Friday 20 December 2013

Job advert - Living Wage Accreditation Advisor

Living Wage Accreditation Advisor (LWAA13)
Salary: £29,448 (PO1) + 6% Pension, 35 hours per week

The Living Wage has been one of the most high profile social justice initiatives in Scotland in recent years. An exciting opportunity has now arisen to engage with employers to secure the Living Wage for more workers across Scotland. The Poverty Alliance, Scotland’s anti-poverty network, is seeking to appoint a Living Wage Accreditation Advisor to work with companies and organisations to support them to become accredited Living Wage Employers. Candidates should not only have an excellent understanding of Scotland’s economy and the issues of low pay, but should have experience of working with employers in all sectors, and of using negotiating and networking skills for social change. We would expect candidates to have a strong commitment to economic and social justice and to working with employers for social good. The appointment will be made for an initial period of 1 year.

The closing date for applications is Wednesday, 15 January 2014 at 12pm.
Interviews will be held on Wednesday, 22 January 2014.

Further details and an application form can be downloaded from our website at or requested from:

The Poverty Alliance, 162 Buchanan Street, Glasgow, G1 2LL.
Tel: 0141 353 0440 or email:

Tuesday 17 December 2013

First Minister asked to deliver on free school meals pledge

First Minister Alex Salmond was today asked to make sure all primary one to three pupils receive a free healthy school lunch.

Unions, churches and children's organisations joined together in the call for the Scottish Government to deliver on earlier pledges.

UNISON is a signatory to the letter to Mr Salmond, which is below.

See reports on STV, Real Radio and in The Herald today, and last week's news release.

                                                                                                17th December 2013
Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MSP
First Minister
Scottish Government
St. Andrew's House
Regent Road

Free School Lunches

Dear First Minister,

As you will be aware there is growing belief, and expectation, that your government must now grasp the current opportunity it has to deliver on its long standing free school lunch ambitions and commitments. As children’s charities, anti-poverty campaigners and unions representing teachers, caterers and working parents we have welcomed the progress that your governments have made on widening access to free healthy lunches as part of efforts to tackle the health, education and child poverty barriers that prevent too many of our children from enjoying the best possible start in life. Nevertheless it has been a matter of real concern and disappointment that, to date, the roll out of free school meals to all pupils in P1 to P3, as announced by the Scottish Government in 2007, and reaffirmed in 2010, has not yet been implemented.

New Scotland in UNISON online now

The lay edited newspaper includes stories on pay, pensions, Worth It campaign, courses for 2014, comms awards, independence white paper, Clutha tragedy and Mandela tribute.

The newspaper goes out to 5,000 activists across Scotland six times a year. Your branch can order bulk copies for distribution to members - contact for details. Or just use the links at to share Scotland in UNISON with members.

Monday 16 December 2013

Contempt of court ruling on Edinburgh social workers – UNISON Response

UNISON is calling for an urgent legislative review following a contempt case verdict at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today (Monday) which could have wide-ranging implications for workers across Scotland.

Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, said: “Our social work members have an overriding duty to ensure the child’s welfare is paramount in all that they do. However, it seems the paramountcy of the welfare of the children is not considered relevant during contempt proceedings. This is quite clearly a conflict of laws.

“Social work staff deal with complex and challenging cases on a daily basis and this decision merely muddies the water and puts those working on the frontline in a very difficult and vulnerable position.

“The fact that individuals, rather than the organisation they work for, have been put in this position has wide-ranging implications for the employer/employee relationship and could have a ripple effect on all frontline workers.

“Today’s decision highlights the need for a legislative review and one that ministers need to address as a matter of urgency.”

New @ThunderclapIt action from @scccoalition Tell @JohnSwinney we #wanttoseedouble

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland has launched a brand new ThunderClap action on active travel - the first of its kind by SCCS.
This is the final part of the We Want to See Double campaign, calling on the Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney to double the budget for walking and cycling.

Enabling more people to walk and cycle is a crucial part of reducing Scotland's transport emissions as well as being a healthy travel option. Yet, at present only a tiny fraction (just over 1%) of the total Scottish Government transport budget is for active travel.
The day of action takes place on Thursday 9 January 2014, but you can make sure today that you are involved.

The Thunderclap tool means that people can take action immediately - any time between now and 9 January - but their message (on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr) will be sent out at the same time on Thurs 9 Jan.

The aim is to grab Mr Swinney's atttention just before he publishes his Budget Bill.
Please sign up to take part here and read more about the campaign on the SCCS website here

Support the campaign for flexible and affordable childcare - sign the petition today

Members and branches are urged to show their support for Save the Children's campaign - Give us a Hand with Childcare - by signing their petition.

The campaign, which is supported by UNISON Scotland, is calling on the Scottish Government to give all families a right to high quality, affordable and flexible childcare. Childcare (nursery and out of school care) is a vital service in tackling poverty and supporting families. It helps children learn and grow, can reduce inequalities (in the early years), as well as helping balance raising children with employment and study, thus providing economic security and routes out of poverty.

The Scottish Parliament will be looking at childcare in the Children and Young People Bill and Save the Children will be presenting the petition on Thursday to show public support for the government to do more on childcare.

If you haven't already shown your support, you can add your name to the online petition here

To find out more on the campaign click here.

Pressure builds on Scottish Government to deliver on free school lunches

The Herald on Saturday reported on the growing pressure on the Scottish Government to deliver on its pledges on free school meals. This is the news release from Friday.

Friday 13 December 2013

Children’s charities join unions and Church to write to Education Secretary following Autumn Statement

Children in Scotland, Children 1st, Save the Children, One Parent Families Scotland and the Child Poverty Action Group have today joined the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), STUC, UNISON and the Church of Scotland in pressing for a commitment that free healthy school lunches will be rolled out to all Scottish primary school pupils in primaries 1 to 3 next year.

The call follows last week’s Autumn Statement announcement that the Scottish Government is to receive £308 million extra spending resource, including consequentials from confirmation that all pupils in the first three years of English primary school will get a free school lunch from September 2014.

Friday 6 December 2013

Gathering in honour of Nelson Mandela - Glasgow 5pm today Fri 6 Dec

Gathering in honour of Nelson Mandela
Friday 6th December      5pm
Nelson Mandela Place, Glasgow G2 1QY

All welcome

ACTSA Scotland in collaboration with the STUC and Glasgow City Council

More details:

Find out how you can continue to support the cause here:
Action for Southern Africa and Community Heart

Thursday 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela: “One of the great men of our time” – UNISON Scotland tribute

UNISON Scotland today paid tribute to Nelson Mandela who has died aged 95.

Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said: “Nelson Mandela rightly received many honours and awards in the course of a long life which exemplified courage and struggle against the odds.

“One was from UNISON’s predecessor NALGO, who in 1984 gave him Honorary Life Membership of the union.

“While we were giving Nelson Mandela life membership, the Tory Government of the time were opposing sanctions against South Africa and refusing to talk to the ANC.

“Their backbenchers described the ANC as terrorists and demanded that their offices in London be closed. Our view was different and our members showed their commitment to ending apartheid with their time, money and political support over decades.

“So whilst we are sad today at the passing of one of the great men of our time, we celebrate his life of achievement and we take pride in the fact that this union has never wavered in our support for freedom and justice in South Africa.

“This is a commitment that continues today through our links with Action for Southern Africa and Community Heart.”

Chancellor's mirage of 'economic recovery' does not mask real world - UNISON on Autumn Statement

Thu 5 Dec 2013

UNISON today branded the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement talking up the economic recovery as a “mirage”.  The picture he paints is not being felt by ordinary working people across most of the country, the union said.

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said:

“The Chancellor can produce this mirage of an economic recovery and massage the figures as much as he wants, but it doesn’t mask what is being felt in the real world.  Prices have risen faster than wages for 40 out of the 41 months in the past years.  Average earnings are ?1600 lower in real terms than when they came to power.  There has been a massive explosion in the number of people forced to work part-time, on zero hours’ contracts and stuck on low pay.

“Raising the state pension age is cruel and unnecessary. It may be ok for the better off to work until they are 70 because they will have some years to enjoy their retirement.  But for millions, they will never see their pension because they will die before that age. 

“But does anyone seriously expect a 70-year old paramedic or nurse attending them in a medical emergency.  And should we expect people who sweep our streets, clean our hospitals and schools to carry on doing those jobs?

“The fact is the Chancellor is rushing into saving money for today’s Government, but putting future generations at risk.  Not all actuaries agree that we are all living longer so there should be a proper, evidence-based enquiry before any rash decisions are made.  What about the quality of  people’s life in retirement as well as the quantity?”

The union also called for the cuts juggernaut to stop,pointing out that unless people had money to spend in their local shops andbusinesses, tax cuts wouldn’t do them any good. Dave Prentis added:

“Many millions of workers have had their pay frozen for the past three years -  a pay cut of up to 15% - while those at the top still get their huge pay, perks and  bonuses.

“Local government is almost on its knees – and I know somecouncils may have to stop delivering services.  And make no mistake these services are important.”


UNISON UK news release:

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Support HE members out on strike today

UNISON Scotland sends a big message of support to all of our members across the higher education sector who are embarking on strike action today in a bitter row over pay.

This is the second walk out by unions representing all sectors of the higher education workforce – UNISON, EIS, UNITE, UCU Scotland. It’s not an action our members have taken lightly, but following a 13 per cent decrease in the value of pay over the last few years, the workforce serving our students have had enough. Staff are being asked to do more and take home less to their families year after year.

John Graham, a UNISON member at Queen Margaret University, said: “The strike was strong before but it’s even better this time. We’re delighted by the numbers picketing and it’s clear we have huge support from our colleagues.”

UNISON Scotland continues to back our higher education members’ right for a reasonable pay rise and urges universities to get back around the table and offer fresh proposals to reverse the wage cut. 

For more information visit our website