Thursday 15 December 2016

Budget lobby of the Scottish Parliament - 15 December 2016

UNISON Scotland branches joined the trade union lobby of the Scottish Parliament today. Calling for a budget that defends public services.

Mark Ferguson, Chair of UNISON Scotland's Local Government Committee addresses the lobby.

Monday 25 July 2016

Courses coming up

Please find below a list of upcoming training courses where we still have availability. If you have any activists who are interested in attending any of these courses please arrange for the booking form to be completed and then forward to or post to Activist Education (Scotland), UNISON, 53 Shore Street, Inverness, IV1 1NF as soon as possible:-

• Employment Law Discrimination – 24 August – Glasgow
This course is open to experienced stewards and Branch Officers. Covers all aspects of potential discrimination as defined by Equality legislation.

Saturday 16 July 2016

July Scotland in UNISON now online

Conference reports; Education plan: Support staff role ignored; FE ballot and Pride report.

The union’s briefing on the Scottish Government Education Plan: says: “…the absence of any recognition of the wider education team is very disappointing. It also warns of plans to to remove schools from local democratic control. Please note: The print version of this issue referred to school staff as ‘non-teaching’ staff. This terminology is not supported by UNISON members in schools and we apologise for the error.

Plus FE pay ballot and Pride report and coverage of all the main UNISON speakers at UNISON National Delegate Conference and Local Government Conference in Brighton.

Friday 15 July 2016

Support @sccscot Mass Lobby of @ScotParl 29 Sept & call for climate action

UNISON Scotland is supporting the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland mass lobby of MSPs at the Scottish Parliament on 29 September. Full details from SCCS are below, including how to register for the limited number of places, and how to send support if you can't attend.

And if you're a member interested in action on climate change, do join our Green Network. At our September meeting, we will be discussing lots of ways that trade unionists can get involved, and practical policies in working for a Just Transition to a low carbon Scotland. We meet in Glasgow on the afternoon of Saturday 3 Sept. Information here, where you can also sign up for our email list.

Calling for Climate Action - Mass Lobby of Holyrood

Join people from all across Scotland for a mass lobby inside the Scottish Parliament, calling on our MSPs to take strong action on climate change.

Thursday 29th September 12-2.30pm, Edinburgh

Registration & briefing from 12 at a venue close to Holyrood, mass lobby from 1pm inside Parliament

Last year, all five party leaders at Holyrood pledged to deliver on Scotland’s climate commitments. 
Now it's time for action.

The Scottish Government will publish their draft climate action plan before the end of the year, setting out the steps they will take to tackle climate change.

It's important that this is an ambitious and credible plan, and contains action on things like renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the food we eat and the way we travel, and improving energy efficiency of Scotland's buildings.

This is a great opportunity to meet your new MSPs and tell them why climate change matters to you.

If you can't join us on the day, you can still send a climate messageSend us a tag for our climate message tree and we'll deliver it to your MSPs on the day.

On the day we will meet at a venue near Parliament at noon, so that you can meet with others from your region and have a briefing session to help you talk to your MSPs about climate change. Everyone will then go to Parliament together to meet with MSPs.

Don't worry if you're not sure how to talk to your MSP - you will be sent a briefing pack in advance with lots of helpful information, aswell as the briefing session on the day itself. Or you can simply explain to them why you're concerned about climate change and why you feel it's important they take action.

As this event takes place inside the Scottish Parliament, places to take part in the lobby must be booked in advance.

Once you've booked your place, make sure you invite your MSP

Full details on the SCCS website 

Friday 3 June 2016

#APD cut is lose, lose - for public services and for climate action

#WED2016 It is World Environment Day on Sunday 5 June. A good day for the Scottish Government to cancel plans to cut Air Passenger Duty.

UNISON Scotland today urged the Scottish Government to prioritise protecting public services by axing its plans to first cut APD by 50%, then eventually abolish the tax.

In our response to the Scottish Government consultation on APD, closing today, we argue that Ministers should be defending public services and working for social justice by opposing austerity and tackling inequalities. Climate change action is essential and should support these goals. 

Instead, this policy proposal would benefit the wealthiest, while increasing aviation emissions. A lose, lose proposal for Scottish public services and for protecting our world for future generations.

If Scotland is to meet its proudly proclaimed as world leading climate change targets, a cut to APD makes no sense. The Scottish Government should think again.

Thursday 2 June 2016

Letter of support for Colombian national strike

From Lilian Macer, Convener, UNISON Scotland and Clare Williams, Convener, UNISON Northern, Paula Barker, Convener, UNISON North West

President of the Republic of Colombia
Juan Manuel Santos Calderón
Casa de Nariño – Carrera 8 No.7-26
Bogotá – Colombia

Friday, 27 May 2016

Dear President Santos,

We are writing to express our support and solidarity with the Colombian peoples who have come together to express their discontent in the form of a National Strike: The Agrarian, Ethnic, Rural and Popular Minga.

Rural people, workers and local communities continue to suffer the impacts of economic policies that directly affect their livelihoods and modes of production. Such policies are a hindrance to achieving peace with social and environmental justice in the different regions of Colombia. That is why they have decided to mobilise through the country’s farmlands, roads and cities.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Scotland in UNISON May 2016 now online

Reports of all the main UNISON speakers at the STUC Congress 2016 in Dundee
- Politicians must be bold in opposing austerity
– STUC to fight for fair and Social Europe
– Framework sets out vision for fair work in Scotland
– UNISON wins call to defend human rights
– Post election – where do the unions stand now? – Mike Kirby
– North Lanarkshire beats off privatisation
– Zero hours – bad for workers, services and economy
– Opposition to TTIP ‘dodgy trade deals’
– Health Conference reports
– Health and safety award for UNISON’s Scott Donohoe
– Trident an extravagance that will destroy public services
and much more…

Click here for a PDF

Wednesday 18 May 2016

UNISON member interested in climate change? Green Network Meeting Sat 21 May

Calling all UNISON members interested in climate change!

Come to our next Green Network meeting in Glasgow - this Saturday, 21 May.

We have a guest speaker - Jim Densham from Stop Climate Chaos Scotland. Come and find out the latest on tackling global warming and campaigning for a low carbon Scotland. 

Tell us what you think we should be doing and/or what you are doing where you are.

And join in discussions about Just Transition, green workplace action as part of our Combating Austerity work, and the Scottish Food Coalition's call for a socially just and environmentally sustainable food system.

The meeting is from 11am -1pm in the UNISON Scotland office. 14, West Campbell Street, Glasgow G2 6RX. Email for more information and to sign up for Green Network email updates.

Monday 2 May 2016

Pay all care workers living wage, says UNISON

UNISON is calling on all employers to pay the living wage to care workers and all councils to adopt UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter in its Social care manifesto for Scotland to improve working conditions for some of the worst paid public workers in Scotland.

UNISON manifesto Social Care in Scotland is launched today (Monday 2 May) (See on website)

Improving the quality of care means seriously addressing workforce issues, the most important of which is pay. Despite the introduction of the Chancellor’s new UK ‘Living’ Wage which sets an hourly rate of £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over, many employers do not pay for time to travel between visits or make other cuts to terms and conditions. UNISON believes that all providers should be required to pay the Scottish Living Wage (currently £8.25 in Scotland) through the procurement process.

Saturday 23 April 2016

#BOTW16 UNISON Scotland training weekend under way

Convener Lilian Macer visits a Welfare Officer session at UNISON Scotland's annual new branch officer training weekend in Glasgow.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Right to choose is a class issue

#STUC16 The last business in a rushed afternoon was the emergency motion on abortion. Because of the time restriction, UNISON’s Davena Rankin limited her speech to just one aspect of the motion. Here we print her short but powerful speech in full.

“The 1967 Abortion Act was never applied to Northern Ireland – something we must fight to change.

STUC backs progressive movements in South America

#STUC16 The STUC sent out a clear message today that we should be backing democratically elected governments in South America against a ‘corporate-wealth’ right wing backlash.

Moving UNISON’s emergency motion, Sam Macartney told delegates: “Over the last couple of decades we have seen huge advances for working people in South America.

STUC congratulates Glasgow CCTV staff on new deal

#STUC16 The STUC Congress sent congratulations today to Glasgow CCTV UNISON members who have won a deal bringing up to a 24% pay rise, after twelve days of strike action over six weeks.

The 19 members of UNISON are employed by Community Safety Glasgow, an ALEO of Glasgow City Council, and were taking strike action over the employer’s failure to pay shift allowances. The dispute was about fairness and pay equality.

Prevent strategy is counter-productive and risks alienating communities

#STUC16 The STUC will continue to oppose the “Prevent” strategy amidst concerns that it could criminalise Muslim communities and has called on the Scottish Parliament to ensure that it doesn’t divide our communities as it is implemented in Scotland.

Delegates heard that it will force workers in the health service, the prison service, local authorities, school , further and higher education and elsewhere to act as “snoopers” to report signs of radicalisation, which is very narrowly defined.

STUC to back Palestinian students

#STUC16 The STUC will seek talks with Scottish Universities Support Palestinian Students (SUSPS) with a view to giving active support to a revised initiative and encourage unions to back the project financially and in any other ways possible.

The Edinburgh TUC motion reminded delegates that last year’s Congress in Ayr gave a generous welcome to the first recipient of a SUSPS award who is from Gaza.

Colombia needs our solidarity! 7.30 21 April Edinburgh

7.30 pm Thursday 21 April White Horse bar, 266 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8AA with Lilian Macer, Convenor of UNISON Scottish Council reporting on her visit to the country and her meetings with trade unionists, human rights activists, politicians and the mothers of young victims of extrajudicial killings by the army. She will also report on the peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC guerillas.

Organised by Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign with the support of City of Edinburgh UNISON more information from

Time for inclusive education and an end to homophobia in schools

#STUC16 The STUC backed the TIE (Time for Inclusive Education) campaign which is committed to inclusive education which aims to tackle homophobia and create a safer learning environment for all regardless of sexual orientation, gender or identity.

UNISON Scotland has already donated £1000 such is the importance we attach to this campaign, and UNISON’s Willie Docherty spoke in support.

Campaign for total opposition to ‘dodgy trade deals’

#STUC2016 UNISON’s Pat Rowland urged delegates to get involved in the campaign against ‘dodgy trade deals’ like TTIP that could stop governments bringing privatised services back in-house.

And she called on trade unionists to join the Scotland Against TTIP coalition day of action on Saturday 23 April at the Buchanan Street steps in Glasgow.

The STUC backed a UNISON motion to campaign for total opposition to TTIP (Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership) in the Scottish and UK Parliaments and the European Parliament.

STUC emergency motion backs #Justice4Jannies

#STUC16 The STUC gave unanimous backing to an emergency motion supporting the Glasgow UNISON #Justice4Jannies campaign as they began their three-day strike for parity of conditions with other like-workers.

The jannies packed the gallery as delegates stood to applaud them. The full text of the motion is…

STUC renews call to drop Trident replacement

#STUC16 The STUC has renewed its call for Trident replacement to be abandoned and will revisit setting up Trade Union CND, focussing on job diversification for workers employed on Trident.

It rejected a GMB motion calling for Trident replacement as the ‘only game in town’ to defend jobs.

In a rousing speech, supporting a Clydebank TUC motion, UNISON’s Jane Carolan told delegates: “UNISON has a proud record of defending quality employment, defending high paid skilled jobs.

TUC: Campaign together to fight for our people

#STUC16 TUC president Liz Snape called for the STUC and TUC to continue to work together ‘to protect our future and fight for our people’ as she addressed Congress this morning.

Liz, who is also a UNISON depute general secretary, said: “Congress, be in no doubt our fortunes and our future will rise or fall as one. And it falls to us – to our generation – to protect our future and fight for our people.”

“So keep strong, keep campaigning and keep fighting. That’s how we win. Together!”

Fighting for a fair and social Europe

#STUC16 The STUC is to launch a campaign promoting the employment rights the EU has delivered for working people and will oppose attempts to ‘water down the benefits of a Social Europe.’

It also rejected calls to campaign to leave the EU.

Backing the USDAW motion, UNISON NEC member Gordon McKay explained why the union’s leadership had decided to campaign in the referendum to stay in the EU while also fighting for reform to create a fair and social Europe.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Cuts to Further Education must be reversed

#STUC16 The STUC will campaign for the new Scottish Government to provide colleges with sufficient funding to return to meeting the full range of educational needs in their local communities.

It will also call for the protection of, or improvement in, the terms and conditions of college staff.

UNISON’s James Corry, backing the Fife TUC motion, asked Congress to celebrate the recent lecturers’ victory.

Let’s give disabled young people the chance they deserve

#STUC16 Disabled young people are massively under-represented in apprenticeships and Congress delegates backed a wide-ranging campaign to address the difficulties they face, to support their educational attainment and to make sure more can access apprenticeships.

Supporting the motion UNISON’s Morag Houston told delegates that times are hard for all our young people – but they are doubly hard for disabled young people.

GIRFEC must not become a tick box exercise – our children deserve better

#STUC16 The STUC condemned cuts to education which so often follow on from council cuts, especially attacks on support staff numbers which damage the learning experiences of our most vulnerable young people and called for action to protect education funding.

Supporting the SSTA motion, UNISON’s Susan Kennedy pointed out that the Scottish Government continues with their commitment to providing ‘free extended childcare’ , free school lunches for vulnerable twos up to Primary 3s and now calling for P6 testing, and asked, “Where is the funding coming from?

Cuts to emergency services put staff and communities at risk

#STUC16 The STUC will press the Scottish Government to adequately fund the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and to properly staff their control rooms, currently being cut from eight to three.

UNISON Police Staff’s George McIrvine spoke in support of the FBU motions and drew parallels with the move to a single police force in Scotland.

No more excuses – time to address Scotland’s housing crisis

#STUC16 The STUC will press the incoming Scottish Government to back Shelter Scotland’s campaign for a radical programme to build more affordable and social rent homes. It will also campaign for such a building programme to create directly employed construction jobs and apprenticeships.

Supporting, UNISON’s Mark Ferguson told delegates that it is a national scandal that estimates show there are over 150,000 applications on housing waiting lists in Scotland – 30% higher than 2004.

Public private finance – secret and eye-wateringly expensive

#STUC16 The STUC will call for an independent enquiry into PFI/PPP funding models for public sector building work, as well as into the Edinburgh schools contracts which has led to such disruption for pupils, families and staff.

Seconding an emergency motion from the EIS, UNISON’s Susan Kennedy told delegates that the issues raised around PPP by what has happened in Edinburgh go well beyond a single project and call into question the whole funding model as it has been used from its inception to the present and plans to continue using it in the future.

STUC health and safety award for UNISON’s Scott Donohoe

#STUC16 Scott Donohoe, UNISON Scotland health and safety chair, has been presented with this year’s STUC Frank Maguire Award for Health and Safety.

Scott has been health and safety officer for Glasgow City UNISON for 14 years and is seconded from his employer, Glasgow City Council and is passionate about health and safety, an interest that has seen him play a leading role in his union’s work on health and safety as well participating in the Hazards movement in Scotland, the United Kingdom and Europe in his own time.

Young workers worth ‘better than zero’

#STUC16 Young members were joined by other STUC delegates and TUC president Liz Snape in demonstrating for ‘Better than Zero’ workers' conditions outside Café Nero in Dundee this morning.

Like some other businesses, Café Nero have made staff pay for the discriminatory so-called national living wage by a penny-pinching claw back of  conditions like paid breaks and snacks. Under 25s don’t qualify for the £7.20 living wage and end up doing the same job for much less than the colleague next to them.

We need politicians to be bold in opposing austerity

#STUC16 The STUC has backed a UNISON and GMB 10 point plan for decent public services which are key to ‘reducing poverty and economic inequality.’

UNISON’s Stephen Smellie told delegates there was a broad political consensus in Scotland against austerity but words were not enough.

“We must insist that Scottish politicians can’t hide behind the ‘it’s all the fault of the Tories and we can’t do anything about it’ line. That was never good enough when the Scottish parliament had few powers to tackle austerity. It is even less acceptable now that the parliament has significant powers that it can choose to use.

Procurement at the heart of strong manufacturing sector

#STUC16 UNISON’s Carol Ball threw the spotlight on procurement as Congress set out an ambitious plan to end the stagnation of manufacturing in Scotland through a long-term industrial strategy.

Joining the criticisms of the Scottish Government’s ‘A Manufacturing Future for Scotland’ plan, Carol told delegates that this really is a missed opportunity for a much needed comprehensive manufacturing strategy.

Monday 18 April 2016

Time to make equal pay a reality for women

#STUC16 The STUC is calling for equal pay to be a manifesto commitment for all parties ahead of the Scottish election and for the establishment of an “Equal Pay Employer Scheme” to provide accreditation for equal pay employers. See all reports on the website

Supporting the University and College Union motion, UNISON’s Davena Rankin, who is also the Chair of the STUC Women’s Committee, told delegates that the pay gap is still very much alive today despite the 1970 Equal Pay Act.

Workers of all ages deserve a real living wage

#STUC16 STUC Congress slammed the UK Government’s “so-called” national living wage and pledged to press for a real Living Wage for all workers, including those under 25. See all reports on the website

UNISON’s Helen Duddy, supporting the motion slammed the current situation which means that those aged 16-25, who are doing the exact same job and hours as their fellow co-workers, can be paid less by as much as £3.50 per hour. “How can this be acceptable?” asked Helen.

Zero hours contracts and casualisation – bad for workers, services and the economy

#STUC16 The STUC will press the Scottish Government to work with trade unions to tackle the rise in zero hours contracts and casualised labour which undermine workers’ rights and their ability to organise. See all reports on the website

UNISON young member, Bernadette Lafferty brought a young workers’ perspective to the debate, telling delegates that she herself had personal experience of working a job that had no defined hours and was paid the minimum wage.

Mental health support: Not rocket science, it’s medical science

#stuc16 The STUC has condemned the ‘climate of fear’ in workplaces, which discourages workers from disclosing mental health issues or seeking reasonable adjustments at work. See all reports on the website

“We need better provision to tackle mental health problems in the workplace”, said John Nisbet, secretary of UNISON Scotland’s Disabled Members’ Committee, backing the STUC Disabled Members’ Conference motion.

Violence at work is unacceptable and must be tackled

#STUC16 No worker should accept violence as part of their job. Whether they work in schools, colleges or other public and public facing services, staff should be able to work without fear of threat, abuse or intimidation. See all STUC reports on the website.

That was the clear message from delegates to the STUC as they backed a NASUWT call for proper resources from the Scottish Government to tackle the problem.

Climate Day – Trade Unions line up for a low carbon Scotland

#stuc16 Trade unionists line up for a 'just transition' on Climate Day at the UNISON Scotland and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland Fringe Meeting at the STUC Congress in Dundee today. See also the SCCS Holyrood Election Online Debate, 7-8.30pm tonight. It will see the five political parties represented in the current Scottish Parliament questioned on their climate policies and plans for the next five years.

STUC backs UNISON’s call for Fair Work, Equalities and Human Rights

#STUC2016 UNISON Scotland convener Lilian Macer won STUC Congress support for UNISON’s call for a campaign against the repeal of the Human Rights Act. See all STUC reports here

The motion condemned the UK Government for its many direct and indirect attacks on human rights, including the Trade Union Bill, the proposed repeal of the Human Rights Act and its failure to implement its equality and human rights obligations under EU and UN equality and human rights instruments.

Defending rights won by sacrifice and hardship

#STUC2016 UNISON’s Rakiya Suleiman has called on trade unions to unite in fighting the Anti-Union Bill and defend rights won over decades, ‘involving sacrifices and hardships that we find difficult to imagine.’
See all STUC reports on the website

She said: “Our movement did not arise out of a spirit of benevolence and partnership on the part of employers. The rights we have were won over decades, and involving sacrifices and hardships that we find difficult to imagine.