Sunday, 29 September 2013

Scotland joins biggest ever Manchester rally

#NHS299 Scottish branches are among the tens of thousands marching through Manchester today to save our NHS. Police estimates at the moment put the marchers at 50,000 with more still arriving. Some reports say it is the biggest demo Manchester has seen in recent times.

At one stage the UNISON Scotland banner was proudly at the front until the poles broke again. Questions are being asked as to whether banner bearer extraordinaire Stephen Low knows his own strength!

UNISON Scotland convener Lilian Macer addressed demonstrators at the start of the march which included delegations from Glasgow Clyde and CVS, Clackmannashire, Highland, and Edinburgh.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Stirling strike photos

Photos from the latest selective actions, support from Mark Thomas and the all-out day on 26 August are now in Picasa at
See also a short video at

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

UNISON members in Inverclyde enjoy success in term-time dispute

Around 400 UNISON members based in Inverclyde Schools and Nurseries will receive compensation following an agreement between UNISON and Inverclyde Council to change their pay calculator.

At a meeting of the Council’s Policy & Resources committee yesterday, Councillors agreed to the introduction of a new term-time pay calculator from 1st January next year.

This brings to an end a long-running dispute between UNISON and the Council on the issue of term-time pay. UNISON has said that they are satisfied with the decision reached by Councillors and look forward to their members receiving a just settlement.

Unions, churches and charities urge Scot Gov to deliver on free school meals

UNISON today joined the STUC, churches and charities in urging the Scottish Government to deliver on its free school meals policy.

The call follows Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's announcement last week of free school meals for children in P1-P3 in England from September 2014.

UNISON Scotland has long campaigned for universal free school meals and is disappointed that the Scottish Government has not delivered on its commitment to provide a free healthy lunch to all pupils in P1-P3.

At a time when child poverty is predicted to increase significantly, food bank use is soaring and family budgets are hit by falling incomes and rising food and energy bills, free school meals are more important than ever.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

UNISON Scotland and North West join for international seminar

Delegates from Scotland and the North West met in Glasgow yesterday for a an inspiring joint international seminar. They heard the optimism of young Cuban trade unionists, the ongoing struggle against the continuing human disaster of Bhopal, and the human cost of the sweatshops that make our clothes. But most of all they heard what to do about it.
    The attacks on us are international so the response has to be international. Exploitative companies are international. Repressive politics are international. The ‘big lie’ and austerity are international. As Walton Pantland from Union Solidarity International put it: ‘it’s a robbery not a recession’.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Mark Thomas backs Stirling strikers

Comedian and activist Mark Thomas joined Stirling UNISON pickets on Wednesday between gigs in Stirling and Aberdeen.  He was backing members in ICT on strike as part of the escalating action against cuts in pay and conditions. See also Stirling unions come together to defend services and standards.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Higher Education Pay Ballot Starts 18 September

UNISON members in higher education are being balloted for strike action over pay. UNISON’s higher education service group executive is urging members to vote for strike action in the autumn, seeking a significant improvement on the 1% pay offer. More details on the UK UNISON site at

Monday, 16 September 2013

Stirling steps up action as ICT strike

UNISON members in Stirling Council's ICT Infrastructure team embarked on the first of five days of action today as the branch stepped up action against cuts in pay and conditions. This is the first phase of selective action that follows the one day all out strike action on Monday 26 August. See also Stirling unions come together to defend services and standards.

Friday, 13 September 2013


Unions at Stirling Council have pledged to work together to defend services and working conditions.

This follows meetings involving Unite, GMB, UNISON and UCATT.

UNISON and Unite members have already taken industrial action and there will be further selective Industrial action on Monday 16/09. Recent ballots by UCATT and GMB members returned strong mandates for industrial action

Lesley Russell Secretary for the Local Authority’s Joint Trade Unions said:

“ It’s clear that all sections of the Council workforce are angry at the attempt to impose pay cuts on staff who are trying to maintain services and already suffering the effects of a three year pay freeze
UNISON and Unite members have already taken action and unless the council returns to the negotiating table there will be further action coordinated with UCATT, Unite and the GMB. Although the teaching unions are not part of this dispute, they have expressed their full support for their union colleagues.”

“We urge the council to talk to us - our members would rather be at work delivering the services the people of Stirling rely on.”

“ This isn’t just an issue about Council Staff . While In the short term we are trying to defend ourselves and our families but it is foolish to imagine that steadily making the people delivering the services poorer won’t have an impact on the quality of the services delivered.”

For further information please contact:
Lesley Russell 07717544968
Emma Phillips 07538101221

Thursday, 12 September 2013

UNISON welcomes publication of Procurement Bill

UNISON, Scotland's largest public sector union has welcomed the Procurement Bill being sent to parliament. UNISON has long campaigned for public procurement to be used more effectively to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of local communities.

UNISON Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said:

“UNISON welcomes assurances from the First Minister that the Bill includes new powers to tackle companies that do not comply with their legal obligations, including blacklisting and employment law. However, the Bill will need to go much further in tackling abuses such as tax dodging and poor employment standards such as the race to the bottom in care quality. Procurement should also be used to promote the Scottish Living Wage, fair trade and help achieve Scotland’s climate change targets.”

For further information please contact:
Dave Watson: Tel. 07958 122409

Notes for editors

UNISON Scotland’s submission to the consultation on the Procurement Bill can be viewed here:

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

UNISON comment on Scottish Government pay policy

Wed 11 Sep 2013

Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary of UNISON the largest union in Scottish public services said:

"Mr Swinney says that he will address low pay in the public services, however he reproduces the 1% set by Westminster and has no powers of implementation or enforcement over large sectors  of the public services to ensure a weighting to low paid.

“Government is about  choice and John Swinney has chosen to maintain ‘the most generous system of business rates relief anywhere in the UK’ while the vast bulk of those working in our vital public services will see their wages lose value.

“Mr Swinney makes great play of supporting a Living Wage  - let’s hope he delivers on that pledge when he publishes his Bill on public sector procurement.”


UNISON supporting Take One Action! Film Festival

UNISON is once again supporting the Take One Action! Film Festival which runs from 27th September until 12th October.

Take One Action – Scotland’s global change film festival - spotlights stories that connect us across the planet: from the Occupy movement to climate change, women’s global empowerment, fracking, international development and more.

The full festival programme can be found at: .

Although the festival is focused on Edinburgh and Glasgow, we are bringing screenings to Dundee and Inverness and in the spring of next year a selection of films from the festival will tour Scotland. Please circulate this information to your contacts.

Health and care integration delivered by people not robots

UNISON, Scotland's largest public sector union will today argue that if health and care integration is to succeed, it needs to focus more on the people who deliver care than simply structures.

Scottish Government plans for health and care integration are set out in the Public Bodies (Joint Working) Bill that is shortly to be considered by the Scottish Parliament. UNISON Scotland has argued that the Bill gives ministers massive powers to intervene in local democracy, but gives little consideration to staffing issues.

Speaking at the Holyrood health and care integration conference, UNISON Scottish Organiser, Dave Watson will say: "Health and care is delivered by people, not robots. The Bill and the prior consultation process only gives the staffing aspects of care integration a passing mention. Given the history of health and care integration, with its many initiatives, staff are entitled to be cynical about another shift of the managerial deckchairs without being sidelined.”

Dave Watson will argue that national and local workforce strategies are required, he will say: “International studies show that tackling people issues are the key to delivering integration. Addressing organisational culture, relationships, respecting professional identity, training and staff engagement have been shown time and time again to be what works. In Scotland, we persist in trying to reinvent the wheel while we muddle through these issues.”

UNISON has set out the key elements of a workforce strategy in its submissions on the Bill. They include practical issues such as staff transfer, pensions, workforce procedures, procurement, equality and a broader staff governance framework.

For further information please contact:
Dave Watson: Tel. 07958 122409

Notes for editors UNISON Scotland evidence to the Health Committee sets out these issues in more detail. Our concise briefing on the Bill at
International evidence to support our argument in SPICE briefing

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Dundee Together against Racism & Fascism - Saturday 14 Sept

Message from Dundee City UNISON:

Join us in celebrating our wonderfully diverse city and all its occupants at Dundee Together against Racism & Fascism  2013, Saturday 14th September 2013, from 11am in our City Square.

Dundee Together against Racism & Fascism brings together faith groups,  Trades Unions,  political parties and other community organisations, in a peaceful and inclusive celebration of the diversity of Dundee on Saturday 14th September 2013 in our City Square.  Bringing local families and members of the community together to enjoy music,  food, dance, art and discussion from a wide variety of cultural influences prevalent in contemporary Dundee.

IT workers at Stirling Council to strike next week in ongoing dispute

UNISON local government workers in Stirling will start selective strike action on Monday (16 Sept) as part of the branch’s ongoing industrial action against draconian cuts to pay and conditions.

UNISON has given notice to Stirling Council of selective action involving a group of IT workers. This will start on Monday for one week.

This is the first phase of selective action that follows the one day all out strike action on Monday 26 August.

Bin the Bedroom Tax and ScrapTrident Demos at Lib Dem Conference in Glasgow

#BedroomTax #ScrapTrident
Two important rallies are taking place in Glasgow on Saturday 14 Sept to protest to Liberal Democrats, in the city for their annual conference.

The STUC-supported rally against the bedroom tax has had arrangements changed after the Bin the Bedroom Tax Coalition were denied permission for the planned march from Glasgow Green.

The main event will now be a rally and lobby, with banners and placards, outside the conference at the SECC at 1pm on Saturday. Full details of this will be on the STUC website asap.

There will also be a brief rally at Glasgow Green at 11.30am on Saturday, for those who turn up there, as well as a range of other activities, including lobbying in the protest area at the SECC on Sunday and Monday during the conference week.

CND and Scottish CND are holding a rally on Saturday at the SECC from 11.30 - 12.30pm. Assemble outside the Clyde Auditorium from 11.15am.

Full details about their Time to Scrap Trident Rally are here.

The latest information about the range of Bin the Bedroom Tax Coalition protests will be updated asap on their website and on the STUC website .

Monday, 9 September 2013

UNISON Scotland gives evidence on Children's Bill

UNISON's John Stevenson gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Education and Culture Committee on Tuesday 3 September on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill. The session discussed the general principles of the Bill.

John stressed that UNISON Scotland supported the idea of a named person and an integrated plan for every child in Scotland but queried whether the necessary resources would be available on the ground to deliver such a comprehensive service. Health, education and social work were already bogged down with reports, forms, assessments, etc. when more practical help would be needed. He raised the different interpretations of welfare (protection) v wellbeing, by different agencies and expressed concern that children's rights had been in some way downgraded, as rights of the parents were put first, more and more. He agreed with the committee that a children's rights impact assessment would be helpful.

He also raised UNISON's concerns re confidentiality of information and the child's right to privacy.

UNISON believed there would be additional resources needed for health staff, particularly health visitors who would be the named person for all children from birth to 5; and early years staff when the number of hours allocated to 3 and 4 year olds was increased to 600 hours per annum. The increase in social work services was at present unquantifiable, as it would depend on additional referrals arising from the new procedures.

He stressed the need to simplify the number of forms required for children, but not to oversimplify the information in a child's plan, so as to make the information meaningless, which was accepted by the Committee.

UNISON's evidence to the original consultation can be found here.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

UNISON hits back at Stirling council claim of "voluntary" signup for pay cuts

Sunday 8 September 2013 

UNISON Stirling branch has hit back at a claim by the local authority that employees are voluntarily signing up for its draconian package of pay cuts and increases in working hours.

Striling Council chief executive Bob Jack told BBC Scotland that: "The number of staff who have voluntarily agreed to the changes is heading towards the halfway mark and we expect the numbers to increase rapidly now that Unison is calling on its members to sign up."

UNISON branch secretary Lorraine Thomson said:

"For the record, there is nothing voluntary about having to sign up to keep your job. Our advice to our members is to sign up 'under duress' to avoid the risk of losing their jobs.

"The campaign will go on to fight these savage cuts to our pay and conditions and we will be announcing further action very soon."

Thursday, 5 September 2013

UNISON urges members to lobby their MPs over new 'gagging law'

From May 2014, draconian new rules would prevent non-politicians from speaking up on the big issues of the day. UNISON is urging its members to read more about it and get in touch with their MPs through 38 Degrees website here

Read more on UNISON UK website

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

New FOI rights miss out most outsourced bodies - CFoIS

UNISON Scotland today backed criticism of the Scottish Government that new increased Freedom of Information rights don't go nearly far enough.

The union backed the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS), which condemned a limited extension as "missing most outsourced bodies" that should be included.

Tomorrow (4 Sept), the Scottish Parliament Local Government & Regeneration Committee has on its agenda the Scottish Government's draft Order which brings local government leisure and cultural trusts under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

But the CFoIS wants MSPs to grill Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, when she comes before the Committee tomorrow, on when FOI will be extended to private prisons, PFI contractors, housing associations and other bodies providing public services.