Saturday, 30 June 2012

Friday, 29 June 2012

UNISON calls on the Archbishop of Glasgow to think again

UNISON is today calling on the Archbishop of Glasgow, and other senior figures in the Scottish Catholic Church, to overturn their decision to slash the pay of low paid workers.

Archbishop Mario Conti sits on the board of social care charity The Mungo Foundation, a charity set up to provide care and support to adults with learning difficulties across the West of Scotland.

Last year – due to social care cuts pursued by Glasgow City Council under the guise of personalisation – many staff saw their hours cut, while others lost their jobs. To add insult to injury, the board is now looking to cut their hourly rate of pay by seven per cent and cut their hours even further.

The union says the cuts are not being driven by financial pressures, but rather an attempt to create a new workforce that the board can call upon when needed and drop when no longer required.

Simon Macfarlane, UNISON’s Regional Organiser, said: “The Mungo Foundation says it is rooted in sound Christian values with strong principles of social justice and inclusion. However, the actions of the board seem to suggest otherwise.

“Attacking the pay, conditions and working hours of low-paid workers, predominantly women, is a major slap in the face for these dedicated staff – many of whom have served the Archdiocese for more than 30 years. Our members are seriously concerned that staffing cuts will have a major impact on the service they provide to some of Glasgow’s most vulnerable people.”

The cuts in working hours will particularly impact on those who receive tax credits, as the system requires that workers have a certain amount of contracted hours in order to maintain entitlement.

Mr Macfarlane added: “Our members have been called into the offices of the Archdiocese to be told of the cuts, while sitting in a room surrounded by guilt-framed pictures worth countless thousands.

“It seems the Mungo Foundation has lost its way and we’re calling on the Archbishop of Glasgow, and other board members, to reverse this damaging decision and to end the cuts agenda.”


1.     UNISON is currently consulting those Mungo Foundation members affected by these cuts on industrial action. In addition to consulting the staff facing wage and hours cuts, the union is also balloting all members within the charity on pay as a result of the board’s decision to impose a one-off payment of £350 after a 5 year pay freeze.

2.     The Mungo Foundation was previously part of the Archdiocese of Glasgow but it is now a legally distinct board.

Welfare newsletter now online

Building to the Falkirk Wheel fun day and sponsored walk in September

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Lobby of Glasgow City Council to oppose social care cuts through personalisation

Thu 28 June 2012

Trade unionists, service users, carers, community groups and members of the public will gather in Glasgow today (Thursday) to lobby against damaging social care cuts in the city.

This is Glasgow’s first council meeting since the election and members of the Defend Glasgow Services campaign – a group set up by trade unions, community organisations and community campaigners to fight the cuts – will urge councillors to make personalisation a positive choice, not a cuts agenda.

Brian Smith, of UNISON’s Glasgow City branch, said: “It’s time for our elected officials to listen to what’s really going on across the city, to hear how people are hurting as a result of these cuts, and to be brave enough to change it.

“We support the principle that everyone should have choice and control over their care, but this has to be a real choice, not the only option because all of the services have been cut.”

The DGS campaign is calling on the personalisation process to be halted, for funding to be maintained and for meaningful and genuine consultation with service users to take place.

Mandy McDowall, UNISON’s Regional Organiser for social work, said: “People are concerned and angry about Glasgow Council using personalisation of care services as cover for budget cuts - rather than empowering users and carers.

"UNISON believes that the personalisation and transformation of social care has been introduced without adequate funding, with the focus being on reducing the cost of supporting individuals and reducing the proportion of provision in the public sector and potentially the voluntary sector.

“Glasgow really needs to get things right with personalisation before it rolls it out further.”

Simon MacFarlane, UNISON’s Regional Organiser for the community and voluntary sector, said: “These cuts are hitting the most vulnerable the hardest and we need to ensure funding for these vital services is maintained.

“The services being provided to people across Glasgow has turned into a postcode lottery and it’s not good enough. We need services that people can rely on and we’re calling for fairness, transparency and an end to social care cuts.”


Lobby from 12.30pm in George Square - see flyer here

Confirmed speakers at the event include:Idem Lewis, who is himself a service user, and will be speaking on behalf of the Learning Disability Alliance
Brian Smith, branch secretary of UNISON’s Glasgow City branch, speaking on behalf of the Defend Glasgow Services campaign
Simon MacFarlane, UNISON’s Regional Organiser, speaking on behalf of the community and voluntary sector
Mandy McDowall, UNISON’s Regional Organiser, speaking on behalf of social workers
Norma Curran, from the Campaign for a Fair Society
Claire Cairns, from the Coalition for Carers


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A new food standards body could see watering down of standards, says UNISON

UNISON response to implementation of Scudamore review

UNISON has today raised concerns that a new food standards body for Scotland could result in watering down of standards and says it must not be used as a backdoor to privatisation.

The union highlighted its concerns in response to an announcement by the Scottish Government to create a new body for food safety, food standards, nutrition, food labelling and meat inspection.

While UNISON is not opposed in principal to devolution, it says it is vital that any changes to the delivery of the Scottish Meat Inspection Service are aimed at enhancing consumer protection and animal welfare in Scotland.

Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, said: “Our members are rightly concerned of any move that may weaken public protection and thereby damage the Scottish meat industry.

“We need to move away from the ‘boom and bust’ approach to regulation that has, in the past, resulted in serious outbreaks of food poisoning, such as the Wishaw ecoli outbreak.

“Any change to the delivery module of meat inspection in Scotland should ensure it is protecting the public, not serving industry, therefore we must ensure this is not used as a backdoor to privatisation.

“It is essential that the government works closely with our members to ensure the continued delivery of an effective meat hygiene inspection service in Scotland.”


·         The Scudamore Review is a Scottish Government review on the future delivery of food standards in Scotland, led by the UK's former chief vet, Jim Scudamore. This follows the UK Government's decision in 2010 to absorb some of the policy areas overseen in England by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), back into Whitehall departments.

·         For further information on UNISON’s view of the Scudamore Review please see

‘Pay freeze must thaw’ – that’s the message from Scotland’s council workers on Fair Pay Day

Wed 27 June 2012

Local government workers across Scotland are taking part in a day of action today  (Wednesday, June 27th) to mark Fair Pay Day.

Thousands of Scotland’s council workers will be calling on their local councils to implement the living wage of £7.20 for all staff – a commitment made by both Labour and the SNP prior to the election – and to put an end to the ongoing pay freeze.

Union members, from UNISON, GMB and Unite, will be marking Fair Pay Day by launching a petition and urging politicians and members of the public to sign up to fair pay for local government workers. There will also be a series of events taking place throughout Scotland, including lunchtime demonstrations, lobbying of local councillors and campaign stalls.

Stephanie Herd, Chair of the Local Government Committee, said: “Local government workers are among the lowest paid in the public sector, with more than 18,000 workers currently paid less than the living wage of £7.20.

“Teaching assistants, care workers, librarians, school catering staff, refuse collectors, street cleaners – they are all struggling to make ends meet and can no longer afford this continued pay cut.

“Employers need to look at the damage they are inflicting on local government workers and realise that the pay freeze must thaw.”

Dougie Black, UNISON Regional Organiser, said: “The cost of gas, electricity, fuel and food has risen sharply while local government workers’ pay has remained the same. This means workers are worse off now than before – it’s not a pay freeze, it’s a pay cut.

“The lowest paid are carrying the heaviest burden as they have to spend a higher percentage of their income on heating their homes and feeding their families. But it’s not just a matter of fairness, it also makes economic sense as increased wages would boost local economies.

“The major parties in Scotland made a commitment to the Living Wage prior to the election and we are calling on Scotland’s councils to honour their promise and insist on fairness and decency for their workforce.”


Notes to editors

1. Fair Pay Day on  June 27th– is part of the ongoing Fair Pay campaign by Scotland’s local government trade unions – UNISON, GMB and Unite.
2. More than 18,000 local government workers across Scotland are currently paid below the living wage of £7.20.
3. Both Labour and the SNP made commitments to a Living Wage of £7.20 prior to the election. These parties are in control, or part of a coalition, in almost all of Scotland’s councils.
4. For more information on the Fair Pay Campaign visit


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A police service based on cost can never deliver the service Scotland needs

UNISON response to the Police and Fire Reform Bill – stage 3 debate: The centralisation of Scotland’s Police and Fire services is being driven entirely by cost savings that will not deliver for Scotland – says UNISON.
The police staffs union criticised the lack of a detailed business plan and said MSPs will be voting on a Bill without a clear picture of what it means for the future of our services.

UNISON has been critical of the centralisation of police services from the start, raising concerns about lack of local democratic accountability; loss of VAT exemption which could cost taxpayers between £30-£40m; and the de-civilianisation of the force which will turn the policing clock back decades. It has also raised serious concerns that the Bill will lead to the future privatisation of Scotland’s police services.

George McIrvine, chair of UNISON’s police staff committee, said: “The Government’s plan to maintain an artificial target of police officers, within the budget cuts, will result in the loss of up to 3,000 police staff roles. Hundreds of police officers are already being taken off the streets to backfill police staff jobs – jobs they aren’t trained to do and at a greater cost – and this will rise significantly if plans go ahead.

“We need the skills of police staffs to enable police officers to do the job the public wants them to do, where they want them to do it – that is fighting crime, out on the streets. But to achieve this we need a balanced police staffing structure that’s free from political direction on officer numbers. The spotlight has to be on need, not cost.”

Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, said: “Decisions on the future of Scotland’s police and fire services are being driven entirely by cost savings and it’s time we put the focus back on what the public actually need, want and expect from our emergency services.

“MSPs should be asking for a full, detailed business plan before making decisions that could decimate Scotland’s police service.

“As it stands, the Bill allows private contractors to be appointed to perform the roles of police staffs – signalling the future privatisation of police services. Surely it’s only a matter of time before discussions turn to the privatisation of police functions – such as custody and 999 calls – under the guise of ‘best value’?”


Notes to editors

1. The stage 3 debate on the Police & Fire Reform Bill is due to take place at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow, Wednesday, June 27.

2. As the Scottish Government has an arbitrary target to maintain police officer numbers at 17234, the focus of the savings are concentrated on police staffs. This has resulted in over 1000 police staff posts being lost already. As a consequence police officers are taking on the work of police staffs.

3. 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 our website:For more information see:

· UNISON’s e-brief on Police & Fire Reform Bill – stage 3 debate

· UNISON’s evidence to the Justice Committee (

· UNISON’s police pages (

PFI trends on Twitter - UNISON says halt these "rip-off" deals

Unusually, the Private Finance Initiative is trending on Twitter today.

Why? Because an English health trust faces insolvency  - a reminder again that PFI and PPP schemes are a scandalously expensive way to fund new schools and hospitals.

UNISON wants to see an end to these "rip-off" deals.

The Scottish Futures Trust is busy promoting PPP. See our briefing on PPP/PFI in Scotland.


Conference photos now online

National Conference photos now on picasa at

Monday, 25 June 2012

Conference stories updated

New and updated Conference reports now on website #undc12

Rio disappointment - and Scotland may miss climate targets

The International Trade Union Confederation has said it is bitterly disappointed at the outcome of the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development.

General Secretary Sharan Burrow hit out at the failure of world leaders to agree concrete actions and warned there are "no jobs on a dead planet."

She said the final declaration "lacks the concrete measures necessary now to end senseless environmental destruction, drive investment into the green economy to create jobs and reduce the alarming growth in inequity with the guarantee of social protection for the most vulnerable people."

Meanwhile Stop Climate Chaos Scotland has warned that exactly three years after the country's world-leading climate act was passed, there's a risk the targets will not be met.

The coalition said Ministers should realise that climate change policy is at a crossroads. Tom Ballantine, SCCS Chair, said:

“They can choose to stick to their current path and miss the targets in the Climate Change Act, risk our global leadership on this agenda and forfeit the many benefits Scotland could enjoy.

“Or they can take action now to put us on the right road to a low carbon future. Our world-leading legislation is still lacking the world-leading policies that we need.”


Friday, 22 June 2012

Welfare Reform Act is built on a sham

#undc12 UNISON will work with homeless charities and housing federations to campaign against the changes to housing benefit and for the retention of local advice and support services. Full story at

Organise to end apartheid in Palestine

#undc12 Sarah Collins of East Ayrshire Branch told Conference that even as we celebrate the beginning of the end of apartheid in South Africa, there is evidence of growing apartheid in Palestine. See full story at

Campaign for disability leave

#undc12 UNISON will examine the failure of some employers to implement disability leave policies and will develop guidance for branches to negotiate such policies and to challenge bad practice with the Equality Act 2010.

Bill Dunn, Disabled Members' Officer, Highland Healthcare, long time delegate and first time speaker, said that union colleagues at the Disabled Members Conference six years ago were surprised to hear that an NHS employer showed little consideration towards staff members with disabilities. See full story at

Child poverty: An injustice we have to fight

#undc12 UNISON will lobby and work with a range of organisations to campaign for an end to child poverty by 2020. Click here for Kate Ramsden's speech.

Neville Lawrence: ‘UNISON has stayed with us'

#undc12 Interview with Neville Lawrence before his moving speech to Conference this morning.It's a question you dread asking Neville Lawrence. He must have been asked it a million times yet he answered with the thoughtful respect and honesty we've come to know over an inspirational and dignified 18 year campaign.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Enough is enough - Campaign for fair pay

#undc12 North Ayrshire’s Stephanie Herd, Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee brought a Scottish dimension to the pay debate, as delegates condemned the government’s proposals for pay restraint following on from the current pay freeze.

There is a better way - Start building for 20 October

#undc12 UNISON will continue to put forward an alternative economic strategy focused on building a successful economy in order to support a better society as it builds towards the major demo on 20 October.

March for the future of the NHS

#undc12 The UK Government’s Health and Social Care Act represents the biggest threat to the integrity and values of the NHS in England in its history and Conference voted overwhelmingly for a range of measures to resist the worst effects of the Act and to intensify UNISON’s campaign against further cuts and privatisation. See

Resources to support devolution

#undc21 Devolution took centre stage at National Conference as delegates agreed a call from Scotland to review the devolution protocols and recognised the need to support devolved bargaining with additional resources and appropriate procedures. Crucially, it also agreed support for UNISON in Scotland to engage members in the constitutional debate to ensure the union reflects the views of Scottish members. See full story at

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

We've tasted victory, let's do it again

#undc12 Conference committed the union to building on the ‘Million Voices’ campaign for public services, further developing the community campaigning agenda.

UNISON members in equal pay victory

Date: Tuesday 19 June 2012
UNISON members made further progress in the campaign for equal pay today with an important victory in South Lanarkshire.

Although South Lanarkshire was the first council in Scotland to bring women and men together under a “single status” pay system, the Glasgow Employment Tribunal has ruled that the 2004 South Lanarkshire scheme does not comply fully with subsequent advances in equality law.

Although this preliminary ruling does not award compensation to any individual worker, it does enable any council employee to compare their pay with colleagues employed in work of equal value and the council must now explain all pay differences on an individual basis.

Commenting on the 247 page judgement from the tribunal Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary, said:

“There is a lesson here for all employers. It is not enough to unify pay systems for the mutual benefit of woman and men. True pay equality requires a culture of continuous improvement under which the pay gap between workers is recorded, monitored and, ultimately, closed. Pay systems must also be transparent – every worker has the right to look at the salary scale and understand how they are paid and why. And every worker has the right to know how comparable workers are paid and why.

“South Lanarkshire received credit for being an early implementer of single status but changes to case law and regulation have raised the bar since 2004. It is clear from the tribunal ruling that the council has some work to do if it is to deliver equality in a transparent manner. UNISON looks forward to delivering those changes in partnership where possible while negotiating compensation for any member underpaid in the past.”

Peter Hunter, UNISON Regional Organiser, said:

“While we recognise this is just a preliminary hearing on the design of the pay system and not an outright victory for individual workers, we call on the council to abandon its adversarial posture. Further litigation will only entrench past positions and delay transparency, equality and justice for workers. It would be a tragedy if further progress on equality was thwarted by years of expensive appeals and individual litigation.”


Notes to editors
1. UNISON is Scotland’s leading pursuer of equal pay claims with over 25,000 ongoing tribunal cases.

2. UNISON rejected single status pay systems in 75 per cent of Scottish councils and is actively pursuing “continuous improvement” in every Scottish council through a combination of measures including negotiation, appeals, reviews and litigation.

3. Although Russell v South Lanarkshire Council is already one of the longest equal pay cases in Scottish legal history it is only at a preliminary stage.

4. The Equality Act 2010 offers employers a complete defence to all equal value claims if they can show they operate an equality proofed pay system. The Russell case is limited in effect as it only removes this initial bar on equal value claims. All claims must now be assessed on an individual basis. No equal value comparators have been established and all individual claims can be defended where the employer can justify individual pay differences in a non-discriminatory way.

5. UNISON Scotland’s campaign for transparency and continuous improvement in pay equality relies on the mandatory provisions of The Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 which require: the proactive elimination of pay inequality; publication of an equal pay policy; annual publication of the pay gap between women and men; publication of target outcomes for pay equality; involvement of workers in the delivery of pay equality; gathering of evidence of progress on pay equality; and biennial publication of reports on progress towards pay equality.


Elder abuse: Time to act

#undc12 Scottish vulnerable persons legislation could be a model for the UK, Conference was told as it voted unanimously to back a strategy to tackle elder abuse. Moving an amendment to the Retired Members Committee motion, Strathclyde Police and Fire’s Brian Molloy called for a campaign to get Westminster legislation similar to Scotland’s Adult Support and Protection Act.

Strengthening the devolution protocol

#undc12 Scotland and Cymru Wales joined forces to put devolution issues on the Local Government Conference agenda as delegates supported plans to deal with the separate bargaining arrangements in the devolved nations and to develop the constitutional debate. See full story at

Monday, 18 June 2012

Guardian: Union chief vows to step up fight over public sector pay

Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison

Unison promises co-ordinated action across schools, hospitals and councils if ministers do not halt pay freeze 

Britain's largest public sector union, Unison, has served notice on the government that pay will be the next industrial battleground. The union plans to co-ordinate action across schools, hospitals and local authorities – including strikes – if ministers do not halt a long-term pay freeze.

Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary, will launch a fair pay campaign at his union's annual conference this week. Pay is also expected to be a key theme of a TUC protest march in central London on 20 October. Speaking before the conference, Prentis told the Guardian that government pay deals tended to fail after three years and the current regime – launched by George Osborne in 2010 – would suffer the same fate.
"I firmly believe that no pay policy can last more than three years and we will make sure that this policy breaks in the third year," said Prentis, whose union represents more than 1 million health and local government employees.
See full article on Guardian website

Campaign for Fair Pay and a Living Wage

#undc12 Scotland speakers were to the fore as Local Government Conference threw its wage behind a wide ranging strategy to challenge pay restraint, reject regional pay and campaign for fair pay and a living wage of £7.20 an hour. See full story and pics at

Beefing up school meal provision should be a priority – says UNISON

Spending on school meals has not kept up with rising inflation costs, says UNISON as it calls for greater investment in the school meals service.

UNISON has argued for many years for investment in fresh, healthy and sustainable food provision as part of its Food for Good Charter, and is calling on the Scottish Government to beef up school meals.

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said: “Scotland’s school catering staff work hard to provide children with healthy, nutritious meals. However, the amount of money spent on providing school meals has not kept up with rising food costs and budget constraints.

“Staff in charge of the kitchen are bearing the brunt of heavier workloads in the face of spending cuts and it is thanks to their hard work and dedication that they are able to deliver the quality of service that everyone expects.

“For years, UNISON has called for greater investment in school meals, which not only provides a range of important health, educational and social benefits, but will also save on future costs to the NHS by reducing obesity and other health problems.

“For many pupils, a school dinner is the only cooked meal that pupils eat during the day so it is vital that the Scottish Government makes beefing up school meal provision a priority.”


UNISON Scotland launched a Food for Good Charter in 2008, promoting fresh, healthy and sustainable food provision across the public sector.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Enough is enough - the battle for decent pensions for women

#undc12 Local Government delegates heard that women are at greater risk than men of pensioner poverty with around half of all women unable to make adequate pension provision for their future. For full report see

Why Scotland can’t vote on English pensions

#undc12 The pensions debate at Local Govt Conference today is a bargaining issue affecting only members in England and Wales. No dates have been set for discussions on long term reform in the Scottish local government pension scheme and the 2008 provisions remain in place. That means there are no current changes and no negotiations.

Negotiations in England and Wales have resulted in proposals for a new England and Wales pension scheme from 2014. That is the issue in this afternoon’s debate and it will not change the Scottish pension scheme.

There are two common issues however. The move from RPI to CPI in terms of uprating and the issue of retirement age. The RPI/CPI is a political issue rather than a bargaining issue and the unions lost the case in court.

On the retirement age, the Scottish scheme retirement age remains at 65. The new proposals for the England and Wales scheme link the scheme’s retirement age to the state retirement age but there is no such proposal (as yet) in Scotland.

So, in short, Scotland can’t vote because the vote is on a bargaining issue relating to a scheme that only applies to members in England and Wales.

See more pensions news at

Thursday, 14 June 2012

TU and SCCS calls for action at Rio+20

The Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development takes place in Brazil from 20-22 June.

The Spring Alliance of European trade unions and civil society organisations wants world leaders to commit to “a concrete action plan leading to sustainable development and poverty eradication within the limitations of the planet.”

The 2nd international Trade Union Assembly on Labour and the Environment called on governments to undertake "a process of profound change in all areas of economic life."

And Stop Climate Chaos Scotland urged the Scottish Government to champion climate justice at Rio+20.

The coalition said Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson should use Scotland’s progressive stance on environmental issues to influence the global talks.

SCCS wants Scotland to help frame the fundamental change needed to guarantee rights-based sustainable development for all.

Scotland has the strongest climate change legislation in the world, although efforts are needed to ensure the targets within that Act are met.
Tom Ballantine, SCCS Chair, said: “The Rio+20 conference is a major opportunity to refocus on sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.
“Governments must steer away from prioritising ‘the economy’ alone – and instead focus equally on the three pillars of sustainability: the social, the environmental and the economic.
“Climate change, environmental damage and unsustainable consumption of resources – combined with the financial meltdown – all point towards an economic system that isn’t working.”

Read more and watch the short video


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Police and fire VAT liability

A number of column inches in today's media cover the admission by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice that he hadn't been able to persuade the Treasury to allow a VAT exemption for the new national police and fire bodies. At the Justice Committee he called the decision "unjustifiable and manifestly unfair" and others have also attacked the Treasury's position. The cost of  losing the VAT exemption (known as s33 status) is around £26m for the police and between £4m and £10m for the fire and rescue service

We would accept that the Treasury can be a very wicked body capable of imposing all sorts of infamy on Scotland. However, on this occasion the story is more complex.

The Financial Memorandum to the Police and Fire Reform Bill states that “the Scottish Government is currently liaising with HMRC regarding whether the service could be given s33 status” and ministers have indicated that they continue to lobby the Treasury on this point. However, Treasury Minister David Gauke MP in a letter to UNISON last March states, “The eligibility criteria for Section 33 are set out in HMRC’s published guidance and the Scottish Government was aware of them when formulating the current reforms”.

This shows that despite holding out the prospect of resolving the VAT exemption throughout the Bill process, they knew at the outset that this would not be the case. Incidentally they have also refused to publish any of the correspondence on the issue with the Treasury. Raising suspicions that they have something to hide.

There is also a Scottish solution to the problem as UNISON set out in evidence to the Justice Committee. We could have a single police force established as local government joint board, funded through a precept and retain s33 status. Of course that would mean less direct ministerial influence over the police, but it would strengthen local democratic accountability.

So, yes of course the Treasury should grant a similar exemption to the one that applies in Northern Ireland. However, this problem was created by the Scottish Government, not the Treasury. There is also a simple Scottish solution. However, it appears that Scotland's public services are going to have to pay a high price for allowing greater ministerial control of our police and fire services.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Government police figures don't show real picture

HUNDREDS of police officers are being taken off frontline duties to cover for axed civilian colleagues, union officials claimed yesterday.

George McIrvine, chair of UNISON Scotland's police staffs committee, said: "The record figure for police officers is just an arbitrary number.

"There is no research or analysis that shows we need the Government's target number of 17,234. We are campaigning for a balanced police force."

Read the rest of the article on the Daily Record's website by clicking here.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Award confirms Scottish Futures Trust role as promoter of PPP

Tuesday 5 June 2012

UNISON today challenged the Scottish Government to come clean about the real role of the Scottish Futures Trust after it won an international award for promoting PPP/PFI.

The union said that the Partnerships Bulletin prize makes clear what UNISON has said from the start about the Scottish Government’s flagship scheme - that it is about promoting private involvement in public infrastructure, not in securing best value in building schools and hospitals.

The Scottish Government claimed the SFT would be an alternative to PFI. Infrastructure and Capital Investment Secretary Alex Neil said recently again that the Scottish Government has “set the country free from the shackles of PFI.”

Dave Watson, UNISON head of Bargaining and Campaigns, said:

“The SFT is proud that it ‘swept the board’ at these PPP/PFI industry awards.

“But the public will want to know whether the Cabinet Secretary is proud that the SFT has been identified as the ‘best central/regional government PPP promoter’ and its chief executive as making the best individual contribution?

“That surely is not what was intended in setting up the Scottish Futures Trust. It should be about securing best value for the public sector.

“Everyone knows that PPP/PFI is more expensive than conventional funding of schools and hospitals. One of the reasons that PFI has such a bad name is because it was seen as ‘the only game in town’ and the private sector took full advantage of that.

“In fact, PPP is still the only game in town for many projects. The Scottish Government should be creating a level playing field as a minimum. Instead it is actively promoting PPP through the SFT. When the chief exec of the body that the Scottish Government said would put an end to PFI is winning awards for promoting it, there is something seriously wrong.”


Notes to editors

  1. The Scottish Futures Trust  won  the “Best central/regional government PPP promoter’ and two other awards. The National Housing Trust award is for a giant PPP scheme. SFT chief executive Barry White won ‘best individual contribution’.

  1. UNISON Scotland’s briefings on PPP/PFI are on our website at