Thursday, 30 July 2015

British Gas jobs announcement ‘Harsh blow to loyal workforce’ says UNISON

Thursday 30 July 2015

Energy union UNISON has described British Gas plans to shed thousands of jobs as a ‘harsh blow to a loyal workforce’.

The union are responding  are responding after being informed by managing director of British Gas Mark Hodges, that Centrica/British Gas intends to axe around 6000 posts between now and 2020.
The majority of these are likely to be gone by the end of 2017.

The company provided little detail but indicated that they intended around half of the job losses to be compulsory redundancies.

UNISON Scotland, Regional Organiser Janet Stewart said:
“This is a bitter blow especially considering the efforts made by British Gas staff in recent years. Our members have been very loyal to the company, providing excellent services to customers whilst under great external pressure and despite the absence of systems that are fit for purpose. We expect that loyalty to be repaid. If the company needs to restructure, it should not be on the backs of the poorest paid.

We made it clear this morning that we are absolutely opposed to compulsory redundancies. We are willing to engage constructively with the employer but are prepared to consider all of the options available to us.

We will also have many questions we will be raising with British Gas about how promises made to customers about investing in customer facing roles and delivering improved customer service can be delivered if staff are to be shed in such numbers.”  


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

UNISON supports Jeremy Corbyn in UK Labour leadership election

Wed 29 July 2015
UNISON has decided to nominate Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party leadership contest and Yvette Cooper as its second choice at the union’s National Labour Link committee today (Wednesday).

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

“Jeremy Corbyn’s message has resonated with public sector workers who have suffered years of pay freezes, redundancies with too many having to work more for less.

“They have been penalised for too long by a government that keeps on taking more and more from them. Their choice shows a clear need for change towards a fairer society where work is fairly rewarded, and where those living and working in poverty supported.

“Today’s decision is a recommendation and our members are of course free to cast their vote as to who they think should lead the Labour Party.”

Notes to editors

UNISON represents 1.3 million workers in the UK.
430,000 have actively opted-in to the union’s political fund.
In the region of 28,000 UNISON members are members of the Labour Party in their own right. And around 15,000 are registered to vote in the leadership contest.

The union’s National Labour Link Committee has 23 elected members from across the UK. The decision was taken following a thorough consultation with all the regions.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Places available on TU courses coming up

Apply now via your branch for the following courses that still have places.

· Organising Stewards – Dundee – 25-26 August (part 1) and 13-15 October (part 2)

· Union Learning Reps (ULR) – Glasgow – 31 August – 2 September

· Developing Representation Skills – Edinburgh – 2-3 September
Applicants must have completed Organising Stewards and Further Representation Skills to be eligible to attend this course, which was formerly named Advanced Representation.

· Absence Management & Capability – Edinburgh – 8-9 September

· Equality Reps – Glasgow (residential) – 11-13 September (delegates can attend as a day delegate if they wish)

· Regulatory & Fitness to Practice Cases – Glasgow – 15 September
This event will take the form of 2 briefings. In the morning Sam Oestreicher from the Professional Registration Representation Unit at UNISON Centre will present information on UNISON’s internal protocols for cases such as those going to NMC/SSSC and other regulatory bodies. In the afternoon Thompsons Solicitors will explain their role in taking such cases in Scotland. This is an essential briefing for all Branches with members subject to Regulatory bodies and is open to branch officers and experienced stewards.

· Branch Leadership Module 3, Organising & Bargaining – Edinburgh – 15-16 September
Attendance at one of the key Branch Officer Weekend courses (marked * on pages 15 and 16 of the course programme) is required to be eligible to attend this next stage of the leadership programme.

Further information regarding these courses asnd details on how to apply can be found on the course programme

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Glasgow strike settled as grade parity won

UNISON Glasgow Branch Statement - Homeless Caseworkers Dispute: After 17 weeks of all-out strike action the Glasgow Homeless Caseworkers have voted by a clear majority to accept an offer from the employer. The offer was recommended to a mass meeting today (21 July) by the union branch and the striking shop stewards and secures the central demand of the dispute - parity on Grade 6 with other frontline social care staff.

The offer creates 68 new Grade 6 posts with the council describing that number as a floor. The three temporary caseworkers whose substantive posts are Grade 4 will be given permanent Grade 5 posts elsewhere in the homeless service. There will be a reduction in management posts through voluntary early retirement.

The council has insisted on an assessment process for the new Grade 6 posts and will not make any backdated payment. These were the reasons why those who voted to stay out did so. However the union will be consulted on the nature of the assessment process and workers will receive a one-off payment of £350 whilst the assessment process is completed.

The strike has been successful in winning a £1,000 increase following the assessment process, rising to £5,000 by 2018. In addition, the council has been forced to concede an acceptable number of Grade 6 posts. The assessment process and the lack of any backdated money are a disappointment. In a climate of huge cuts to local government and against a hard-nosed management who tried to undermine the action by using other agencies then the overall outcome of the strike should be celebrated. The seventy strikers conducted themselves magnificently. The UNISON Glasgow Branch is so proud of them – we know that many others across the trade union movement feel the same. Well done to the Glasgow Homeless Strikers!

Thank you to all those who donated so generously to the strike fund, invited the strikers to speak at your meetings and sent messages of support.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

July Scotland in UNISON now online

A packed issue with conference reports on defending jobs, services and union rights; Glasgow strike; reinstate Robert O'Donnell; pay; organising; social work news; Fair Work Convention; homes for people not profit; defending libraries; giving our members confidence and much more

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Budget shuts public sector workers out of the recovery, says UNISON

Wednesday 8 July 2015

UNISON | Budget shuts public sector workers out of the recovery, says UNISON

Budget shuts public sector workers out of the recovery, says UNISON

Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget Statement today (Wednesday) UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

“Capping wages at a miserly one per cent for four more years for public sector workers will hasten the reluctant exit of many dedicated staff from our hospitals, schools and local councils.

“The economy is growing yet public servants remain shut out of the recovery. Despite bearing the brunt of austerity, they are to keep paying the price for the reckless behaviour of the banks.

“Britain won’t have public services fit for 21st century needs, unless wages for public servants are high enough to attract the best recruits. Pay austerity might be over for MPs but it’s set to continue for many more years for everyone else in the public sector.

“An hourly rate of £7.20 is not a living wage. George Osborne’s announcement might look attractive at first glance but as tax credits are cruelly snatched away – leaving many workers £1,200 worse off – he’s simply giving to the low-paid with one hand and taking away with the other.

“An independently set living wage already exists, and its higher rate assumes the full take up of in-work benefits. Renaming the minimum wage will mean fewer employers will feel obliged to pay staff any more than the law requires them to.”

Media Release From UNISON UK

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

One Morning in London

Written at the time by Scotland NEC member Jane Carolan at UNISON HQ close by three of the bombings on 7 July 2005, we publish again as a 7/7 tribute.

Thursday 7th July started as another UNISON day. The weather had turned from summer to dreich overnight and few of us in London on union business were prepared for it. I was chairing the Service Group Liaison Committee and knew that it was going to be an all day affair. Colleagues from Scotland were attending that, and others were in London for the Women's Committee and for the Energy executive. There was the usual round of greetings, as we all appeared in the hotel that morning for breakfast and the gossip about what was going on in the union and how we had survived Conference.

Euston Road was as busy as usual with nose to tail traffic at nine when I crossed the road to Mabledon. As I went up in the lift a friend commented that the underground at King's Cross-was chaotic as there had been a power surge and the trains were going off. It was a bit of a regular occurrence and meant that some committee members might be late but not a cause for concern. Then someone else said that the trains were also halted and a sense that it wasn't just the usual London travel problems started to emerge.

Leafletting SECC Glasgow tonight 7 July in support of UNISON member Robert O'Donnell #standwithrab

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Support UNISON Glasgow branch members campaigning for reinstatement of Robert O'Donnell.

Details for SECC leafleting at Neil Diamond concert are:
Meet 6.00pm, Tuesday 7th July at SECC end of covered walkway. 

Facebook event:

About Robert

Trade Union representative sacked by Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre

UNISON representative, Robert O’Donnell, has been sacked by the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. UNISON is supporting Robert in his appeal against dismissal. UNISON believe that Robert, a gardener and UNISON representative, was unfairly sacked by the SECC Management on 25 May. He was dismissed following an alleged unwitnessed incident with his supervisor.

UNISON is totally convinced that this was a trumped up charge and that the dismissal relates to Robert’s role as a trade union activist. Over recent years the SECC, which is 91% owned by Glasgow City Council, has refused to recognise trade unions for collective bargaining purposes and has been hostile to trade union recruitment activities.

Friday, 3 July 2015

UNISON Scotland welcomes breakthrough in tackling low pay in the NHS

Friday 3 July 2015

UNISON Scotland’s Health Committee today welcomed a breakthrough in the fight against poverty pay with the Scottish Government agreeing to a review of the lowest pay band.

This development highlights the benefits of Partnership working which has been the basis of industrial relations in NHSScotland since 1999 and further enshrines the commitment of Scottish Government and the Trades Unions to eradicating low pay in the NHS. We further believe that this gives NHS Scotland an opportunity to promote career progression within the Agenda For Change framework.

Tom Waterson Chair of UNISON Health Committee said “this initiative with the Scottish Government is a major step forward to fulfilling our commitment and indeed Scottish Government’s commitment to improving the lives of our dedicated NHS staff. Further, to have done so without any disruption to our Health Service and our membership again shows what can be achieved when all the parties engage in partnership working.”  

Regional Organiser for NHS Glasgow and Clyde, Matt McLaughlin said, "Scotland's biggest Health Board worked actively with UNISON to invest in support staff, the result provided a higher salary for low paid workers, but it also ensured that the skills, flexibility, range of duties and of course recruitment and retention were significantly enhanced, providing many benefits for the health board and a direct benefit to patients."

For further information contact:
Tam Waterson Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Health Committee 07753 627 575
Matt McLaughlin, UNISON regional organiser 07904 341 979

Notes for editors  

Recently published Scottish Govt workforce statistics confirm that:

There are around 19000 ( headcount) support staff in NHS Scotland the majority of which are domestics, catering assistants, porters.

5500 are paid the lowest pay band (1) with 91% of these workers being at the top at the top of their salary scale.

NHS Scotland already pays the living wage (£7.85per hour) increasing all staff to band 2 would allow low paid workers the opportunity to earn an extra £420 in the first year with the opportunity to increase earnings via annual increments to £17803 per year.