Wednesday, 23 December 2015

December Scotland in UNISON out now

Beat the anti-union bill; Communications Awards 2015; Corbyn and Sturgeon say the bill must go; Celebrate learning; Council cuts campaign mounts as we face ‘worst cuts in living memory’; Tayside health branch wins low pay victory; Cordia janitors ballot; Climate march report; Speak up against police cuts; Save democracy in Turkey; Give your views on social work codes of practice and much more in this issue at

Monday, 21 December 2015

Stand up for school librarians, says UNISON Scotland

Date: Monday 21 December 2015

UNISON Scotland has called on councils and Scottish Government to do more to protect school librarians. UNISON says the evidence is that local councils are seeing school library services as a soft target to meet budget cuts and are cutting school library services across Scotland.

UNISON has made a submission in support of School Libraries Petition PE 1581 to the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee.

UNISON has evidence of cuts in North and South Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife and Shetland.

UNISON spokesperson, Simon Macfarlane, said:
'There is a consistent pattern of the school libraries service being a soft target to meet budget cuts. School libraries are not class rooms with books. They are vital for young people’s learning. School librarians have a central role in equipping our young people for the digital age; recent research has shown that children face struggle to discriminate between facts, fiction and paid for product placement online. School librarians are ideally placed to support young people to be more discerning in their use of the internet for research. We shoudl be investing more not less in school librarians. It’s unacceptable that Scottish councils are taking the brunt of the austerity cuts. But we also canot let services like school libraries disappear’


UNISON is the biggest trade union in local government. We represent education staff including librarians and school librarians

The picture across Scotland varies but there is a consistent pattern of local authorities using the school libraries service as a soft target to meet budget cuts.

LOCAL CUTS INCLUDE: North and South Lanarkshire, East Renfreshire, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, East and South Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife and Shetland

South Lanarkshire proposals include reducing school library staffing by 15%

North Lanarkshire is now proposing to review the school librarian service for a second time with the reduction of 2 FTE School Library Resource Manager posts. The last review saw all schools with pupil roll under 700 reduce librarian numbers to 0.7 FTE librarian. All new staff now are only employed term time. The Council has also removed the need for library staff to have professional library qualifications.

East Renfrewshire Council is proposing moving from 1 fully qualified librarian from each of its high schools (7) to the FTE of 3.5. The original plans to use senior pupils to staff the library appear to have been dropped due to public opposition.

Glasgow has reduced the school librarian service to 0.5 posts per school.

Renfrewshire now has only 7 librarians across 11 schools.

East Ayrshire has replaced 3 librarians with 3 library assistants. Means 9 secondary schools are now covered by 5 librarians and 4 library assistants.

South Ayrshire has, l replaced a number of librarians with library assistants.

In Dumfries and Galloway when the librarian retired from Dumfries Academy responsibility for the library was given to the Head of English. Lockerbie Academy also currently without a librarian and Annan Academy have reduced the hours to 20 per week

Fife - school librarians who have retired have been replaced with library assistants

Shetland, where the school library service has always been integrated with the public library service, there have been cuts to school library book budgets of 20-30% over the last four years. While staff numbers have remained the same the working hours of staff have been cut from 8 FTE to 5.93 FTE.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Simple Minds called to campaign for world cup workers in Qatar

Date: Friday 18 December 2015

UNISON, Scotland’s biggest trade union, has written to the Scottish band Simple Minds asking they speak out for migrant workers rights in Qatar.

UNISON supports the TUC Fair Play for Qatar campaign which is highlighting the poor working conditions of migrant workers who are building football stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup.

Simple Minds are booked to play a gig in Qatar on 29 January
Simon Macfarlane, UNISON international committee spokesperson, said
“Workers are being drafted in mainly from India, Nepal and Bangladesh and forced to live in squalid conditions, paid as little as 45 pence an hour and work in a very dangerous environment. Almost 1000 workers have died in Qatar building infrastructure for the world cup and if nothing changes the death toll could be as much as 4000 by the time the World Cup starts in 2022.

Simple Minds have an excellent record in supporting Human Rights across the world. They were leading campaigners against South African apartheid. And songs like Belfast Child and Mandela Day are loved for their message as much as anything else. It would be great if they highlighted the plight of migrant workers in Qatar” 


TUC Fair Play Qatar campaign
Letter from UNISON Scotland international committee to Simple Minds is online here:

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

UNISON Scotland reaction to ministerial statement on draft 2016/17 budget

Date: Wednesday 16 December 2015

Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Regional Secretary said,
‘UNISON Scotland recognises that Tory austerity limits the options available in the Spending Review. However, it is unacceptable that yet again local government is bearing the brunt of cuts. We are now in the 8th year of the council tax freeze that limits how councils can choose to respond to austerity. This cannot continue. We need to discuss how we are going to properly fund Council services as they play a crucial role in the health and well being of all of us.'


UNISON is the biggest trade union in Scotland

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

UNISON calls for Robert Gordon University to remove Donald Trump's honorary degree

Date: Wednesday 9 December 2015
UNISON members working at Robert Gordon University have written to the Principal, Professor Prondzynski, calling on him to remove Donald Trump's honorary degree because he is reported to have called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States"  

UNISON believes this to be unacceptable.  

Colin Jones, Robert Gordon UNISON steward said: 

“Robert Gordon University has a strong international reputation and UNISON believes that our University's association with Donald Trump can only undermine all the hard work we have put into building this worldwide reputation.  

"We believe that the University must distance itself from such views and make it as clear as possible that such statements are both unacceptable and irresponsible. They are divisive and put Muslim friends, family and colleagues in danger of discrimination and reprisals, and will make international relations worse not better.  



UNISON is the largest trade union in Scotland. It is the public services union and it is the recognised union for professional and support staff at Robert Gordon University.

The Principal of Robert Gordon University is Professor Ferdinand Von Prondzynski. Robert Gordon University awarded Donald Trump his honorary degree in 2010.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

New 2016 Course Programme Launched

Following a review of last year's UNISON Scotland training and a survey of local branch requirements for 2016, the Learning and Organising committee has designed a comprehensive and professional development and training programme to meet the needs and demands of our newly elected stewards, workplace representatives and union activists. See full details and download course programmes here

This year's programme has been adapted to take account of a request for more flexibility on the days on which courses are run and has prioritised the courses that our members and activists have identified as their primary priorities.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

UNISON reaction to DCC Neil Richardson’s statement to Scottish Parliament

UNISON is calling on DCC Neil Richardson to meet with them to discuss his plans for further job cuts after his words at the Justice Committee of 1st December, wherein he stated it would be wrong of him to say there won’t be further reduction in staff.

George McIrvine, UNISON Police Staff Scotland branch secretary said: ”They have no real strategy as to how they are going to achieve this years savings never mind the next 11 years and that's quite apparent with the current £25 million blackhole. It's not best value for the public purse and it's not what the rank and file officers signed up to do.

We now see a civilian staff workforce who have young family, rent, mortgages and debt; they therefore need to work for the foreseeable future. Redundancy is no longer an option to the majority.

Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority will either have to look at making cuts elsewhere to their budget instead of focussing it all on a small percentage of the civilian staff workforce or finally admit they cannot achieve the Scottish Governments efficiency savings. Chief Constables in England & Wales have been spoken out about such unrealistic goals and budget cuts, why can't Scottish senior police officers do the same?”

People’s Assembly Scotland calls for ‘widespread social movement’ against council cuts

The People’s Assembly Scotland is calling for a widespread campaign to back councillors who abandon ‘austerity denial’, urging them to show ‘political leadership’ in defending local services from Scottish and UK government cuts.

The campaign group, to which UNISON Scotland is affiliated, has issued a pack for unions and community groups with a statement of principles, advice on street stalls and lobbying, and a model letter to councillors.

Phil McGarry, chair of the People’s Assembly Scotland, is calling on councillors to be honest about how cuts are damaging services: “We are calling for councillors to abandon austerity denial and be up front about cuts and the damage they are doing. They should publicly label cuts as ‘this service withdrawn due to austerity’

“We recognise that in order to take a stand, councillors will need broad based support and this initiative aims to build that at grassroots along with trade unions and other progressive bodies.”