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Date: Fri 16 August 2013

Union project offers personal assistants and support workers training and employment rights advice

The public services union UNISON has launched a project in Inverclyde offering networking, advice and support to personal assistants (PAs) and Support Workers who work for disabled and elderly clients.

PAs are being invited to a series of drop in meetings in August around Inverclyde to find out more.

Lynne Rankin, organiser for the project, said that PAs working in the homes of disabled and elderly people can feel very isolated and may not be aware of their employment rights.

She said: “PAs do a really important job in supporting people but just because they work directly with someone does not mean they are entitled to any less respect or have any less rights than other workers.

"We want to speak to PAs in and around Inverclyde to hear about the job they do and let them know how UNISON can assist them with information and advice where they have problems or concerns.

“We want to offer support with training and development opportunities and to make sure they know about their rights to join a trade union and be represented at work.

“They will benefit too from networking and meeting others doing the same work. PAs can drop in to one of the informal meetings we have organised across Inverclyde to find out what UNISON can offer, or can contact me for further information.”

UNISON Inverclyde Branch Secretary Robin Taggart welcomed the meetings in the local area saying “whilst there are support organisations for PA Employers’ we know there is nothing that offers employment advice and support for the workers as acknowledged by the Scottish Government, local councils and PA employers themselves.”  

Inverclyde Council is supportive of the initiative and welcomes working with UNISON to provide this. 

Meetings are being held in:

  • Clune Park Resource Centre Port Glasgow Tuesday 20th August between 10am-12noon or Tuesday 27th August between 12-2.00pm
  • Your Voice, Clyde Square Greenock Tuesday 20th August between 1-3pm or Tuesday 27th August 10-12noon
  • The Gamble Halls Gourock on Thursday 22nd or 29th between 11am-1pm

Further dates and locations will be added to the website at:
 http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/socialwork/personalassistants.html
Lynne added: “We are really keen to hear directly from PAs about what matters most to them and what support at work they need.”

ENDS

For information please contact:

Lynne Rankin, organiser for the PA project, 0141 342 2881 or 07903 853022 L.Rankin@unison.co.uk

Notes to editors:

  • UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland.
  • The PAs project is a new move for UNISON and is working in liaison with a similar project in Yorkshire and Humberside, sharing good practice.
  • PAs work mainly for people with physical and/or learning disabilities, supporting them to live independently, mainly paid for by direct payments from social care budgets. Many may formerly have been employed by councils or are now employed through private companies, charities or an agency.
  • Training and development opportunities may include discounts on Open University courses.  UNISON is also working with the Scottish Government and the Workers Educational Association (WEA) to look at developing local learning opportunities for PA’s.   

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