Thursday 27 June 2013

SCCS: Scottish Government's climate plan doesn't add up

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland statement on the Scottish Government's new climate action plan:

Very little of substance has changed in today’s final version of Scotland’s new climate action plan, the RPP2, from the draft deemed ‘not credible’ earlier this year.

The RPP2 is an important document which sets out how Scotland will meet its climate targets under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act of 2009, but the final plan discounts some of the major recommended improvements from Parliament and other stakeholders that were suggested during the Parliamentary scrutiny process.

Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government’s plan is not the step change required to deliver our climate Act, especially as they failed to hit the first two emissions targets.

"It is particularly concerning that recommendations from MSPs from all parties and stakeholders have not resulted in any significant change to this important plan.

Scottish implications of UK Spending Review

The UK Spending Review confirms a real terms cut in the Scottish Government’s budget of £333m between 2014/15 and 2015/16. The capital budget will have been cut by 26% in real terms since 2010.
The ‘new’ money claim by the Secretary of State, is actually largely borrowing powers that have to be repaid from a reducing revenue budget. Instead of the promised growth, £3.2bn is being taken from the Scottish economy.

Specific proposals directly impacting on public service workers include:

UNISON women's equal pay success making the news - and winning support

#JoinUNISON #equalpay

A strong editorial in today's Herald newspaper criticised Dumfries & Galloway council's "grudging statement" on UNISON's equal pay victory.

It said the council's apparent stance is exactly what led to the Equal Pay Act in the first place, following the 1968 case of the Ford women machinists.

The similarities with the Ford women in Dumfries led to a situation where "a nursery assistant could look out of the window at a groundsman mowing the grass and know he was entitled to extra benefits and pay while she was not. That could not be fair."

The editorial concludes that it would be entirely wrong for Scottish councils to "perpetuate inequalities that should have been erased from the workplace 40 years ago."

Here's a few more links to coverage of UNISON's historic Supreme Court equal pay victory.

UNISON Fife supports anti-blacklisting motion to council

Thu 27 June 2013

UNISON Fife supporting a sister trade union, Unite, at a demonstration outside of Fife House this morning.  The demonstration was part of a national campaign to ensure that companies involved in operating a ‘blacklisting’ system are excluded, where legally possible, from our preferred list of suppliers, a campaign that UNISON Fife fully supports.

Fife Council is embarking on a number of projects which will see new schools, new affordable housing and new care homes being built here in Fife.  The practise of ‘blacklisting’ is archaic and draconian and has no place in modern day society.  It ruins reputations, leaves individuals unable to secure employment and sees families become destitute.  A motion to Fife Council’s Executive Committee on June 27th calls on the Council to support Trade Unions in a bid to eradicate such a unethical practise.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

UNISON wins historic equal pay case worth millions of pounds for members

Elaine North, centre, and Mike Kirby, left of Elaine,
filmed by TV crews as they heard the news from the court today


Nearly two thousand women members of UNISON are celebrating a historic equal pay victory today.

They have finally demolished the long-running defence by Scottish councils of paying men discriminatory bonuses that are denied to women.

 The UNISON Scotland members can expect to share in an estimated nearly £12 million in compensation after the UK Supreme Court today handed down judgment in their favour in the seven-year case of North & Others v Dumfries and Galloway Council.

 Having conceded that council bonuses were discriminatory, more than 20 Scottish councils joined Dumfries in arguing that women should only get equal pay compensation if they worked at the same location as their male comparators.

 UNISON had appealed after the Court of Session said the 251 classroom assistants, support for learning assistants and nursery nurses in Dumfries were not able to compare themselves with groundsmen, refuse collectors and drivers and leisure attendants who received bonuses, but were based at depots, not in the women’s schools.

Today’s judgment overturns that decision, saying that UK equal pay law which allows a woman to compare herself with a man “in the same employment” does apply, even though the women worked at different ‘establishments’.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Pictures from UNISON's #YestoFairPay Day in Dundee, part of #AusterityUncovered

Pictures from UNISON's Fair Pay Day in Dundee today, part of the STUC Austerity Uncovered tour.

Report on STV news, at about 14 minutes in.

Rory McKinnon's report in the Morning Star.

Fair Pay Day of Action for local government workers

#YestoFairPay #AusterityUncovered

Unions today (Tuesday) launched a Fair Pay Day supporting Scottish local government workers as they prepare to vote on strike action.

Trade unionists on the STUC Austerity Uncovered tour asked why council workers are being offered a ‘measly’ 1% pay rise when ‘fat cats’* on the Sunday Times Rich List saw their wealth soar by £116 billion in the last three years.

UNISON branches across Scotland are holding workplace events and lobbying councillors today as they campaign for a Yes vote in the strike ballot, which opens next week.

And in Dundee the Austerity Uncovered anti-cuts ‘battle bus’ continues its tour of local communities hit hard by the UK Coalition Government attacks on jobs, pay and benefits that are hitting the most vulnerable so hard.

Monday 24 June 2013

Strike ballot over plans to axe 155 community care jobs and slash salaries

UNISON members employed by Cornerstone Community Care in the West of Scotland are being balloted on industrial action following proposals to cut 155 support workers jobs.

Cornerstone has said that those who are unsuccessful in securing their own jobs will be demoted to a support assistant role and see their salaries slashed by £2,000 - £3,000.

Support workers employed by Cornerstone Community Care provide quality care services to vulnerable adults in our communities.

Mark Clifford, UNISON Regional Organiser, said: “These are draconian and unnecessary cuts. Our members, many of whom have given years of loyal and dedicated service, are outraged at the proposed job losses and a whopping £2,000 - £3,000 slashing of salaries for those who are demoted.”

Conference 2013 reports

#undc13 Reports from Scotland's input to UNISON National Conference are on the web at . Look out too for more coverage in next week's Scotland in UNISON activists' newspaper.

Benefits cuts based on prejudice and dogma must be challenged

Lilian Macer
#undc13 This government’s welfare policy is based, not on evidence but on prejudice and dogma, “drip fed through friendly right wing media to make sure that facts don’t get in the way,” and UNISON will challenge it at every turn.

Working with relevant allies the union will build an alternative vision of welfare provision for the 21st Century, including building affordable housing, decent wages to end in work poverty, and an economic policy that prioritises jobs and growth.

Friday 21 June 2013

A living wage and a living pension go hand in hand

#undc13 A living wage and a living pension go hand in hand and benefit not only low paid workers and pensioners but also employers and the economy as a whole. UNISON will campaign vigorously for a living wage and pension overseen by a “Living Wage and Pension” Commission, to replace the Low Pay Commission.

Supporting an amendment from the National Young Members Forum, which highlighted the important role of young members and retired members in the campaign, Jereth Perry, Lanarkshire Health’s Young Members Officer, in his maiden speech, told delegates that he is a catering assistant in a PFI Hospital, working for SERCO.

Organising to support members in dispersed workplaces

#undc13 With more and more fragmentation of public services, through outsourcing, personalisation or the break up of established bargaining arrangements, conference backed a range of measures to recruit, organise and support members in these dispersed workplaces.

Scotland’s Stephen Smellie told delegates that although we all know that recruitment is essential to everything we do, we regularly fail to make this a priority.

International solidarity: Palestine and Colombia

#undc13 The international session heard harrowing testimony of Colombian activists and calls for a sporting boycott to end Israeli apartheid.

Moving testimony of Colombian activists inspires support

Colombia is still one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a trade unionist and conference pledged to continue UNISON’s long term support for working people in Colombia in their struggles for human and trade union rights and to build a better quality of life.

Resisting reckless attacks on health and safety

#undc13 UNISON will challenge the Government's reckless attacks on Health and Safety, whilst promoting Health and Safety within the union, ensuring that activists are appropriately trained in the subject matter, and that they know what their rights are in relation to their role as safety reps.
  Chris Stephens, Glasgow City Branch, criticised the ConDem Government's unfounded ideological attack on health and safety, passing it off as a burden on business and a barrier to young people gaining work experience.

A better and fairer way than austerity

#undc13 Gordon McKay, NEC Scotland representative, vowed that UNISON would argue and campaign for an alternative to austerity - for a better way, that will put this country first by promoting jobs, public services and growth.
  Gordon said, "We need an end to job cuts and the dogma driven pay cap in the public sector. Giving people work and paying a fair wage will promote spending and growth. We should raise the income of the lowest paid because not only is it the right thing to do, but it is the sensible thing to do when we need to encourage spending."

Private firms asked to bid for NHS work for next 3 years

A report by Helen Puttick in The Herald today says that private firms are being invited to bid for NHS work for the next three years... "days after health secretary Alex Neil described the use of the independent sector 'as a temporary phenomenon'."

This followed news that health board spending on private healthcare went up by nearly 60% last year.

UNISON's Willie Duffy, lead organiser for health, is quoted in the Herald report, condemning the use of the private sector in this way. He said: "We should be investing in quality NHS services rather than pouring money into private healthcare.

“It is common sense that money going to pay to have these operations carried out privately would be better spent within the NHS.”

Union hits out at high cost of private financing for Scottish transport projects

21 June 2013
UNISON today (Friday) welcomed the call from Audit Scotland for greater transparency on the costs of five key transport projects.

The public services union said it was clearly wrong that the full public sector financial commitment for the projects has not been reported before now and condemned the continued use of expensive PFI/PPP through so-called Non Profit Distributing (NPD) financing.

Audit Scotland warned that the total estimated spending commitment over 30 years is £7.5 billion but that the Scottish Government “has not fully demonstrated the reliability” of its analysis that this is affordable.

Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, said: “Two of these road projects use NPD, while the Borders Rail project failed as an NPD scheme.

“We have long warned about the high costs and lack of transparency about PFI/PPP. It is mortgaging future generations to the hilt at greater cost than conventional financing.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Pensions row protest outside Glasgow University court

More than 200 Glasgow University support staff held a vigorous and noisy protest outside a meeting of the University Court yesterday.
They were demonstrating in protest at proposals to close their pension scheme. Members of UNISON and UNITE are angry that the University proposes to offer a much worse pension scheme to the lowest paid admin, security and cleaning staff, while the professors continue to enjoy all their benefits. 

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Scotland calls for an end to the scandal of publicly funded poverty pay

#undc13 Delegates slammed the Coalition government’s “slash and burn” responses to the economic crisis, with attacks on pay and terms and conditions and growing privatisation creating a low wage economy, job insecurity and undermining employment rights.

It called for UNISON to stay at the forefront of the opposition to these attacks, with a range of measures including building on our living wage campaign.

Police must act on disability hate crime

#undc13 UNISON will campaign to raise the profile of disability hate crime and will call for it to be treated as seriously as other forms of hate crime.

Strathclyde Police and Fire’s Brian Molloy, backing the National Disabled Members Committee motion highlighted that legislation to combat disability hate crime has existed in Scotland since 2010.

Call for mass housing programme: Homes for people not profit

#undc13 UNISON called for a mass housing investment programme, building new and refurbishing old housing provision, financed from increases in progressive taxes.

Steve Gray, Aberdeenshire UNISON, told Conference: “Homes are for people not profits! Putting profits before people has resulted in the national housing crisis that affects UNISON members and other people on low incomes to middle incomes.”

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Care solutions need to recognise devolved powers

As the numbers of people needing social care and support continue to rise, there needs to be a long term sustainable solution to the funding deficit in social care and Conference threw its weight behind a range of measures to address this, including support for a national care service, free at the point of need.
  Scotland’s Stephen Smellie brought a Scottish perspective to the debate, however, reminding delegates that social care and the NHS are devolved matters, and different solutions will need to develop in response to different issues.

Time to get angry to protect rights

Employment rights are human rights, good for the economy and a sign of a healthy society. This was the message from Conference delegates as they pledged to fight Government attacks on our employment and trade union rights.

Scotland's Gordon McKay, speaking for the NEC told Conference that these next four days should be "where we raise a voice of articulated anger from a united union aimed at a government that is ripping up the employment rights of workers.

Careers website ‘no substitute for face-to-face guidance’ - UNISON

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Presentation of new research: What’s the evidence? Comparing the impact of career websites and other career support’ 
Tuesday 18 June - Scottish Parliament

Members of UNISON’s Scottish careers branch today (Tuesday 18 June) told MSPs that websites like My World of Work – which all Scottish school pupils are now expected to rely on for careers advice - are “no substitute for face-to-face guidance”. UNISON is calling for Skills Development Scotland to raise the profile of the face-to-face service provided by careers advisers.

Independent research into the effect of careers websites commissioned from the University of Edinburgh has found that My World of Work – known as MyWoW – was valued by pupils and teachers, but that it has “limited impact on pupils’ careers management skills”. In fact, the researchers say, “it is clear from the focus groups and open-ended survey comments that pupils, irrespective of their level of family support or attainment, would like face-to-face contact with careers advisers as well as access to websites.” 

Derek Cheyne, secretary of UNISON’s Skills Development Scotland branch said:
“This research shows that while careers websites are of value, they are no substitute for expert face-to-face guidance. Young people face the worst jobs crisis in recent times and they need the best possible support to help them move from school to rewarding careers.”

The chief executive of SDS, Damien Yeates, recently told the Times Educational Supplement Scotland that ‘any student who really feels they would like face-to-face advice should get it’. However, the Edinburgh research states: “It is evident, too, that pupils need to be more fully informed about the role of a careers adviser and about access arrangements.”

James Corry, chair of the union’s Non-Departmental Public Bodies sector committee, said:
“This research confirms what we as professionals in the careers service already know – that face-to-face sessions are vital for pupils. It is clear that SDS needs to raise the profile of the face-to-face service provided by our advisers – and that the promotion of face-to-face advice needs to be properly resourced.”

The research was presented to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament at an information and discussion meeting today Tuesday 18 June, hosted by Neil Findlay, Deputy Convener of the Education and Culture Committee.


Notes to editors:

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest public services trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland – including staff providing key careers services in Skills Development Scotland.

2. ‘What’s the evidence? Comparing the impact of career websites and other career support’ by Cathy Howieson and Sheila Semple, Centre for Educational Sociology, University of Edinburgh, will be published on Tuesday 18 June as CES Briefing Number 63, 2013

From the Briefing introduction:
“UK governments expect career websites to fulfil a central role in career information, advice and guidance. In Scotland, Skills Development Scotland's input in schools is now based on the expectation that all pupils will use its website My World of Work (MyWoW) and many may not need individual contact with a careers adviser. Career websites have the potential to make a valuable contribution but currently little is know about their effectiveness and impact. This Briefing outlines the findings from a study that examined the comparative impact of career websites such as MyWoW.”

Findings from the study include:
• Pupils and teachers valued MyWoW but as part of provision that includes face-to-face support, including from a careers adviser, for the majority of pupils.
• Compared with other sources of career support, MyWoW had a limited impact on pupils’ careers management skills as did the PlanitPlus website.
• Clinic sessions with a career adviser, discussion with teachers and use of the school careers library each had a substantial impact on pupils’ career management skills.

3. A Briefing from the study was presented to an information and discussion meeting in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 18 June at 1pm.

4. The study was funded by UNISON and builds on earlier research commissioned by SDS. The full research report is available from 15 July 2013 at
The briefing is available on UNISON Scotland’s website from Tuesday 18 June

Welcome for MSPs' call for statutory right to childcare

UNISON Equalities Officer Eileen Dinning today welcomed a report by MSPs calling for a timetable for a statutory right to childcare.

The Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee said the move, along with more flexible working patterns, could transform women's access to work.

Eileen, chair of the STUC Women's Committee, said: "We welcome the committee's report as it reinforces our experience of the obstacles women face in the workplace.

"We have long argued for free and universal childcare and we hope this is the first step to achieving that goal."

Fair Pay Day of Action around Scotland - and in Dundee for #AusterityUncovered

#YestoFairPay Please help publicise UNISON Scotland's next Fair Pay Day of Action on Tuesday 25 June. Branches are campaigning across Scotland for Fair Pay for local government workers and Yes to Strike Action for Fair Pay.

Also on 25 June, Our Fair Pay Day Family Fun and Rally in Dundee is part of the STUC's Austerity Uncovered There is a Better Way tour from 21-29 June.

Monday 17 June 2013

Delegates say Yes to Fair Pay campaign

#unlgc13 Scotland delegates to UNISON Local Government Conference stand up for Fair Pay. Ballot papers coming out soon. Be sure to vote for action! #YestoFairPay See

Support for scrutinising council budgets

#unlgc13 UNISON will train specialists to help branches analyse council budgets and help identify alternative proposals to the employer's cuts in jobs and services. It will also work with regions and branches on support at branch level people with the time and knowledge to analyse hidden savings and other budget queries.
  Edinburgh's Andy Barnett, supporting the Eastern Region motion, brought laughter when he said his accountant father's favourite joke was; "What's one plus one? Whatever you want it to be. It shows the difficulty in understanding budgets", said Andy.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Poverty wages – a publicly funded pay scandal

#unlgc13 UNISON will lead a campaign to ensure that every council in the UK and all companies contracted to provide public services, pay the Living Wage to their workers. Full story at

Campaign for living wage and real jobs for modern apprentices

#unlgc13 The best way to improve conditions for modern apprentices is to recruit them into the union, Conference was told as it called for a living wage and assured permanent jobs when apprenticeships finish. See full story at

Welfare reform is creating widespread hardship and must be reversed

#unlgc13 Following a robust and inspiring introduction by UNISON member and Liverpool Mayor, Joe Anderson, when he slammed welfare reforms and their impact on the most vulnerable, delegates overwhelmingly supported a range of measures to fight the Westminster government’s attacks on the Welfare State. Full story at

Friday 14 June 2013

Mahmoud Sarsak urges strong support for Israel boycott on visit to Glasgow

Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak urged a packed meeting of trade unionists in Glasgow today to keep up the boycott pressure on Israel.The fomer political detainee and hunger striker  gave a harrowing account of being tortured during his three years held without charge or trial or visits from family.
Speaking at a meeting in UNISON's Glasgow offices, he described what happened to him after he was detained by the Israeli security services in July 2009, when they took "both my dignity and my freedom."
Mahmoud said he and others, including child prisoners, were abused and suffered medical neglect.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Palestinian footballer joins UNISON in call for sporting boycott of Israel

13 June 2013

Mahmoud Sarsak Meeting 12.30pm - Friday 14th June 2013
UNISON, 14 West Campbell Street, GLASGOW G2 6RX

 Palestinian international footballer Mahmoud Sarsak – recently released from detention by the occupying Israeli forces after a three month hunger strike - will speak about his nation’s struggle for international recognition at a public meeting in Glasgow tomorrow (Friday 14 June)
Public service union UNISON, which has been a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, is hosting the event.

#austerityuncovered in Scotland with #STUC's There is a Better Way 21-29 June

13 June 2013
The STUC is organising a series of events and meetings this month under the banner of Austerity Uncovered and There is a Better Way.

Details from There is a Better Way website...


"A nationwide tour, gathering the evidence to convict government policies. Austerity is hurting, but it isn’t working.

UNISON warns of risks from planning and regulation cuts

12 June 2013
Severe cuts in council planning departments are leading to potential safety risks for the public, reducing the quality of the service delivered and worsening inequalities, a survey of UNISON members has revealed today.

And the union argues that the essential protections needed to “protect the public from unscrupulous and dangerous practices” - and to ensure that Scotland is a safe place to live and work - will be weakened in the Scottish government’s new Regulation Bill.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

No UNISON member is handing back a knighthood - #YestoFairPay

UNISON Scotland can confirm today that no members of the public service union will be handing back a knighthood.

The union confirmed that, unlike James Crosby, former chief executive of HBOS, none of the union's 160,000 members who work delivering public services across Scotland will be the subject of a meeting of the Honours Forfeiture Committee.
A spokesperson for UNISON Scotland said:
“Whatever embarrassment the disgraced banker now known as Mister Crosby might be feeling will, we are sure, be eased by the fact that he still has a yearly pension of £406,000.

UNISON members won't have to pay new employment tribunal fees. #JoinUNISON

12 June 2013

Another good reason to #JoinUNISON...

UNISON members taking union-supported employment tribunal cases will not have to pay the new fee of up to £1,200 that the government is introducing from summer 2013.

The new plans will mean that claimants will pay an initial fee to start the claim and another fee if the claim goes to a hearing. These can add up to £1,200 for the more complex cases.

UNISON and STUC on Call Kaye about the falling value of wages #YestoFairPay

12 June 2013

The BBC Scotland Call Kaye programme had contributions today from UNISON's Dave Watson and Dave Moxham, from the STUC.

The subject was the falling value of wages, something Dave Watson blogged on yesterday.

The full programme is online here, with the start of this topic just after 3 minutes in.

UNISON warns social work standards are at risk from austerity cuts

12 June 2013
Social workers meeting in Glasgow today (Wed) warned that managers and the Scottish Government must do more protect services to the most vulnerable in the face of austerity cuts.

Stephen Smellie, Vice Convener of UNISON Scotland, told a seminar on ethical social work that cutbacks are placing unprecedented pressures on services and on staff working to ensure professional standards are upheld.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

#YestoFairPay day of action today - new pay analysis shows importance to economy

11 June 2013

Today UNISON local government branches across Scotland are organising workplace events and action campaigning for Fair Pay. (Resources and info here)

Dave Watson, UNISON's Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, has blogged on today's new TUC research showing billions lost to the economy because of the falling value of pay.

".....Council workers are the lowest paid group of public service staff. We know that low paid workers will spend much of their fair pay and Living Wage in their own communities – building the local economy. A study by APSE on the Economic Footprint of Local Services estimates that local government employees re-spend 52.5p of every pound in their pay locally. A similar study in Stoke put the figure at 63p.

Friday 7 June 2013

Scotland misses second climate target - SCCS @scccoalition call for action

Responding the news today that the 2011 emission target was missed, Dr Sam Gardner of coalition Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) said:

"Today's news of a second missed target is very disappointing. We recognise that this is due in part to complicated changes on how we count our emissions, but the headline of another missed target strongly underlines the need for a much tougher climate action plan, expected out later this month, that will drive down emissions year on year and give confidence that future targets can be met. 

Thursday 6 June 2013

UNISON Scotland calls for massive investment in social housing

Thu 6 June 2013
Launch of new housing policy document Making Homes for a Fairer Scotland

Housing services union UNISON has today called for a massive investment in social housing to make the homes we need for a fairer Scotland.

The union’s new policy discussion paper Making Homes for a Fairer Scotlandargues that social housing is key to reducing poverty and inequality, and their long-term effects on health and wellbeing – along with an enforceable system of rent control, improved regulation of landlords and decent housing standards.

Hundreds of health workers win backdated maternity leave public holidays - #JoinUNISON

6 June 2013

Women health workers in Scotland are to receive backdated public holidays they were wrongly denied while on maternity leave.

NHS mums, including nurses, physiotherapists, cleaners, midwives, admin workers and other staff, could receive up to seven days if they were in full time posts. Women who have had more than one period of maternity leave since 2008 would be due backdated holidays for each period.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Media coverage of UNISON council staff strike ballot #YestoFair Pay

#JoinUNISON 5 June 2013

Some of the media coverage of UNISON's news release announcing a Scotland wide strike ballot of council staff...

BBC:  "Unison to hold strike ballot over Cosla pay offer

"Local government workers across Scotland are to be balloted on possible strike action, after public services union Unison rejected a 1% pay offer by councils.

"The union said it would ballot 75,000 members working for Scotland's 32 local authorities.

"Unison described the pay offer as "miserly", following a two-year pay freeze...."

STV:  "Unions to ballot 95,000 local government workers on autumn strike

"Local government workers across Scotland are to be balloted on strike action following the rejection of a 1% pay offer.

"Unions will ballot 95,000 members working for Scotland’s 32 local authorities. Those balloted include cooks, cleaners, classroom assistants, housing staff, library workers, cleansing and environmental protection staff, technicians and trading standards workers, early years workers and social work staff.

"Members whose conditions are linked to local government pay and conditions are also to be balloted.

"Chair of Unison’s local government committee Stephanie Herd said: “Members are angry about a miserly 1% offer, following two years of a pay freeze.

“Council staff work hard delivering quality public services. They are overstretched after more than 34,500 local government jobs have gone. They are underpaid, and they see the wealthiest people in this country getting ever richer.

“Our members deserve fair pay and we believe they will vote yes for strike action to put pressure on the employers to improve the offer.

"Around 20,000 members of the Unite union who work in local government are also to be balloted..."

Evening Times:  "Council staff in pay row strike ballot

"Council staff are being asked to go on strike in an attempt to improve a 1% pay offer

"Public services union Unison will ballot 75,000 members in Scotland's 32 local authorities.

"Stephanie Herd, who leads the union's local government committee, said members are angry at receiving the "miserly" offer after two years of a pay freeze.

""Over this period the value of their pay has gone down by nearly 13%, while the cost of food and heating has soared," she said...."

Radio Forth:  "Scots council staff to be balloted on strike action..."

The Sun: "Council workers are to vote on strike action in a pay battle...."

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Union announces Scotland wide strike ballot of council staff - #YestoFairPay

4 June 2013

Local government workers across Scotland are being balloted on strike action, after rejecting a 1% pay offer.

UNISON, the public services union, will ballot 75,000 members working for Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

Stephanie Herd, Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Committee, said: “Members are angry about a miserly 1% offer, following two years of a pay freeze.

“The year before that they only received 0.65%. Over this period the value of their pay has gone down by nearly 13%, while the cost of food and heating has soared.

“Council staff work hard delivering quality public services. They are overstretched after more than 34,500 local government jobs have gone. They are underpaid, and they see the wealthiest people in this country getting ever richer.

“Our members deserve fair pay and we believe they will vote yes for strike action to put pressure on the employers to improve the offer.”

UNISON is calling for a fair pay rise and for COSLA to commit to an annual increase in the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.50 per hour. The current offer from employers includes the Living Wage, which the unions have campaigned for, but no annual uplift.

Dougie Black, UNISON lead negotiator in local government, said: “We tried to get the employers back round the table for talks after members voted to reject the offer, but the employers refused.

“It is clear that our members do not believe 1% is fair. They also lost out because they did not receive the £250 increase for the lowest paid NHS and civil service staff in the last two years, which was supposed to soften the blow of a pay freeze.”


Notes to editors:

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland, including staff at all 32 local authorities.

2. The union’s local government membership includes cooks, cleaners, classroom assistants, housing staff, library workers, cleansing and environmental protection staff, technicians and trading standards workers and early years workers and social work staff .

3. Members whose conditions are linked to local government pay and conditions are also being balloted.

4. The ballot will run from 3 July to 13 August, with a proposal, if members vote yes, of a minimum of three days of strike action over a seven week period in the autumn. Two of these would be national one day strikes and there would be a rolling programme of one day strikes around the country. Selective action is also being considered.

5. In the run up to the ballot opening, UNISON branches will hold two Fair Pay Days of Action in council workplaces around the country. These will be on June 11 and 25.

6. The June 25 Fair Pay Day will also form part of the STUC’s Austerity Uncovered -There is A Better Way nine days of action across Scotland, focusing on the effects of cuts to services and benefits.

7. Unite is also balloting members in local government.

More information on our Fair Pay for Local Government 2013 campaign page: