Thursday, 31 March 2016

Time for childcare promises to be backed by resources

UNISON is calling for fine words and promises to increase childcare to be backed by extra resources for children, parents and the workforce, in its Early Learning and Childcare Manifesto 2016.

Currently Scotland’s childcare provision is patchy, complex and expensive. We need a radical overhaul of childcare provision to ensure that it provides what families actually want: an affordable, safe nurturing environment for their children. This will mean extending flexible working and leave for parents; and fair pay, training and career paths for those working in childcare, as well as more resources put into extra hours.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

A balanced workforce for policing that delivers

Since the establishment of Police Scotland police staff have borne the brunt of a process of centralisation, budget cuts and politically driven targets. This process has been bad for policing, bad for communities and bad for staff. UNISON Scotland calls for policing in Scotland to be properly resourced with a balanced workforce responsive to locally determined priorities.

The new Chief Constable has said he is committed to developing a “sustainable operating model”. Cutting millions from budgets and demanding the same, or more, work from a dwindling number of Police staff is not a “sustaining operating model”. UNISON Scotland is opposed to neither change nor efficiency, but cutting tens of millions from budgets year on year cannot continue without adversely impacting on policing. Those who seek to govern Scotland should also seek to ensure that Scotland’s Police Service is adequately resourced to keep Scotland safe.

UNISON welcomes IPPR Scotland report ‘Scotland pay packets down 12% in real-terms since 2009’

IPPR report confirms UNISON’s view that falling real terms pay has had a considerable negative effect on the economy.

The IPPR report which is published today (23 March 2016) confirms that, pay in Scotland has fallen in real-terms by 12%, with private sector pay falling further than public sector pay. It also confirms that had pay risen in line with expectations, the Scottish economy would be £11.6bn larger than it is today

The analysis – which compares official Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) 2011 predictions with today’s reality – shows that while average pay for Scottish workers rose by 8 per cent between 2009 and 2015, this is offset by an increase in inflation of 20 per cent over the same period. This means real pay packets in Scotland are 12 per cent lower today than they were in 2009.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Climate inspiration - film and @SCCScot online debate, as UK CCC calls for strong action

UNISON and Global Justice Now are holding a free community screening of the climate film This Changes Everything next month.

And the union is supporting Stop Climate Chaos Scotland’s Climate Day #AskClimateQ Holyrood election online evening debate on 18 April, as well as holding a joint fringe with SCCS at the STUC Congress in Dundee that lunchtime.

Yesterday the UK Committee on Climate Change said that climate change action in Scotland needs to be stepped up.

As a member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), we welcome the Committee’s call for strong action and new policies to meet the country’s tough greenhouse emissions reduction targets.

As SCCS said, there is a massive opportunity to not only cut emissions but also to deliver new jobs in sectors like home insulation and renewable energy across Scotland, to improve public health, create investment in new industry and help tackle fuel poverty.

Increasing evidence from around the world shows the growing extent of climate change, with the Guardian reporting yesterday, using a dramatic graphic, that 'record-breaking temperatures have robbed the Arctic of its winter'.

Inspired by the Naomi Klein bestselling book of the same name, the film This Changes Everything asks: "What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?”

Join us from 5.30pm for the 6pm prompt screening on Friday 8 April at UNISON Scotland, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow G2 6RX. All welcome. Hosted by our International Committee and Green Network, working with Global Justice Now.

There will be a short discussion afterwards, finishing at 8pm. Soft drinks and popcorn too!

And don't forget Earth Hour on Saturday! Sat 19 March. 8.30pm Switch off for your planet!


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Scotland must recognise the poor state of social work, says UNISON

UNISON is calling for political parties to agree to allocate more resources for social work and social care workers. This call is being made on International Federation of Social Workers World Social Work Day (Tuesday 15 March 2016)

The reality for social work workforce in Scotland is they have bigger caseloads, shorter timescales, and greater demands leading to greater risks. Social work simply cannot deliver the quality of services that they are committed to. And social workers are concerned about making mistakes and misjudgements.

Stephen Smellie, UNISON Scotland’s convener of social work committee said, ‘The social work and social care workforce in Scotland is on the edge. Social workers may not know the details of government economic policies but they understand the impact of austerity on the lives of those we support. Frontline social workers deliver care and support to some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland. We see everyday that – whoever is to blame for austerity – it is our service users who are paying the price.’

The pressure to reduce budgets, whilst at the same time trying to protect services, has led to councils salami slicing the workforce, support services, and training budgets. Local services have been asked to take on higher risk cases without additional resources.

Stephen said, ‘Social work managers are being asked to produce more care hours out of existing staff. The voluntary and private sector contractors have been squeezed to deliver more for less. The workforce is getting more tired and stressed out and concern about the risks of errors or misjudgements is greater. Social work is on the edge.’

See our social work pages on our new website

Saturday, 12 March 2016

March Scotland in UNISON out now

Council job cuts: Yes it is thousands; Fundamental review of council funding needed; Winning no compulsory redundancy pledges;£1m won for personal injuries; Keeping up the fight against the Anti-Union Bill; COMMUNICATIONS AWARDS 2016 Standard of entries ‘absolutely tremendous’; Changing everything – climate film and more; Young members launch award winning anti-bullying guide; UNISON’s Raza Sadiq wins Unsung Hero sports award; Combating Austerity toolkit to help branches; Argyll and Bute wins end to ‘zero hours’ contracts; Historic FE pay deal and much more…

Thursday, 10 March 2016

#AskClimateQ online debate #Holyrood2016 18 April

Ask the climate question - Stop Climate Chaos Scotland's online debate with political parties

Monday 18th April 2016, 7pm – 8.30pm
With elections in Scotland this May, use your voice to call on political parties to turn climate ambition into climate action. 
Join us online from anywhere in Scotland on Monday 18th April at 7pm.
For many years now, all parties in the Scottish Parliament have been broadly supportive of action on climate change.  In 2009, this was set down in law, in the form of the Scottish Climate Change Act, one of the first climate acts in the world.
At the UN climate talks in Paris at the end of last year, world leaders agreed to take more significant and more urgent action on climate change.  Political decisions made here in Scotland over the next five years will be critical to meeting our climate act, fulfilling our global commitments, and securing the benefits of becoming a low carbon country.
To give climate change the space and priority it deserves on the election agenda, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is organising a national online debate – and we want you to take part!  
This will be your opportunity to engage with and ask questions of Scotland’s political parties from wherever you are, in a live online broadcast on Monday 18 April, at 7pm. 
Speakers include:
  • Sarah Boyack, Environmental  Justice Spokesperson for Scottish Labour Party
  • Mark Ruskell, Environment Spokesperson for Scottish Green Party
  • SNP speaker TBC
  • Liberal Democrats speaker TBC
  • Scottish Conservative speaker TBC
More details about this event, including step-by-step instructions about how you can participate, will be published here on the SCCS website in due course.
SCCS' election campaign is directed towards the five political parties currently represented in the Scottish Parliament.
Follow the conversation on Twitter @SCCScot and using #AskClimateQ on the night

Friday, 4 March 2016

Interested in a fairer food system? Bring your NGO 07/03 #PLENTY #ScotFoodCoalition

There's a new coalition in Scotland working for a just transition to a new food system.

UNISON is hosting a workshop on Monday, 7 March, at which the Scottish Food Coalition will launch a new report, 'PLENTY'. A few places remain for interested NGOs and networks across all sectors.

PLENTY: Food, Farming and Health in a New Scotland describes a food system that is environmentally sustainable, socially just, and delivers high levels of wellbeing. It sets out the vision, makes the case for change, and some steps for getting there. 

The Scottish FoodCoalition has come together in recognition that the problems in our current food system are interconnected and cannot be changed by focusing on a single issue.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

UNISON response to Scottish Government council tax announcement today (2 March)

2 March 2016

Dave Watson, UNISON head of policy and public affairs said,
‘UNISON welcomes any progress on the council tax freeze. However after 8 years we had expected more than tinkering with the present system. This will not ensure that local government is properly funded, nor will it ensure a fair funding for local government. Scotland needs a fundamental review local tax funding for local services and a fairer local tax for Scotland.
UNISON welcomes the end to council tax freeze next year. However we are totally opposed to the 3% cap. Scotland’s councils need to be given back democratic control of their local services.They are democratically accountable to local people and know the needs of people living in their local areas.
Delaying the end of the council tax freeze to next year ensures that the 1000s of job losses and £500m cuts will go ahead this year meaning further damage to our local services and economyt.
The 8 year council tax freeze has meant £3.15bn has been cut from local services and 40,000 jobs have been cut from local government. This has had a devastating effect on local services and our economy.’
UNISON is the biggest union in local government
UNISON contacts
Dave Watson 07958 122 409
Danny Phillips 07944 664110