Thursday, 29 July 2010

UNISON comprehensively rejects the Independent Budget Review proposals

Date: Thursday 29 July 2010

UNISON Scotland today comprehensively rejected the Independent Budget Review proposals as an assault on public services that will damage the economy.

Scottish Organiser Glyn Hawker said:
“This is not an attempt to balance the books. It is a major assault on vital public services and it is about opening up profit opportunities for the fat cats.

“The report hides behind a rhetoric of ‘tough choices’ and ‘targeting’, but what these proposals will do is reduce the quality of life for all but the richest, as the services we use are removed or run down.

“Once the Scottish people realise that this means handing over their water service to the bankers, reducing the quality of their child’s education and cutting back on their elderly relatives’ care, they will reject this agenda.”

As well as up to 60,000 job losses, the report includes a range of proposals that run the risk of putting us back into recession.

Glyn added:
“Job losses on this scale will of course hit services. And their insistence on redundancies and pay freezes run the risk of taking us back into recession. With 70p in every pound spent on public services finding its way back into the local economy the programme of mass redundancies and real terms wage cuts will be a real blow to many local economies across Scotland.”

UNISON, the largest public services union, has said all along that the real issue is the kind of services our society wants and how we pay for them. It is wrong for politicians to be willing to make cuts on such a scale, yet not to consider fair taxation. The Scottish Parliament has tax varying powers and the people of Scotland voted for it to have them.

The report suggests the council tax freeze is unsustainable and that is correct, but UNISON would also say it is unsustainable not to look at asking those who can pay more in tax to do so.

Glyn said:
“Cuts on this scale will hit middle and low income families hard and will be especially hard on women. If classroom assistants lose their jobs, mums will be expected to volunteer. They also face cuts in before and after school services that could affect whether they can work.”

UNISON response to the Report’s chapter conclusions and recommendations:

Public Spending Environment
UNISON believes all public services are valuable, and should be ring fenced. Why should the ordinary people of Scotland pay for the bankers’ greed? Let us be clear though - the Independent Budget Review argues for a policy of no protected areas in public sector: this means health and education will face cuts along with the rest of our public services.

Fair taxes and government borrowing remain the most cost-effective ways of funding public spending.

The Review accepts that efficiencies will become ever more "challenging" - and then sets a minimum 2% annual efficiency target. The real agenda however is revealed in the well worn recommendations for shared services arrangements across the public sector; and "mainstream roles" for the private and voluntary/third sectors in the delivery of public services. These are not plans for efficient and effective public services - they are in fact costly and inefficient ways of opening up public services to profiteers.

Remuneration and workforce
The loss of up to 60,000 jobs will have a major impact on services. The proper place to deal with public sector pay is in negotiations. Pay freezes and pay cuts for public service workers will damage economic recovery, and hit local communities and small businesses too. UNISON will continue to campaign for fair pay as inflation rises around 5%.

Flexibility would open up issues of equal pay which we are only now resolving after 40 years of the Equal Pay Act.

Universal services
Introducing charges and means testing to services that currently benefit everyone creates an expensive new bureaucracy. If there is a concern that some people are receiving services they can well afford, the value for money option is to charge them via taxation rather than setting up a ‘department for social insecurity’ to administer charging.

Scottish Water should remain in democratic control. Setting it up as a ‘public interest company’ would be privatisation by stealth.

An enhanced role for the Scottish Futures Trust is likely to see further wasteful use of private financing for public sector projects. Lessons must be learned from the hugely expensive PFI/PPP projects.

Shaping the future
Scotland’s Parliament should provide leadership by working to fund quality public services and resisting a cuts and privatisation agenda.


Notes to Editors:

1. UNISON responses to the report, including two earlier releases today, are here on our frequently updated blog at:

2. UNISON’s alternative budget is at:

3. UNISON’s submission to the Independent Budget Review is at:

For Further Information Please Contact:
Glyn Hawker, Scottish Organiser (Bargaining & Equal Pay) 07876 441 237
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07908 672 890 (m)
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07958 063 182 (m)


'Not in the public interest': UNISON calls on government to reject privatisation of Scottish Water by stealth

Defend Scotland's Water: briefing
on the case for public ownership.
Click here for pdf
Date: Thu 29 July 2010

UNISON has called on the Scottish Government to reject the proposal to effectively privatise Scottish Water contained in the Independent Budget Review.

Gerry Crawley, Regional Organiser, said:
"The proposal to privatise Scottish Water by stealth is not acceptable - and is certainly not in the public interest. We call on the Scottish Government to reject this unwise proposal.

"The pro-privatisation sharks have been circling around Scottish Water, first proposing a different funding mechanism, then a supposedly mutual model. The latest disguise is what they call a 'public interest company' similar to Welsh Water. These are all attempts to privatise by stealth.

Gerry Crawley said:
"We certainly do not want follow the Welsh Water model as a mutual or 'public interest company'. In the capital intensive water industry, bodies like these are effectively controlled by the private financial institutions. They would insist that their risk is minimised by transferring services and jobs to English and European private water companies. That is what is happening at Welsh Water."

"Any move away from democratic control and towards private funding - including under the guise of a 'public interest company' - would actually cost us all more. The people of Scotland do not want to see profiteering from such an essential public service. It is simply not in the public interest."

Gerry Crawley said:
“Scottish Water belongs to the people. It is owned by the Scottish government for the Scottish people. This issue has already been settled by a referendum. UNISON is 100% certain that the Scottish people will reject any attempt to remove Scottish Water from democratic control."


Note for Editors:

1. UNISON’s recent briefing Defend Scotland’s Water has highlighted how the pro-privatisation sharks are circling around Scottish Water; why these vested interests want it sold off at a knock-down price; and how private finance would lead to private control. Defend Scotland’s Water is available on the UNISONScotland website at

2. UNISON, along with the STUC and the other unions involved in the water industry all believe that we should join with the worldwide movement in favour of democratisation of water. The unions have produced a discussion paper It’s Scotland’s Water outlining ways to greater accountability for Scottish Water. It is available on the UNISON website at's_water.pdf

For Further Information Please Contact:
Gerry Crawley, Regional Organiser 07958 121 805 (m)
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07908 672 890 (m)
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07958 063 182 (m)


UNISON rejects unwise prescription for assault on public services – initial response to IBR

Date: Thursday 29 July

UNISON today rejected the prescription of the Independent Budget Review for an assault on Scotland’s public services and privatising Scottish Water.

Scottish Organiser Glyn Hawker said that the report trots out the same tired old dogma that ordinary people need to pay the price for a financial crisis they did not create.

Glyn added: “Crawford Beveridge said in March that we faced Sophie’s Choice and there is no way to implement these cuts without causing great pain. These proposals are unwise, will cause great pain and we think the people of Scotland will reject this approach.

“UNISON Scotland believes there is an alternative that politicians should be fighting for – an alternative that looks at what public services the Scottish people want in a decent society.

“We can afford quality services. We should not be hitting ordinary people with cuts to services they rely on, with cuts to pay and jobs and family income when bankers still pick up huge bonuses and don’t pay their fair share towards services we all rely on.

“These proposals will create a more unequal society. Crawford Beveridge said there are no silver bullets and the report says that we need to do more with less but we can’t. It will be less with less. And the end result is that the rich will be able to pay for services but middle and low income families will be hardest hit.”

Notes to Editors:

1. Glyn Hawker and other UNISON representatives are available for comment and reaction to the Independent Budget Review report.

2. A detailed response to the report will be issued later this afternoon.

3. UNISON responses to the report will be posted on our frequently updated blog here at:

4. UNISON’s alternative budget is at:

5. UNISON’s submission to the Independent Budget Review is at:

6. Our news release ‘Removal of Scottish Water from democratic control would be unwise’ is at:

For Further Information Please Contact:
Glyn Hawker, Scottish Organiser (Bargaining & Equal Pay) 07876 441 237
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07908 672 890 (m)
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07958 063 182 (m)


Glyn Hawker on BBC: There is an alternative. We don't need to be making these cuts.

July 29

UNISON Scottish Organiser Glyn Hawker today argued on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that there is an alternative to the current cuts and privatisation agenda.

Speaking in advance of today's Independend Budget Review report, she said: "There is an alternative. We don't need to be making these cuts.

"The alternatives are about generating income, about making sure we collect the tax currently not being collected, that we look at those people who do have more making a bigger contribution rather than taking away from those at the bottom end."

The so-called Tax Payers Alliance were also interviewed. UNISON has highlighted the fact that the TPA is an unrepresentative right wing body keen to promote massive cuts in public sector spending. UNISON is a democratic organisation made up of tax payers and could make far more claim to the name. The TPA is made up of right wing ideologues and non-dom millionaires.

For some interesting facts about the TPA, check out the website of The Other Taxpayers Alliance.

Listen to Good Morning Scotland here The interview starts at about 1 hour 9 mins into the recording.


Mike Kirby on Newsnight Scotland: Ring fence all public services

UNISON's Scottish Convener Mike Kirby was interviewed on the BBC's Newsnight Scotland in advance of publication of the Independent Budget Review report today.

He argued that the debate should not be about cuts or which services to ring fence, but about the kind of public services Scotland wants.

He added: "All public services should be ring fenced."

Watch the programme here


Wednesday, 28 July 2010

‘Three wise men’ – UNISON warns cuts and privatisation will damage the economy

Date: Wednesday 28 July 2010

UNISON today warned that tomorrow’s Independent Budget Review report is set to respond to a cuts and privatisation agenda rather than looking at what services Scotland needs and can afford.
Scottish Organiser Glyn Hawker said that the real issue is what kind of society we want - not cuts and privatisation that will damage the economy, axe thousands of jobs and cause misery for countless families.

UNISON believes that there is a realistic alternative to the predicted massive cuts in public spending which risk a double dip recession.

Glyn Hawker said:
“The real issues are what kind of services our society wants and how we pay for them. But the remit for the so-called three wise men does not allow them to look at any UK level questions of economic policy, public spending, taxation or national debt.

“This means that they are the ‘fall guys’ to provide cover for politicians to make extremely unwise cuts at a time when public spending is crucial to economic recovery.

“The current financial crisis, which was not caused by nurses or school janitors or social workers, is being used by those who want to attack the public sector.

“UNISON believes that Scotland can continue to afford to provide excellent services, delivered in the public sector. We need to look at clamping down on tax avoidance, raising taxes for those who can afford to pay more, and cutting out wasteful spending including Trident and expensive PPP/PFI projects.”


Notes to Editors:

1. Glyn Hawker and other UNISON representatives will be available on Thursday for comment and reaction to the Independent Budget Review report.

2. UNISON responses to the report will be posted on our frequently updated blog at:

3. UNISON’s alternative budget for UK (July 2010) is at:

4. UNISON Scotland submission to the Independent Budget Review (April 2010) is at: UNISONResponse_IndependentBudgetReviewApril2010.pdf

5. Our news release ‘Removal of Scottish Water from democratic control would be unwise’ (23 July 2010) is at:

Mike Kirby - response to pro-cuts attack on public service unions in Herald

Public sector pay and productivity easily stand comparison with private firms
Published on 28 Jul 2010 in The Herald Letters

Andrew McKie appears to argue that because some workers in public services have a vote in the Labour leadership, they should face redundancy and wage cuts (“Public sector unions need to bite the bullet and accept cuts”, The Herald, July 26 ). He is surely entitled to this bizarre opinion but it’s one I’m sure few Herald readers will share. More serious is the way he repeats distorted figures about pay and productivity in public services (courtesy of the right-wing campaign group Policy Exchange).

He tells us that public sector workers are paid 30% more per hour than those in the private sector. This raw figure is meaningless because like is not compared with like. The Office for National Statistics Labourforce Survey lists 8.6% of private employees as professionals, whereas these form 24.5% of public employees. Incidentally, including the employees of nationalised banks in the public sector earnings figures is a good way of inflating them, but not really representative.

The only meaningful comparison between public and private is to look at similar levels of qualification. This shows graduates in public services are paid 3.4% less than those in the private sector. Those with higher education qualifications short of a degree are paid 6.2% less, and those with school level qualifications are paid the same.

Andrew McKie tells us that public sector productivity has fallen. The Office of National Statistics says productivity has shown positive growth since 2006. Productivity did fall in the early years of the decade, but this was to be expected as there is an inevitable lag between upfront investment and improved output and outcomes. That rates of productivity improvement are faster in the private sector is also to be expected. The private sector includes manufacturing, where technology can replace workers. Public services are inherently labour-intensive. These are factors which are well understood by economists, but not it seems by ideologues.

Part of Andrew McKie’s justification for an attack on workers who provide public services (and it’s typical that he shows no sign of having thought about what the impact will be on those services) is that so much pain has been endured by the private sector. Really? A report by Incomes Data Services says bonus levels in FTSE-100 boardrooms have increased by an average of 22.5% over the past six months to just shy of £559,000. Salaries have risen by 7% from last year.

It’s also not just the big companies who are cashing in. According to the survey, which looked at 237 directors in 180 listed companies, bosses of FTSE 250 companies have seen their total incomes (salary and bonuses) rise by 8%, and Small Cap directors’ pay went up by 5.3%. No-one in the public services is contemplating those sorts of pay rises.

Andrew McKie in his bid to paint the Labour Party as a wholly-owned subsidiary of unions representing workers in public services wildly overstates our influence. To take just one example – were ours the decisive influence, Labour would have long since abandoned the wasteful folly of PFI. Contrary to Andrew McKie’s “whip hand” fantasies, our priorities remain, as always, the protection of public services and those who work in them.

Mike Kirby,
Convener, Unison Scotland,
14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

UNISON working to deliver equal pay in the college sector

Date: Tuesday 27 July 2010

In the 40th anniversary year of the Equal Pay Act, UNISON has joined with Scotland’s Colleges and the Close the Gap initiative to produce guidance to help colleges close the pay gap.

When the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970, it was heralded as a major advance for women in the workforce.

However, 40 years later, the pay gap remains a stubborn reality, with figures in Scotland showing that women are still being paid less than their male counterparts – an average of 12.2% less for full time workers and a massive 32% for part time workers.

The Gender Equality Duty, which came into force in 2007, requires employers to make sure they are proactively delivering on equality, including pay equality, as both employers and service providers.

Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary of UNISON, said:
“UNISON has a long history of organising and fighting for women’s pay equality, and we are pleased to have been involved in producing this important piece of guidance.

“Colleges have a legal responsibility to make sure they are paying fairly, and this set of tools will help them to make sure that is happening across their institutions.”

Emma Ritch, Project Manager for Close the Gap, a partnership project which works to address the gender pay gap said:
“After 40 years, the fact that such a large and widespread gap still exists is not only an issue of equality and social justice, but is bad for business and bad for Scotland’s economy.

“We have worked with Unison, and Scotland’s Colleges to ensure that colleges have accessible guidance on meeting the requirements of the legislation.”


For Further Information (and for a copy of the guidance) please contact:
Nancy Kelly, Regional Organiser 07904 342230
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07908 672 890 (m)
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07958 063 182 (m)
Close the Gap: Emma Ritch, Project Manager 07711 926833

Notes to editors:

1. The guidance is called Equal Pay Reviews and Job Evaluation: Guidance for Scotland’s colleges, and is published by Scotland’s Colleges and Close the Gap.

2. According to Close the Gap, a partnership project which works to address the gender pay gap, the three main causes of the pay gap are:

• Occupational segregation - women are clustered into the ‘5 Cs’ - catering, cleaning, caring, clerical and cashiering and are underrepresented in senior management. For example, women make up 89% of the health and social sector in Scotland, but only 19% of NHS Chief Executives/Heads are women.

• Lack of flexible working opportunities – more women than men work part time in order to balance responsibilities. Most part-time work is clustered in low paid occupations, and the lack of part-time and wider flexible working options at senior levels can also prevent women, who are likely to be the main carer, from progressing.

• Discrimination in pay and grading systems – for example individuals being appointed on different points on a pay scale, different job and grade titles for virtually the same job, male jobs having disproportionate access to bonus and earnings, women having less access to overtime and higher paid shift-work, and women not receiving the same access to training and development.

3. There are different ways of reporting on the pay gap. The media reports a combined headline UK figure which includes full-time and part-time earnings and is calculated using the median. Annual Survey of Hours and Earning (ASHE) is the source for the headline UK pay gap which is published late autumn every year. GEO uses the median hourly earnings of men working full-time compared to women working full-time and women working part-time when reporting the pay gap.

4. In Scotland the gender pay gap is reported using the mean, as the median figures underplay the fact that there are a few extremely high earning staff, most of whom are men, and that many women are clustered in the lowest paid professions. The mean takes into account the outliers and reflects the structural inequality between men and women and the issues relating to vertical occupational segregation. Furthermore, international comparisons use the mean.

5. UNISON represents all the non-teaching staff in Scotland's colleges, covering many jobs including managers, library assistants, schools liaison, technicians, janitors, security staff and cleaners.

6. Close the Gap is a partnership initiative working to close the gender pay gap in Scotland. Close the Gap works with employers and employees to enable action to address the causes of the pay gap. Their partners include the Scottish Government, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Trade Union Congress.


Families to bail out banks - Prof Ruth Lister

Families to bail out banks

make the bankers pay"The government has decided that women, families and children will bear the brunt of cutting the deficit," Ruth Lister, head of social policy at Loughborough University told a TUC forum last week.

Although the government claims that the emergency budget is fair, the combined effect of changes to benefits and service cuts is hitting the poorest hardest, especially low paid women workers and their families.


Full report at:

Sign up for UNISON's Million voices campaign:
A million voices for public services

Friday, 23 July 2010

Lights could go out if ScottishPower jobs are cut - UNISON

Date: Friday 23 July 2010

Plans by ScottishPower and Accenture to cut 200 IT jobs - half of them from East Kilbride - and offshore the work to India could result in the lights going out in the UK, UNISON warned today.

UNISON Regional Officer Gerry Crawley said:
"Not only is offshoring these jobs to India a betrayal of loyal and highly qualified UK workers, it is putting vital national infrastructure at risk. To move critical IT skills and knowledge, built up over decades to an offshore operation which has no experience of ScottishPower’s IT infrastructure and operations is highly risky.

"These skilled workers support systems which are vital in helping to 'keep the lights on' during major storms as well as systems which underpin safety critical operations for field staff and the public."

Accenture, a consultancy which has just won a 10 year $200 million contract to support vital IT systems for ScottishPower, plans to make 200 workers redundant in the UK and outsource the work to India in order to cut costs. More than half of the jobs under threat are in East Kilbride.

UNISON is calling on the companies to reconsider the job cuts.

Gerry Crawley said:
"We are challenging ScottishPower and Iberdrola to explain how these offshoring plans square with their legal obligations and undertakings to fulfil their license conditions and maintain a secure electricity supply."

Notes for editors:

1. Global outsourcing technology and consulting company Accenture has just won a 10 year contract worth around $200 million to support ScottishPower’s IT systems. Under Accenture's proposals 190 permanent employees and 14 contractors will lose their jobs, which is 60% of the UK workforce supporting ScottishPower's IT systems. More than half of the jobs at risk are based at Peel Park in East Kilbride with the remainder in Queensferry, North Wales. Scottish Power's IT workforce was outsourced in 2000 and over the last 6 years more than 100 jobs have been moved to India.

2. ScottishPower was acquired by Spanish energy company Iberdrola in 2006. ScottishPower made a pre-tax profit of over £760 million in 2009 which was enough to provide a £390 million dividend to Iberdrola.

3. UNISON is the main union in ScottishPower, representing around 2,000 staff.


Removal of Scottish Water from democratic control would be unwise

Date: Fri 23 July 2010

UNISON today urged the Scottish Government to maintain Scottish Water in public control.

The public services union rejected recent calls for any form of privatisation or mutualisation and warned that these are being promoted by vested interests.

Gerry Crawley, Regional Organiser, said: “We are calling on Ministers to ensure that Scottish Water stays in public hands.

“The usual suspects, including the Scottish Futures Trust, have recently suggested some form of sell-off, but the people of Scotland do not want to see profiteering from such an essential public service.

“The Independent Budget Review report from the ‘three wise men’ is due next week. If it argues for some form of mutualisation or privatisation, Ministers should stand up for Scotland by keeping the nation’s greatest economic asset publicly owned.”

UNISON’s recent briefing ‘Defend Scotland’s Water’ highlighted how the pro-privatisation sharks are circling around Scottish Water and why these vested interests want it sold off at a knock-down price.

Gerry added: “We in the trade union movement urge politicians across the political spectrum to defend Scotland’s water from the privatisation sharks.

“It’s Scotland’s water and it would be unwise to remove it from democratic control.”

Note for Editors:

1. The UNISON briefing Defend Scotland’s Water is available on the UNISONScotland website at

2. UNISON, along with the STUC and the other unions involved in the water industry all believe that we should join with the worldwide movement in favour of democratisation of water. The unions have produced a discussion paper It’s Scotland’s Water outlining ways to greater accountability for Scottish Water. It is available on the UNISON website at's_water.pdf


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

East Renfrewshire anti cuts demo Barrhead 21 July 2010

UNISON activists campaigning for public services in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire - Wednesday 21 July 2010

More pics at UNISON Picasa gallery


UNISON backs Ed Miliband for Labour leadership

Date: 21 July 2010

UNISON’s national political committee today gave Ed Miliband its backing in the forthcoming ballot for Labour leadership.

The decision was taken after consultation throughout the affiliated members of the union. Hustings at UNISON’s national political conference, attended by 200 UNISON Labour Party members representing the regions, were held in early July. All the candidates were present and the hustings were broadcast over the union’s website.

There will be an OMOV ballot of UNISON’s affiliated members, conducted by the Electoral Reform Society. Affiliated trade unions make up one-third of the electoral college. The ballot closes on 22 September.


See Ed Miliband leadership campaign page on UK Labour Party site:

Monday, 19 July 2010

Big Society = Big cop out, warns UNISON

Date: 19 July 2010

Commenting on the launch of David Cameron’s ‘big society’, Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, the UK’s largest public service union, said:

“Cameron’s “big society” should be renamed the “big cop out.” Make no mistake this plan is all about saving money. And it will cost even more jobs and lead to more service cuts.

“The Government is simply washing its hands of providing decent public services and using volunteers as a cut-price alternative. We don’t want jumble sales to provide incubators for babies, we shouldn’t have volunteers taking over our libraries or museums and where are all these people with time on their hands, going to come from? Are we going to pay an army of newly unemployed to help run services?
“Public services must be based on the certainty that they are there when you need them, not when a volunteer can be found to help you.”

News Release at UNISON UK site:

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Unions step up action at culture and sports body over Glasgow Fair weekend

Unions campaigning for fair pay and conditions at culture and sport body Glasgow Life will step up selective strike action over the weekend and build to an all out strike day on Glasgow Fair Monday.

Three of Glasgow's best known attractions, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Gallery of Modern Art and the People's Palace museum will be targeted for strike action on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 July.

And unions will call all Glasgow Life members out on a full day of strike action on Glasgow Fair Monday 19 July.

Sam Macartney, Service Conditions Officer for Glasgow UNISON said: "The message to Glasgow Life is clear - our members are calling for a fair deal over this Glasgow Fair weekend.

"UNISON along with the other Glasgow Life unions - Unite, GMB and BECTU - opposes Glasgow Life's unfair 10% pay cut for 150 workers and pay freeze for all other staff; and we want to protect existing conditions, including public holiday arrangements and overtime rates.

"We know that the people of Glasgow support us in this fight for a fair deal. Glasgow citizens know that our members provide an excellent service for the city, delivering the culture, leisure and sports services which they value. We believe that the people of Glasgow want their culture and leisure organisation to pay fair and play fair."

UNISON has criticised Glasgow Life management for breaching employment regulations by encouraging third party agencies to cross lawful picket lines in "desperate attempts" to break successful strike actions over recent weeks.

Sam Macartney said: "Our members have faced obstruction and hassle from third parties which management have hired. These unwanted intruders backed off when we started videoing their unacceptable behaviour. We believe the people of Glasgow do not want such actions to force unfair pay cuts and poorer conditions on the workers who provide them with much-valued services."

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Update problem solved

The UNISON Scotland website is now being updated. Sorry for the short break in being able to update.

Update problem UNISON Scotland website

Due to 'essential maintenance' by our web hosting company we have been unable to update the UNISON Scotland website since yesterday afternoon 13 July. We will update as soon as the problem is resolved. In the meantime please accept our apologies and check on the blog for updates in the meantime. (Note: other Phonecoop hosted sites, eg UNISON Edinburgh, are also affected)

Frontline police officers in Strathclyde doing staff jobs - UNISON

UNISON Scotland, the largest union for police staff, has revealed that police officers in the Strathclyde force are doing staff jobs - including call centre work - instead of frontline duties. The union argues that this means Strathclyde Police is failing to meet its claimed targets for frontline officers, and the situation will get worse following the jobs freeze announced yesterday and further staff redundancies being planned by the force.

Gerry Crawley, Regional Officer for UNISON's Strathclyde Police branch said:

"We have discovered that 36% of the jobs in Stratchlyde Police Area Control Rooms - which are essentially specialised call centres - are being done by police officers rather than the expert staff who are trained for the jobs. The Chief Constable claims that more than 400 extra frontline police have been added since 2007 to meet the government's target. In fact 126 officers are not deployed on frontline duties, despite being counted in the total claimed by Strathclyde Police."

The figures are contained in the latest internal equalities impact assessment carried out by the force and seen by the union. This has revealed that only 227 of 351 jobs across all three Area Control Rooms in Govan, Motherwell and the police HQ at Pitt Street in Glasgow are being done by the specialised staff who are trained and skilled in these jobs. 126 police officers were covering posts in these centres - instead of doing the frontline jobs for which they have been employed.

Gerry Crawley said:

"Strathclyde Police yesterday announced a jobs freeze - and we believe that the force is now planning staff redundancies, despite covering existing staff shortages with frontline officers.

"The skills provided by police staffs are vital in delivering the safety on our streets which is demanded by the public. Instead of making pre-emptive cuts, whether by a jobs freeze or outright redundancies, and even before budget cuts are implemented by whichever government, the Strathclyde Police should be working with the unions and making the case in public for the right number of people in the right jobs to ensure an effective police service."

UNISON Strathclyde Police and Fire branch has asked for a meeting with Strathclyde Police over the announcement yesterday (Tue 13 July) of an immediate recruitment freeze.

Gerry Crawley said:
"We will oppose wholesale cuts in staff jobs - we are here to protect and serve the public, not to be sacrificial lambs to budget cuts which no-one voted for

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

UNISON seeks meeting with Strathclyde Police over staff jobs freeze

Date: Tuesday 13 July

UNISON Scotland, the largest union for police staff, has asked for a meeting with Strathclyde Police over the announcement today (Tue 13 July) of an immediate recruitment freeze.

Norma MacKenzie, Depute Branch Secretary of UNISON Strathclyde Police and Fire branch said:
"We have asked to meet management to discuss today's announcement of an immediate recruitment freeze. We know of course that public spending is under huge pressure, but we would ask Strathclyde Police to work with the trade unions to negotiate a way through this to maintain the high standard of service that the public needs.

"The profile of police officers is much higher with members of our communities, however it is police staff who perform the vital services which allow the officers to maintain that profile."



Thursday, 8 July 2010

'Here's how to cut the deficit' UNISON tells PM

8 July 2010

'Here's how to cut the deficit' UNISON tells PM 

* Stop cutting vital public services
* Stop cutting public service jobs
* Cut bankers' bonuses, bring in a Robin Hood tax
* In-house services instead of consultants
* Cut out the privatisation profiteers


 For more see UK UNISON news release:


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

UNISON rejects fat cat attack on public sector pensions

Date: Wed 7 July 2010

UNISON Scotland has strongly rejected the latest attack on public sector pensions as simply scaremongering by fat cats anxious to keep their own incomes bloated at the expense of cuts for ordinary workers in both public and private sectors.

Dave Watson UNISON Scottish Organiser said:
"The scaremongering by the fat cats today is designed once more to disguise the real pensions divide - between rich and poor, not between public and private sector. Public sector pensions are not gold plated, and they don't cost the billions which these fat cats are claiming. The Institute of Directors is simply anxious to keep its members incomes bloated at the expense of cuts for ordinary workers in both public and private sectors."

A report published today by a new body called the Public Sector Pensions Commission, for the Institute of Directors, has been given widespread coverage in mainstream media. It claims that public sector pensions are costing the taxpayer twice as much as had previously been thought, and that as a result public service workers should pay increased contribution, have their pension age increased and have their pensions reduced.

Dave Watson said:
"In reality the average local government worker gets a pension of around £4,000 per year when they retire. It's a tiny fraction of the fat cat payoffs. And public sector pensions are affordable overall.

"The culprits behind this attack on the pensions of ordinary public service workers are in fact directors of the biggest private companies - real fat cats, with really gold plated pensions. This self-styled 'independent' Public Sector Pensions Commission is nothing of the sort. It is a front for right wing think tank the Institute for Economic Affairs and the Institute of Directors, a club for the bosses of big business.

"Further analysis of this report shows that the time frame chosen for the figures has been highly selective - it just looks at the recent crash when stock values and interest rates have been low - which means returns on pension fund investments have also been low. If the same calculation was done when the market was on the up - as it was and will be again, unless the government causes another recession with its budget cuts - we could slash employee contributions to nothing."

"Also, not all pensions are unfunded. Even for those, there have been years where government has not needed to put extra cash in."


Note for editors:

The TUC has shown that the real evidence of a pensions divide is mainly to be found in the private sector where bosses have been busy closing good schemes to workers, often while making sure their own very large pensions are protected.

The TUC’s 2009 Pensions Watch study of 373 directors from 103 of the UK's top companies found that they were set to earn a yearly pension of £247,785 on average. This is 30 times the average workplace pension that ordinary workers (across public and private sectors) receive, which was £8,320 in 2009. (An increase on 2008 when the bosses took 25 times the average pension - it seems the fat cats like their own pensions to be recession proof as well.)

When it comes to accrual rates, the bosses make sure they are feather-bedded too. Pension Watch 2009 found that the most common accrual rate for directors was 1/30th, in comparison the most common accrual rate for all members of private sector final salary schemes is 1/60th. What that means is that directors on average accrue pension benefits twice as fast as both their own workforces, and indeed the public sector workforce as a whole. (The Institute of Directors now wants the public sector to move to 1/80th).


Monday, 5 July 2010

UNISON UK: Report reveals the devastating impact of low pay on families

Mon 5 July 2010

UNISON warning over damaging impact of pay freeze and service cuts
An in-depth study, published by UNISON, the UK’s leading public sector union, explores the complex relationship between working, juggling childcare responsibilities and low pay - a relationship that traps people into low wage jobs, with little chance of progression.

The knock-on effect to families is huge. From working two jobs, taking shifts on the weekend, or feeling too tired to discipline their children or help out with homework, many parents on low wages fear their kids are missing out on vital care and support.

See full story at UNISON UK website:


Friday, 2 July 2010

Glasgow culture services strike will hit city centre venues this weekend

Date: Fri 2 July 2010

Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art and the People's Palace museum will be targeted for strike action this weekend as UNISON and other unions fight cuts in pay and terms of employment by Glasgow Life.

The Gallery of Modern Art will be picketed on Saturday and Sunday, while the People's Palace on Glasgow Green will be targeted on Sunday.*

Sam Macartney, Service Conditions Officer for Glasgow UNISON said:
"Our members provide an excellent service for the city of Glasgow and its people and we believe the people of Glasgow support us in our campaign to have fair pay and conditions.
"We are expecting another effective strike at two of the city's most prestigious venues. UNISON along with the other Glasgow Life unions - Unite, GMB and BECTU - is committed to defend the pay and conditions of our members."

Further targeted strike action is planned by the unions in the coming week.


* The People's Palace is scheduled to be closed on Saturday for other reasons relating to parades in the area.