Saturday, 31 October 2015

UNISON calls for halt to Police Scotland control centre closures

Date: Saturday 31 October 2015
UNISON Scotland has pledged full support for a resolution at the Scottish Labour conference today (Saturday 31 October) which demands a halt to the continued closures of local Control Room / Service Centres across Scotland. 

The resolution, tabled by Aberdeen Central Labour Party at the conference in Perth, highlights the ongoing crisis in Police Scotland's Control Rooms /Service Centres. We expect the Scottish Government's HMICS report to be published in the near future.

In todays debate, George McIrvine, Secretary of UNISON Police Staff Scotland branch, will call for a halt to the 'strategic direction' of Police Scotland closing local services. At the labour conference George McIrvine will say:

"Police Scotland need to step back from their blinkered centralisation plans of control rooms and service centres closures. They must consider a different path involving those who know the job best, the workforce.

The Police Scotland proposal to the Scottish Police Authority two years ago, proposed a staged approach for closing police control rooms. There was no detail on the rationale other than cost savings. And there is little proof that these changes have provided a better service to the public.

This has resulted in a workforce who are under continued pressure with an increased workload and - as the recent staff survey showed - morale at its lowest ever.

Problems have arisen, and the tragic loss of life in the widely reported M9 incident, led to the Scottish Government call for HMICS to review the changes and allocate another £1.4 million to iron out the problems.

Even with a damning interim report by HMICS, Police Scotland and the Authority are continuing with the imminent closure of service centres in Dundee and Aberdeen as well as the Control Room in Aberdeen and Inverness. UNISON Police Staff Scotland continues to oppose this direction. We welcome the debate today and that we are not alone in our opposition to the plan to close and centralise services."

UNISON fully supports the call for Scottish Labour to commit to develop and sustain an effective local network of emergency control room services across Scotland and in the community's in which they should serve. In the meantime UNISON will continue to support all its members who are subect to these changes.


Thursday, 29 October 2015

Trade union 'no more cuts' demonstrations in Glasgow and Edinburgh

Trade Unions including UNISON, community groups and anti-cuts organisations are gearing up for twin demonstrations in Edinburgh and Glasgow on October 29 against another ‘savage’ round of council cuts.

The Edinburgh lobby will be from 08.45 to 09.45 on Thursday 29 October at the City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh.

The Glasgow lobby will be from 12 noon on Thursday 29th October at the City Chambers, George Square, Glasgow.

Glasgow faces cuts of £103 million and 3,000 jobs over two years. This follows cuts of £250m and 4,000 jobs lost since 2010, hitting learning disability and mental health services, home care, supported education for children, community work, cleaning, library services and voluntary organisations.

In Edinburgh, where the council’s income has dropped by almost 20 per cent in real terms since 2010, workers face another slashing of £140m with over 2,000 jobs to go.
Unions are calling on the council to declare a “no more cuts” budget.

UNISON Glasgow branch secretary Brian Smith said:
“Glasgow City Council politicians have a choice – make the Tory cuts or do not. We call on all elected politicians in the city to use all available financial mechanisms to hold-off any further cuts whilst leading a fight to win more money for the city.

The council could use some of its reserves and borrowing powers, supported by the legal financial process of “capitalisation”, to fill the two year £103m hole expected in April 2016. This would allow time and space to build a mass campaign of elected councillors, trade unions, user groups and local communities with the objective of winning more money from the Holyrood and Westminster governments”

UNISON Edinburgh branch president John Stevenson said: “Some telling figures expose the human effect of these savage cuts. Edinburgh has around 18,000 employees. Most of them — about 10,000 workers — require protection of vulnerable groups (PVG) clearance to do their jobs. That’s how many provide direct services to children and vulnerable adults. It doesn’t take a genius to spot that those services are at risk.

“The council is being asked to make two years cuts in six months. This could bring unnecessary compulsory redundancies and UNISON will urge its members to take action if that is the case.
John Stevenson also slammed the ‘chaos’ of council reorganisation: “The deadline for voluntary redundancies has passed, yet nobody knows what the new council structures will look like, so how do bosses know where redundancies need to come from? How did workers know whether to seek redundancy? Could they afford to take the chance with the threat of compulsory redundancy on minimum terms? Will the council just structure services around who is left? This chaos has to stop.”

Dave Watson, head of UNISON bargaining and campaigns, said ‘We are calling on Scottish Councils and the Scottish Government to look very seriously at what other options they have to mitigate the impact of UK Government austerity. We fully understand the diffcult position they are in, but they can look at borrowing at record low interest rates, refinancing, using reserves, reforming taxation, and make better use of pension funds. We will ofcourse continue to campaign with them on fighting UK government austerity. However we think there is much more they can do to consider no more cuts budgets’

UNISON is Scotland's largest union. It is the public services union and is the largest union in local government in Scotland.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

UNISON wins £ multi-million compensation for 1400 women in Fife Council

Date: Wednesday 28 October 2015
UNISON has reached a multi million pound settlement with Fife Council for over 1400, mainly low paid women UNISON members, for their equal pay claims.

UNISON members will now be properly recompensed for historic discriminatory pay practices within Fife Council. It is a deal worth £millions and will include compensation for members back pay in some cases to 2006.

UNISON has been at the forefront of the legal campaign to fight for equal pay for women workers and to ensure they receive the back pay to which they are entitled.

Dougie Black, UNISON regional organiser for Fife local government said, ‘This has been a long time coming, many claims stretch back to 2006, we can only thank UNISON members for their hard work and patience. We will now discuss individual claims with the employer to ensure each claim is calculated properly. This a good day for low paid women workers and UNISON is proud to have been a part of it.’

Suzanne Craig, UNISON’s legal officer said, ‘UNISON will be seeking early payment from the employers. Regrettably it took the threat of proceeding to an Employment Tribunal to focus the employer’s minds to settle, but it is great news for everyone that we have agreed.  This settlement also agrees the legal principles for moving forward to ensure wherever possible that job evaluation and pay practices remain free from discrimination in the future. Members will receive individual letters, in due course, outlining their settlement figures. I want to thank everyone for their patience.’
UNISON continues to fight for equal pay particularly for low paid women across Scotland


  • UNISON is the public services union and the largest union in Scotland, and the largest union in local government across UK.
  • UNISON is negotiating equal pay claims in councils across Scotland. It has been running equal pay claims in Fife since 2006
  • UNISON has agreed the principles of the settlement and how we calculate each settlement. We now need to agree each individual settlement a process which we will complete as soon as possible

Monday, 26 October 2015

Dave Prentis - Join UNISON marching for Climate, Justice and Jobs

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis has spoken out to support the global call for urgent action on climate change this November and December. 

He said UNISON members will be joining in marches and rallies across the UK, organised by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and the Climate Coalition Movement, and in Paris, all timed to coincide with international demonstrations.

Dave explained the key role that trade union mobilisation has to play around ensuring the best outcome for workers and communities from the UN Climate Change talks to be held in Paris, in December. 

In an article for SERA , Labour's environment campaign, he said that trade unions are asking for a Just transition and decent work:

“UNISON is promoting the global public service trade union demands agreed by the Public Services International (PSI). All Governments in Paris should sign a universal, ambitious, binding and enforceable carbon emission-reduction agreement that goes beyond 2020. 

"All governments need to commit to a just transition as the human and economic costs of the transition need to be managed whether its support for displaced workers, affected communities who suffer local plant closures and job losses or low-income households who need support for affordable fuel.”

UNISON will be supporting the rallies and marches to be held on the weekend of the 28th and 28th November, in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and London, and in other major cities around the world at the same time. Dave said that it's important for members to join one of the marches, adding:

"We want to make sure that the UK government is clear about our trade union demands for a just transition: 

- creating new jobs and skilling a new generation through massive public investment in renewable energy, fuel poverty measures of insulation and green public transport;
- moving energy and industries from a fossil fuel dependency to a low carbon energy sustainable economy, while protecting workers' rights;
- providing a fair international climate deal to ensure a safe planet for future generations”
"Paris is just the beginning not the end. UNISON's green reps in the workplace will play a vital role in the Just Transition.”

UK marches:

Saturday 28th November

Cardiff – Organised by Stop Climate Chaos Cymru. Contact Haf Elgar at Friends of the Earth,

Edinburgh – Scotland’s Climate March: Show Your Colours for Climate, Justice and Jobs organised by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland . Event details can be found at Also, see details on this blog here about the UNISON Scotland Green Network meeting on 14 Nov and poss subsidised places for members nominated by branches, for a bus to the Paris demonstration on Saturday 12 December.

Sunday 29th November
London – Peoples March for Climate, Justice and Jobs by Climate Movement Group and Climate Coalition – Join UNISON in the trade union block

Belfast - The Peoples Climate event in Belfast

Meanwhile the International Trade Union Confederation today issued a statement on the Paris talks, calling for stronger commitments from governments. Details here 


Friday, 23 October 2015

United Nations takes issue with UK government on human rights, says UNISON

Friday 23 October 2015
UNISON media release, with Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS)

The Westminster Government faces a series of awkward human rights questions following action by the United Nations. The UN has directed the Government to address a 'list of issues' ranging from welfare cuts and reliance on food banks to blacklisting and the erosion of trade union rights.

Members of the Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS), which includes representation from UNISON Scotland, gave evidence at the UN earlier this month and those concerns will now be the subject of formal dialogue between Geneva and London.  

These developments coincide with the UN celebrating its 70th anniversary on 24th October 2015 and promoting minimum human rights standards that people across the world should enjoy.   The 'list of issues' which the UK needs to answer includes how the UK will enshrine all the rights contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

HRCS spokesperson, Carole Ewart said 
"The UK has agreed with the UN that we would enjoy a minimum set of economic, social and cultural rights.  As so many people know from everyday life, there is a huge gap between the rhetoric and the reality so we highlighted the increase in poverty resulting from the government's austerity measures and welfare reform, the demonistaion of human rights by politicians and the UK undermining international human rights standards by abolishing The Human Rights Act 1998.  Our government has promised the UN that it will progressively realise economic and social rights to the maximum extent of available resources but has failed to do so and the poorest are suffering."

Peter Hunter, UNISON Regional Manager  and HRCS member said
"The Trade Union Bill is a direct attack on trade unions and the services we provide to members. Scottish industrial relations are particularly harmonious and CoSLA and the Scottish Government are standing shoulder to shoulder with us against this union-bashing law. Trade unions are key human rights defenders and there is widespread criticism of the Bill on Human Rights grounds so the UN intervention couldn't come at a better time" 


The Human Rights Consortium Scotland is a network of over 150 civil society organisations and individuals in Scotland.

UNISON Scotland is the public services union and the largest union in Scotland

The delegation to the UN in Geneva on 14th October included UNISON Scotland, Unite the union, Close the Gap, Engender and Nourish Scotland.

The UN list of issues can be found at

Details of the UN 70th Anniversary

Big increase in assaults on public service workers, says UNISON

Friday 23 October 2015

UNISON Scotland is publishing today Violence at Work: A Survey of UNISON employers and Staff in Scotland 2015. It shows an increase of 1,227 assaults compared with 2014.

The total recorded assaults on public sector workers in Scotland in 2015 was 38,279. This compares to 20,000 in 2006.

UNISON report included a survey, to ask what staff had suffered, how they had felt about it, and what action their managers had taken to try to make sure they were safer in the future. Nine out of ten people who responded to this survey were women, and well over half were age between 45 – 60 years old.

UNISON Members told us
  • “patient was verbally abusive and looming over me ” 
  • “Bitten, being threatened with 'weapons', head butted, kicked, things been thrown at me, verbal abuse, pushed and shoved, cornered with threatening behaviour”
  • “Grabbed, attempted strangle, punched, slapped, glasses broken”
  • “an irate male jumped onto myself while I was seated at a computer”
  • “Screamed and swore at. Items thrown at me. Kicked punched bitten scratched nipped. Hair pulled. Strangled. Pushed, walking sticked wacked across me."
  • “Too many incidents to describe.”
UNISON members also told us they felt undervalued, frightened, afraid, disrespected and sick. One summed it up as being “really upset and in tears most nights after work.”                                 

Worryingly many members accepted it as “Fine. It's my job”. Other said they were “mostly sad for the people that  have resorted to violence not great obviously but its my job and sometimes these things happen, we just have to deal with it”

Scott Donohoe chair of UNISON health and safety committee said, “The abuse of staff is intollerable and no one should have to experience it as part of their work.  This level of violence is simply unacceptable. There is no doubt the recording continues to improve, however the problem is clearly growing, rather than decreasing. 

Public service workers have a right to carry out their duties free from fear of attack. Whatever the difficulties faced by some of those who are assaulting staff we need to ensure special measures such as extra training, additional staffing or sanctions should be introduced by managers. We would urge employers to follow guidelines like the ones set out in the Centre for Healthy Working Lives Managing occupational violence in the workplace”.  


  • Report
  • UNISON is the biggest trade union in Scotland. We are the UK public services union
  • Since 2006, UNISON Scotland has carried out an annual survey of assaults to public sector workers by issuing a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to all employers of UNISON members in the public sector.  This year we included a qualitative survey of members this 2015 survey was carried out from August to October 2015
  • For the qualitative data we received responses from health service workers, council staff, education and social work, community and voluntary sector,  librarians and parking attendants. 88% of our respondents were female,  over 60% were aged between 45 and 65; 39% had experienced physical violence, 43% had been threatened with violence, 65% had been verbally assaulted.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

UNISON response to North Lanarkshire Council job cuts announcement

Thursday 22 October 2015
John Young, UNISON North Lanarkshire Council steward said,
“This is devastating for everyone living in North Lanarkshire and once again it is the low paid and vulnerable, including children, elderly and disabled people who will be the worst affected.  North Lanarkshire Council are proposing to cut 10% of the workforce which will cause chaos in our vital public services; £26m will be cut from the local economy; and at least 600 jobs are under threat of privatisation which we will oppose.

UNISON will work with the council to fight every job loss. The Scottish Government has promised no compulsory redundancies and at very least we will expect them to stick to that, so far we have not had any guarantees.

We understand it’s a difficult time and Scottish councils are being hit by the UK Government austerity and the Scottish Government’s council tax freeze. However they can do more to mitigate the impact of these cuts like borrow at record low interest rates, refinance, use reserves, reform taxation, and make better use of pension funds. 

UNISON will campaign to end austerity and increase funding from the Scottish Government and fight for all our members who are affected. We will be consulting our members in the next week or so and taking the campaign into communities to discuss the consequences of these cuts on people living in North Lanarkshire.’

Community led public services can transform inequalities, says report

Thursday 22 October 2015
UNISON Labour Link Media Release - Launch of Commission on Health Inequalities report will take place at 22 October, 9.00am UNISON Scotland, 14 West Campbell St., Glasgow
The report of the Commission on Health Inequalities for the Scottish Labour Party calls for national leadership and community hubs to tackle health inequalities.

The Commission for Health Inequalities set up by Labour’s then shadow health minister, Neil Findlay MSP, has published its report today (22 October 2015) calling on the Labour Party to adopt radical policies to tackle Scotland’s enduring policy failure of health inequalities. The commission report calls on Labour Party to adopt a transformative agenda if it wants to change political priorities of the Scottish Parliament on this issue.

The report aims to prioritise this agenda across government. It proposes a breadth of policies to tackle health inequalities in Scotland.

Key policy recommendations include building of community hubs, with local multi disciplinary teams that join up services in real localities and which would also serve as community meeting places, where communities are free to set their own agenda. They would include various public services based under the same roof including social work, housing, health and leisure services such as community cafes. With advice shops that offer amongst other things debt, welfare and income maximisation advice. (Para 3.6 of report). These are the type of services envisaged by Christie, who recommended services designed from the bottom up with citizens at their heart, with a high degree of professional autonomy for front line teams.

It recommends the adoption of a progressive universalism approach whereby important basic universal services are targetted and tailored in proportion to community needs.

And it recommends the introduction of health inequality impact assessments for every policy devised by public bodies in Scotland. In other words anything that the Government and every other body do must always take cognisance of its impact on health inequalities. This would ensure that the Scottish Government would take a cross portfolio approach. (para 3.3 in report)

Other policy recommendations include free childcare, an end to the council tax freeze, using the Scottish Parliament new welfare powers and using procurement to end low pay and poor employment practices
Dr David Conway, Chair of the Health Inequalities Commission said, “Health inequalities are the manifestation of inequalities in income, wealth, and power. They result in upto 30 years difference in life expectancy between those born in the richest and poorest neighbourhoods.

There have been many reports on Scottish health inequalities over the years. This commission report is different because it is firmly focussed on what we can and must do in Scotland to tackle this enduring problem. It is a national shame that we have some of the worst health inequalities in the developed world.  We need to debunk the myth that there are no devolved powers available to take on this huge challenge and get on and do something about it. The commission recommendations come from a wide consultation with experts working in communities, the health service, local government, and trade unions; as well as from community engagement events.

The testimonies we heard from people working heroically in their communities painted a graphic picture of the miserable reality of poverty and inequality and the inadequate policy and resources we put into tackling health inequalities in Scotland.

If we are ever going to solve this issue we are going to have to fundamentally change our political priorities and choices taken in the Scottish Parliament”
A full list of the policy recommendations are in the report, some are repeated in the notes below.



Commission on Health Inequalities Report  for the Labour Party in Scotland was commissioned by Neil Findlay MSP when he was shadow minister for health. It is supported by Socialist Health Association.
The document also calls for a range of policies to tackle low pay and poor working conditions including:
  • Agency workers given parity with full-time employees.
  • To use procurement to ensure better pay and conditions protection for workers including paying the workforce at least the living wage,  to incorporate the value of lost tax credits in peoples low pay, and to end zero hours contracts and blacklisting trade unionists.
  •  Ensure the ‘Scottish Real Living Wage’ is paid in the Social Care sector.
  •  Encourage collective bargaining processes.
  • Ensure all Fair Work Convention recommendations are implemented.
  • Establish a Scottish Health & Safety Executive.
  • Raise the levels of Social Security payments to a level conducive to the minimum income for healthy living.
  • Abolish the cruel sanctions regime.
  • Review all employment and welfare policies devolved in the Scotland Bill and ensure that they are used to maximum potential to reduce health inequalities.
It also calls for Scottish Parliament to:
  • Lift the council tax freeze. Reform the regressive Council Tax and consider options for fairer local taxation.
  • Build a minimum of 10,000 new social houses each year. Transform the quality and quantity of social housing across Scotland.
  • Introduce better regulation of private rented sector including effective rent controls and consider extending the Housing Quality Standards to the Private Sector.
  • Provide free childcare at the point of use and extend breakfast clubs and free healthy meals to nursery schools.
  • Ensure schools strive to develop social, emotional, health and wellbeing agendas as a foundation for learning.
  • Reverse Cuts and boost spending at Further Education colleges.
  • Tackle the Mental Health Crisis in Scotland - We strongly recommend that mental health services are prioritised and invested in as a matter of urgency
  • Create national targets for reducing health inequalities.
  • Create a Cross-portfolio Cabinet Secretary for Health Equity.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Scottish National Party conference

UNISON Scotland was at the SNP conference in Aberdeen this weekend, making the case for public services, fair pay and promoting the campaign against the Trade Union Bill.

There was an excellent turnout at our fringe meeting on fair work and poverty, held with our campaign partners CPAG Scotland and the Poverty Alliance. Hannah Bardell MP covered the impact of the Tories welfare cuts and tax credits in particular.

There was a lot of support from delegates for the campaign against the Trade Union Bill. The conference debate was kicked off by Chris Stephens MP, a long standing UNISON activist, followed by STUC General Secretary, Graham Smith. Roseanna Cunningham MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, confirmed that the Scottish government has made an official request for Scotland to be excluded from the UK government's bill.

Elsewhere on the conference fringe UNISON supported a packed fringe organised by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland calling for a low carbon Scotland by 2020.


Monday, 12 October 2015

UK unions must stand with their Turkish and Kurdish brothers and sisters at this time

Stephen Smellie reports on the issues behind the Turkish peace rally murders: The trade union confederations in Turkey, KESK and DISK, along with the Engineers and Architects Association and the Medical Association organised the demonstration and rally in Ankara on Saturday which was attacked by two bomb blasts which have resulted in the death of over 100 people with many hundreds more being injured. The demonstration was called under the slogan of ‘Labour for Peace.’

The progressive trade unions decided to call the demonstration in order to provide a focus point for all those in the country who are opposed to the policies of conflict promoted by the Turkish government of President Erdogan and the AKP (Peace and Development Party) and the increasing violence targeted mainly at the Kurdish community by state forces.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Scottish Green Party Conference

October is a busy month for political party conferences, starting this weekend in Glasgow with the Scottish Green Party. UNISON Scotland was there explaining the impact of austerity on public service workers and the services they deliver.

UNISON Scotland's new paper 'Combating Austerity' was popular with Scottish Green councillors struggling with the impact of austerity budgets.

We partnered with the Child Poverty Action Group and the Poverty Alliance for our Saturday fringe meeting on fair work and decent childhoods. UNISON Scotland Convenor, Lilian Macer explained the impact cuts to tax credits and changes to the minimum wage will have on working families in Scotland. She called for further action to reduce in-work poverty and fair employment.

Delegates voted to support a campaign of non-compliance in response to the Trade Union Bill, deeming the proposed bill as ‘an attack on workers’ rights’. Sarah Beattie-Smith, Scottish Green candidate for South of Scotland in Holyrood 2016, said:

“The Trade Union Bill is an atrocious attack on the most basic rights of workers, and the Scottish Greens will stand with unions to make sure that this legislation will have absolutely no foothold in our country."

STUC General Secretary, Graham Smith, reinforced this message in his address to conference on Sunday.

For some reason our 'squeak out' pigs were very popular on the stall. Any connection to recent political stories is purely coincidental!


Saturday, 10 October 2015

New Scotland in UNISON now online

Holyrood and councils can combat austerity; Show your colours for Climate, Justice and Jobs; Fight ‘draconian’ anti union bill; Refugees welcome here international special; Council staff accept pay deal; Edinburgh beats privatisation; Fire and Rescue ballot; Gas job losses; End police cuts; Libraries need more than fine words and much more in this issue.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Join UNISON Scotland Green Network supporting #scotclimatemarch 28 Nov

*Stop Press: Members interested in booking a subsidised place on a bus to Paris for 12 Dec demonstration should seek nomination through their branch. See below for details.

It’s time next month to join the global movement marching for a better future, demanding strong action from world leaders at the United Nations climate talks in December.

UNISON members are invited to a Green Network meeting in Glasgow on Sat 14 November to build support for the coming big demonstrations in Edinburgh and Paris, and to plan green workplace campaigns in 2016.

Our branches will be at Scotland’s Climate March , organised by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) in Edinburgh on Saturday 28 November and in Paris on Saturday 12 December to show our colours for climate, justice and jobs.

Trade union demands for the UN talks include ensuring the final deal contains plans for a Just Transition to a low carbon future. Latest on that here

Full details about the SCCS march are online at including posters and flyers and a supporters’ toolkit which includes full details of timing, after gathering at The Meadows at 12 noon. If you can help steward, please email SCCS through the link on the march web page.

It is one of many marches being held in cities around the world that weekend, including other UK ones in Cardiff on 28 and London and Belfast on 29 November.

The major international demonstration in Paris on Saturday 12 December, at the end of the talks, is being held to keep up the pressure on political leaders to prevent dangerous runaway climate change. It will mark the peak of two weeks of civil society actions, including trade union actions, around the talks. Friends of the Earth Scotland is running a bus. Details here.

UNISON Scotland may have a small number of fully subsidised bus places for members nominated by branches, if a funding bid is approved at the end of October. Branches interested in booking one of these, if they become available, should email asap with Paris Bus in the subject line. Please make sure your young members also know about this opportunity. A small number of young members are already booked to go from London as part of a UNISON young members International delegation.

The UNISON Scotland Green Network meeting in Glasgow is on Sat 14 November from 2-4pm in UNISON’s West Campbell Street office, following the International Committee meeting earlier. There will be contributions from Stephen Smellie, vice convener of UNISON Scotland, and Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns.

We are hoping lots of new members interested in campaigning for climate justice policies will come to the meeting or get in touch to be part of the Network. Email for more information and to sign up for Green Network email updates.

The Sat 28 November Edinburgh event will see people from all over Scotland come together to demand an agreement in Paris that cuts greenhouse gas emissions and helps the poorest countries adapt to the challenges they face caused by climate change. The family-friendly march will culminate with music, entertainment and speeches at the Ross Bandstand in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens.

It unfortunately and unavoidably clashes with the STUC annual St Andrew’s Day Anti-Racism March and Rally, which takes place this year in Glasgow on Sat 28 November. UNISON Scotland is a strong supporter of the STUC march. This year’s theme is No Racism: Refugees Welcome Here – a theme with many links to the impact of climate change. Branches are encouraged to be represented at both events.

(SPICe, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, has produced a briefing on the UN talks.)

'Ultimate market madness', UNISON's statement on privatisation Scottish Water services

Date: Tuesday 6 October 2015

Dave Watson, head of UNISON Scotland bargaining and campaigns, said: 
“UNISON is deeply disappointed that the contract for Scotland’s public sector water and wastewater services is to be awarded to a privatised utility.  In fairness, the Scottish Government had few options because the system of retail water competition is the ultimate in market madness. £350m will be paid to Anglian Water in Huntingdon, only for most of that money to be repaid to Scottish Water in wholesale charges. The cost of this crazy system is picked up by the taxpayer.”

“The claimed headline savings include water efficiency measures that should be undertaken anyway and is often included to spin out the alleged benefits of retail competition." 

“This procurement also highlights the importance of addressing tax dodging in procurement, an issue UNISON and other civil society organisations campaigned for during the passage of the Procurement Act. There should be pre-qualification disclosure of company taxation policies and public bodies should be able to evaluate a tender on the basis of which company pays tax or not. Assessment of bids could make use of the Fair Tax Mark."

‘We have always said that Scottish water should stay in Scotland in public hands it works, is good value for money and water customers support the corporation staying in public hands." 



Corporate Watch report that Anglian paid £151 million to its private owners, but just £1 million in tax in 2012, after an operating profit of £363 million. It avoids millions in tax by routing profits through tax havens by way of taking on high-interest loans from their owners through the Channel Islands stock exchange.

Ten Asks:

UNISON is the public sector union, the biggest union in Scotland. UNISON represents workers in Scottish Water and BusinessStream

Monday, 5 October 2015

Photos from Manchester demo online

Some photos of Scotland branches at the huge Manchester demo against austerity and the TU Bill on 4 October are now online. at
 More to follow.

Friday, 2 October 2015

TU Bill: CoSLA's pledge to defy and UNISON Scotland video

As we gear up to the Manchester Rally, UNISON Scotland has welcomed the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) announcement on 28 September: “Scotland’s Councils have come out in force today to stand shoulder to shoulder with their trade union colleagues against the UK Government’s Trade Union Bill.” Earlier Glasgow, Edinburgh and Renfrewshire councils voted not to co-operate with attacks on facility time or check-off (which enables union dues to be paid direct from wages). If your employer has made a similar statement let us know See UNISON Scotland's video explaining the dangers of the bill

Scottish Police Authority, Police Scotland Opinion Survey - UNISON Statement

The release today (2 October) of the long awaited Staff Survey is a golden opportunity for the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland to genuinely engage with police support staff and for both organisations to genuinely commit to responding and acting on the findings of this staff survey.

The findings of the survey are not a surprise‎ to UNISON and the UNISON members who work in the service. The fact that over 50% of staff responded demonstrates the massive interest employees have in getting their opinions and voices heard.

George McIrvine, UNISON Police Staff Branch Secretary said: "UNISON has said for a long time that there are major issues that need addressing. The fact that only 9% of staff believe that genuine engagement will result from the survey is deeply concerning. ‎33% of staff indicating that they intended leaving the organisation is indicative of a workforce who feel neglected, undervalued and under stress. Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland must act on these outcomes."

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Local govt members vote to accept two year pay offer

Over 88% of Scottish local government members voting in their pay ballot have accepted a two year offer with a new Living Wage deal. Staff will now get a 1.5% rise from 1 April 2015 and 1% from April 2016.

Importantly, the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.85 per hour will be put in place before the 1.5% rise, making it £7.97 an hour.

And in April 2016, the Living Wage will be increased to the recommended figure of the Living Wage Foundation, again before the 1% rise. There will also be talks on removing the pay points below the Living Wage level.

Negotiators succeeded in getting the initial offer of two years at 1.25% front-loaded to 1.5% in 2015 which is above inflation and slightly increases the value of the 1% in 2016. In August inflation was 0.0% on the Consumer Prices Index and 1.1% on the Retail Prices Index.

A full briefing will go out to UNISON branches tomorrow.