Home . Communications . Back issues

Scotland in UNISON
 Headlines
Campaign for world class public services 
Policy Pools - an invitation to jump in
Councils choose privatisation rather than maintain the school team
UNISON condemns Lothian NHS staff cuts
HOUSING TRANSFER Taking the facts to tenants
Health strike averted as telephonists get regrading
SEPA staff balloted on attempt to cut their wages
Real modernisation to make services Positively Public
Joint Futures, Social Work review call, Changes in pensions, Peace call, The Careers Union
Efficiency of the private sector
George Mackay
 

December 2001 No 34
(Next issue February 2002)


A happy festive season, and a peaceful New Year

 
UNISON Scotland Home

Happy festive season, and a peaceful New Year 
Young members course adds skills
Womens Voices - Influencing the Policy Agenda
Stamp out persecution around the world
Job offered, then withdrawn because you're disabled - Disabled Members Conference
Edinburgh janitors strike
Communications Course success
Brian goes boldly baldy for Children in Need
We want to hear your news

 

Campaign for world class public services CAMPAIGN GOES ON FROM PUBLIC SERVICES DAYS. As we go to press the Public Services Day event on 5 December beside Scotland's Parliament is shaping up to a success
Policy Pools - an invitation to jump in  Got an interest on equal pay? A bee in your bonnet about school education? Local government staff standing for elections? Lifelong learning or even rural poverty? Well these are all topics being discussed by UNISON's policy pools. And they would welcome input from UNISON members who have an interest in any of the topics.
Councils choose privatisation rather than maintain the school team Following the problems of PFI funded schools refurbishment in Glasgow, and the council's apparent willingness to return to traditional public sector funding for their next programme, it is surprising to note that other councils are preparing to go down the PFI road.
UNISON condemns Lothian NHS staff cuts   UNISON Scotland has condemned cuts announced by Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust (LUHNT)
HOUSING TRANSFER Taking the facts to tenants  Glasgow City Branch has launched a major 'our houses are not for sale' briefing for tenants to combat propaganda about housing stock transfer in response to the estimated £5 million being spent by government on 'communication' about stock transfer and thousands of home visits to persuade tenants to vote 'yes 
Health strike averted as telephonists get regrading   Around 23 telephonists working for Argyll and Clyde Acute NHS Trust in three Scottish Hospitals have withdrawn their threat of strike action following a grading agreement that will make them some of the best paid telephonists in the Scottish Health Service.
SEPA staff balloted on attempt to cut their wages UNISON has run a consultative ballot for members working for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) following an attempt to end staff protection agreements leading to a future threat to individuals pay.  
Real modernisation to make services Positively Public   UNISON has called on Scotland's First Minister to abandon 'outdated' privatisation and PFI schemes and to look at imaginative ways to modernise public services by giving them the public investment they need.
Joint Futures, Social Work review call, Changes in pensions, Peace call, The Careers Union, In Brief and Reports from Scottish Council 1 December 
Young members course adds skills The Scottish Young Members Committee Education and Training Weekend last month attracted 15 young members from around Scotland from Aberdeen to the Borders.
Womens Voices - Influencing the Policy Agenda  Jennie Biggs reports on UNISON Scottish Womens Conference. Motion reports by Irene Stout.    
Stamp out persecution around the world Scotland once again hosted the National Lesbian and Gay Conference this year from 16-18 November in Glasgow with Scottish delegates once again playing a key role in debates.
Job offered, then withdrawn because you're disabled Nigel Pimm reports on the Scottish Disabled Members Fprum where Adam Gaines, Policy Officer for the Disability Rights Commission was the main speaker.  
Edinburgh janitors strike 140 Edinburgh janitors were set to strike for two three day blocks from 4 December in a dispute over irregular hours payments dating from 1999. 
Communications Course success   "It was an excellent course, really building my confidence in dealing with the media" was just one response to last month's Media Handling Course.
Efficiency of the private sector  Glasgow traffic was nearly paralysed twice when two service access covers 800 metres apart collapsed on the M8 in the rush hour. Long traffic formed all over the city as commuters sought alternative routes. The City council has demanded an explanation from the Trunk Roads Maintenance contractors - AMEY.
Brian goes boldly baldy for Children in Need "As a joke it was suggested he 'shave his head'. I think what was actually said was something like "away and boil your heid!"
George Mackay Ex-Nalgo activists and officers of some long standing were saddened to hear of the death of George Mackay, early in November.
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    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

CAMPAIGN GOES ON FROM PUBLIC SERVICES DAYS

Campaign for world class public services

by Chris Bartter

As we go to press the Public Services Day event on 5 December beside Scotland's Parliament is shaping up to a success.

Although the new First Minister cannot be present, the new Finance and Public Services Minister, appropriately enough, will be stepping in for him. Andy Kerr MSP (himself a UNISON member) will be just one of many MSP's who will visit the Hub.

The Day will see the launch of "...for world class public services" an initial statement of UNISON aims for public services that we hope to discuss with many other groups and organisations.

The aim is to promote UNISON's Positively Public policies with ministers and MSP's, and the room will feature stalls with material on the major service groups and examples of our involvement in the Scottish Parliament's consultation process.

Following this event discussion will be needed on the next steps for the campaign here in Scotland. John Stevenson, Chair of UNISONScotland's Communications and Campaigns Committee said

"With the reports coming in of the increasing threats of schools PFIs and the need to get discussion going on ... for world class public services it seems we will need to continue this campaign Meanwhile the pressure to get the Positively Public Postcards signed and returned to Mabledon Place continues.

The last known total of postcards was 60,000+, but this is short of the target of 100,000 and Scotland has a low proportion of this at just under 5,000.

We know that branches are organising events around Public Services Day itself, so please make sure that you collect in signed postcards and then ensure they are sent off before the 15 December deadline.

Branches planning local events are listed below, and many have already taken place.

*Aberdeenshire: Bulk supplies of postcards/pens given to stewards to take into workplaces

*City of Edinburgh: Lead role in a Public Services demo in Edinburgh on 17 November. J Stevenson on evening telly

East Ayrshire: December 5 postcard signing day. Stall at lunchtime in Kilmarnock

*Highland: Joint Branches street stall - postcard signing day November 3 in Inverness - very successful. Now want to move to longer-term campaign on Joint Futures.

*North & South Lanarkshire: Lanarkshire and Lanarkshire Acute running stalls in Airdrie and Motherwell (1 December) and Hamilton and East Kilbride (2 December)

*Renfrewshire: Linking with campaign against schools PFI. Street signing stall November 24 and then in lunchtimes during rest of week - Paisley, Johnstone, Renfrew.

Inverclyde: Stalls linking with schools PFI campaign. From December 4-8 in Greenock/ Port Glasgow.

The News at When

In addition 3,000 postcards are being distributed along with the programme of the latest 7:84 Theatre Company production. Called "The News at When?" this satirical review is touring from Ayrshire to Aberdeenshire and Argyll and finishes off in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The programme also features a UNISON advert urging theatregoers to sign the card and post it!

"Last week UNISON kicked off a £1m public services campaign, aimed at putting more pressure on the government to deliver on promises made to the union and the electorate, for world class public services", said Dave Prentis, UNISON general Secretary.

Part of this campaign is a cinema commercial you can check out at www.unison.org.uk.

"The cinema commercial warns Mr Blair to 'Remember 83' a reference to a MORI poll survey for UNISON which found that 83% of the British public are against private companies running public services", added Dave.

Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Policy Pools - an invitation to jump in

by Chris Bartter

Got an interest on equal pay? A bee in your bonnet about school education? Local government staff standing for elections? Lifelong learning or even rural poverty?

Well these are all topics being discussed by UNISON's policy pools. And they would welcome input from UNISON members who have an interest in any of the topics.

Mike Kirby, UNISON's Scottish Convenor said

"There must be a wealth of knowledge and expertise out there. UNISON members often deal with these things as part of their work, or have an interest as a citizen. We want them to volunteer to input into the policy pool discussions, where they can and want to.

"They won't be tied into a huge round of meetings, but can input however suits them best - in writing, via e-mail or in person."

UNISON's policy pools shadow the work done in Scottish Parliament committees and formulate UNISON responses to consultation documents.

The person who's job it is to co-ordinate all the policy pool plans is Sarah Duncan in the P&I Team in West Campbell Street, with whom prospective 'commenters' should get in touch.

Other topics currently under review are:
Scotland's Budget; Financing Public Services; PFI/PPP; 21st Century Government; European Convention on Human Rights; Rape &Sexual Offences legislation; Freedom of Information; Police Complaints; Water; Transport Act; Trunk Roads Maintenance; Equality Strategy; Disability Leave; Community Care & Joint Futures; Regulation of Care; Standards in Public Life; Appointments to Public Bodies; Community Initiative; Local Government Elections; Culture Strategy; Local Economic Forums.

Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Councils choose privatisation rather than maintain the school team

by Chris Bartter, John McNaughton and Jane Aitchison

Following the problems of PFI funded schools refurbishment in Glasgow, and the council's apparent willingness to return to traditional public sector funding for their next programme, it is surprising to note that other councils are preparing to go down the PFI road.

South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, East Ayrshire and Edinburgh are all at different stages of PFI plans. It is particularly galling that, despite the fact that very few if any jobs were privatised as a result of the Glasgow PFI's, many councils are gung-ho for staff transfer.

In Inverclyde, despite last minute representations from UNISON, the council appeared, as we went to print, to accept the view of consultants Price Waterhouse that support staff should be transferred along with the buildings. Regional Officer John Gallacher, said,

"We made it clear that there was no need for them to outsource the staff. Neither the Treasury, nor the Scottish Executive advise that course of action, but the administration seems to be hell-bent on accepting PriceWaterhouses recommendation.

"This will mean the privatisation of hundreds of school jobs and threatens DLO operations." The Branch is now campaigning to defend the jobs of catering, cleaning, janitorial and other staff, and to point out to the council the opposition in the area.

Renfrewshire too, have started a campaign. Using the Positively Public campaign, the branch will be out in the streets of Paisley, Johnstone, Renfrew and Erskine distributing postcards for members of the public to send to their councillors urging them to "Keep Public Services Public".

John McNaughton, Renfrewshire Branch Secretary said, "UNISON will not stand by while the Council privatises hundreds of the lowest paid workers in our schools. We will be holding a public rally at the council HQ to protest against these proposals on 4 December."

In East Ayrshire, the council has so far refused to share the business plan with the unions, so it is not yet clear even how many schools will be affected. Simon Macfarlane, Regional Officer said

"We gave the council a roasting at the recent consultative meeting and we are putting together packs with Positively Public material for all the councillors. We wonder what they are afraid of?"

"Could it be that the Value for Money of this PFI is questionable?"

South Lanarkshire Council plans to refurbish, rebuild or replace its 21 secondary schools and its two special schools via a Public Private Partnership. The result of their bid to the Scottish Executive will not be known until the spring of next year.

Not value for money

UNISON has slammed the proposals and has argued for the retention of all staff in-house. Unfortunately, the Council has given no assurances and intends to make all Facility Services compete with the private sector. In addition, proposed school mergers pose a further threat to jobs.

Stephen Smellie, Branch Secretary said, "Janitors, cleaners and caterers have demonstrated year after year their ability to provide quality services, despite being faced with constant cuts.

"They should not be forced to compete with private companies for their own jobs. We have said repeatedly that PFI is not value for money and PFI in schools means that Council Tax payers will pay through the nose to create profits for private companies and for banks."

City of Edinburgh is proposing a second PPP for 14 secondary schools, despite no assessment having been made of its first foray into the private sector. Staff are being 'sold off' with the contracts. Parents representatives have gone public in questioning the council's motives, saying PPPs are a convenient way to push through unpopular decisions about school closures and changes to catchment areas.

Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

UNISON condemns Lothian NHS staff cuts

UNISON Scotland has condemned cuts announced by Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust (LUHNT).

"Our members affected are telling us that there is no question that these cuts will compromise patient care. We have serious concerns that the posts have been removed without proper consultation with the trade unions", said Branch Secretary Tom Waterson.

Reacting to the cuts Jim Devine, Scottish Organiser of Health said: "At a time of record resources being invested in the National Health Services, one has to ask why is Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust announcing a cuts package of doctors, nurses and other NHS staff?

"The only reason this is happening is because Lothian NHS are renting a hospital from the private sector, which has been built by the private sector, which will be owned by the private sector, will be administered by the private sector, a private sector, who by law ensure that their first priority is to make profit for their shareholders.

"Provision for patient care therefore becomes a poor second. The Scottish Health Service is literally stuffing the mouth of the private sector with gold when we should be stuffing our wards with doctors, nurses and domestics."

UNISON understands that jobs are affected include a range of specialist nurses, admin and clerical with a further review of nursing and midwifery staff.
Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home


HOUSING TRANSFER
Taking the facts to tenants

by John Stevenson

Glasgow City Branch has launched a major 'our houses are not for sale' briefing for tenants to combat propaganda about housing stock transfer.

This is in response to the estimated £5 million being spent by government on 'communication' about stock transfer and thousands of home visits to persuade tenants to vote 'yes'.

The briefing explodes the arguments about 'community ownership' - tenants will be a minority on the new Glasgow Housing Association's (GHA) committee.

It exposes where the money will go. The plan says it will get rid of the Council's £900m housing debt. "This has been promised for the GHA, but it could equally well be done for tenants if they decide to stay with the Council. This would save £120m currently spent each year out of rents and capital receipts on servicing and repaying the debt", says the briefing.

"If the GHA can receive over £300m of government funding for demolition, central heating, insulation and grants to support homeowners, Council tenants should benefit from this even if they decide to say no to the transfer".

If the money was made available to the council without the need for transfer, there would be:-

NO rent increases above inflation

NO differential higher rents for new tenants

NO borrowing hundreds of millions at commercial rates of interest

NO £917m debt 11 years after transfer

NO spending of at least £25m in transfer charges

NO £200m VAT on improvement works NO VAT on factoring charges for right to buy homeowners.

The branch has joined with other council unions the STUC to mount a vote 'no' campaign. Get more information at: www.glasgowhousingassociation.com

Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Health strike averted as telephonists get regrading

Around 23 telephonists working for Argyll and Clyde Acute NHS Trust in three Scottish Hospitals have withdrawn their threat of strike action following a grading agreement that will make them some of the best paid telephonists in the Scottish Health Service.

Willie Duffy, Regional Officer said, "UNISON is pleased to see that sense has prevailed, and that telephonists across Argyll & Clyde are finally being treated equally. It is a pity it required a threat of industrial action to resolve it, but it goes to show that solidarity and collective action can bring a result".

The staff, who work in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria and the Lorne and the Isles Hospital in Oban, are currently paid as ancillary workers.

As a result of the regrading they will be paid as administrative and clerical workers (grade 3) - an increase of between 76p and £1.88 per hour. They will also have their working hours reduced by two hours per week. The pay rise will be backdated to 1 April.

The amalgamation of trusts in 1999 meant that different hospitals in the same trust paid different rates for the same job. After trying to resolve this UNISON lodged a grievance a year ago.

The deal means all telephonists working for the Trust will be paid on the same grade and get the same conditions.


Headlines

 

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

SEPA staff balloted on attempt to cut their wages

UNISON has run a consultative ballot for members working for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). This follows an attempt to end staff protection agreements leading to a future threat to individuals pay.

SEPA management have offered a three year pay deal, but tied to this are the strings of removing the existing protections for staff pay agreed at the establishment of SEPA, and tying some payscales to membership of professional institutes.

UNISON thinks that this will discriminate against existing experienced staff. Marion Adamson, Regional Officer said,

"SEPA management are using the annual pay discussions to introduce a deal that rips up existing agreements, and gives the agency the future right to cut wages of individuals as they choose.

"It is particularly unfair to long serving members of staff who have given a lot of service to the Agency and its predecessors."

The ballot comes on top of SEPA withholding staff's performance pay elements. UNISON thinks this was a crude attempt to coerce staff into accepting a deal, and has already submitted Tribunal claims under the Wages Act.

Marion Adamson says, "This is the latest step in an attempt by SEPA management who have launched a concerted attack on their staff's pay and conditions. We are urging our members to reject the Agency three year deal. Hopefully a strong united vote will send a signal to the management that staff are far from happy at this."
Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Real modernisation to make services Positively Public

UNISON has called on Scotland's First Minister to abandon 'outdated' privatisation and PFI schemes and to look at imaginative ways to modernise public services by giving them the public investment they need.

John Stevenson, Edinburgh Branch Secretary and Scottish Campaigns Committee chair told an Edinburgh Trade Union Council Rally for Public Services in November,

"We want modern public services. Grown-up public services. Public services that are so modern that when you build a new hospital you get more beds, not less".

"Public services so modern that they don't go back to the private, profit driven services that collapsed and had to be brought into public control."

John slammed PFI as "bleeding funds from other services to pay for private profit.

"You pay for it, I pay for it - and because it is tied up in 30 year contracts, our children pay for it and their children pay for it", he warned.

UNISON was offering a partnership to the government. "We should rightly praise the achievements of our Scottish Parliament and give credit where it is due", said John

"But part of any partnership must be mutual respect. And that means listening to your friends and being big enough to recognise that the people who actually deliver the services have valid points to make.

"Only then will be be able to deliver services that are accountable, efficient, delivered by a valued and properly paid team and truly Positively Public".


Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Womens Voices - Influencing the Policy Agenda

Jennie Biggs reports on UNISON Scottish Womens Conference

On the 6th of October 56 women members gathered at the STUC offices in Glasgow to be inspired.

Margaret Curran MSP and Social Inclusion Junior Minister, Annie Thorne, Chair STUC's Womens Committee, Cathy McCormack, Community Activist and Sue Robertson, Engender, provided the inspiration.

The topic was "Womens Voices - Influencing the Policy Agenda" and we all came away with a couple of new ideas about how to make our voices heard.

Delegates experiences in their own branches were so different - some were branch officers contributing to the day to day work of the branch and to negotiations for UNISON members at a variety of levels. Others were "just members", their expression, not mine, and had found their way to a first experience of women meeting together at regional level.

I am constantly amazed by how much women achieve. We juggle so many responsibilities and here we were learning about Margaret's experiences in the Scottish Parliament, her enthusiasm for individual case work for constituents, and about the influence women have already had on the political agenda of the parliament.

You only have to see the huge push behind action on Domestic Violence and here we could see our own influence through UNISON taking this on as a high profile national campaign.

Our attention was drawn to the Petitions Committee and we have been encouraged to look for ways to use the powers of the committee system which could be used to create change.

We learned about Cathy McCormack's experiences in highlighting the relationship between cold damp houses and the ill health of children. She is a fantastic speaker and drew us close into her own experiences by the very telling of them.

We sat and admired her actions at the Earth Summit and in Whitehall. Here was a woman who spoke from conviction, who worked with others to get resources to gather evidence to change things.

50/50 Campaign

Annie Thorne drew a picture of the recent history of women in the STUC, involvement in the 50/50 campaign for political representation, the current Close the Gap campaign on equal pay and the new campaign launched this summer for free nutritional school meals and milk at schools.

She urged us to take part in the training offered by the STUC Women's Committee and I for one can confirm its quality, and the part that our own representative from UNISON, Sandra Kenny, plays on the committee.

Engender has a more recent history and in its own way has harnessed the enthusiasm of women to complete the Gender Audit in Scotland to illustrate how women have found, or missed their place in Scottish society.

The Scottish Executive have taken over this function for one year. It is up to us to ensure it becomes a regular event, funded by the Scottish Executive and an essential and vital part of reviewing the health of the nation.

Sue talked about the training courses run this past year, equipping women to look to exercise their voices and encouraged us to look at what Engender is doing both nationally and locally.

We can be part of it and the Scottish Women's Committee has a representative on Engender, Loretta Mordi.

Decisions

Edinburgh Branch's Irene Stout reports on some of the motions passed at the conference.....

Breast Cancer - calling for the collation of support mechanisms put in place by different employers

Women in Afghanistan - calling for a campaign to highlight the tragic treatment of women under the Taliban regime.

Anti-depressants - calling for more control of their use and for more information on side effects to be made available.

Violence against Women - calling for changes in the legal system and more secure funding for support agencies.

Index

 

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

News in brief...

The Careers Union

UNISON stamped itself as the union for careers service staff at a Scottish Enterprise Seminar preparing for the service to come together under a national body. Regional Officer Matt McLaughlin and Jennifer McCarey welcomed visitors to the UNISON stall at the EICC in Edinburgh.

Reports from Scottish Council 1 December

Joint Futures

Delegates backed a detailed plan of joint working between Health and Local Government members to face the challenges of 'Joint Futures'. While backing joint working in the interests of clients and patients, Edinburgh's George Lee warned against cuts in conditions and loss of local democratic accountability.

Social Work review call

Delegates welcomed many aspects of the Scottish Executive's 'For Scotlands Children' report but slammed the lost opportunity to address the funding crisis and 'blame culture'. They called for a review of Social Work including pay and conditions and will set up a group to mirror the Scottish Executive's task group.

Changes in pensions

Delegates condemned recent changes in pension rules which will block many ill members from getting early retirement. UNISON is to approach the Scottish Executive seeking a more sensitive approach.

Peace call

UNISONScotland is to join with a 'broad coalition' including the Church of Scotland to campaign for an end to bombing in Afghanistan. Delegates heard of the suffering of fellow workers in the USA after the 11 September attacks (see September SiU special report) but also of the danger of creating more terrorists by actions in Afghanistan. The motion was 'anti-war' but not 'anti-response' under international law.


Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Young members course adds skills

by Cameron Day and Elaine MacDonald

The Scottish Young Members Committee Education and Training Weekend last month attracted 15 young members from around Scotland from Aberdeen to the Borders.

'How UNISON works', and its many committee structures. was the theme covering:-

What happens in a Branch - Getting Involved

Dealing with Committees - Support

Rights and Wrongs - Employment Rights

Taking Advice - Equal Opportunities

In the workshops everyone participated well, learned new skills and showed great group work skills and the art of presentation. Sunday morning saw us concentrate on a specific agenda of how to plan prepare and carry out a Campaign - with plans set out to take things forward.

The weekend was well attended. All were involved it and participated well, and has provided us with additional skills and improved on those we had.

Next issue: YOUNG MEMBERS SPEAK OUT

Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Stamp out persecution around the world

by Jim Mearns

Scotland once again hosted the National Lesbian and Gay Conference this year from 16-18 November in Glasgow with Scottish delegates once again playing a key role in debates.

Scottish Convenor Mike Kirby welcomed the Conference to Scotland and other speakers included Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network, Nora Cranston of Amnesty International and Alex, an Ethiopian Asylum Seeker.

The contribution of Alex, who fled his own country as a result of homophobic prejudice and out of fear for his own life after several attacks and the death of his partner from a vicious unprovoked beating, was a particular reminder to delegates of difficulties faced by lesbians and gay men from other countries and faiths.

A number of motions dealt with the issues surrounding lesbian and gay asylum seekers and called on the government to help stamp out persecution around the world. Conference also debated the current international situation and called on the government to end the war in Afghanistan.

A debate on a motion from Glasgow Branch to widen the scope of the Affiliated Political Fund certainly livened up conference! In the event the Glasgow motion was lost by 58 votes to 50 (there were a large number of abstentions). A number of other related motions went in Glasgow's favour and battle will no doubt be rejoined at next year's conference!

The Conference opposed Housing Stock Transfer proposals for Glasgow and supported the promotion of Black History Month across UNISON branches and regions.

Conference discussed introducing a protocol on early-retired members to allow them to be more active in UNISON along the lines of that adopted by Disabled Members Conference, and held a well-attended fringe meeting of young members to discuss how they could be more active in the union.

Once again lesbian and gay members demonstrated both their activism in achieving equal rights for all discriminated groups in society and their enthusiasm for getting involved in all areas of UNISON's work.
Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Job offered, then withdrawn because you're disabled

Nigel Pimm reports on the 2001 Scottish Disabled Members Forum

Adam Gaines, Policy Officer for the Disability Rights Commission was the main speaker at UNISONScotland's Disabled Members Forum in Glasgow on 9-11 November.

Adam gave a very interesting input based on the recent Baseline Research published jointly by the Disability Rights Commission in Scotland and the Scottish Executive's Equality Unit. Members were astonished by some of the statistics.

In housing for example, there is a need for 124,000 barrier-free homes in Scotland. However, there are only 24,000 available and - even more scandalous - only 5,000 of those are actually occupied by disabled people!

Adam also gave members an update on the cases being dealt with by the DRC in Scotland, which included a case that many members clearly identified with; a person who had been offered a job had the offer withdrawn when the employer discovered he was disabled. He has won his case and been awarded damages.

Another, a keen golfer and a wheelchair user, was refused permission to play at his local authority-owned gold course, because they had a "no trikes or buggies" policy!

Also during the weekend, the Committee developed its work programme for the coming twelve months. Sub groups have been set up to develop a negotiator's guide for Disability Leave, and to develop the Committee's agenda around public transport issues.

This group will look at rail and bus access, and also develop campaigns on access to air travel for disabled people and the iniquitous system used by Motability Finance for Contract Hire vehicles.

The Committee has also prioritised the Scottish Executive's "Towards Equality" strategy for the coming year's work; we will monitor the strategy and liaise with Ministers and MSPs to feed our views Into the system.

All told, there's a busy year ahead for Disabled Members in Scotland.

Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Edinburgh janitors strike

140 Edinburgh janitors were set to strike for two three day blocks from 4 December in a dispute over irregular hours payments dating from 1999.

So far the Council has refused a referral to the Scottish Joint Council and to ACAS to get a ruling on the nationally agreed payments.


Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Communications Course success

"It was an excellent course, really building my confidence in dealing with the media" was just one response to last month's Media Handling Course.

See next issue for reports on this, the magazine editors course and plans for a web design course.

Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Efficiency of the private sector

Glasgow traffic was nearly paralysed twice when two service access covers 800 metres apart collapsed on the M8 in the rush hour. Long traffic formed all over the city as commuters sought alternative routes.

The City council has demanded an explanation from the Trunk Roads Maintenance contractors - AMEY.

Just as well they are not responsible for any other council services.

Eh? What's that...? Glasgow's successful and efficient Schools PFI?

No wonder the council is investigating public sector alternatives for their Primary schools refurbishment.
Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

Brian goes boldly baldy for Children in Need

East Ayrshire UNISON Steward, Brian Reid felt he wanted to do something for the BBC's Children In Need appeal.

As a joke it was suggested he 'shave his head'. I think what was actually said was something like "away and boil your heid!"

But Brian decided if £250.00 was raised, he would, in fact shave his head!

Also in a minute of madness, the branch treasurer, David Murray, said if we did not raise £250.00 the branch would make up the difference. David Murray then set about making sure that the £250.00 was raised!
Headlines

 

.

    Headlines    
 

Headlines . Communications . Home

George Mackay

Ex-Nalgo activists and officers of some long standing were saddened to hear of the death of George Mackay, early in November.

George was for many years Nalgo's Scottish Treasurer and after he retired he went on to be active on Nalgo and then UNISON's Retired Members Committee. A better Treasurer would have been hard to find. George's meticulousness and his hatred of waste were well known in the union. Not for him the fleshpots of the NEC hotel - a small B&B was good enough.

"George gave a considerable amount to the union, both whilst he was at work and afterwards." Said Mike Kirby, Scottish Convenor. "He was not just a bookkeeper, he always had a contribution to make on policy, and was a stalwart at demonstrations."

UNISON extends its sympathy to George's family. A full obituary will be printed in our next issue.
Headlines

 

 

 

.

    Headlines    
 

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
comms@unison-edinburgh.org.uk
Chris Bartter
0141 332 0006,
chris.bartter@unison.org.uk
FAX PRESS RELEASES to 0141-331-1203


Headlines