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Date: Wed 22 May 2013

New union project offers personal assistants training and employment rights advice

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

PAs are being invited to a series of meetings in June around Glasgow 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: “We are hoping to contact personal assistants in and around Glasgow.

“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 just from networking and meeting others doing the same work. PAs can come to one of the meetings we have organised around the city, or can contact me for further information.”

Employers’ organisations such as Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL) Carers Projects, the Scottish Government and Self Directed Support Scotland (SDSS) have responded positively to the project, agreeing there should be a support organisation for PAs.

Glasgow City Council is also supportive of the initiative and welcomes working with UNISON to provide this.

Lynne added: “We are also keen to hear directly from PAs what matters most to them and what they would like support on.”

More than eleven meetings have already been arranged at venues including the Pearce Institute, Penilee and Castlemilk Community Centres and the Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living.

ENDS

For information please contact:
Lynne Rankin, organiser for the PAs project, 0141 342 2881 or 07903 853022 L.Rankin@unison.co.uk

Notes to editors:

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland.

2. 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.

3. PAs work mainly for disabled people, supporting them to live independently, paid for by direct payments from social care budgets. Many may formerly have been employed by councils or are now employed through an agency.

4. Training and development opportunities may include discounts on OpenUniversity courses. UNISON is also working with the Scottish Government and the Workers Educational Association (WEA) to look at developing local learning opportunities for PAs.

5. Meetings are being held in:

  • Monday 10th, 17th & 24th June 10-11am
    Pearce Cafe, Pearce Institute. Govan
  • Monday 10th & 17th June 2-3pm
    GCIL 117-127 Brook Street, Glasgow
  • Thursday 13th, 20th & 27th June 1.30-3.30pm
    Penilee Community Centre, Glasgow
  • Friday 14th, 21st & 28th June 11am-12 noon
    Castlemilk Community Centre, Glasgow

Further dates and locations will be added to the website at:
www.unison-scotland.org.uk/socialwork/personalassistants.html

 

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