on skills, pay and insecure work.

John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland said ‘“The new UK government will inherit a child poverty crisis with a shocking 59% of poor children in Scotland living in working families. For the future of our children and our economy we need urgent action to make work fair for parents and allow them to give their children the decent childhoods they deserve. That’s why as anti-poverty campaigners and trade unionists we have united in setting out three key priorities for the new government – decent pay, family friendly workplaces and investment in in-work benefits.”

Friday, 1 May 2015

UNISON slams charity for not paying minimum wage back pay

Friday 1 May 2015

UNISON is furious that The Richmond Fellowship Scotland is refusing to pay hundreds of pounds in back pay to staff who have not been paid the national minimum wage.

The trade union will be taking legal action against The Richmond Fellowship Scotland, who provides care services across Scotland.  UNISON believe The Richmond Fellowship Scotland has broken the law by paying their workers a flat rate payment for overnight stays which gives an average pay for some staff well below the national minimum wage.

After campaigning by UNISON, The Richmond Fellowship Scotland recently sent a briefing to all staff which agrees to pay the national minimum wage from April 1st  2015, saying UK ‘Government guidance’ confirms that sleepover hours should be counted as working hours (and therefore covered by the national minimum wage).  However The Richmond Fellowship Scotland has refused to discuss any back pay which is owed to UNISON members.