Thursday 30 January 2014

UNISON demonstrates against more police cuts

Thu 30 Jan 2014

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) will officially confirm the closure of Police Force Control Centres in a ‘restructuring’ across Scotland today (Thursday 30 January 2014).

SPA are to close down 5 control centres over 18-24 months. Dumfries and Galloway in April 2014 will be first to go, with a loss of 34 jobs; then Stirling in December 2014; Glenrothes in March 2015; Pitt Street Glasgow in March 2015; Aberdeen in December 2015.

300 jobs are at risk.

Gerry Crawley, UNISON regional officer said:
"We will keep hammering the point that these closures are not about making our communities safe. 

"They are budget driven cuts. Scottish Government is cutting £139 million from police budgets between now and 2017 and £1 billion over 12 years.

"This decision to close control centres puts 300 police staff jobs at risk. These are hard working and loyal staff that bring crucial skills to keeping communities safe and they have huge amount of local knowledge which will all be lost.

"This is just part of the longer term problem. Scottish Government are hiding behind their line that they will keep police numbers. This means police staff will bear the brunt of these cuts even where this may not be the best way forward.

"Cutting jobs does not mean cutting the workload. The tasks still need to be done. More police officers will be back in the police stations rather than on the beat. It is the most expensive option."

George McIrvine UNISON police staff Scotland branch secretary said:
"If these cuts go through, the public need to understand that when they phone 101 they could be speaking to a central control centre hundreds of miles from where they are. This is on the back of the decision to shut or reducing the hours of about 60 of the 214 local police counters. There already is a lot of anger in local communities.

"We will be holding a small demonstration at the board meeting today.

"Police staff will be coming to Glasgow from as far afield as Dumfries and Galloway and Aberdeen to show how angry they are that local people feel less safe and many police families will be in hardship."


Notes to editors

1. Police Board Scotland will make the official decision today to close down 5 control centres over 18-24 months - Dumfries and Galloway in April 2014; Stirling in December 2014; Glenrothes in March 2015; Pitt Street Glasgow in March 2015; Aberdeen in December 2015

2. UNISON Scotland police staff will listen to the debate in the public gallery and they will be holding a small demonstration outside Trades Hall, 85 Glassford Street, Glasgow, G1 1UH. UNISON members will be available for interview.

3. Police Scotland have 10 Police Control Centres in Inverness, Stirling, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glenrothers, Edinburgh, Govan, Motherwell, Glasgow Pitt Street, Dumfries and Galloway.

4. Five centres that will remain open are Dundee, Edinburgh, Motherwell, Inverness and Govan Glasgow.

5. Police control and command centres deal with 999 calls and 101 calls, some like Inverness deal with major incidents.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

The NHS alone can't solve health inequality

UNISON Scotland Convenor, Lilian Macer, reminds us that the NHS alone cannot solve health inequality. 

In an article in the Morning Star she outlines the challenge saying, “The good news is that Scots are living longer. What has not changed is that Scots from better-off areas are living much longer while those from poorer areas are only living a little longer, and not always in good health. The gap between rich and poor in life expectancy is getting wider. The same trend is apparent in other areas of health.”

Then the solution, “A progressive tax system, increases in wages for the majority of workers, access to decent affordable housing and leisure, a system of universal benefits and services are all needed.
Only then will the multi-agency approach, beloved by governments, of bringing together policy, planning, practitioners and integrated finances, focusing on health outcome measures, be able to make inroads on health performance statistics.”

The full article can be read here.

Monday 27 January 2014

Fair demands for a fair society – Launch of the People’s Assembly Scotland

There was standing room only as Shrewsbury 24 campaigner Ricky Tomlinson joined trade unionists and community activists in Glasgow on Saturday to launch The People’s Assembly Scotland. Building on the National People’s assembly, launched in London in 2010, the People’s Assembly Scotland will bring together unions, trade union councils and local and national campaigning groups to fight the austerity driven policies of the UK Government.

Speaking at the launch, UNISON’s John Stevenson said that the purpose of the People’s Assembly Scotland was to involve and engage, inform and educate, but most of all to organise to build justified anger, then the will and the confidence to do something about it. See full story and pics at

Glasgow's residential care workers embark on further strike action

Monday 27 January 2014

Care workers in Glasgow City Council’s residential homes are embarking on two further days of strike action from today (Monday).

This is the second strike action taken by the city’s care workers in response to the council’s decision to enforce new job roles, longer shift patterns and pay cuts of up to seven per cent.

UNISON Scotland, the union representing care workers, said its members had no option but to take further action.

Brian Smith, UNISON City of Glasgow Branch Secretary, said:

“UNISON members have been forced to take further strike action as the Social Work Management has made no attempt to resolve the dispute.

“The fact is that care homes would not function without the hard work and dedication of our members and to force them into this difficult position is completely unfair and unnecessary.

“Our members are only asking for what is fair: no cuts in pay, properly identified roles and responsibilities of staff and agreement on any new shift arrangements.”


Notes to editors 

  • Further information on the strike action can be found in our press release of 13 January 'Residential home care workers strike to protect services' here
  • Glasgow City Council plans to cut wages of residential home care workers by up to 7 per cent through the introduction of longer shift patterns. The move would affect 182 workers, out of a workforce of just over 500, with 122 full time workers on salaries of £20,000-£28,000 facing a loss of £1495 per year, while 60 part timers face a loss of £794 per year. The Council is also refusing to maintain the wages of any worker who has been in a temporary higher graded post for less than four years. UNISON views this four year criteria as unacceptably long.
  • Glasgow City Council wants to alter the job roles of the lowest paid workers to include the administration of medicines. This is not in their pay grade. UNISON is calling for properly identified roles and responsibilities of staff, recognition of the risks associated with any new roles staff are being asked to undertake, fair recompense for the new tasks they are being asked to do, all underpinned by proper training and support.
  • The strike will take place over two days on Monday, 27 and Tuesday 28 of January 2014.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

New film about the inside story of the battle against Skye Bridge tolls

The campaign against the tolls on the Skye Bridge is the subject of a new activist documentary – ‘The Bridge Rising’ – which will premiere at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sunday.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the end of the tolls on the Skye Bridge. The Bridge Rising tells the inside story of the campaign for the first time. From protesters to police to politicians, from the toll-collector to the Bridge engineer, this film takes you behind closed doors.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Young workers vanishing from the public sector, says UNISON

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Young people are the biggest losers of public service job cuts as figures reveal the number of young workers has fallen by a quarter.

Workforce data published by Audit Scotland shows there are 1,545 people aged under 20-years-old working in Scotland’s public services, down 25 per cent since 2009.

The cuts have led to an ageing workforce. In 2013, the average age was 44 years and four months, compared with 43 years and nine months in 2009. With nearly 40 per cent retiring in the next 10-15 years – although the reality is many will leave sooner – there is a very real concern of serious skills shortages across the public sector.

2% inflation means bad news for public service workers - UNISON

Tuesday 14 January 2014

New figures showing inflation at 2.% in December brings no relief for public sector workers hit by the Government's pay freeze and squeeze, said UNISON, the UK's largest union. A fall in inflation is only positive news if earnings are keeping pace with overall inflation warned the union.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

"Inflation might be 2% but across the country, the reality is families are still struggling to make ends meet. There is no feeling that day to day life is improving for the vast majority.  It is only the financial elite in  the City who are looking forward to bumper bonuses this year.  The rise in the Retail Price Index to 2.7% shows the underlying cost of living crisis is getting worse.

"With transport, energy bills and  childcare cost going up, households have seen family finances significantly reduced with average earnings rising by less than the rate of inflation for the fifth year running.

“For public service workers hit hard by the Government's freeze and squeeze on their pay, 2% inflation means more hardship. Workers continue to see a squeeze in their pay and the cost of living crisis will carry on as long as their pay does not increase. It's high time the Government did something to help the millions of working families living in poverty and stopped pretending things are getting better."

UNISON UK News release:

Monday 13 January 2014

Residential home care workers in Glasgow strike to protect services

Mon 13 Jan 2014

Care workers in Glasgow City Council’s residential homes will go on strike for two days from tomorrow (Tuesday) to resist new job roles, longer shift patterns and pay cuts of up to 7 per cent.

Brian Smith, UNISON City of Glasgow Branch Secretary, said:
“We have not taken action lightly but have no alternative. Again, we ask Glasgow City Council to work with us to reach an agreement.

“These changes will affect the vulnerable people our members care for. The lowest paid staff are being asked to take on new tasks like dispensing medicines – and at the same time they are being forced to work longer shifts and to accept massive pay cuts.”

Friday 10 January 2014

Britain needs a pay rise

Britain needs a pay rise and Dave Watson sets out why in an article in today’s Scotsman newspaper.

British workers have experienced the longest real wage pay squeeze since 1870. Inflation has risen faster than wages for almost 43 months. The share of the economy going on wages continues to decline. In the 1960s and 1970s, up to 61 per cent of the economy went on wages. Since the 1980s, it has never gone above 56 per cent. These small percentages make a big difference to our living standards. It is no coincidence that, for the first time, we have more in-work poverty than out-of-work poverty.

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Announcement of free healthy school lunches for all P1 to P3 children is "a huge boost"

Child poverty campaigners and trade unions including UNISON today welcomed news of free healthy school lunches for all P1 to P3 children.
First Minister Alex Salmond announced the £114 million package in the Scottish Parliament today.
It was described as “a huge boost” for children and families by the coalition of children’s charities, anti-poverty campaigners, churches and trade unions who have been campaigning for the Scottish Government to deliver on its longstanding pledge to do this.

Monday 6 January 2014

Support the SCCS #wanttoseedouble campaign - double the funds for cycling and walking

New figures this week show commuters switching from public transport to driving, with fewer people walking to work.

That is absolutely not the direction of travel we want to see.

The SCCS #wanttoseedouble campaign is asking the Scottish Government to double the budget for active travel.

Please join in by signing up today to take part in the online action happening this Thursday, 9 January.

Through Thunderclap you can take action immediately - any time between now and Thursday - but your message (on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr) will be sent out at the same time on 9 Jan.

The aim is to grab the attention of Finance Minister John Swinney just before he publishes his Budget Bill.

You can read here about why it is so important to boost funds for cycling and walking - for healthier lives and for climate justice.