Sunday 30 September 2012

UNISON response to Sunday Herald report giving detail on "horrendous" cuts to police support staff

30 September 2012
UNISON response to Sunday Herald report giving detail on "horrendous" cuts to police support staff
SCOTLAND's single police force is facing "horrendous" cuts worth £300 million over the next three-and-a-half years, according to official figures leaked to the Sunday Herald. 
The dossier, produced by a working group led by senior police officers, proposes an immediate loss of 550 civilian jobs, followed by another £74m of redundancies and early retirements.
Gerry Crawley, Unison's lead officer for police in Scotland, said: "If these figures are true, then they amount to a dramatic cut to the police service, and Unison will not accept these cuts. It has to be pointed out that best value, which is one of the key elements of the single force, will not be met by these plan. The cost of replacing support staff with police officers will be horrendous."
From Sunday Herald 30 September 2012
See also UNISON Scotland press releases and website:
26 Sep: UNISON calls for action to avert 3,000 police staff job cuts
4 Sep: Police numbers increased by taking uniformed officers off the street
UNISON Scotland website - Police Staffs page


Thursday 27 September 2012

Raise your banners for A Future That Works in George Square 20 October

@ScottishTUC #SCOct20
The labour movement will return triumphantly to George Square on October 20

Following protracted negotiations and helpful interventions from elected councillors we are now able to say with confidence that George Square will not be considered a no-go zone for peaceful protest in the future.

Assemble at 11.00am to hear a range of speeches before marching to Glasgow Green with your banners waving! The rally at Glasgow Green will feature speeches, music (original compositions on the theme of social justice from Scottish Schools) and projected scenes from the London march and rally.

From STUC Oct 20 page website

Wednesday 26 September 2012

UNISON calls for action to avert 3,000 police staff job cuts

Wednesday 26 September 2012


UNISON Scotland has called for action by the Scottish Government to avert the disastrous loss of 3,000 police staff support jobs, of which new Chief Constable Stephen House warned today.

George McIrvine, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Police Committee, said:
“We have been saying that up to 3,000 vital police support staff jobs are under threat for about a year now. If Stephen House is right in what he has said today, this is just the beginning of a disaster for Scottish policing.”

 “Already we have seen police officers being taken off the street to cover for the thousand police support staff jobs which have been lost in the last year or so. We need the government to take action to end this unfolding disaster by committing to a balanced police service rather than an arbitrary target for police officer numbers.”

Gerry Crawley, UNISON’s lead officer for police in Scotland, said:
“It gives us no pleasure to find that the newly-appointed Chief Constable of the new Police Service of Scotland can do the same sums as we can.

“The problem is the Scottish Government’s arbitrary target to maintain police officer numbers at 17,234. This combined with their failure to fund a balanced police service means that massive cuts will fall on police support staff - whose skills and qualifications are vital to effective policing across Scotland.

“We need a balanced workforce where the skills of police staffs 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. Using officers as expensive replacements for police staff might meet the Scottish Government’s political target - but not the needs of Scotland’s communities.”


Notes to editors
1. 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.

2. 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 police pages


FREE Film show is next step in Right to Know campaign

26 Sept 2012

International Right to Know day
This Friday (28 September) is International Right to Know Day, and the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland, is marking it with a FREE showing of the classic US film about a President's attempt to hide criminal activity, and how this was revealed publicly - All the Presidents Men.

This takes place at the Glasgow Film Theatre at 2.50pm and is sponsored by UNISON Scotland.

This film - directed by Alan J. Pakula stars the youthful-looking Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as two journalists on the Washington Post (Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who co-wrote the script) who break the story of President Richard Nixon's involvement in a criminal conspiracy to secure his re-election. While it starts with a minor break in at the National HQ of the Democratic Party, the story ultimately reveals a web of spying activity set up by the White House. Confirmation in the absence of FOI laws ('All White House transactions are confidential'), is obtained from a shadowy source - Deep Throat (who turned out to be the Deputy Director of the FBI!!
The screening is part of the CFoIS' campaign to extend the FOI laws in Scotland to cover outside organisations that provide public services, and will be followed by a discussion chaired by Rosalind McInnes, solicitor for BBC Scotland, with Stephen Low, from UNISON, Paul Holleran, from the NUJ and David Goldberg, from CFoIS.
Free tickets are available from the GFT box office on the day.

Contact the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland for more information, or Chris Bartter on 07715 583 729


Friday 21 September 2012

Stop Climate Chaos Mass Lobby of Scottish Parliament 25 Oct #gyat

21 Sept 2012

"Get Your Act Together"

That's the message that members of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition will give to politicians at a mass lobby of the Scottish Parliament on Thurs 25 October.

Three years ago, thousands of SCCS supporters lobbied hard for strong legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland, and were delighted that MSPs unanimously passed the world leading Scottish Climate Change Act.

However, the Scottish Government has failed to meet its very first (and not particularly challenging) target to reduce emissions under the Act.

SCCS is encouraging people from all across Scotland who care about climate change to meet with their MSPs and call on them to "Get their Act together" and ensure the Scottish Government delivers on the Act.

Read more and book your place here


Thursday 20 September 2012

UNISON: No guarantee of pay rise for tens of thousands of council workers

Date:                     20 Sept 2012

UNISON responded to the Scottish Government’s announcement on public sector pay in the budget today.

Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary, said:

“Finance Secretary John Swinney today offered what he described as a ‘modest’ 1% pay increase for Scottish Government staff, some NHS staff and employees of quangos.

“Unless local government is funded to pay even this limited increase, there is no guarantee that the largest group of public sector workers, in local government, will receive an increase. That has been the case for the last couple of years.

“Even for those who will receive it, families face inflation and rising living costs meaning their income is, in effect, going down.

“At a time when Scottish councils are facing huge financial pressures, with severe cuts to services and jobs, a council tax freeze is bad news for everyone who relies on essential council services.

“This budget is supposedly aimed at stimulating the economy. But increased pay, particularly for low paid workers, helps the economy, especially at local level.

“Hard pressed local government workers deserve more from the Scottish Government.”



Sunday 16 September 2012

Hope Not Hate founding meeting 20 Sep Glasgow

The Hope Not Hate Greater Glasgow Group Founding Meeting will be held on 20 September 2012 at the STUC Woodlands Rd - see  for details.

Friday 14 September 2012

Integration of Adult Health & Social Care in Scotland - UNISON response

UNISON Scotland’s Submission to the Scottish Government on their Consultation on the Integration of Adult Health & Social Care in Scotland - September 2012

is online now at

See more of our responses to government and other consultations on our Responses page

UNISON Scotland Bargaining and Campaigns Team


Procurement Reform Bill - UNISON Scotland Policy Briefing 27

UNISON Scotland Policy Briefing 27 - Procurement Reform Bill

The Scottish Government is consulting on its Procurement Reform Bill. UNISON's policy briefing is available online:

Key points
  • The SNP 2011 manifesto promised a Sustainable Procurement Bill but the new proposal is weak on sustainability, focusing more on ‘business-friendly’ processes.
  • However, it is a good opportunity to strengthen ways in which procurement can encourage important economic, social and environmental benefits, longstanding trade union priorities.
  • This should include extending the Living Wage to contractors.

See further UNISON Scotland Policy Briefings here:

UNISON Scotland Bargaining and Campaigns Team


Thursday 13 September 2012

New jobs at UNISON Scotland

Regional Organiser x 3 – Scottish Region, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen: Closing date Wednesday 3 October 2012. Full details at 

Thousands have lost right to information. Extend FOI

13 Sept 2012 

The Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee heard strong criticism yesterday about how rights to information on public expenditure have been lost.

Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew and the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland told MSPs that the public's right to know must be safeguarded by extending FOI laws to cover all public services.

The Press Association reported

"Thousands of people have lost the right to information about how their money is being spent because of a decade of government "delaying tactics", campaigners have said.

Holyrood is considering "technical" amendments to the 10-year-old Freedom of Information Scotland Act (FOISA).
However, freedom of information (FoI) campaigners are incensed that the review will not include the plethora of former public services that now operate outside the law because they have been taken over by arms-length bodies.
There are now 130 arms-length external organisations (ALEOs) delivering public services that have no compulsion to reveal information. Some 15,000 former council tenants that once had the right to know how their money is being spent have been deprived through moving the housing stock out of council control to housing associations.
"That is just one area of public service," Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew told Holyrood's Finance Committee. "I am disappointed that the opportunity hasn't been taken to have the discussion about how and to where we extend FOISA.""
See also the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland's news release.

UNISON Scotland's evidence to the Finance Committee.


Wednesday 12 September 2012

Acclaimed Spanish film Even the Rain to be shown in Lanarkshire - Sat 15 Sep

An acclaimed Spanish film is the focus of an event to promote discussion around social and economic justice in Lanarkshire.
Take One Action Film Festivals and UNISON South Lanarkshire Present EVEN THE RAIN, a free community screening at the Blantyre Miners Welfare Community Cinema on Saturday 15th September at 6.45pm.

The event seeks to use the dramatic events depicted in the film to highlight themes relevant to Scotland today. Stephen Smellie of UNISON explained,

“The movie is, first of all, a great film and anyone who likes good films will have a great night out. We are pleased to be able to use the Community Cinema provided by the Miner’s Welfare whose purpose is to provide entertainment at a reasonable cost for local people.

However the film also provokes thought about issues such as who has the right to control a nation’s resources? Should water supply be controlled for profit? Can working people resist big companies, bankers and governments in order to take greater control over their lives?

Scotland’s public water supply is seen by some as an opportunity to make money for a few rather than as an essential resource for us all. The fight to keep our water in public hands is ongoing.” 

Nominated for 13 goyas (Spain's Oscars), Iciar Bollain’s dramatic rollercoaster penned by Take One Action patron Paul Laverty (Looking for Eric) stars Gael García Bernal as Sebastian, a filmmaker caught up in Bolivia's mass protests of spring 2000 against the government’s decision to privatise the national water company. As Sebastian vainly tries to tell the story of Columbus' colonisation of the new world, his cast and crew get drawn into a contemporary version of events, blurring the boundaries between past and present, fiction and reality. In fact, the cost of water in Bolivia had gone up by three hundred per cent. But although Bollain’s story is finally one of the triumph of the people, the privatisation of basic public services remains at the centre of a powerful debate about poverty and development across the globe.

There will be a post-film discussion with Stephen Smellie from UNISON Scotland, Mark Langdon, Chairman of GMAC (Glasgow Media Access Centre) and other guests.

In addition the acclaimed Edinburgh-based Valentina and Voces del Sur will be playing songs of exile, love and social change, inspired by tango and folk music traditions from Latin America.

Tickets are free and can be reserved by contacting South Lanarkshire UNISON at  or phone 01698454690.


For further information regarding the Blantyre event contact Stephen Smellie on 01698 454690 or 077 400 96864.

For more information regarding the Take One Action and Even The Rain contact Emma Pattinson on 0131 553 6335 or 0780 582 7888


Unions in Scottish Power agree breakthrough 10% pay deal

12 Sept 2012

Unions in Scottish Power agree breakthrough 10% pay deal

Trade unions representing thousands of workers in the Energy Networks and Connections businesses of Scottish Power have agreed a breakthrough 10% pay rise over three years. The deal agreed by trade union members of UNISON, GMB, Unite and Prospect runs from 1 January 2012. It guarantees workers an above inflation increase in year one.

Gerry Crawley, Regional Organiser of the biggest energy union UNISON and one of the lead trade union negotiators in Scottish Power, said:

“Union members in Energy Networks and Connections now have guaranteed pay rises over three years. This pay deal is a major breakthrough in the private sector and in particular in utilities, as it represents an above inflation increase in year one. 

 “Our hard working members have recently had to endure an imposed pay freeze. They worked throughout that period without any rise and continued to deliver a professional service.

“Now they are getting a guaranteed pay rise for the next three years and that will be welcome news for them and their families in this time of economic austerity and rising prices.”

The 10% pay rise over three years has taken almost a year to negotiate with Scottish Power due to the complexities contained within the offer.

Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary commented:

“This is excellent news for UNISON members in Scottish Power and for the members of the other three unions as well. An above inflation increase for union members in Scottish Power in year one demonstrates yet again the benefits of being in a trade union – it was experienced trade union negotiators who secured this 10% three year deal.

“The Westminster coalition government would rather see no pay rises - but UNISON and the other TUC affiliated  trade unions north and south of the border will continue to negotiate and fight for decent pay for all of their members.”


Notes for editors

1. Trade union members of UNISON, GMB, Unite and Prospect collectively agreed today to accept what was on offer from Scottish Power management. This is a complex pay deal covering the period 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2014. It covers a new job evaluation and pay and grading structure, and it ensures that there is a 4% pay rise in Year 1, a 3% pay rise in Year 2 and a 3% pay rise in Year 3. The pay deal covers Scottish Power trade union members in Scotland, England and Wales.

2. UNISON is the largest union in the electricity sector in Scotland. In this section of Scottish Power over 85% of employees are a members of a trade union.


Scotland’s young people call for ‘One Fair Wage’

The Scottish Youth Parliament has today launched a new national campaign, 'One Fair Wage' calling on
 politicians, businesses, councils and charities to pledge their support for the Scottish Living Wage.

The campaign has already received support from The Scottish Government, the Scottish Labour Party, UNISON Scotland and Save the Children. 

The year-long campaign will focus on a grass-roots approach by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) directly engaging with their local councils and businesses to convince them everyone in Scotland deserves a fair living wage.

Full details here


Tuesday 11 September 2012

OECD education report card shows need for investment in Scotland’s early years professional team

Date: Tuesday  11 September 2012

UNISON has called for Scotland's early years professional team to be supported, after an international report found investment per pupil in early years education is lower than the OECD average.

Commenting on the finding in a newly-published OECD report 'Education at a Glance', Carol Ball, a child development officer and chair of UNISON’s Education Issues Group said:

"We all know the earliest years of a child’s life are crucial. Scotland's early years professional team of nursery nurses and child development officers have the qualifications, skills and experience to deliver the service our children deserve. They should not be viewed as a cheap alternative - as the EIS so often claim they are - but should be fully supported to provide our children with the best start in life.

"The level of investment in Scotland's whole early years professional team should match up to international standards - so that the excellent service our nursery nurses and child development officers provide can be offered more widely."


Notes for editors

1. Early years staff across Scotland councils have a number of job titles including nursery nurse or child development officer. Their qualifications cover working with children from nought to eight years (unlike teachers). Many have embarked on the further qualification of a BA in childhood practice or the SVQ level four. They are more than qualified to undertake leading roles in early years’ centres and nurseries. Nursery nurses are the early years’ professionals. 

UNISON Scotland represent the vast majority of workers working with children in their early years: midwives; health visitors; community nurses; school nurses; nursery nurses, social workers and support staff in schools.

2. For more information on UNISON’s aims for early years’ education, please download a copy of our education manifesto at


Ed Balls' speech to TUC Congress - UNISON reaction

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Responding to Ed Balls' speech to the TUC in Brighton this morning, UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said:

“Ed Balls gave a business-like speech to Congress today, dealing with many of the issues that trade union members are concerned about, including jobs and the economy.

“It was heartening to hear that there is a vision developing amongst the shadow cabinet, particularly in some of the areas that we have been campaigning on, such as dealing with the banks, building affordable homes, getting young people back into work and investing for growth in schools, roads and transport.

“It was good, too,  to hear that he recognises that Labour won’t get elected just because the Tories are bad.  And that he recognises the need for a credible alternative, for policies that working people relate to and will want to vote for.

“We at UNISON don’t want a return to 80’s either.  That is exactly where the Tories want to take us. We want a decent future for our children, quality public services that take care of the sick and elderly and fair pay for the workers who deliver them.

“We would like to have heard more from Ed Balls that Labour has a clear  understanding of just how hard working people are really struggling.  If he really understood the massive impact of a three year pay freeze on families struggling to pay for food and fuel, or forced to turn to pay-day loans where interest can be a terrifying 4000% - he, too,  would be calling for an end to the pay freeze.

“Of course we need to get people back into work, but that cannot be done by cutting the pay and conditions of public service workers.”


UNISON UK press release:


Safety regulations save lives

Some nauseating media interviews this morning applauding the UK Government's plans to ditch swathes of safety regulations in pursuit of cutting so called 'red tape'. Lets be clear, this is not about business burdens, it is about cutting health and safety and workers rights in pursuit of profit.

As a European study of better regulation initiatives concluded, "Relatively few of the initiatives included an assessment of the intended benefits regarding environmental outcomes, or cost savings to business and regulatory bodies." Of course nobody supports unnecessarily complicated legislation. Where such problems exist they should be dealt with. However, complaints of red tape are rarely about the detail of specific legislation, instead they are a whinge about regulation in general. This is because some employers' organisations promote the myth of a 'red tape' crisis to try to dissuade governments from defining minimum standards for workers; consumer rights and safety; protection for the environment and safety. It's just a campaign for weaker laws.

The OECD has developed measures of the administrative burdens on business and whether regulation is more or less strict. The UK ranks lower than virtually any other OECD economy on all the indicators. UK government research also suggests that the methodology used for employer organisations surveys is flawed; in they are most likely to be answered by a group of small business employers who are over-pessimistic about regulation. For most businesses it simply isn't an issue.

Ask the citizens of Edinburgh suffering from an outbreak of legionnaires disease in the capital if they think cutting inspections of cooling towers is a good idea. Or the families  of workers at Stockline in Glasgow. Or for that matter the rest of us who are paying the price for light touch regulation of the bankers.

All the evidence shows that businesses succeed because they have a good product or service to sell, which is delivered in a well-organised way. Such employers care little for regulation. In contrast, deregulation favours 'cowboy' employers who want to race each other to the bottom of the hill.

Monday 10 September 2012

Coalition has 'declared war on our people' Prentis tells TUC - UNISON UK release

Monday 10 September 2012

Today UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis told the TUC Congress that now was the ‘time for action’ to end the government’s damaging austerity measures.

He addressed Congress to make the case for– ‘A future that works’ – urging the TUC to renew its fight aginst the government’s unwelcome and failing austerity agenda, and promising coordinated action if they refuse.

He said that the 20 October Demonstration must be a ‘launch pad’ for an organised, united campaign against austerity.

Saying the coalition had ‘declared war on our people’ through the pay freeze, pushing workers closer and closer to economic oblivion while the rich remain untouched, he added that industrial action would be the inevitable response that if the government refuses to bring an end to austerity.

The full speech can be found below:

“At the start I want to pay tribute, like Brendan, to the fantastic athletes who made the Olympics so successful and the volunteers, but Congress I also want to pay tribute to the 80,000 women, men and children in the Olympic stadium who showed George Osborne exactly what they thought of him.

“The day George Osborne was rumbled and the crowd who spoke for all of us weren’t booing pantomime villains, but real life villains who are destroying Britain.

“Tory Britain; an economy in crisis; the longest recession for 50 years; 625 public service jobs gone every single day of this coalition – and more to come; the worst child poverty record of any government for a generation.

“A Britain where last week Save The Children, an international charity, launched an appeal to help UK families plunged into poverty by cuts and recession. Stories of kids going without hot meals, winter clothes, missing out on school trips. Working families struggling with rocketing prices, plummeting pay.

“An Oxfam report warning of inequality in Britain not seen since Victorian times – heart rending stories that shame this government and anyone who supports it.

“And in Britain – walk down any high street, open any newspaper, turn on the TV, legalised loan sharks offering pay-day loans, interest rates reaching 4000%. An industry that is now worth £2bn a year, and six in ten using money to pay their household bills or to buy essentials, trapping families in a downward spiral of debt and despair.

“Our people. Our kids.

“The cost of food going up again by another 10%, the cost of gas and electric rising even more. We know, Congress, that it takes just a £50 increase in monthly outgoings, and that would plunge one third of families into financial ruin.

“Britain is changing beyond recognition.

“Employment rights are under attack, sacking workers to be made easier than ever before.  Britain where ‘sit alone’ judges –not tribunals – decide unfair dismissal claims; where ‘zero hours’ contracts are all the norm.

“A world where bankers with no shame are now speculating on food prices as millions face starvation. 

“Britain where everything is up for sale: our NHS, our care services, our education services – essential services being privatised.

“£27bn of contracts are to be signed in the coming year alone – despite the scandals, despite the failures. A4E; Southern Cross; G4S; ATOL and its discredited benefits tests; and failed council contracts.

“And the Tories, the Tories, with no road to recovery, know their policies aren’t working, and are using austerity, the recession to destroy our public services, to destroy our welfare state. Without austerity, they couldn’t privatise our NHS, privatise policing, close libraries, attack the hard-won rights of working people.

“A coalition which has declared war on our people – our people facing a third year of pay freeze. Living standards slashed, while the rich and the powerful remain untouched.

“And congress this is the point: it is our job to lead the fight back. To protect our heritage. To defend that fairer society that those who went before us fought for. To fight for a future that works. To ensure that 20 October is the biggest anti-cuts demonstration in our history. A day that will give hope to our people, hope for a better, fairer society.

“And the 20 October has to be more – much more than just a march. It must be a launch pad for our campaign against austerity. After that day we must march on, united, coordinated.

“The Tory posh boys think our members are afraid – afraid of losing their jobs, afraid of asking for better pay. But it’s our job as leaders, as trade unionists, to raise them up, and to show our members what they are really worth.

“And as a TUC we must be out there campaigning, organising, building a movement, building alliances of all unions.

“We are never stronger than when we coordinate industrial action, when we speak with one voice. Yes, we will seek decent pay, fair pay. Yes, we will negotiate – that is what our membership expect us to do.

“But make no mistake, if employers refuse to negotiate; if the attacks continue – we will deliver the coordinated action which is called for in this composite.

“Now is the time for action."


News release from UNISON UK


Friday 7 September 2012

A BBC survey has found significant cuts in council sports facilities across the UK

In Scotland where sports provision is a legal requirement 15 out of 26 councils (58%) had reduced services compared to 99 out of 276 (36%) English councils.

Lord Moynihan told the BBC he will call for legislation to force councils to set aside funding for leisure provision. He said: "When we see facilities being cut back then those who have been inspired by the Games don't get the opportunity to really engage in sport. We should be looking at changing the law to make provision of sport and recreation opportunity a statutory requirement. At the moment in England it's discretionary and once it's discretionary it's inevitable that councillors will be looking for discretionary cutbacks first."
The difficulty with this approach is that, as the Scottish figures show, just having a vague legal duty doesn't protect services from cuts. Local government in Scotland is facing the bulk of Scottish Government budget cuts and something has to give.
Perhaps Lord Moynihan, a former Tory MP, should focus his efforts on persuading the UK government to stop cutting public services. That is the best way of giving councils the resources to create a meaningful Olympic legacy.

Victims Compensation at Risk

Open media letter from trade unions and legal experts in Scotland on the UK government's plans to cut victim compensation

MPs will shortly vote on the future operation of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The victims of violent crime can currently apply for compensation as recompense for the injuries they have sustained.  The changes being proposed by the Coalition Government will radically overhaul the scheme and leave many victims of violent crime no longer eligible for compensation.

The changes are driven by the Government’s desire to cut £50 million from the Ministry of Justice’s budget and will affect 83% of the victims of violent crime.

Each year, almost 18,000 victims of crime sustain injuries within the first 5 ‘tariff bands’, qualifying for compensation between £1,000 and £2,000.  These injuries included such things as multiple broken ribs, burns and scarring causing minor facial disfigurement and partial deafness.  The Government plans to scrap bands 1-5 of the existing tariff scheme, leaving the victims of crime who sustain injuries of this type, no longer eligible for compensation.

In addition almost 13,000 victims of serious crime sustain more serious injuries such as a collapsed lung, significant facial scarring or fractured joints. Victims with this type of injury are currently eligible for compensation of up to £8,200.  The Government want these awards to be cut by up to 60%.

Finally, for around 1,000 victims of crime, their injuries mean that they will be off work for more than 28 weeks - these victims have sustained long term and permanent disabling injuries. Whilst they will continue to receive compensation for their injuries, their payments will be significantly reduced by an average of £10,000 each, because instead of receiving compensation for loss of actual earnings, loss of earnings will be calculated at a rate of £85 a week - the same level as Statutory Sick Pay.

We believe that these cuts to Criminal Injuries Compensation are draconian and unnecessary.  Whilst the Coalition Government insists the present scheme is not sustainable - their own impact assessment of the scheme shows a scheme which is stable with costs that have remained constant over the past four years.

All of the organisations listed below have experience of the scheme. We recognise its importance to the victims of crime in providing financial assistance, acknowledging the pain and suffering of the victim and helping to give the victim a sense of closure of a traumatic experience.

We hope your readers will join us in urging MPs to vote against these cuts and help support the victims of violent crime.

Yours faithfully

John Hannett, General Secretary, Usdaw
Paul Brown, Chief Executive, Legal Services Agency
Grahame Smith, General Secretary, STUC
Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary, Unison
Pat Rafferty, Regional Secretary, Unite
Patrick McGuire, Thomspon Solicitors
Michael J Leahy OBE, General Secretary, Community

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Water is a Human Right

UNISON Scotland supports the Water is a Human Right campaign.

The campaign is urging the European Commission to:

·guarantee water and sanitation services for all inhabitants;
· keep water services out of internal market rules; and
·increase efforts to achieve global access to water and sanitation for all.

This campaign has a particular relevance to Scotland as we are campaigning to keep our public service out of the hands of the privatisers.

The campaign seeks to reach out to all citizens in Europe. Ask your friends, family and colleagues to sign and promote this campaign further. Our demands will only be taken into consideration if we achieve over one million valid signatures. On the signing page of the website

This campaign is a means of getting a commitment to the human right to water and sanitation. It is a tool to change the mind-set in the European Commission from a market-based approach with the focus on competition to a rights-based approach with the focus on public service. It aims to achieve universal (global) access to water and sanitation and to safeguard the limited public water resources for future generations.

Water and sanitation are a human right!
Water is a public good, not a commodity!

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Police numbers increased by taking officers off the street

UNISON, the union for Police Staffs, responded to claims today from the Scottish Government that it had “exceeded its commitment to put 1,000 extra officers in communities” by pointing out that police are being taken off the street to cover jobs previously done by police staff.

George McIrvine, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Police Committee, said:

“It’s nonsense for Kenny MacAskill to claim that he has ‘1000 extra officers in communities’ when everyone involved in policing knows that the length and breadth of Scotland uniformed officers are being taken off the street to backfill police staff jobs – jobs they aren’t trained to do and at a greater cost than the staff they replace – and this will rise significantly if current plans go ahead.

“We need a balanced workforce where the skills of police staffs 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. Using Officers as expensive replacements for police staff might meet a political target - but not the needs of Scotland’s communities.”


Notes to editors

1.       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.

2.       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 police pages


Council cultural trusts: UNISON warns of higher costs and loss of accountability

UNISON today warns MSPS examining local authority cultural trusts about higher costs and loss of accountability.

Regional Organiser Dougie Black is giving evidence to today's Scottish Parliament Education & Culture Committee.

As reported in today's Scotsman, UNISON has major concerns about the increasing use of trusts and arms length external organisations (ALEOs) to deliver local government services. Many cultural trusts run leisure, library and museums services.

Dougie told the Scotsman: "Our museums and galleries hold priceless artefacts owned by us all. UNISON is concerned that large sections of public service delivery are being shifted off to arms length bodies with very little research into the effectiveness of such change."

The key driver to setting up leisure trusts is to save money by obtaining charitable status to avoid paying VAT. But costs can rise and accountability is very weak.

Our evidence to the Committee is here.

Mark Bramah, of the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE), also submitted evidence about "important issues of governance, accountability and scrutiny", and stated that he was misquoted in the Scotsman report.


More dross on regional pay

Responding to a report from the right wing lobby group Policy Exchange UNISON Scotland observed more  than a  few failings in the report


·         The extent of the public/private premium is exaggerated because they rarely compare like with like in terms of jobs.
·         Local pay systems are actually rare in the private sector as well, as the Income Data Services report shows. Even where  there is some local element  it tends to be just  ‘London & South East’ and the ‘Rest of UK’. There is little difference in earnings between the regions of the UK. Even prices are levelling out due to internet buying etc.
·         Local pay strategies are unpopular with employers because of the costs involved in duplication and the lack of paybill control. They require close management or they can become unwieldy and lack transparency. This again adds to costs.
·         Public sector, like private sector, may have national pay bargaining but actual wages already vary. For example, Scottish local government has common pay spine, but actual rates for the job vary.
·         The report repeats the assertion that public sector wages are ‘crowding out’ private sector – but,  as usual,  provide not a scrap of evidence to prove it.. It’s just a ideological assertion from dogmatic privatisers.  
·         It is regional pay that would cost jobs. A report, produced by the New Economics Foundation, found that removing that amount of money from local economies could see up to 110,000 jobs lost. Low consumer confidence is already stifling the Scottish economy, this would kill it dead. One of the reasons the Scottish Government, in their submission to the UK government, has rejected regional pay.

This is just regurgitated dross from right wing propagandists desperately trying to breathe life into a dead donkey. Even Northern English Tories have opposed this stuff.

The arguments against regional pay are strong and backed by hard evidence. On top of the costs to the economy as people spend less, it would also hit services, with pay cuts leading to shortages of key staff and increased staff turnover. Only a London based right-wing campaign group would think it helpful  to accentuate the north-south divide.

See also recent UNISON UK releases and report:

Regional pay 'ruse to drive down pay' - UNISON28 August

New UNISON research 'final nail in the coffin for regional pay' 23 August 2012

‘Crowding out: fact or fiction?’ A research report for UNISON from Incomes Data Services (IDS)
July 2012

Sunday 2 September 2012

Communities rise against fascists

Communities rise against fascists Racists were sent packing in Dundee and Walthamstow yesterday as communities joined together to drive hate off our streets.