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siu May04

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May 2004 No 48 ( Next issue June 2004)  
Proud nursery nurses move to local talks to break deadlock
Nursery nurses have moved to investigate local negotiations to try and break the deadlock and ensure the best possible deal for nursery nurses. . more...>
  STUC SPECIAL
Vote in Euro elections to stop the BNP, says President

The campaign to stop the BNP will be our major priority in the coming year, UNISON President Dave Anderson told the STUC. more...>
 

Child protection risk must be recognised
UNISON Scotland has called for the Scottish Executive to set up a standing system for inquiries into child protection crises as part of a plan to address the problems of social work across Scotland. more...>
 
BNP's europe challenge must be defeated
UNISONScotland has been working with local groups and will be mounting a major campaign in the run up to June 10 to explode the myths of the BNP. more...>
 
President's banner builds links between our past and our future

Tricia Marwick MSP and Helen Eadie MSP joined reps from Fife Miners Gala at last summer's Gala where a new banner commissioned by UNISON ex-President Anne Picking was unveiled. more...>

Health Minister and UNISON back Energy Awareness Training for Health Workers
Training aimed at health professionals who work with vulnerable people who have cold, damp conditions in their home has been supported by Health and Community Care Minister, Malcolm Chisholm MSP. . more...>
 

Pay must improve to deliver public services
Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary, told the STUC that Scotland's public services were key to the country's economic success, and that public service workers needed to be paid properly to deliver services.. more...>

  Life sentence for nurse attacker sends out powerful message
UNISON Scotland has welcomed the life sentence imposed on an attacker who assaulted nurse Pauline Dunner
more...>


International impact at STUC
UNISON made major impact in the range of international motions discussed at the STUC - South Africa, Colombia, Iraq and Palestine. more...>
 
Edinburgh Social Work reorganisation does not learn lessons

As we went to press, Edinburgh was about to decide on a plan to hive off Social Work children & families services to Education. more...>
 
Members back arms control

UNISON members backed Oxfam and the Control Arms campaign at Scottish Council on 3 April by getting their photo taken. more...>

Contractor's staff victories shifts low pay and conditions in Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire
April saw the signing of an agreement with ISS Mediclean Ltd at Hairmyres Hospital - the second in as many years - taking advantage of the Scottish Low Pay agreement in the Health Service. more...>
  UNISON needs your knowledge UNISONScotland needs your knowledge and expertise for parliamentary responses. more...>   

UNISON Courses coming up
Courses coming up in May and June and link to Education pages. more...>

Published by UNISON Scottish Council, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow G2 6RX. Editor John Stevenson
© UNISON Scotland 1998-2003

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Proud nursery nurses move to local talks to break deadlock

by Chris Bartter

Nursery nurses who have been on all-out strike for the last eight weeks, have moved to investigate local negotiations, and the commitment of local authorities who had not yet settled, to try and break the deadlock and ensure the best possible deal for nursery nurses.

The union is also calling on the Executive to stand by its commitment to a national review of early-years education and for this to start as soon as possible.

A meeting of nursery nurse delegates examined details of offers from across the local authorities, and agreed to enter local negotiations. Nursery nurses will remain on strike until a satisfactory offer is accepted by them.

Joe Di Paola (UNISON's Scottish Organiser - Local Government) said: "We are bitterly disappointed that CoSLA has simply blocked all attempts to resolve this dispute nationally. Despite agreement that regrading claims would be allowed until single status was introduced, and despite the overwhelming justice of the case for a national grade, CoSLA have pig-headedly refused to accept the sense of this.

"The huge differences between the pay offers shows how right we are in arguing for a national deal. The hourly rates on offer range from £8.76 - £10.46 per hour - a difference of £1.70 an hour! We intend to ask these employers how they justify these differences given the similarity of the jobs nursery nurses do.

"Branches will now seek local negotiations and we will be using this information to try and bring some fairness into nursery nurses pay.

"We also want the Executive to set up its review into the pre-five sector as soon as possible.

"It is clear that to ensure that government plans are delivered they need the nursery nurses' co-operation. It will require more than politicians' platitudes to deliver that now."

Angela Lynes (Chair of UNISON's negotiators) said, "UNISON feels that it couldn't treat its members in the same way as the employers have. Nursery nurses have given their all, have ensured that their role in early years education has been brought to the forefront of the public and have ensured that local deals will be better than they otherwise would have been.

"It is not easy to move to local negotiations but we can no longer ask nursery nurses to continue to suffer in the face of the employers intransigence." The union paid tribute to the support for the action from its members, from parents, and from the public.

Carol Ball (Chair of UNISON's Nursery Nurse Working Party) said "We have had magnificent support from the vast majority of nursery nurses - it has been incredible how this low paid, non-militant workforce has responded. We have also had tremendous support from parents - even though they and their children have been suffering - and the public.

"This is an attempt to break the deadlock by the nursery nurses, who are showing far more maturity and consideration for their service than CoSLA has done.

"We also need to warn authorities that unless settlements reflect the professional role of nursery nurses then they will not get the professional service - this is not a capitulation. Nursery nurses are not going away and this dispute now moves onto different levels."

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Vote in Euro elections to stop the BNP, says President

STUC stories by Chris Bartter

The campaign to stop the BNP will be our major priority in the coming year, UNISON President Dave Anderson told the STUC.

"We have seen how dangerous they are to communities and services where they have managed to get councillors elected. Scotland should take this opportunity to stop them now."

The BNP are standing four candidates in the Scotland Euro Constituency (they were standing 5 but one has already withdrawn). UNISON is a 'registered third party' in the election and will be campaigning with its members and others to maximise the vote and to ensure no racist candidate slips in by the back door. The union is producing material to expose the racist and fascist nature of the BNP.

Dave Anderson said, "The BNP likes to portray itself as 'respectable'. But we know that many of their key organisers and candidates have criminal convictions. They preach a message of hate and division - where they get elected, as in Burnley - race crimes have risen by 29%. Yet Nick Griffin - the party leader has the gall to try and exploit the horrific murder of Kriss Donald by his unwanted and provocative visit to Pollokshields."

"Thankfully you gave him short shrift. We want union members and their families to join together to ensure they vote in the Euro elections to stop the BNP."

The STUC agreed with him and voted unanimously to campaign to stop racist candidates and racist parties getting a foothold in Scotland. UNISON has already distributed a briefing about the far-right parties candidates to its branches, ordered UK campaigning material, and will be producing material specifically opposing the BNP in Scotland.

They are concerned that, with the proportional nature of the Euro vote a low turn-out means that even a relatively small racist vote risks them picking up a seat.


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Child protection risk must be recognised

UNISON Scotland has called for the Scottish Executive to set up a standing system for inquiries into child protection crises as part of a plan to address the problems of social work across Scotland.

The call was made by Edinburgh's John Stevenson at a UNISON Social Work Conference and in evidence to the Scottish Parliament Education Committee.

"The shortcomings of the O'Brien Inquiry shows how much we need a proper, standing system which sets up a consistent standard, covering social work, health and police issues, understanding the law and prepared to look at resources. We need our politicians and media to understand what working with risk means and give us the resources to plan", said John.

Stephen Smellie, Chair of UNISON's Social Work Issues Group said: "In addition to the problems of recruitment and retention, the conference also discussed problems of violence to staff, and the need to radically develop training."

Turning to the Edinburgh reorganisation, John Stevenson added, "No service can operate with 40-50% shortfalls in staffing, which is not unusual in child protection across Scotland. To talk about systems and procedures in that context has a feel of fiddle and burning to it."

Bernadette Docherty, from the Association of Directors of Social Work, - vice chair of the ADSW Children and Families Committee also spoke at the conference, underlining a strong common base in what the union and ADSW both see needs to change.

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BNP's europe challenge must be defeated

by Kevin O'Neil Information Development Officer

Albert Einstein one time said, "(Racism) is the worst disease from which the society of our nation suffers".

The violently racist British National Party (BNP) has targetted the Euro elections because Proportional Representation makes it more likely for the BNP to win a seat.

Unless action is taken, there is a real danger that the BNP could get a candidate elected to the European Parliament. UNISONScotland has been working with local groups and will be mounting a major campaign in the run up to June 10 to explode the myths of the BNP.

The BNP likes to portray itself as the "party of law and order", yet many of its members have criminal convictions. Its leader, Nick Griffin, has a conviction for inciting racial hatred. The party's 'development officer', Tony Lecomer, was sent to prison for trying to blow up the offices of a rival organisation, he also has 11 other convictions.

David Copeland, the Soho nail bomber, was a supporter of the BNP. Here in Scotland, its Edinburgh Organiser Warren Bennett has a conviction dating back to 1990 for public disorder, he is also classed as a category C football hooligan - the highest risk of committing football violence.

Scott McLean BNP Vice-chair and Scottish Organiser - a European candidate - is known for his attendance at the nazi skinhead Blood and Honour festivals across the UK.

Do you want people like this to represent you in Europe?

UNISON Scotland is involved in challenging the racist BNP and its message of hate and division for many reasons. The BNP claims not to be a race supremacist party, but its publications report on the genetic superiority of the white race.

It claims to no longer be in favour of compulsory repatriation, but offers "non-whites" (regardless of whether they were born in Britain) money to return "home". The BNP opposes mixed race relationships, and supports the policy of giving "native Britons" (for which read "whites") priority in the job market.

On Thursday 10 June 2004, the electorate goes to the polls to elect seven Scottish Members of the European Parliament. The BNP were intending to field five candidates in this election.

UNISON Briefings

Their candidates are Steve Blake, Scott McLean, Alistair Harper, David Kerr and Stephen Burns. Due to pressure from UNISON, politicians local media, and the "united opposition" of his family, Fife based candidate, Alistair Harper has given up his BNP membership and withdrawn from the election.

In the run-up to the European elections, the Policy and Information team will be producing briefings, for branches and members, on who the BNP candidates are and what you can do to stop the BNP in this election.

UNISON has a national strategy promoting its anti-racist and anti-fascist work. UNISON Scotland is working with the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight, which provides information on far-right activities.

Voter apathy and a low turn in this election are the biggest threats to democracy in the UK. If you are not registered to vote then the closing date is 21 May, if in doubt contact your local council's election office. If you get a postal voting form, fill it in and send it straight away (UNISON Scotland can provide you with one should you require it).

Every vote counts. Use yours to stop the BNP!


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President's banner builds links between our past and our future

Tricia Marwick MSP and Helen Eadie MSP joined reps from Fife Miners Gala at last summer's Gala where a new banner commissioned by UNISON ex-President Anne Picking was unveiled.

The banner was designed by students and staff of Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline who met Anne, National President Dave Anderson and Fife Council Convener last Friday.

They were successful in designing the winning banner in the project commissioned by UNISON to mark Anne Picking MP's Presidential year. She picked this project for backing under the UNISON Arts Sponsorship scheme, because of her family connections with the mining community in Fife.

UNISON President, Dave Anderson said, "Every president's Art Commission is unique to that person. I am very glad that Anne has chosen to use both a medium and a message that reflects her pride in mining communities and that she has worked with local children to produce the commission. "In doing so she has shown the need to build links between our past and our future."

Fife Council Convener John Simpson said, "This is a splendid piece of work and I would like to congratulate the pupils and their teachers on their creativity and skill in creating this banner.

"Fife has a long mining tradition and I am delighted that through this project these young people will have learned something about the history of mining in Fife. This banner also means that they too have now contributed to that rich mining history. I am sure that many people will get great enjoyment from seeing this banner on display at the Fife Mining Archive and the pupils should be very proud of that.

"I would also like to thank UNISON and in particular Anne Picking MP, for having organised this art competition."

The UNISON arts sponsorship scheme - established in1987 - exists to fund the commissioning of a piece of artwork each year. UNISON's national President makes a personal choice to commission a new piece of artwork in whatever medium they want. The Fife Miners Gala Banner was the winning design of a number submitted by students of Fife schools.

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Health Minister and UNISON back Energy Awareness Training for Health Workers

by Chris Bartter

Training aimed at health professionals who work with vulnerable people who have cold, damp conditions in their home has been supported by Health and Community Care Minister, Malcolm Chisholm MSP.

He presented a number of health workers such as district nurses, community midwives and occupational therapists, from NHS Greater Glasgow Primary Care Division with certificates marking the completion of this training.

The training is being delivered by fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland with backing from National Grid Transco. UNISONScotland and NHS Greater Glasgow Primary Care Division have also supported the initiative.

Its purpose is to help identify potential problems and encourage referrals to energy advice staff and grant schemes for heating and insulation.

Minister for Health and Community Care, Malcolm Chisholm said, "I applaud Energy Action Scotland for taking the initiative to develop this course.

"It is an excellent example of joined up thinking in action. It recognises that health improvement requires a multi agency approach and highlights the important role health workers play in tackling life circumstances like poor housing and fuel poverty, both of which impact directly on people's health".

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Utilities added, "Health visitors and other professionals who visit people in their home can now both identify fuel poverty as a problem and have information on measures to deal with it. It has been really useful both to the work of our health members and our campaign to eradicate fuel poverty to be able to co-operate in developing and delivering this training".


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Pay must improve to deliver public services

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary, told the STUC Congress that Scotland's public services were key to the country's economic success, and that public service workers needed to be paid properly to deliver the service people need.

Matt said, "Public services are not what comes at the end of the economic cycle - some drain on the country's progress. They are the life blood of our economic base. They purchase, they create infrastructure, they educate, they regulate, they provide health and care, they innovate, they create employment, they ensure the quality of life and build standards for others."

UNISON also sounded a warning that pay in public services would have to rise, if the Scottish Government wanted to improve their delivery.

"We are already seeing the results of shortage in key skills", Matt said, "In social work, nursing and other health care professions, professional pay must be part of the package to recruit and retain staff. We must also ensure we are not exploiting those who deliver our services in low pay areas like care staff and nursery nurses."

UNISON and the STUC will also continue the campaign against PFI/PPP. Matt said, "This method of funding mortgages Scotland's future, and wastes money by demanding huge projects to enhance profitability. It also means that privateers' profits are guaranteed - even if there are cuts in public funding."

Matt also warned that any attempt to privatise Scottish Water would meet a massive campaign of resistance. "Already there is a softening up process underway. Let me make it quite clear that Scottish Water is not for sale", he said.

However Matt welcomed the Government's recent announcement of the Public Service Forum, and pledged that UNISON would work with this to develop new ideas and to raise concerns about Scotland's public services.

"It does not mean we shall agree with every item, and we shall hold true to the values we have outlined. But it will allow dialogue and a platform to take proposals to a wider audience.

"Public services were at the forefront of the campaign for a Scottish Parliament. They define the nature of the new Scotland we set out to build. And if people don't think distinctly Scottish decisions are being taken in Scotland then look at the vote on Foundation Hospitals. Scottish MPs who voted to impose them in England were wrong, and there could be no clearer reason to have a Scottish Parliament than to secure commitment to public service provision."

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Life sentence for nurse attacker sends out powerful message

by Ahrlene Ferguson, Information Development Officer

UNISON Scotland has welcomed the life sentenced imposed on an attacker who assaulted nurse Pauline Dunnery in a Perth hospital last year, and supports the strong message that this sentence sends out it in relation to assaults on public service workers.

Ms Dunnery has been exceptionally brave in 'going public' on her horrific experience and she has used it to back the UNISON campaign "Free from Fear" aimed at improving security for all public service workers.

UNISON Scotland hopes that the Scottish Executive will now take on board the outcome of this case and as a result consider broadening the remit of their proposed legislation for the 'Protection of Emergency Workers' to include all public sector workers.

Matt Smith, UNISON Scottish secretary said: "We welcome the proposed legislation aimed at protecting emergency workers however when Ms Dunnery was attacked she was working in a medical ward in an non-emergency role and would not have been covered by the new legislation.

"This case proves that the risk faced by public service workers in both emergency and non-emergency situations are fundamentally the same and we believe that any attempt to make a distinction between assaulting a public service worker in an emergency situation and assaulting one in a non-emergency situation to be illusory.

"We therefore call on the Executive to take on board the issues raised by this case and to widen the remit of their legislation to include all public service workers."
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International impact at STUC

by Chris Bartter

UNISON made major impact in the range of international motions discussed at the STUC.

Scottish Convenor Mike Kirby congratulated South Africa on ten years of democracy. He welcomed advances in education and literacy, workers rights and equal rights whilst accepting many problems remain.

"Tensions exist between the TU movement and the ANC - especially over privatisation and there is the scourge of HIV/AIDS with its associated problems of social fragmentation. An area where Britain should be making a far more positive input," he said.

Nevertheless he urged union members to get involved in the celebrations and to support the 'Wild Coast Trekkers', walking the Eastern Cape to raise money for projects chosen by ACTSA Scotland. These include David Kenvyn of East Dunbartonshire Branch and Sheila McGeoch - Branch administrator at the Glasgow Resource Centre.

UNISON's Sam McCartney turned to Colombia - the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist - and called for the trade unions to investigate a boycott of Coca Cola, because of the reports of anti-union activity in its Colombian plants.

Dave Anderson - UNISON's National President - supported the STUC General Council's statement on Iraq. "Being proved right about death and destruction gives us no pleasure and no reason to gloat but the statement sets out positive ways forward - increased humanitarian aid, greater involvement of the United Nations and support for forces returning from the Gulf," he said.

Scottish NEC member Jane Carolan demanded a halt to arms sales to Israel in the wake of the actions of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in creating the 'Apartheid Wall' cutting Palestinians off from their land, hospitals and schools, and his undermining of the peace process with George Bush.

"As a union we have rightly expressed concern about the dramatic escalation of violence and the loss of life in Israel and Palestine. But we support the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and freedom. The Bush/Sharon plan is a plan that will only further violence and deepen conflict", she said.

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Edinburgh Social Work reorganisation does not learn lessons

As we went to press, Edinburgh was about to decide on a plan to hive off Social Work children & families services to Education, and create a Health & Social Care Department for all other services, looking to link with the NHS.

UNISON has slammed the plans as 'failing to learn from inquiries'. Most inquiries call for better internal links in Social Work rather than splitting them up.

Not only has the council ignored its own staff's views, but also those of the British Association of Social Workers, the Association of Directors of Social Work and many more. Health Service staff have not even been consulted - a message Edinburgh City Branch's John Stevenson and Lothian Primary Care's Mick McGahey were about to make clear to councillors on 27 April.
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Members back arms control

UNISON members backed Oxfam and the Control Arms campaign at Scottish Council on 3 April by getting their photo taken.

This is but part of an innovative campaign being run by Oxfam, Amnesty International and the International Action Network on Small Arms. Called the Million Faces Petition, this is part of the world's biggest ever arms campaign - Control Arms.

It is designed to put a human face to the campaign and the petition, by getting signatories to submit a photo or self-portrait as a demonstration of their support for the campaign.

President Dave Anderson, International Committee Chair John Barton, Scottish Secretary Matt Smith and Convenor Mike Kirby led the way on behalf of UNISON Scotland members and called on all UNISON members to get involved in the campaign.

Oxfam activists Kate Kirkton and Michelle Taylor ran a stall throughout Council where delegates could get their photo taken and sign up to the campaign. 60 photos Over 60 members took the chance to do this on the day which was an excellent response, and was more in three hours than Oxfam got at an entire weekend at the Liberal Democrats conference!

Every minute of every day someone is killed by conventional weapons. The world is awash with weapons largely because the controls on arms exports are woefully weak.

Oxfam, Amnesty International and IANSA (International Action Network on Small Arms) in their work around the world have seen first hand the devastation caused by armed violence to families, communities and whole countries.

For more information on the campaign visit www.controlarms.org. Kate Kirton from Oxfam can be contacted on (0141) 285 8865. If you have not already done so please sign up for the Million Faces Petition and encourage colleagues to do so.

 

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Contractor's staff victories shifts low pay and conditions in Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire

by Chris Bartter

April saw the signing of an agreement with ISS Mediclean Ltd at Hairmyres Hospital - the second in as many years - taking advantage of the Scottish Low Pay agreement in the Health Service.

This latest agreement sees around two hundred porters, domestics, catering assistants and security officers achieve £5.18 an hour from 1st December 2003 (£5.35 from 1st April 2004).

From 5 April 2004 UNISON members will also benefit from:-

37 hour week (with personal pay protection)

The same sickness benefits and holiday as other NHS staff

Bank Holiday payments at double time plus day off in lieu

Overtime rates - double time for Sunday, time and one sixth for nightshift and time and a quarter for hours over 39 per week.

Switchboard staff also had their hourly rate increased from £5.66 to £5.88.

Regional Officer, John Gallacher, paid tribute to the NHS Lanarkshire Branch in their campaign. The branch has two of the biggest PFI contracts in Scotland to deal with in the same Health Board, ISS at Hairmyres and SERCO at Wishaw General.

He said, "Six months of tough negotiations have led to these significant advances. "Hairmyres was virtually the last site in Scotland with less than the £5.35 minimum wage in NHS Scotland and less beneficial conditions. At Wishaw SERCO's staff have been on £5.35 and NHS Conditions for some time. This is great news!"

John paid tribute to the two branch officers who negotiated the deal. Lilian Macer (Chair UNISON Lanarkshire Branch) and Diane McAnsh (Branch PFI Officer) worked tirelessly in difficult meetings with ISS Management and in consulting all members across all shifts over several months.

"Their commitment to improving the lot of low pay members has been second to none", said John.

The Branch is not resting on its laurels. It continues its campaign to get public holiday entitlement for part-time workers implemented and back-money paid out.

Eventually the branch hopes to see the contracts brought back in-house within NHS Lanarkshire. In East Ayrshire, another agreement with HDG Facilities Management Ltd (a company that is seeking to expand its contracts in the schools sector), means £5.85 per hour for stewards, cleaners, porters from 1 April.

It also delivers

37.5 hour week

£7.05 for cooks and supervisors

Commitment to return to NHS conditions from 1 October 2004

Pro-rata public holidays

Access to pension scheme

Simon Macfarlane, lead officer for the ancillary sector in Scotland, said, "This is a small contract but this is significant given the possibility of HBG expanding in Scotland. "We can point to this contract as a model for others. A constructive partnership approach with HBG has achieved significant benefits for our members."

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UNISON needs your knowledge

UNISONScotland needs your knowledge and expertise. We have thousands of members with special knowledge about a range of issues affecting public services and we need to capitalise on that to make sure UNISON's voice is heard in the Scottish Parliament.

The union has set up Policy Pools to mirror the Parliament's functions so we can respond to the hundreds of consultations issued by the Scottish Executive.

We want to hear from any member with special knowledge on any of the issues so that it can be put to good use in the Policy Pools Check on all new consultations at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ briefings/parliament.html

If you have any special knowledge of any of these issues, or if you just want to leave your name to be contacted when an issue you are interested in comes up, contact: The Policy and Information Team d.watson@unison.co.uk or tel: 0845 355 0845.

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UNISON courses coming up

MAY
Introduction to Conference Glasgow 5 May

Stress in the Workplace Glasgow - Residential 7, 8 and 9 May

Assertiveness for Women Edinburgh - Residential 7, 8 and 9 May

Intro to IT - Web Wise Glasgow - Non-Residential 14 and 15 May

Branch Officers Training: Secretary/Treasurer/Svc Conditions Glasgow - Residential 14, 15 and 16 May

Branch Officers Training Chair/Equality/Education/Health & Safety Edinburgh - Residential 21, 22 and 23 May

Branch Officers Training - Publicity Glasgow - Residential 21, 22 and 23 May

Health & Safety (1) Edinburgh - Residential 28, 29 and 30 May

Public Speaking Glasgow - Residential 28, 29 and 30 May

JUNE

Health & Safety (I) Glasgow - Non-Residential 1, 2 and 3 June

Branch Education Officers Forum Edinburgh 2 June

Stewards Introduction Glasgow - Residential 4, 5 and 6 June

Stewards Introduction Edinburgh - Non-Residential 8, 9 and 10 June

Grievance & Disciplinary Edinburgh - Residential 11, 12 and 13 June

You can get an application form - which MUST be endorsed by your branch at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/education/eduform.html or contact the Education Unit at 0845 355 0845.

 

 


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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 220 5655
email
Chris Bartter
0845 355 0845,
chris.bartter@unison.org.uk
FAX PRESS RELEASES to 0141-331-1203


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