Date: Thurs 28 April 2011
Scotland’s most vulnerable young people under attack as services
face the axe
SCOTLAND’s most vulnerable young people are under attack by
government cuts as thousands of staff in the community and voluntary
sector face redundancy.
UNISON, Scotland’s largest union in the community and voluntary
sector, said urgent action must be taken to halt these drastic
cuts and urged the country’s politicians not to throw our young
people on the scrapheap.
Councils across the country are being hit with the biggest
spending cuts in living memory. No service is safe – but one
of the hardest hit is services for young people.
This week alone, more than 2,000 workers from the voluntary
and community sector have been threatened with redundancy, while
others face attacks on their pay and conditions.
One Scottish charity, Quarriers – which was originally set
up to look after orphaned and destitute children – yesterday
issued 90 days’ notice to all of its 2,000 staff. The move comes
as the charity announced plans to cut its staffing budget by
£2.5m – almost twice as much as their own figures (£1.3m) claim
Elsewhere, services to vulnerable young people are also under
threat as the Cora Foundation – a voluntary organisation that
runs three secure units for young people – issued letters to
hundreds of workers threatening them with redundancy. This leaves
staff at three of the country’s five secure units (St Phillip’s
in Plains; St Mary’s Kenmure in Bishopbriggs; and the Good Shepherd
in Bishopton) facing the axe.
If secure units run by Cora close, then the courts will be
left with no option but to send young offenders to institutions
like Polmont, at a much greater cost to the taxpayer.
UNISON has also condemned moves by youth justice charity, Includem,
which has refused to negotiate with the union and has instead
unilaterally imposed a 9.5 per cent pay cut on its staff.
Simon Macfarlane, regional organiser with UNISON, said: “We’re
calling on Scotland’s political parties to focus on the real
issues in the week ahead and to prioritise putting a stop to
these outrageous cuts. We also need voluntary organisations
to act in a responsible manner, to engage constructively with
UNISON and not to capitalise on the situation to make unwarranted
attacks on low-paid workers.
“Our members work hard to provide services that make a huge
difference to the lives of young people and cutting them will
only store up problems for generations to come. Services for
our vulnerable young people are vanishing and, once these services
are destroyed, they will take a long time to recover. Surely
every young person deserves a fair chance?”
Notes to editors
UNISON is Scotland’s largest union representing workers in
the community and voluntary sector. For more information log
on to www.unison-scotland.org.uk For more information contact
Simon Macfarlane, regional organiser with UNISON, on 07703 194