Home . Communications . Back issues

Scotland in UNISON
Housing debt promises are 'balderdash'
This radical and visionary plan...?
Matt's presidency marks new stage for Scottish trade unions
Borders campaign fights NHS low pay
Orkney petition wins new library
Section 28 is a trade union issue
In the Swim with UNISON:
UNISONScotland sets Conference priorities
Jubilee 2000 targets young campaigners

April 2000 No 23
(Next issue May 2000)
UNISON Scotland Home
Council staff committed to service despite low pay and cuts
Malcolm Chisholm
Workers memorial day 28 April
Round the Branch Magazines
Kinneil qualifies for nationals
A must for anyone who is interested in British/Irish history
Clydebank steward Ena is citizen of the year
We want to hear your news
Housing debt promises are 'balderdash' There is no reason why Glasgow's housing cannot remain in council hands with the government acting reasonably to take away the debt. Future governments cannot be forced to honour debt payment.
Jane carolanThis radical and visionary plan...? NEC member Jane Carolan exposes the dangers of Glasgow's housing transfer: -lack of democracy - dangers to tenants - threat to 3,000 jobs.
Matt SmithMatt's presidency marks new stage for Scottish trade unions We are the largest representative organisation in Scotland, and we should be making our views clear, Matt Smith tells STUC
Borders campaign fights NHS low pay Doreen Thomson launches a pack for other branches at the recent UNISON Scottish Health Conference
Orkney petition wins new library UNISON has shown its role as a guardian of public services and has brought its name to the attention of the whole community..
Section 28 is a trade union issue Lobby of the Scottish Parliament The Mound, Edinburgh, 9.15am - 10.00am Thursday 27 April. Join us to support equality for all
In the Swim with UNISON: Fife UNISON was the main sponsor of the Fife Amateur Swimming Gala, putting the union's name on the map - and by the looks of it, winning many new friends and future members. (pic)
UNISONScotland sets Conference priorities UNISONScotland has set 12 policy priorities for National Conference in June, and six rule change priorities.
Jubilee 2000 targets young campaigners Jubilee 2000 is planning a weekend (28/30 April) to explore the way forward after the decision of the British government to cancel all its bilateral debt.
Council staff committed to service despite low pay and cuts A huge NOP survey has found major dissatisfaction among local government staff across the UK.
watchA series of regular columns on UNISON's activity in the Scottish Parliament, with briefing from UNISON's George McGregor and Malcolm Chisholm MSP.
Workers memorial day 28 April
UNISON members will be taking part in services around Scotland
Round the Branch Magazines The main issues covered in some of the most recent branch magazines around Scotland
Kinneil qualifies for nationals
The UNISON Kinneil Band back in UK finals
A must for anyone who is interested in British/Irish history NEC members John McFadden reviews 'PARTNERS IN REVOLT' pamphlet by Sean Redmond
Clydebank steward Ena is citizen of the year "You tell me what you want to do and I'll see how I can help you out."
We want to hear your news Scotland inUNISON contacts


Published by UNISON Scottish Council, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow G2 6RX. Editor John Stevenson
© UNISON Scotland 1998-2000





Headlines . Communications . Home

We want to hear your news

Won any deals or cases for members? Any 'people' stories we could use? SiU is your paper, we want to hear your stories.

Your SiU contacts are:
John Stevenson (Editor)
0131 343 1991
Chris Bartter
0141 332 0006,
FAX PRESS RELEASES to 0141-331-1203






Headlines . Communications . Home

Housing debt promises are 'balderdash'

By John Stevenson, SiU editor

There is no reason why Glasgow's housing cannot remain in council hands with the government acting reasonably to take away the debt.

Glasgow's Craig Binns told UNISON's Scottish Council on 8 April that strategies did exist to allow investment while keeping housing under democratic control.

He also blew holes in the key argument that the planned transfer will lift the debt burden from the council.

"The debt will stay with the council. Government will pay for it, but it will stay on the council's books with all the risks that brings", explained Craig.

And he dubbed claims that future governments could be forced to carry on paying this year after year as "balderdash".

Pointing to the uncertainties of this debt in the future, Craig noted that minister Wendy Alexander had been silent on the issue.

He warned of the effects on staff with training, skills and quality being lost in favour of a 'cowboy' mentality. But the dangers do not just face council housing.

"Wholesale transfer of Glasgow's housing stock will not only destroy council social housing in the city, it will also wreck current housing associations", he said.

Now was the time to mount a huge campaign with tenants so that, when the vote comes, the plan "will go down in ruins as it deserves".




Headlines . Communications . Home

This radical and visionary plan………. ?
NEC member JANE CAROLAN exposes the dangers of Glasgow's housing transfer:

Radical and visionary, that's the Scottish Executive's view of their final solution to the housing problems faced by Glasgow.

The city has faced decaying housing and environmental blight throughout its history. Glasgow City Council, on occasion, has proudly risen to the challenge.
Its garden suburbs in Mosspark or Knightswood are examples. More frequently however, the Council has grabbed the latest "big idea" and watched as it failed to solve the problem.

An analysis of the Executive's Framework Document suggests that yet again they have fallen for the charms of the snake oil sales woman.

The Framework is an article of faith - long on dogma, short on facts.

What is the Problem?

Any systematic attempt to solve the housing problems of the city would reasonably start from a sound analysis of why it has the problems that it does.

The Framework document singles out the city's 'debt burden' but shows no recognition of the role of both Labour and Tory governments in under-investment in public housing.

The unspoken premise behind the document is that municipal housing has failed, and that those associated with it: Councillors, housing staff and building staff have also failed.

The results - anti democratic, economic nonsense, and an insult to tenants and trade unions - are dressed up as new freedoms.

Tenant's Choice?

Municipal housing is democratically controlled and publicly accountable. Decisions are made in public by Councillors and anyone, tenant or citizen can question them, and frequently do, as any councillor who has ever held a surgery will testify.

Democratic choice and control are being swept away. Glasgow's tenants will have one choice - the Minister's current proposals are the only ones being presented.

Far from "the people of Glasgow being architects of the proposal" the people of Glasgow have had a plan that clearly restricts their options.

There is no real choice for the people of Glasgow.
In place of democratic control, the Scottish Executive will continue the process of bureaucratic quangoisation.

The framework talks of the Glasgow Housing Association "Management Committee or Area Housing Partnership Boards" each of which will have tenant representatives, elected members and independent members.

It is silent on how they are to be set up but the language hints at ministerial appointment. How will such Boards and Management Committees be accountable? Who do they represent? The Executive scores another goal for sham democracy.

The document talks of new and radical forms of "local housing management and new housing area plans." The Minister, like most who ignore history, seems unaware that her preferred choices - such as tenant management co-operatives - were in fact pioneered in Glasgow and have been an option open to Glasgow tenants since the early 80's.

It may be that Glasgow's tenants have already made a real housing choice - a city housing property professionally managed - but that is now to be denied them.

Improved Housing……

John Wheatley had a vision of decent affordable housing for the city. Sure enough the Framework states that 'our vision includes ensuring that rented housing is attractive, fully modernised and energy efficient.

The objective of transfer is "securing investment in the houses." To secure this, the city's stock is transferred out of democratic control to a Glasgow housing association and then passed to local associations.

The carrot being held out for this loss of control is that the debt burden currently falling on the Housing Revenue Account will be serviced by the Scottish Executive.

"Mutually acceptable terms" on the debt require to be agreed. There are no concrete proposals on the table. The city council has backed the Framework but have extracted nothing but promises on behalf of the tenants.

What are the terms and conditions to be met? With a solution to the debt problem a wide variety of investment would be available to the city without any need to transfer stock.

However the Scottish Executive approach demands transfer, presumably on the grounds of ideological aversion to the public sector. No other reasons are given.

It is worth noting that public sector investment in housing in England is increasing, with new resources for councils through Housing Repairs Allowance and an acknowledgement that councils can and should manage stock.

Are we seeing the Scottish Executive move to the right of Tony Blair or even Michael Forsyth?


The investment by the way, will be made by unnamed "funders" who are "comfortable with the principles envisaged." Where is the transparency in these arrangements? Who are the funders?

One may presume that they are in fact banks, building societies and insurance companies, organisations known more for extortionate profiteering than charitable endeavour.

Have our councillors already forgotten that there is no such thing as a free lunch?

The questions continue.

- What is the investment programme envisaged? There is no answer.

- Who will provide real long term accommodation for the homeless of the city? There is no answer.

- How will rents be set? There is no answer.

- What will happen to City Building, the local DLO? There is no answer.

Would any reasonable person want this information before taking a decision? Why didn't Glasgow's councillors?
What about the staff? Wendy Alexander, the minister for the Communities, is quite clear. She has offered £21 million to housing associations to release staff to work on the project. That is, to carry out the jobs already being done by City Housing staff.

She states that TUPE will apply in the transfer to the Glasgow Housing Association but that this will have no landlord function. Staff will then be transferred to secondary bodies with no protection on pay, terms and conditions.

If Government policy was seen to demolish job prospects in shipbuilding on the Clyde they would, rightly, be asked to face the consequence of their actions. Where they deliberately attack the job prospects of over 3,000 public sector workers, voices of protest seem muted or silent.

But the effect on building workers or housing staff is the same as that on shipyard workers. Livelihoods are threatened, careers disrupted, lives are changed. If we believe in public services, democracy and accountability, we have a duty to campaign against these proposals.




Headlines . Communications . Home

Matt's presidency marks new stage for Scottish trade unions

By Chris Bartter

The STUC Congress was chaired for the second year running by a UNISON member.

This year Matt Smith, the union's Scottish Secretary, follows on from his deputy Anne Middleton.

Matt thinks this year is a key one for unions.

"I am pleased to have been President in the year in which the Scottish Parliament was established."

He said, "Having fought for it in UNISON and through the Constitutional Convention and Scotland Forward, I was proud to be at its inauguration. It is also important that unions and the STUC continue to be involved, as I sense attempts from some quarters to divert the democratic and inclusive nature of the parliament."

Despite some hostile media reporting, Matt thinks the parliament has settled down well. The Committee system in particular seems to have taken less time than might be thought to find its role.

But Matt is clear that Scotland's Trade Unions need to develop a more positive, mature approach if they are to make the impact that they should.

"We are the largest representative organisation in Scotland, and we should be making our views clear." He said, "The old slogans, and negative campaigning are no longer enough. We need to agree our long term aims and objectives, and use them to inform our discussions with the executive and parliament."

Matt's final judgement on the Scottish Parliament will be made on how it treats Scotland's public services.
He said, "The Parliament should give us an opportunity to re-assert our public services ethos. One that seeks proper public provision and not profiteering. One where those responsible can be held to account, preferably through the ballot box."

Matt will also be telling the STUC that unions should be acting ahead of the forthcoming Fairness at Work legislation to recruit and organise in new and previously resistant industries.

"There is no point in fighting each other for existing members when there are tens of thousands of non-members out there who need our protection." He said, "If DC Thomson's can be forced into a ballot on union recognition, anyone can be."

Matt has been a member of the STUC General Council for 11 years and also serves on the Scottish Council (Development and Industry); the Church and Nation Committee of the Church of Scotland; and the Broadcasting Council for Scotland.

He is also on the Boards of the Scottish Local Government Information Unit, and the Centre for Scottish Public Policy.
He lives in Stevenson, and is married to Eileen, a teacher (and former NALGO steward!) They have a son, Mark and a daughter, Gillian.




Headlines . Communications . Home

Borders campaign fights NHS low pay

By John Stevenson

The rest of Scotland can now benefit from the successful Borders' "Action on Poverty Pay" campaign as organiser Doreen Thomson launched a pack for other branches at the recent UNISON Scottish Health Conference.

"The pack is available to anyone who wants to get ideas for their campaign. We want to extend the campaign around the country", said Doreen.

Set up by Doreen, another domestic assistant and a porter over a lunch break and backed by Consultant Physician Carol Norris, the campaign has now gathered 6,800 signatures at Borders hospitals, health centres and the Somerfield store in Galashiels.

"We have taken it to the Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee and to the Health and Community Care Committee. On 24 April Michael Moore MP will take it to Westminster", said Doreen.

The campaign has taken Scottish Borders by storm with wide coverage on TV, radio and the press.

Doreen wrote to MPs and forced them to take notice by inviting them to shadow ancillary staff at the hospital. Local politicians Michael Moore, Archie Kirkwood (who did a stint in the laundry), Euan Robson and Ian Jenkins responded by turning up for the day.

"We feel we are the forgotten people in the NHS", said Doreen. "We are a very big cog in the wheel in the hospitals. If we were not there the place would be dirty and full of infection.

"There would be no movement of patients round departments, no food, laundry and no rubbish picked up from wards".

"But over the last three years we have only had a 9p per hour rise bringing us to £3.89. This is surely a poverty payment and an insult to the kind of work we do".

You can get copies of the pack from Doreen Thomson, 34 Magdala Terrace, Galashiels TD1 2HX.




Headlines . Communications . Home

Orkney petition wins new library

By David Andrews, Orkney Branch and C&C Committee

When the Orkney Islands Council had to cut its capital budget one of the casualties was the long-planned new library building.

Work on this project was at an advanced stage. A site - the disused auction mart - had been chosen. Plans were completed and the selection of a contractor was ready to go ahead.

Postponement of the £2.4m project at the last stage was a bitter blow for the staff at the existing Orkney Library.

For many years they had been struggling to provide a range of modern library and archive services from an old and cramped building.

Lack of space and restricted access had hampered their efforts to offer the new information services headlined by the Scottish Executive.

After the postponement, staff were being asked by library users what could be done to reverse the decision.

The Council had already agreed to consider using reserve funds for the project and it was obvious that the local UNISON branch could provide a focus to demonstrate the depth of feeling that existed in the community.

Following initial announcements in the local paper and on Radio Orkney, a campaign was launched. Posters and petition forms were distributed to shops and sub-post offices throughout the islands. Pre-printed postcards were available for return to councillors.

A team of branch officers spent a weekend in Safeways supermarket drumming up support.

As a result of this short intensive campaign over 1800 signatures were handed to the Council Convener ahead of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Some 300 postcards had been received by individual councillors. This demonstration of public concern clearly helped councillors to agree to dip into reserves and construction of the new library will begin this summer.

By acting as a focus UNISON has shown its role as a guardian of public services and has brought its name to the attention of the whole community.




Headlines . Communications . Home

Section 28 is a trade union issue

Section 28 was never about how sex is taught in schools - it was always about a discriminatory law that legalises poorer services to one group in society.

"UNISON has a clear mandate to fight discrimination and a good record in doing so. We must continue to do so", says Glasgow's Jim Mearns.

"It should not be forgotten that this legislation was introduced by the Thatcher government as part of a wider attack on local government and the good work being done to help the disadvantaged in society".

The "Keep the Clause" campaign have been exposed in carrying on opposition despite measures specifically ensuring that children are protected and that education will be child centred.

There is no place in a 21st century Scotland for legalised discrimination, now is our chance to show we want to scrap the section.


Headlines .


In the Swim

In the Swim with UNISON: Fife UNISON was the main sponsor of the Fife Amateur Swimming Gala, putting the union's name on the map - and by the looks of it, winning many new friends and future members.




Headlines . Communications . Home

UNISONScotland sets Conference priorities

A briefing paper has gone out to branches. Delegates will get updated Scotland inUNISON Conference briefing packs

UNISONScotland has set 12 policy priorities for National Conference in June, and six rule change priorities.

While branches have the final say on how they vote, this briefing outlines policies the majority have backed at Scottish level and gives an overview of the agenda.

Resources for Local Bargaining (104) tops the list and looks for exactly what is says as well as a call to harness information technology.

Social Inclusion (31) comes next with a Scottish motion calling for real social inclusion for disadvantaged groups.
Lay control (190) follows in an Edinburgh motion setting out important markers to underpin lay control across the union and particularly in communications.

Pay: Dundee's motion 48 calls for a £5 minimum wage. This along with 48, 49, 53, 59 and 60 back a TUC campaign to win wide support, unlike others in the section.

Other priorities cover Europe, Employment Rights and Partnership. On the last two, Scottish Council supports 72-74, 76-78, 82 and 87 as comprehensive reform to assist part time workers, parents, black workers, the disabled and the general workforce.

It will oppose 83 and 84 which it believes risk burying our heads in the sand by opposing partnerships.

The final five are Safer Needles, Palestine, Yugoslavia, Section 28 and a Fair Deal for Public Services.

The latter will be composited with 12-13 and should take Edinburgh's call for redistributive taxation into the debate.

Rules: It is now essential we get our disciplinary procedures sorted out. Scottish Council supports 18 (or 19 or 20 which are largely the same) but opposes 21 and 22. Changes like this narrowly failed to get the two-thirds majority last year.




Headlines . Communications . Home

Jubilee 2000 targets young campaigners

Jubilee 2000, the campaign to cancel the unpayable debt of the world's poorest countries, and of which

UNISONScotland is a supporter, is planning a weekend to explore the way forward after the decision of the British government to cancel all its bilateral debt.

Jubilee 2000's Scottish Coalition is running a campaigners weekend for young people (aged 16-25) in the
Dewar's Centre, Perth
on April 28-30.

Glyn Hawker (Secretary to the Youth Committee) said, "At £25 per head for the conference and two nights hotel accommodation, the event is very good value, as well as being a very good opportunity for networking with young people with an interest in this issue"

For more information contact the J2000 Scottish Coalition on 0131-225 4321, or e-mail them at J2000Scot@networkteam.net




Headlines . Communications . Home

Council staff committed to service despite low pay and cuts

By Chirs Bartter, Communications Officer

A huge NOP survey has found major dissatisfaction among local government staff across the UK. Two-thirds considered leaving in the last year, over 70% experienced staff shortages and nearly 60% felt they were not well paid for their job.

The survey, commissioned by UNISON, was taken during November and December 1999. Interim results have just been released.

Yet despite all the pressures and low morale, 53% of staff felt they had to stay in their job because they were still committed to it and nearly a third because they wanted to provide a public service.

Dougie Black, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Local Government Group, said:

"Most members in Scotland's local government service will recognise themselves here. While there are no separate Scottish figures, the problems identified are those that Branches are reporting across Scotland.

"Once the full report is available we will be wanting to discuss it with CoSLA and the Scottish Executive."

The picture that emerges is of a staff fast running out of morale. They want to leave because they feel undervalued, think they don't have enough resources to do their job properly, and suffer from stress.

Nearly three-quarters report increased workload and pressure, 71% feel that stress levels have increased and 61% said that morale is getting worse.

The use of 'reviews' to cover cuts is highlighted, with 41% saying they have had a major review in the last year. 25% said this meant staff cuts, and 19%, fewer resources.

Unsurprisingly 22% indicated that public services had worsened as a result.

Staff want to improve services but are concerned that they will become the victims of any changes. They think that guarantees of job security, and protection of pay and conditions would help staff to improve services.

The full report of this survey of 10,000 local government staff across the UK is due to be published as we go to press.




Headlines . Communications . Home

A series of regular columns detailing UNISON's activity in the Scottish Parliament, with regular briefings from UNISON sponsored MSPs.

by George McGregor, Scottish Research Officer
(see below for briefing by Malcolm Chisholm MSP)

UNISON tackles Dewar on housing

Housing has been at he top of our parliamentary work this month.

Concerns about Government policy on stock transfer were raised when First Minister Donald Dewar and Communities Minister Wendy Alexander visited the UNISON Glasgow Office for a recent meeting.

And when UNISON members of the Communities Policy Pool met MSPs from the Liberal Democrat and SNP Groups on the Social Inclusion and Housing Committee UNISON re-iterated our policy of housing stock remaining with local government.


Members of the UNISON Equalities Policy Pool have also been active. They have drawn up UNISON's response to the consultation paper Towards an Equality Strategy and attended a Scottish Executive consultative seminar with Yvonne Strachan, Head of the Equality Unit, to put across UNISON's point of view.

UNISON has been at the forefront of the campaign to repeal Section 28 and attended the launch of the Scrap the Section campaign and the debates on Section 28 in the Equal Opportunities Committee and the Parliament's full plenary session.

Council finance

The Parliament's response to the MacIntosh Commission report, particularly the issue of local government finance, was the main item of discussion when our Communities' Policy Pool members met Labour members of the Local Government Committee. Other issues we raised were best value and the right of council staff to stand for public office.

In May UNISON's NEC Policy Development and Campaigns Committee will visit the Parliament and we have organised a hectic schedule for them.

They will be addressed by Patricia Ferguson, Deputy Presiding Officer, on the workings of the Parliament and by the Chair and Secretary of UNISON APF MSPs Margaret Jamieson and Karen Gillon. They will also attend Question Time and meet the First Minister.

If your branch wishes to visit the Scottish Parliament to lobby your local MSPs (or just learn about the new ways of working) then UNISON Scotland can help. For further information contact UNISON's Policy and Information Team on 0141 332 0006.


Committee work often unreported

Malcolm Chisholm MSPMalcolm Chisholm MSP outlines some of his recent work in the parliament

Scottish Affairs used to happen in the Scottish Office but now it happens in the Parliament as well. There is simply a massive amount going on, particularly in the committees, but most of it goes unreported and unknown.

One major piece of work has been the Staff Transfer Investigation by the Social Inclusion, Housing and Voluntary Sector Committee.

There are several committee members who are critical of Executive policy including Labour's John McAllion, and the imminent report will make very interesting and very important reading. However, the challenge to anyone who is to come up with an alternative that delivers the same level of investment within current borrowing rules.

My two committees are Equal Opportunities and Health and Community Care. The former is the guardian of mainstreaming and tries to keep abreast of everything from that point or view. We've done quite a bit on the current education bill and are supporting amendments that put the promotion of equal opportunities on the face of the bill. We have also been hearing evidence on the Ethical Standards Bill and managed to extract an admission from Keep the Clause that section 2A is discriminatory.

Much of the work of the Equal Opportunities Committee goes on in sub-groups. The gender sub-group which I am on, has been focusing on action against violence against women and invited Rape Crisis, Zero Tolerance and SAY Women (survivors of abuse) to the full committee. We beard their concerns about funding, the justice system and the need for a crosscutting agenda and will try to drive all that forward.

The Health Committee meets every week but still has to be pretty selective in its agenda. The big investigation at the moment is on Community Care and we are trying to focus on joint working, best practice, the Sutherland Report and a whole range of funding issues from Sutherland to resource transfer and pooled budgets.

We've also had time for significant reports on Strathcaro and Stobhill with particular reference to consultation with the public and engagement with staff. Both reports seem to have created waves in Health Boards and Trusts throughout Scotland.

Now it is the first full budget process and from the first week after Easter the Health Committee, like the rest, will begin to consider budget priorities for 2001-2002. The real term growth of the health budget in Scotland for the four years from now is 5.4% per annum so, although we always want and need more, we at least know we've never had such a favourable outlook. One issue I am sure we will touch on is the financial implications of PFI.




Headlines . Communications . Home

Workers memorial day 28 April

Every year some 500 people in the UK are killed at work and 20,000 people die from work-related diseases.

Every year on Workers Memorial Day we remember the dead and renew our commitment to fight for the living.
It is a statement that we want stronger legislation to protect people at work and greater resources to see those laws enforced.

UNISON members will be taking part in services around Scotland, contact your branch or Trade Union Council for details of local events.




Headlines . Communications . Home

Round the Branch Magazines

What future for Glasgow's hospitals?

The SGH branch's Southside UNISON leads the options facing the Health Board on future services, and where they will be provided.

In another packed issue there are detailed reports for the Partnership Forum, on the Needlestick campaign, the Credit Union, UNISON benefits and a centre page spread on International Womens Day. And, of course, Uncle Bob's agony uncle page!

This mag shows every branch what can be done. From a typewritten two-sided paste-up just a few years ago, Robert Rae has developed this magazine into one of the best in the country.

Where were you?
....asks North Ayrshire's Counterpoints about the lack of support for a lobby in defence of 300 staff facing redundancy - and tries to build more solidarity in the future.
This serious point could have been turgid and self righteous, instead the writing is lively and witty. That is reflected throughout a mag that covers Best Value, Pay, Branch Contacts and much more. The "Book of Lamentations" feature had me giggling for ages.

Working week deal

City of Edinburgh's UNISONNews leads on an interim deal for manual and residential workers to cut the working week until the Single Status wrangle is sorted out at Scottish level.
A Council Budget feature runs a full page report on the Campaign to save Craigmillar Childrens Project from closure. Reports also on the Scottish Labour Party Conference featuring the "Single Transferable Speech" concept.

And because we missed them last issue...

Scottish Electricity Branch's THE SPARK led with a report on the review of Scottish Power's UK businesses and an attack on "Corporate Speak" (ie 'independent future' means 'sell-off').

Lothian Acute Health's Not the Newsline, celebrates the success of UNISON's Return to Learn initiative. The issue also launches the branch website, worth a look at:





Headlines . Communications . Home

Kinneil qualifies for nationals

The UNISON Kinneil Band has again qualified for the National Brass Band Championship Finals at London's Albert Hall in October.

The band has returned to "the big boys league" says Robert Doherty, Band Secretary.

They will be going all out to improve on being pipped into second place last year - best of luck.

Click here for more details about the band




Headlines . Communications . Home

A must for anyone who is interested in British/Irish history

NEC member John McFadden reviews 'PARTNERS IN REVOLT' by Sean Redmond. The pamphlet is available by sending a cheque for £3.00 to Sean Redmond, 33 Lindsay Road, Dublin 9, Republic of Ireland.

This little pamphlet by one of Ireland's leading trade union historians is a must for anyone who is interested in British/Irish history.

It shows the links that existed between the independence struggle in Ireland in the 1790's, led by the United Irishmen, and the movements that existed at the same time in England and Scotland. The fear engendered in the establishment by these links influenced British Government policy towards Ireland at that time.

The United Irishmen had in its leadership prominent Ulster protestants fighting against the crown for having placed restrictions on the Presbyterian and Catholic faiths in favour of the established Church of Ireland. Many of the leaders of the United Irishmen had been influenced by the writings of Thomas Paine and others. Writers who advocated the right of peoples to be governed by laws they themselves determined and challenged the rule of monarchs and other unelected elites.

Sean begins by recalling a wreath laying ceremony at the statue of Dr Joseph Priestly, in Birmingham in November 1998, and asking why the Birmingham Irish community and representatives of the Irish Government want to remember him?

Sean outlines Priestly's advocacy of Catholic emancipation and his links with revolutionaries in France and Ireland, which upset King George and others no end. He then describes the history of the Reform Movement in Britain, the influence of Thomas Paine, the relationship between the movements in Ireland and Scotland, and the effect of Britain's war with France on the government's policy towards the reformers.

There are brief biographies of some of the movements' leaders, the role of Irish craft societies at that time and, finally, he discusses the outcome and success of the movements, and the legacy they left.

It is a timely publication which is valuable in helping us analyse what is happening in Ireland today, and reminding us that the success of the peace process depends on the unity of democratic forces in Ireland and Britain.

The cost of production and publication of the pamphlet is being met by Sean himself. As he says, "I am publishing the book at my own expense (such is the price of vanity!) and I would welcome support in having it distributed. Any excess of income over expenditure will be donated to the Irish Labour History Society."

(Sean Redmond is National Secretary of the Irish public service union, IMPACT. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Irish Labour History Society. Sean was nominated by IMPACT as an Honorary Member of the historic Senate of Wexford, re-established by the County of Wexford as part of the 200th anniversary celebrations of the United Irishmen's 1798 rebellion. His name appears in the roll of Senators in the 1798 memorial museum at Eniscorthy.)




Headlines . Communications . Home

Clydebank steward Ena is citizen of the year

By John Stevenson, SiU editor

UNISON steward Ena Williamson has won Clydebank's Millennium Citizen of the Year in recognition of her unsung work for the community.

As if the higher profile of the steward's job in Clydebank College since incorporation was not enough, Ena has managed to raise thousands for good causes, be active in her church and Girls Brigade and she has just become a Childrens Panel member.

One of her happiest moments was seeing the fruits of her work to raise £1,500 to sponsor three athletes at the Special Olympics in 1990. "That was a truly momentous time", said Ena.

Ena was also involved in raising funds for the Rachel House Childrens Hospice. Of a visit to staff there, she said,

"I would cheerfully have handed my award over to them. I have never seen such dedication".

In a topical comment on recent publicity about bigotry in Scotland, Ena said, "We are a very ecumenical community with all faiths supporting one another. If there is sectarianism here, I have not seen it.

"I wouldn't live anywhere else. Clydebank is a very caring community and we all work well together".

Be it coping with a 'juggernaut' full of clothes for the Romanian appeal, raising money for Mozambique or helping in the local community, Ena, a steward for 25 years has one basic motto,

"You tell me what you want to do and I'll see how I can help you out."