Thursday 31 October 2013

Pupil Support Assistants strike Glasgow 31 October 2013

Pics from today's strike and lobby by Glasgow pupil support assistants - more pics here on our picasa site

Higher Education Strike pics Thu 31 Oct 2013

Here's some picket lines from today's strike - more pics here on our picasa site

Robert Gordon Univesity in Aberdeen
Glasgow School of Art
Glasgow University main gate - morning picket...

UNISON Police Staff stunned at promotions as cash strapped force announces £139m cuts

Thursday 31 October 2013

Scotland’s cash strapped police service is considering giving over 100 senior officers promotions that will see their pay rise by at least £8000 each to improve morale. The announcement came at a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority where Police Scotland announced that they intended to make £139m in cuts over the next two years to balance the books.

In the past 2 months nearly 140 Police Staff have lost their jobs as cuts in the Police Scotland budget continue to hit hard and the Organisation tries to balance the books for this year.

But, in an astonishing move, Police Officer promotions, which  have been on hold for 18 months, have been given the green light to go ahead by the Scottish Police Authority.

UNISON Regional Organiser Gerry Crawley said:
"It baffles me how, on the one hand, hundreds of staff jobs are being cut. But, on the other hand, promotions to the rank of Superintendent are being allowed. It would have been a positive sign to support staff by Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority if these promotions had  been kept on hold and the savings used to keep police staff  doing their jobs.

George McIrvine, UNISON Police Staff Branch Secretary said:
"Police Officers are already very fortunate because their jobs are protected from the cuts as Officer numbers cannot go below 17234 Officers. The hundreds of thousands of pounds going in promotions could be used as savings to save support staff from redundancy".

Gerry Crawley added:
"Surely if Support Staff are facing redundancy and cuts to their jobs and living standards it wouldn't be too great a sacrifice for Senior Police Officers to postpone these promotions until the end of the current financial crisis".  

Note to Editors:
At the Scottish Police Authority meeting in Aberdeen yesterday (Wednesday 30 October 2013) the financial crisis facing the Police Service of Scotland was highlighted when it was reported that £139m will need to be saved, through cuts, to balance the books in the next 2 years. Over 84% of Police Costs are staffing costs and Support Staff are the only group of workers in Police Scotland facing redundancy.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Midnight walk out in Glasgow begins UK higher education shut down

Wed 30 October 2013

A midnight walk out by security guards at Glasgow Caledonian University will start a day of shutdown of universities and higher education colleges across the UK.

The security guards will be joined by Cinderella, the Ugly Sisters of Corporate Greed and the Fairy Godmother of Decent Pay Rises at 0000hrs 30 October (ie midnight).

This will begin a day of action by unions representing all sectors of the higher education workforce It’s not action that’s being taken lightly but following a 13% decrease in the value of pay over the last four years. the workforce serving our students have had enough. Pay should be at a level which attracts and maintains a happy and motivated workforce. Instead staff are being asked to do more and take home less and less to their families year after year.

Emma Phillips, UNISON regional organiser for higher education said;

“For UNISON, this dispute is about tackling low and decreasing pay. In the last 4 years, the pay of the university staff that we represent has fallen by nearly 15% in real terms. Over 4000 staff working in our universities are paid below the Living Wage. There are people employed by universities facing the choice between eating or heating their home this winter. I find this shocking. Universities can afford to pay decent wages. They should show more respect to all the people who work for them.

Details of local actions/ Pickets/ Rallies:

Glasgow Caledonian University - 12midnight
Walk out of security guards. The security guards will be joined by Cinderella, the Cinderella, the Ugly Sisters of Corporate Greed and the Fairy Godmother of Decent Pay Rises at 0000hr 30th October, 70 Cowcaddens Road. Walk out will go past main gate.
For further info contact Davena Rankin 07901 594158

Glasgow Rally: 12 noon – 1pm, Adelaide’s Baptist Church, Bath Street, Glasgow
Speakers so far: Dave Anderson UCU Scotland President, UNISON, Unite, Dave Moxham STUC Deputy General Secretary, NUS

Edinburgh Rally: 12 noon – 1pm, Bristo Square, Edinburgh Speakers so far: UCU, Unison, Unite, Gordon Maloney NUS Scotland President, Ann Henderson STUC Assistant Secretary

University of Aberdeen
Picket lines: From 8am – 11am - Regent Walk, Hillhead Halls, Library, Foresterhill (Polworth and IMS), College Bounds
Contact: Chris McLeod - – telephone Grampian Regional Office on (01224) 620624

Robert Gordon UniversityPicket Lines: From 8am – 11am - Garthdee Campus, Riverside East/FoHSC, RGU:Sport, ABS.
Contact: Colin Jones – - telephone Grampian Regional Office on (01224) 620624

Glasgow University main gate 7am – 11am

Glasgow School of Art – 7.30am -10.30am

University of West of Scotland – Paisley main entrance 0800-1100
Hamilton main entrance 0800-1100
Ayr 0800-1100

Stirling University Pickets from Unison, Unite and UCU from 0730-1030 at both the front gate and rear gate.

Napier University 7:45 till 10:30
Sigthhill Campus, Bankhead Ave, Edinburgh
Craiglockhart Campus, Glenlockhart Road, Edinburgh
Merchiston Campus, 10 Colinton Road, Edinburgh
Contact Afshin Dastafshan 07982-120802

Glasgow City Council intransigence forces 1000 pupil support assistants out on strike

Wed 30 Oct 2013

The strike is a last resort action by the city’s pupil support assistants (PSAs) following the forcing of new responsibilities for child healthcare tasks on them without agreement. 

Glasgow City Council are expecting PSAs to undertake specialist health care tasks and administration of medicines in addition to their core duties of supporting the delivery of education.

This represents a significant extension of the PSA’s role and responsibility - one that they do not wish to undertake. This however is not recognised by Glasgow City Council who describe the monitoring and administration of care for pupils with asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and anaphylactic shock as ‘low level tasks’.

UNISON argues that these new roles and responsibilities should be assigned to a higher grade post than that held currently held by PSAs.

There has been no offer of increased pay for all PSAs, instructors or care staff for the administration of medicines.

PSAs are currently paid an annual salary of £11,800.

Some PSAs are being asked to deliver what the council describe as ‘higher level tasks’ 

These include: blood glucose monitoring, injections, gastronomy tube/peg feeding, tracheostomy care including suction, catheterisation and catheter care. UNISON believes that these are tasks which should be delivered by professional healthcare workers.

Carol Ball of Glasgow City UNISON said:
“Our concern is with child welfare. PSAs took their job to deliver education, not healthcare. Despite council claims PSAs are not receiving proper training to carry out what are medical procedures.

“And the Council can’t have it both ways, if PSAs have been trained and have the skills and responsibility of delivering these complex needs then the case for keeping them on the lowest level of pay collapses.

“We want the best possible support provided to Glasgow’s children so we are urging the council to actually negotiate with us rather than schedule meeting where they say nothing while spreading misinformation to parents who are quite rightly concerned for their children’s wellbeing."


Information for editors:PSAs will be picketing to spread awareness of the dispute outside many city primary schools from 08:00 on Thursday 31 October 2013.

There will be pickets from 08:00 at a number of the Additional Support for Learning schools including:
Broomlea Primary School, 65 Stonyhurst Street, G22 5AX
Hazelwood Primary, 50 Dumbreck Court Glasgow, Glasgow City G41 5DQ

There will be a mass lobby of Glasgow City Council by PSAs at 12:00 George Square

Historic UK-wide strike to hit universities on Thu 31 Oct

Wed 30 October

Feelings are running high ahead of the first strike to hit universities involving all three higher education unions, UNISON, UCU and Unite. The UK wide strike is to go ahead tomorrow, Thursday 31 October, after university employers ignored calls to make a last minute improved offer to defuse tensions and avoid disruption to students.

UNISON members are upset and angry at the 1% pay offer which see their pay fall by nearly 15% over the past four years.  Over 4,000 staff are currently paid below the Living Wage while over half of vice-chancellors earn over £242,000 - 18 times more than the lowest paid.   1% of £13,486 is just £134.86 a year, £11.23 a month – not enough to cover the latest gas bill rises.  By contrast, even if Vice Chancellors stick to a 1% increase – which would be a big surprise – they would trouser an extra £2,420 a year.

The disruption will go much further than lectures as UNISON’s members carry out a wide variety of jobs such as supporting students on campus, in libraries, course administration, catering, cleaning and security. Many of the roles, particularly the catering and cleaning are paid at salaries below the Living Wage of £7.45p (London Living Wage £8.55p).

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, who will be joining members on the picket line tomorrow in London (details below) said:

“Taking strike action is never an easy decision, especially for those already struggling on low pay. With Christmas less than two months away losing a day’s pay is even harder, but it shows just how angry and upset our members feel at this miserly 1% offer.

“Even members earning above the Living Wage are finding their incomes squeezed to breaking point.  It is a disgrace that universities are sitting on cash surpluses worth £2bn, but they are not prepared to reward their staff, who are the backbone of our world class university system.

“We know that the total wage bill is falling while staff numbers have increased – that dynamic spells misery for many thousands of families.  It is time for university employers to think again about the value that they place on their workforce and come back with a better offer.”

Notes to Editors

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis and Jon Richards, UNISON Head of Education will join picket lines in London at approx 9.30am - University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT and Westminster University 309 Regent St, Paddington, London W1B 2UW - at approx 10.20

·              Higher education has a greater gender pay gap than the rest of the public sector

·              More than half of higher education institutions are using zero hours contracts and the numbers are growing

·              In the last two years surpluses in the sector have been over £2bn.  Student fee income has more than offset cuts in government grants.

UK wide snapshot of action hotspots

Brighton - 12.00 Assemble Victoria Gardens (Grand Parade); 12.30 start march through Brighton to Church Street; 13.00 disperse for rally in Corn Exchange to finish no later than 14.30.

- 11:00am rally at Senate House;
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady will be visiting picket lines.

Cambridge  - 12 noon at Central St Mary's church (outside Senate House).

Exeter - joint trade union rally, 12:30pm, Phoenix Theatre < <> > ; UCU speaker: Barry Lovejoy

- Thursday 31 October: assembling after picketing, 11.30, Parkinson Building steps, Leeds University.  Joint union march, to rally in Victoria Gardens or City Square, depending on availability. UCU speaker: Paul Bridge

Leicester - 1.30pm rally at Nelson Mandela Park.

Liverpool - rally information details to follow

London -: rally, 2pm Conway Hall, Red Lion Square <,+25+Red+Lion+Square,+London,+UK&hl=en&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=18.461747,46.538086&oq=25+RED+LION&hnear=Conway+Hall,+25+Red+Lion+Square,+London,+Greater+London+WC1R+4RL,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=14&iwloc=A <,+25+Red+Lion+Square,+London,+UK&amp;hl=en&amp;sll=53.800651,-4.064941&amp;sspn=18.461747,46.538086&amp;oq=25+RED+LION&amp;hnear=Conway+Hall,+25+Red+Lion+Square,+London,+Greater+London+WC1R+4RL,+United+Kingdom&a>  <,+25+Red+Lion+Square,+London,+UK&hl=en&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=18.461747,46.538086&oq=25+RED+LION&hnear=Conway+Hall,+25+Red+Lion+Square,+London,+Greater+London+WC1R+4RL,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=14&iwloc=A <,+25+Red+Lion+Square,+London,+UK&amp;hl=en&amp;sll=53.800651,-4.064941&amp;sspn=18.461747,46.538086&amp;oq=25+RED+LION&amp;hnear=Conway+Hall,+25+Red+Lion+Square,+London,+Greater+London+WC1R+4RL,+United+Kingdom&a> > > , near Holborn; UCU speaker Michael MacNeil; UCU speaker Michael MacNeil

- 12.30pm rally at Club Academy, University of Manchester Students Union, Oxford Road. The meeting is to be chaired by Lynn Collins (North West TUC Regional Secretary). On the platform will be Kevan Nelson (Unison), Dominique Lauterburg (UCU NEC), Unite the Union speaker (TBC) and NUS president Toni Pearce: download the Manchester rally publicity poster (.pdf) [99kb] < <> < &lt;>  < &lt;> < &amp;lt;>   < &lt;> < &amp;lt;>  < &amp;lt;> < &amp;amp;lt;>    >
Newcastle - Assemble 12.30 for 1 pm Grey's Monument, Newcastle. UCU speaker: Liz Lawrence: download the Newcastle rally publicity poster (.pdf) [113kb] < <> < &lt;>  < &lt;> < &amp;lt;>   < &lt;> < &amp;lt;>  < &amp;lt;> < &amp;amp;lt;>    >

Oxford - rally in the Council Chamber at Oxford Town Hall from 1-2pm; speakers from all three unions including
Jon Richards, UNISON Head of Education.

Sheffield - rally at 12.00 at the St Matthews Hall in the centre of Sheffield: UCU speaker: Simon Renton

Southampton - rally at Guildhall Square in Southampton < <> < &lt;>  < &lt;> < &amp;lt;>   < &lt;> < &amp;lt;>  < &amp;lt;> < &amp;amp;lt;>    )>  between midday and 1.30pm.

 - Rally: 12 noon - 1pm, Bristo Square. Speakers: Mary Senior (UCU Scotland Official), Gordon Maloney (NUS Scotland President), Ann Henderson (Assistant Secretary STUC), Emma Phillips (Regional Officer, Unison) plus speakers from Unite.

Glasgow - Rally: 12 noon - 1pm, Adelaide's Baptist Church, Bath Street. Speakers: Dave Anderson (UCU Scotland President, Robert Foster (NUS Scotland Vice President), Dave Moxham (Deputy General Secretary STUC), Davena Rankin (Unison) plus a speaker from Unite.
St Andrews - Rally at Church Square, 12 noon

- details tbc

Cardiff - rally outside the Main Building of Cardiff University at 11.30am on Thursday 31st October 2013. Speakers: Margaret Phelan, (UCU Wales official), John Toner (UNITE) and a speaker from Unison tbc 


News release from UNISON UK press office

Hundreds of Glasgow charity care workers face uncertain future

Wed 30 October 2013

Hundreds of Glasgow’s charity care workers face having their terms and conditions savaged as a result of spending cuts by the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council.

Bosses at The Mungo Foundation have threatened staff with massive cuts to their holidays and sick pay, claiming they have been backed into a corner by funding cuts.

Staff were told today (Wednesday) they will lose eight days holiday a year, while sick pay will be cut by almost half. Staff will also see their pension contributions escalate. UNISON has condemned the move and says it is the first in a line of attacks to Glasgow’s voluntary organisations as a result of spending cuts.

Alice Lyness, a care worker and UNISON steward at The Mungo Foundation, said: “My colleagues and I work with some of the city’s most vulnerable people and we’re committed to providing the first-class service they deserve.

“These cuts are not only having a detrimental impact on jobs and the living standards of voluntary sector staff, but on the people we care for each and every day. This race to the bottom is the wrong approach when we are delivering services to the most vulnerable in our community.”

Deborah Dyer, UNISON’s Regional Organiser, said: “Many of these workers are low-paid and already struggling to make ends meet and are now are faced with paying the price of these damaging cuts.

“We need voluntary organisations to act in a responsible manner, but this must start at the top and it’s time for the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council to put an end to these cuts and to properly fund the care of the city’s most vulnerable people.”


For more information contact: Deborah Dyer, UNISON’s regional organiser, on 07538 101 225
Notes to editors
1.    For more information on the impact of local government cuts please see UNISON’s Public Works blog at:

2.    You can find out more on UNISON Scotland’s website at:

Monday 28 October 2013

UNISON brands COSLA’s delay claims ‘utter nonsense’

Monday 28 October 2013

UNISON has dismissed COSLA’s delay claims as ‘utter nonsense’ and says the organisation’s decision to rip up its one year pay offer is a kick in the teeth for hardworking council staff.

Scotland’s largest public service union reacted angrily to COSLA’s plans to impose terms on workers for a two year period - completely outwith the bargaining framework - instead of honouring their agreement of one per cent for 2013/14.

Dougie Black, UNISON’s regional organiser, said:
“COSLA’s claims that UNISON is dragging its heels is utter nonsense.

“Our members were balloted and had accepted COSLA’s one year pay offer. It’s completely unacceptable for COSLA to renege on the deal and it’s a real kick in the teeth for Scotland’s council staff who work hard to deliver Scotland’s council services.

“Imposing a deal is no way to conduct bargaining and our members deserve more than these underhand tactics. COSLA needs to get back around the negotiating table and conduct their business in a fair, open and transparent manner and show our members the respect they deserve.”

More information on the local government pay agreement can be found on our website at

Saturday 26 October 2013

Local Govt Pay - CoSLA claim is nonsense

The real fact is CoSLA imposed a new two year offer after a one year deal had been accepted by UNISON members in a ballot. CoSLA's criticism of UNISON "dragging its feet" is therefore nonsense.

See the update from 6 September below for an outline of what actually happened. A further update will be given by UNISON week beginning 28 October 2013.

Friday 25 October 2013

Toxic cocktail of spending cuts and violence

Toxic cocktail of spending cuts and violence

A 'toxic cocktail' of spending cuts and violence against public service workers has resulted in another increase in violent incidents across Scottish councils and NHS Scotland.

33,689 incidents were reported to public service employers last year - almost 14,000 more than when the first survey was first conducted in 2006.

In probably the only employment group protected from cuts, police officers, the number of incidents fell by around one-third (by 3074 to 6187). However, council and NHS workers, who face big staffing reductions, have seen an increase in violent incidents. Incidents in councils have increased by 730 to 14,879. NHS incidents are up by 1744 to 12618.

UNISON's Scottish Organiser Dave Watson will present the union's annual survey of violent incidents to UNISON's health and safety conference at Stirling University on Friday 26 October. He said:
"The biggest increase in violent incidents is happening in those services that have suffered staffing cuts. Workers are stretched too thinly, dealing with the public who are coping with cuts in the services they rely on. This is a toxic cocktail that is putting hard pressed workers at greater risk of violent assault."
There has been some improvement in recording, particularly in the NHS, but some councils couldn’t even produce statistics. There are also indications that a number of public bodies are preparing for further problems when the full impact of welfare reform happens.

Scott Donohoe, chair of UNISON Scotland’s Health and Safety Committee, said:
"These numbers only cover recorded incidents – the tip of the iceberg of misery for many staff. While we are pleased that employers are improving their systems, others have obviously got some way to go. If they can’t produce decent statistics they cannot be tackling the problem”.

Convictions under the Emergency Workers Act have increased again last year by 32 to 355. Due to the limited scope of the Act few violent incidents result in criminal action. Sadly, efforts to address this were blocked by the Scottish Government when they opposed Hugh Henry MSP’s, Protection of Worker’s Bill. The UK Government has also undermined protection for workers with cuts to the Criminal Injury Compensation scheme.


Note for editors:
The UNISON Scotland Survey of Violence at Work 2012 is online here:

The councils that couldn’t even collate the statistics are: Angus, Aberdeenshire, West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire.

There is very clear guidance for councils on how to address this issue in Managing Occupational Violence in the Workplace (2010). NHS Scotland has similar PIN guidelines.

For further information please contact:
Dave Watson, UNISON Scottish Organiser, on 07958 122 409

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Come and ask @scotgov to double funding for cycling and walking #wanttoseedouble

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland would like your help in asking the Scottish Government to double the active travel budget.

Join a lobby in Edinburgh on Wed 30 October at 1pm at St Andrew's House. Come on foot, or bring your bike if you can.

Full details on the SCCS website where you can also email your MSPs. Please do come on 30 October, but make sure you email MSPs also, and particularly if you can't come.

Climate change is an urgent health and safety issue for the planet. More funds to support cycling and walking is a win win policy - good for our health and good for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Transport accounts for a quarter of Scotland’s climate change emissions. This needs to reduce urgently and decisively if Scotland is to play its fair part in tackling global climate change.

Join us at 1pm to send a clear message to the Scottish Government that a low carbon country needs a low carbon transport system...and We Want to See Double!

On Facebook? Let SCCS know you're coming along via:

Friday 11 October 2013

Pig abscesses to be minced into sausages and pies

The European Parliament has rejected their own Health Committee recommendation and voted to change the regulation on the inspection of pigs in slaughterhouses. The changes will mean abscesses are minced into food.

BEUC the European Consumers association, the European Animal Welfare organisation and the European Veterinarian Federation all oppose the Commission proposals.

This decision removes the requirement for independent meat inspectors to cut lymph nodes in the pig’s head and states that during routine inspection the pig carcase should not be touched. Making it impossible to inspect all of the pig meat, especially if the carcase is not cut into two halves before inspection. A trial carried out earlier this year showed that the changes led to a 50% increase in undetected dangerous contamination with pig faeces.

Most meat from pig’s heads is minced into meat products, sausages, pies etc. Last year in the UK 37,000 abscesses were found in pigs heads alone. The Commission changes will lead to most of this diseased meat not being detected during meat inspection and so minced into food.

Thursday 10 October 2013

UNISON members step up strike action over ‘savage cuts’ by Stirling Council

UNISON members within Stirling Council are set to step up industrial action after talks with the council’s Chief Executive presented a ‘re-hash’ of the original proposals for savage cuts.

UNISON Stirling Council branch believes that this package of cuts proposed by the council will damage the vital services which local people rely on - and further reduce wages which have already been devalued by 13% over the last three years as a result of a pay freeze.

David O'Connor, Regional Organiser for UNISON said: “We were asked to meet the Chief Executive with a view of considering how we resolve the ongoing dispute only to be presented with a re-hash of the original proposals for savage cuts. The trade unions tabled suggestions on how we could move forward only to have these suggestions ignored.

“With what can only be described as an unwillingness on the employer’s part to enter into meaningful talks to resolve this dispute we have been left with no alternative to step up our action.”

Edinburgh World Justice Festival will be launched by Denis Goldberg on Saturday 12 October

The Edinburgh World Justice Festival, supported by UNISON Scotland, will be launched by Denis Goldberg on Saturday 12 October.

The EWJF press release is copied below below for your information. Please also visit

Edinburgh World  Justice Festivalc/o Jubilee Scotland, 41 George IV Bridge  Edinburgh, EH1 1EL   

Press Notice
5 October 2013
Denis Goldberg, colleague of Nelson Mandela, to open Edinburgh World Justice Festival
‘World Justice and Austerity’ on Saturday 12 October kicks of unique programme of 21 events
Edinburgh World Justice Festival Committee is delighted to announce that Denis Goldberg, a comrade of Nelson Mandela during the South African struggle against apartheid, is coming to Edinburgh to launch the seventh Edinburgh World Justice Festival.  The Festival presents a window on to the world justice movement through a two week series of talks, fims, concerts, workshops, a walking tours and many other events.

Meals for school children and hospital patients must be protected from looming cuts

The quality of meals for school children and hospital patients must be protected from further public spending cuts, UNISON said today.

The public services union warned that public service catering standards are under pressure as ‘austerity’ cuts bite, with more deep cuts on the way.

A survey of UNISON members working in catering found that 93% reported cuts to their service. Half said these were severe or major and they expect further major or severe cuts in the next couple of years.

Lilian Macer, Convener of UNISON Scotland, said: “There are many excellent examples of great work on making school meals and hospital food fresh, healthy and sustainable. That is good news for learning in school, for improving health generally and for climate change targets.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Enter the UNISON Scotland Communications Awards

Don’t be too modest! Not only is this competition a good opportunity to give you and your branch some well-deserved recognition for the excellent work you do, but it will also help us build a stronger union by sharing best practice, your innovative ideas and your enthusiasm.

Enter now! Click here for an Application Form in Word format, complete it and email it with any relevant attachments to
...or print out and send to:
UNISON Scotland, UNISON House, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow, G2 6RX (Please mark envelope with Scottish Communications Awards 2013 in top right hand corner.)

Closing date: Friday 1 November 2013

Awards will be presented at Scottish Council on Saturday 7 December.