Thursday, 27 May 2010

UNISON Fun Day on Sunday marks Welfare Fund Centenary

Date: Thursday 27 May 2010

Sunday is UNISON fun day at Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline.

UNISON members, their families, friends - and anyone who wants to join in - will enjoy a day of fun and celebration in Dunfermline's beautiful Pittencrieff Park on Sunday 30 May.

UNISON’s Scottish Welfare Committee is holding a sponsored walk and fun day to celebrate the Centenary of the founding of the unique Welfare Fund run by UNISON and one of its former partner unions.

Members from UNISON Scotland’s 80 branches will converge on the park with their families to take part in a sponsored 5K walk around the park and take part in the various activities that have been arranged for children and family members. The event will be opened at 12.00 noon by John Park, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, and will go on until 5pm.

Two enterprising members from our South Lanarkshire branch will be sponsored for cycling the 60 miles from Hamilton to Dunfermline. They will be leaving around 8.30 in the morning and hope to get there by 12.30-1.00pm.

Activities will include bouncy castles and other inflatables, face painting, balloon modelling, children’s races, falconry exhibitions and a raffle will be held to raise funds for the Welfare Fund’s Centenary Appeal.

Eleanor Haggett, Chair of the Welfare Committee said: “We hope that many of our members will support the day and bring along their families to take part in the various activities available. All of our branches will have had members in the past who needed support from UNISON Welfare. We believe that the current financial climate will make this support even more vital in the future.”

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

UNISON members to strike against pay cuts at Culture Sport Glasgow

Date: Wednesday 26 May 2010

UNISON workers in libraries, sports centres, museums and community centres across Glasgow will take strike action on Friday 28 and Monday 31 May in a dispute over wage cuts.

Unions at Culture Sport Glasgow (CSG) are fighting a 10% wage cut for 150 workers, a pay freeze for all other staff and cuts in public holidays and overtime rates.

UNISON Glasgow Branch Secretary Brian Smith said: “Our members provide culture and sport services across Glasgow, and we want to defend the quality services which the people of Glasgow deserve. Along with the other unions, Unite, GMB and BECTU, we have tried to persuade Culture Sport Glasgow not to carry out these attacks. Whilst we recognise the wide disruption that this strike action will cause, we have been left with no option.”

Glasgow UNISON is calling on people to support their case by sending protest emails to Bridget McConnell, CSG Chief Executive at and to Glasgow City Councillor Liz Cameron, Chair CSG Board at

Messages of support to the strikers should be sent to

Brian Smith said: “CSG was established at ‘arms length’ from Glasgow City Council to obtain a tax advantage, to draw in private money and grants from charitable trusts. It has failed to live up to the promise. Ultimately the standard of service which the public will receive in their libraries, sports centres and community centres will be affected if workers wages and conditions are cut.”

Brian Smith said: “Public services workers, many low paid, should not have to pay for the failures of CSG and Glasgow City Council. Working people in general should not be asked to pay for the bail out of the banks and the mistakes of the bankers. It is important that all trade unionists and working people stand together at this time.”


For Further Information Contact:

Brian Smith (Glasgow Branch Secretary) 07870 914 361 (m) 0141 552 7069 (o)

Sam Macartney (Glasgow Branch Service Conditions) 0780 3952 264 (m)


Monday, 24 May 2010

Prentis: £6bn cuts announcement signals worse to come

Date: Mon 24 May 2010

Commenting on George Osborne’s speech today (24 May), which set out plans for £6 billion worth of public sector cuts, Dave Prentis, UNISON's General Secretary, said:

“This is the first cut of the axe, but it signals that there will be more to come from the emergency budget and the comprehensive spending review.

“The new Government is completely ignoring the human impact of these cuts.

“Despite high levels of unemployment, the Government is happy to add tens of thousands more workers to the dole queue, putting the recovery at risk.

“Public spending cuts will hit small businesses, devastate families, and the most vulnerable in our society will suffer.

“There is no logic in cutting public sector jobs and money for development, only to pile on pressure to the private sector to create jobs.”


Thursday, 20 May 2010

UNISON wins landmark equal pay ruling in Edinburgh

 Date: Thu 20 May 2010

Thousands of low paid council workers took a step closer to equal pay today thanks to a landmark decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

While many manual workers, such as cleaners, cooks and carers, have already received compensation, previous decisions of the EAT removed the right to compensation from thousands of administrators, clerical workers, learning assistants and library staff.

In the absence of a proper explanation for the pay differences between women and men, local authorities developed a technical argument that women and men only deserved equal pay if they were based at the same premises, or had the same pay and conditions - this argument has now failed.

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said:
“I am delighted that UNISON has opened up this route to justice for so many of our members. There is now no place for employers to run or hide.

“UNISON’s equal pay campaign has defeated every contrived defence their lawyers have hidden behind.
“This charade has gone on too long. We want full compensation for all our members and that money must be paid now.”

One of UNISON’s largest group of winners from the decision are classroom assistants, many of whom earn as little as £10,000 a year.

Elaine North, a UNISON claimant from Dumfries, said:
“I was devastated when the court said I wasn’t entitled to equal pay. My colleagues do one-to-one education work with learning-disabled kids and while we love them it is such hard work.

“No harm to refuse collectors and gardeners, but fair pay is long overdue for us. We’ve worked hard for this.”

Jackie Gilchrist, who chairs the UNISON campaign for Fair Pay, said:
“This is a magnificent decision for us. Our pay has been formally investigated by the EOC and still the employers refuse to recognise the value of our jobs.

“We have gathered so much evidence about the demands of learning support work, but the courts have refused to look at it until now. They’ve got some reading to catch up on, I can tell you.

“There’s only one conclusion to reach at the end – our wages are going up.”

UNISON estimates that this Edinburgh decision will affect up to 70,000 workers across the UK and, while claim values will vary from person to person, some will exceed £30,000


 Notes to editors:

1. With over 40,000 live claims UNISON is the UK’s leading provider of legal assistance on equal pay issues.

2. In the UNISON test case of Dumfries & Galloway Council v North & Others, the EAT in Scotland accepted the employer argument that equal pay claims could only succeed if women and men shared common terms and conditions, or were working at the same premises. Given the way that the work of women and men is segregated this was a major barrier to justice for tens of thousands of women.

3. UNISON is pursuing the same issue for 1,400 women in Edinburgh and, in the Edinburgh appeal decision, Lady Smith of Scotland’s Court of Session and the EAT took the highly unusual step or revisiting and reversing her previous decision.

4. The transcript can be downloaded or read in full at


Tory-LibDem coalition agreement: full programme for government

20 May 2010 

The UK government has today published its full programme for government. This expands on the original publication on 12 May although it is still full of vague commitments, reviews and commissions. There are a few opt-outs for Lib-Dem MPs, but the parliamentary arithmetic means that the Tory plans on these issues should go through.  


Monday, 17 May 2010

Your vote is your voice - UNISON General Secretary ballot

Dave Prentis 17 May 2010: The ballot is now open for the election of the union’s General Secretary. The General Secretary leads the union and speaks up for you. That’s why it is so important that you have your say in choosing the person who leads your union. The Scottish region agreed to nominate Dave Prentis.

Please use your vote.

Find out more - link to


Friday, 14 May 2010

Glasgow culture and leisure staff step up action

Date: Fri 14 May 2010

Two further days of strike action are planned this month at Culture and Sport Glasgow as staff step up their pay dispute.

Staff will also begin an overtime ban from the 21st of May.

Culture and Sport Glasgow (CSG) The arms length company set up by Glasgow City Council intend to cut the pay of some staff and institute a pay freeze for the rest. There are also cuts planned in Public holidays and overtime rates.

In a message to CSG UNISON members Glasgow City Branch Secretary Brian Smith said:

“All the trade unions in CSG are united in their opposition to these attacks on their members pay and conditions. We have tried to negotiate with CSG, but we have been left with no option other than to use strike action in an effort to defend ourselves.

Our members provide culture and sport services across Glasgow and we take no pleasure in the wide disruption that strike action will cause.

CSG was established at “arms length” from Glasgow City Council to obtain a tax advantage, to draw in private money and grants from charitable trusts. It has failed to live up to the promise.

Staff at Culture and Sport Glasgow, many of them low paid, should not have to pay for the failures of CSG and Glasgow City Council. And working people in general should not be asked to pay for the bail out of the banks and the mistakes of bankers. It is important that all trade unionists and working people stand together at this time.

Ultimately the standard of service which the public will receive in their libraries, sports centres and community centres will be affected if workers wages and conditions are cut.”


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Tory-LibDem coalition agreement: impact on Scotland

12 May 2010

The new UK Government formed by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats has published its coalition agreement this afternoon. This is a brief summary of the impact it will have on Scotland. A more detailed P&I Briefing will follow.

Direct impact on Scotland
  • Emergency budget – further £6bn of cuts. Barnett consequentials not clear although NHS funding (in England) to increase in ‘real’ terms.
  • Establishing an independent commission to review the long term affordability of public sector pensions, while protecting accrued rights.
  • Annual limit on non-EU economic migrants. Ending detention of children for immigration purposes.
  • Commission to consider the ‘West Lothian’ question.
  • Implementation of the Calman commission proposals.
  • Working to limit the application of the Working Time Directive
  • A partial fudge on nuclear power stations. The Liberal Democrats will abstain on Tory plans to build them, so the parliamentary arithmetic means they will proceed. Still need planning consent in Scotland.

Broader UK proposals that apply to Scotland
  • Vague phrase on arrangements to protect those on low incomes from the effect of public sector pay constraint, but no definition of what that constraint will be.
  • Trident will be renewed.
  • Unspecified increase in the personal allowance from April 2011 with a long term policy objective of increasing the allowance to £10k.
  • Tax allowances for married couples. The Lib-Dems will abstain but that simply means they go ahead.
  • Vague commitment to tackle tax avoidance.
  • 5 year fixed parliament and a referendum on the Alternative Vote. Establishing a committee to reform of the Lords based on wholly or mainly elected by PR.
  • State pension age to rise to 66, not sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women.
  • A range of civil liberties legislation including scrapping ID cards.
  • Programme of measures to promote a low carbon economy including smart metering and feed-in tariffs. Air flight duty and no new runways at London airports.

Full text is available at:

See also Dave Watson's comment at his blog:

Prentis: We face our biggest challenge ever

12 May 2010

Statement by UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis in response to the Tory/LibDem coalition government:

"We now face our biggest challenge ever. Without a strong union, no public service will be safe from privatisation and cuts. Without a strong union, no public service worker’s pay and pension will be secure.

The LibDems have already ditched their promise to oppose the Tories' plans for £6bn cuts this year. This will put the recovery at risk, and cost thousands of jobs. Plans for more cuts will follow, hitting communities hard.

We will fight tooth and nail to protect our members and the vital jobs they do.

We will seek to build strong alliances, particularly with local communities and service users, to campaign against cuts and privatisation.

I call on every member and activist – however you voted at the general election – to join us in the fight of our lives to defend our vital public services."

UNISON | The public service trade union
UNISON Scotland website


Friday, 7 May 2010

Election: No public support for savage cuts in public services

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, is today (7 May) warning politicians that the election results show there is no public support for savage cuts in public services.