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Date: Wed 17 October 2012

UNISON calls for alternative to austerity and support for a ‘Future that Works’

UNISON, the public services union, today hit out at the UK Coalition Government’s determination to continue with their “dangerous and damaging” programme of austerity cuts.

Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said that ordinary people are being asked to pay too high a price, that key public services are under attack and politicians need to be told that “enough is enough.”

He made his comments as thousands of people prepare for the STUC ‘A Future that Works’ march and rally in Glasgow on Saturday, and for sister marches in Belfast and London.

Mike urged strong support for the Scottish march, saying:
“Our members, their families and friends, know that the drastic spending cuts and attacks on benefits are hurting them and are hurting the most vulnerable people in society.

“This week we’ve seen news of massive hikes in energy bills, more big companies getting away with paying miniscule amounts of tax and an STUC report showing a 400% rise in long term youth unemployment since spring 2008.

“We can all see that the cuts are hurting, not helping, the economy, as confirmed by the International Monetary Fund’s revised figures.

“The damage is also being passed down in the Scottish Government’s budget decisions, affecting every service our members provide. We are working with community groups and other trade unions in resisting attacks on services, pay, jobs and pensions, whether from Westminster, Holyrood or individual public authorities.

“We encourage everyone who wants to stand up for our essential public services, for fair pay, against massive cuts to councils, against cuts to college funding and police staff numbers and for a properly funded NHS, fair taxation and a Living Wage to join us in Glasgow on Saturday.”

Last week UNISON and PCS urged support for the People’s Charter, a six point manifesto for a fairer society.

Mike added:
"The People’s Charter makes six simple demands. A fair economy, more and better jobs, decent homes for all, improvements to public services instead of cuts, fairness and justice for everyone - including at work - and a secure sustainable future.

"The People's Charter sits alongside campaigns like UNISON’s Public Works and the STUC’s There is A Better Way. Austerity isn’t working. Let’s tell the politicians these are the policies that will.”

Ends

For further comment please contact:
Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary on 07939 143355
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland on 0141 342 2877 or 07508 877000

Notes for Editors:

1. The STUC’s A Future That Works march and rally assembles in George Square at 11am on Saturday 20 October - www.stuc.org.uk/20-oct

2. The People's Charter www.peoplescharterscotland.org sets out six key steps for a move away from austerity to a more just, equitable society:

1. A fair economy for a fairer Britain
2. More and better jobs
3. Decent homes for all
4. Protect and improve our public services – no cuts
5. Fairness and Justice
6. Build a secure and sustainable future for all

The Charter has been endorsed by the TUC, the STUC and most major unions, many MPs and MSPs, as well as thousands of individuals.

3. The UNISON Scotland website People's Charter page is here
www.unison-scotland.org.uk/peoplescharter

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