Monday, 29 September 2014

YES for action on pay

#councilfairpay Scottish local government UNISON members have voted Yes for action on pay. The ballot which closed at lunchtime today has delivered a Yes vote for industrial action by 53.5% to 46.5%. UNISON Scotland's Local Government Committee will meet in Glasgow on Friday 3rd October to discuss the way forward and a full update with follow then.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Why low pay costs us all dear

Just a few days left for members in local government to return their industrial action ballot papers and vote for fair pay.

In today's Scotsman newspaper, UNISON Scotland's Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, Dave Watson, sets out why low pay is costing us all dear.

He concludes:

"The pay ballots in local government and elsewhere are motivated in part by workers wanting to look after their families. But it is also about building a stronger economy based on wages not profit. British workers need a pay rise, more say in the work place and an end to low pay."


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

UNISON pays tribute to Chief Nursing Officer who leaves her post today

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Commenting on the announcement by the Scottish Government Health Dept that Chief Nursing Officer, Ros Moore is to leave her post, Matt McLaughlin, Lead Organiser for Nursing paid tribute to her approach and professionalism saying,

“UNISON Scotland have worked closely with Ros Moore since she came in to post, she has during that time been a great advocate for nursing and the profession.  She quickly developed really good working relationships with UNISON which has enabled us to start to tackle some of the challenges facing nurses in Scotland today.  She takes the time to listen to people and has always put patient care central to all that she does.”

Commenting on the impending vacancy within the Health Department, Matt said,
“It is vital that the Scottish Government move quickly to fill this vacancy and that someone is in post before Ros leaves. We need to be assured that high quality, professional nursing continues to be a priority for Scotland, any delay will send the wrong message to Scotland nurses.”

Matt added, “Ros told nursing members at UNISON annual conference that she felt our role was to be good ancestor for those who come after us – she understood that the NHS is a family and that UNISON nurse members had a big role to play, she has been a great nursing role model who will be missed. We wish her all the best for the future.”

Friday, 19 September 2014

We will continue to press for a Just and Fairer Scotland

#indyref Mike Kirby UNISON Scottish Secretary: This independence referendum has been extra-ordinary. The turnout alone (84%) the highest for any election in over 60 years– tells you how seriously voters took their responsibility. It is a truly humbling experience to see the power of democracy at times like this.

UNISON is the biggest trade union in Scotland. We took our role to ensure that the debate about Scotland constitutional future delivered concrete benefits for working people very seriously too.

We engaged our membership through the formal processes at UNISON Scottish Council and a series of area consultations. The extent of the engagement amongst our members was reflected in what we have seen across community and town halls throughout Scotland.

Listen to the people and keep public services in public hands, says UNISON

A key issue in this independence referendum has been the future of public services.

People in Scotland have made it clear they want more not less investment in public services. They have also made it clear they reject privatisation and want to keep public services public.

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish secretary said,

‘This has been an historic referendum with extraordinary levels of political engagement. The future of public services has been central to the debate across the media, local communities and families in Scotland. And it has been weighing on the minds of most as they cast their vote in the referendum.

The people have been absolutely clear that they value public services. They reject privatisation, want investment not cuts in public services, and demand that public services remain in public hands. UNISON will continue to work together with other trade unions, civic society and politicians of all parties to meet these aspirations.’


For further information please contact:

· Danny Phillips UNISON communications officer 0141 342 2877 / 07944 664 110
· Dave Watson UNISON head of bargaining and campaigns 0141 342 284 / 07958 122409

Friday, 12 September 2014

UNISON Strike Ballot for Local Government

UNISON Scotland has sent out formal industrial action ballot papers this week to over 72,000 local government members. The ballot will be open from 9th September 2014 until 29th September 2014.

The ballot asks members whether they are prepared to take strike action to force the employers to respect the joint negotiating machinery and return to the negotiating table and improve upon the 1% offer.

The UNISON Scotland Local Government Committee is recommending that members vote YES to industrial action for Fair Pay.

Members are angry that local government is taking the brunt of the cuts. Local government pay has been eroded by 16% since 2007, there have been 39,300 job cuts in local government in Scotland, low pay is endemic in the sector and the employer imposed a below inflation pay increase again this year.

UNISON local government committee believe we need to send a message to the employer that must come to the negotiating table to discuss a way forward.

Following the narrowest of ballot votes (49.78% for action and 50.22% against) UNISON members accepted the 1% one-year offer for 2013 in good faith. However, the employers (COSLA) imposed 1% for 2013 and 2014 as well. The other unions (GMB and Unite) accepted this deal out with the bargaining structures. The employers are refusing to discuss pay with UNISON for 2014, showing a blatant disregard for the agreed bargaining structures and threatening the future of nationally agreed pay awards.

Above all UNISON encourages members use their vote, whether you want to vote yes or no to industrial action.

If members vote YES, the action will be co-ordinated on a Scotland-wide basis and branches will be encouraged to mount local events and stunts.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Fire Fighters Tour Great Britain

Fire Brigades Union 'Ring of Fire' tour of Great Britain arrived in Glasgow today to highlight the £19 million cuts to our Fire Service

Mike Kirby, head of UNISON Scotland, addressed supporters in St Enoch's Square. He reminded them that Fire Fighters enjoyed huge support from the public and he thanked them for the important work they do. He also stressed that the men and women fire fighters were the first to say that they could not do their difficult jobs without the specialised support team around them

All fire fighting teams need fleet and hydrant mechanics, administrative officers and pay roll workers, cleaners and caterers, community safety advocates, training and education departments, store men and women, drivers, ICT, communications experts and technicians. All of these people play an essential role in the Fire Service.

UNISON members in the fire service face a very uncertain future. The Headquarters of the former Fife and Central Fire and Rescue Board’s are earmarked for closure, meaning these local communities are losing the economic benefits of these facilities. Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and East Lothian will also lose sites employing support staff. Many support staff roles are being drawn into the Central Belt, again impacting on local economies across Scotland.

Staff are waiting for decisions about re-deployment, some are being relocated and their pay is being reviewed. The impact of the £19 million budget cut is being felt by all support staff.

Finally Mike sent a message to all politicians, telling them "The respect and appreciation for the service is not measured by cost, it is measured in the security and safety of our people, at work and in their communities. Fire fighters need to know when they look over their shoulder their support staff are right there with them"

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

#PeoplesClimate marches in New York and around the world. No jobs on a dead planet.

Campaigners for a new global climate deal say they will hold the biggest climate march in history when world leaders meet in New York later this month.

The UN Climate Summit 2014 takes place there on 23 September and the #PeoplesClimate march is on Sunday 21 September.

Hundreds of #PeoplesClimate marches are also being held around the world, including in London and Edinburgh.

The New York summit has been called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who says it is crucial that countries commit to a new deal at UN talks in Paris in December 2015.

Millions of workers worldwide want to see a binding climate deal agreed.

A recently launched International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) campaign, signed by TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, calls for climate justice, warning: “There are no jobs on a dead planet.”

Frances O’Grady today repeated her call for a decisive deal in Paris.

The Unions4ClimateAction campaign stresses that climate change is a trade union issue and calls for a Just Transition to a carbon free economy, demanding an ambitious and legally binding agreement in 2015.

UNISON Scotland is part of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), which will be urging people in Scotland to speak up and support a global deal in campaigning up to the Paris meeting.

SCCS is publicising the grass roots organised #PeoplesClimate march in Edinburgh on Sunday 21 September. There is also a gathering in Glasgow on the same day.

Meanwhile, the UK Government today launched its strategy for the Paris talks and said that a global deal will be good for the economy.


Glasgow City Council under fire over further cuts to care services

Tue 9 September 2014

Trade unionists, community groups and members of the public will gather in George Square later this week to lobby Glasgow City Council over proposed changes to its home care service.

The council announced plans to outsource all responsibility for assessing people who need home care services, including organising services, from their social work department to council-owned Cordia. Currently, Cordia employs most home carers in the city but the assessment of need, spending of budgets and oversight of the service is carried out by local social work staff.

The council has cited “budget pressures” – meaning future cuts – as a central reason.

The Defend Glasgow Services (DGS) campaign – a group set up by trade unions, community organisations and community campaigners – is holding a lobby on Thursday, September 11, to call on the council to reverse its decision.

Brian Smith, branch secretary of UNISON’s Glasgow City branch, said:
“This is the first time in Glasgow under a ‘purchaser/provider split’ that the provider will take on all responsibility for the assessment of a person’s need. This includes the level of service provided, people’s care reviews, responding to complaints and all spending.

“Home care services are already being reduced through shortened visits and this is just a further attack on services for the most vulnerable people in the city. It also threatens Cordia workers’ jobs, wages and conditions.

“We want Glasgow City Council to put people first by calling a halt to these changes and focus instead on investing in home care services and those who provide them.”

Under Glasgow City Council’s plans, Cordia will be given the existing home care annual budget of £50 million and be expected to deliver 10 per cent efficiencies by 2016, and further “appropriate targets” thereafter.


Monday, 8 September 2014

Reinventing our Economy

Two events supported by UNISON Scotland taking place this week with a focus on an alternative economy. There are still some spaces available and both events are free thanks to support from The Carnegie Trust.


Debate on Wednesday 10 September, 19:30-21:00, Glasgow University Union

Wellbeing, work, equality and the environment: What path for a sustainable economy?

Contributors include: Ann Pettifor, Richard Murphy, Professor Jo Armstrong and Professor Richard Werner.


Conference on Thursday 11 September, 9-5pm, Glasgow University

Reinventing our economy for people and Planet: a conference about alternative sustainable economic policy

Contributors include: Anatole Kaletsky, Tim Jenkins, Professor Andy Cumbers, Professor Malcolm Sawyer, Professor Molly Scott-Cato and others.


You can register for both here:




Friday, 5 September 2014

Doncaster Care UK strikers in Glasgow

Andy Squires, shop steward from Doncaster Health Branch spoke to UNISON Scotland organisers in Glasgow today. He updated them on the Doncaster Care UK Strike

Doncaster living services for vulnerable people had historically always been provided by the NHS. However it was tended out by Doncaster Council. The tender was bid for and won by a private company.

Andy told the meeting that UNISON members in Doncaster that members had overwhelmingly voted for strike action and are fighting an employer intent on slashing wages to below the living wage in order to make their profits.

Andy said, 'we are on strike for a fair living wage. Staff are now in danger of losing their homes dues to wages being slashed by up to 40%. One in five are living below the poverty line. We all need a pay rise.'

UNISON Scotland organisers asked Andy to thank UNISON members in Doncaster for 'standing up to further privatisation NHS and for getting national media coverage highlighting many of the privatisation, low pay and employment law issues we are fighting here in Scotland too'

All donations to Doncaster Carers campaign can be made payable to 'Doncaster UNISON 20511'