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Date: 12 March 2012

UNISON increases pressure on Scottish government with new industrial action on NHS pensions from Tuesday

UNISON Scotland will on Tuesday 13 March kick off a new round of industrial action on NHS pensions. A number of selective strikes are planned to increase pressure on the government for a Scottish solution to all aspects of pensions changes. This includes the year 1 increases to employee contributions of up to 2.4% - which are effectively a pensions tax on health workers.

UNISON health members in the Central De-Contamination Unit at Ayrshire Central Hospital Irvine will be taking industrial action on the issue of pensions on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 March 2012. A picket line will be in force each day from 9am until 12 noon.

Tam Waterson, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Health Committee, said:
“Our members are very distressed and angry that the Scottish Government, at the behest of the UK government, is asking them to pay much more in pension contributions.

“The reality is that many of our members will simply not be able to afford to make the proposed contribution increases due to start in April, and will be forced to opt out of their scheme to the future detriment of themselves, their families and communities - and the public purse."

Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary, said:
“We do not accept that the Scottish Government has no option other than to follow the UK Government’s proposals. There is a separate scheme in Scotland and there are other options to fund the cost. These should be pursued in partnership.

"We call on the Scottish Government to seek a Scottish solution, delay the pensions tax, and engage with us to find a negotiated settlement.”

ENDS

 

Notes for editors

1. UNISON members in the Central De-Contamination Unit at Ayrshire Central Hospital Irvine will be taking industrial action on the issue of pensions on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 March 2012. A picket line will be in force each day from 9am until 12 noon.

(The unit was opened by Cabinet Secretary for Health Nicola Sturgeon on Monday 5 March, at which she was lobbied by members of UNISON.)

Location: Ayrshire Central Hospital, Kilwinning Road, Irvine, KA12 8SS

The action will be supported by UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Health Committee Tam Waterson along with the Secretary and other members of the Scottish Health Committee, and colleagues from Health and Local Government Branches of UNISON.

PLEASE NOTE: Press interviews and picture opportunities will be available on Tuesday 13 March around 9am. Please contact Communication Officer Malcolm Burns (details below) for more information.

2. UNISON is Scotland’s largest healthcare trade union representing over 50,000 members working in NHS Scotland and related services. Our health members are nurses, student nurses, midwives, health visitors, healthcare assistants, paramedics, cleaners, porters, catering staff, medical secretaries, clerical and admin staff and scientific and technical staff.

For further information please contact:
Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary - 07939 143 355
Tom Waterson, Chair of UNISON Scotland Health Committee - 07753 627 575
John Gallacher, Scottish Organiser (Scotland West Organising Team) - 07904 342 426
Willie Duffy, Regional Organiser - 07904 342 129
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer - 0141 342 2877 / 07538 640 396

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