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 Headlines
More action and rally as CoSLA report rejected
Policy Pools fish for experts
UNISON uses 10th birthday to target Scottish Parliament
Power cut wake up call for Scottish energy industry
Agenda for Change update
STAFF WALK OUT OVER SOARING TEMPERATURES 'Boyling Point' at Edinburgh's PFI Royal Infirmary...
New on the web
Scottish Branches Organise Awards
 
September 2003 No 44
 

UNISON Scotland Home

Headlines
School Technicians share £53,000 payout
UNISON wins Edinburgh porter £100,000
Fair pay for NHS chefs demand as UNISON launches NHS Food for Good Charter
Courses coming up
Glasgay! sponsorship marks 10th Birthdays
Scots think elected bodies deliver services better than quangos
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More action and rally as CoSLA report rejected NURSERY NURSES DISPUTE UPDATE:As we went to press (1 September), the trade union side had just rejected a 'flawed' CoSLA offer based on its nursery nurse 'Technical Working Group' report.

Policy Pools fish for experts
Following the Revitalise Our Public Services campaign during the Scottish Elections which targetted members and the general public, the emphasis after the election is switching to the MSPs themselves.

UNISON uses 10th birthday to target Scottish Parliament
Over 100 MSPs, researchers, Civil Servants and journalists gathered in Edinburgh to celebrate UNISON's 10th Anniversary and to promote our policies to the second Scottish Parliament
Power cut wake up call for Scottish energy industry
The recent massive power cut in London, following similar problems in New York, should act as a loud wake up call to the energy industry regulator Ofgem and to government energy policy, says UNISON.

School Technicians share £53,000 payout Secondary School technicians working for South Ayrshire Council have recently won a regrading claim worth £53,000.

Agenda for Change update
Four areas have been asked to see if they are willing to be 'virtual' early implementers.

STAFF WALK OUT OVER SOARING TEMPERATURES 'Boyling Point' at Edinburgh's PFI Royal Infirmary...
When Britain was basking in temperatures of up to 36.4 degrees Celsius, at the new £1000 million privately owned Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, it was a different story. Temperatures there were reaching a staggering 35 degrees Celsius.

New on the web
Latest updates, responses, news.
Fair pay for NHS chefs demand as UNISON launches NHS Food for Good Charter UNISON Scotland is lodging pay claims with NHS Trusts across Scotland to end the historic low pay and undervaluing of NHS chefs and associated staff. The claim seeks £331.02 per week for qualified chefs.
UNISON wins Edinburgh porter £100,000 Dick Haddow stepped into the portacabin in which porters in Astley Ainslie Hospital, Edinburgh, were housed. Dick slipped on the step, totally dislocating his ankle and ended up in A&E. 
Scottish Branches Organise Awards
Aberdeenshire and Scottish Enterprise Careers and Development branches travelled to London on 14 May to represent UNISONScotland in the National Organising Awards ceremony.
Scots think elected bodies deliver services better than quangos Two-thirds of Scots think that public services are better delivered by democratically elected representatives than by government-appointed boards: Correctional Agency plans shows the danger of making policy on the hoof
Courses coming up
Glasgay! sponsorship marks 10th Birthdays A major sponsorship of Glasgay!'s main venue, The Tron theatre, will be a birthday stepping stone to wider UNISON involvement according to Neil MaCInnes, Secretary of the UNISON Scotland Lesbian and Gay Group.
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 1998-2002

 

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NURSERY NURSES DISPUTE UPDATE
More action and rally as CoSLA report rejected

by Chris Bartter and John Stevenson

As we went to press (1 September), the trade union side had just rejected a 'flawed' CoSLA offer based on its nursery nurse 'Technical Working Group' report.

Now further action will go ahead in the form of a big supporters' rally in Glasgow on 13 September and strike action around the country from 15 September.

UNISON's National Industrial Action Committee has already authorised a further strike action.

"The next stage of the action will now be two days strike in the week beginning 15 September - on either Tuesday and Wednesday or Wednesday and Thursday depending on which area you are in", explained Angela Lynes, National Executive member and Glasgow City branch secretary.

The action will include a major event in Edinburgh on the Wednesday. But the first event is the major rally planned for Saturday 13 September to give other UNISON members and parents the opportunity to join nursery nurses and show their support.

Scheduled for 1.00-5.00pm on Glasgow Green, it will feature a family day, with many free events laid on for children - bouncy castles, stalls, face painting and other entertainment. There will also be a cross-party panel of supporting speakers and support from other trade unions including the FBU who have provided a fire engine!

Angela also outlined why nursery nurse leaders had no alternative but to reject the offer. "The top of CoSLA's report doesn't even meet the bottom of the nursery nurses claim. There is nothing for Heads and Depute Heads. It is only a recommendation and there is far too much left to local discretion".

The previous week, a nursery nurse delegate meeting heard what was likely to be the basis of the offer and signalled that it was likely to be rejected. In particular the report failed to guarantee that councils will pay anything in it.

"Given that the whole package is discretionary, it provides too many opportunities for local councils or even local management to split the workforce", said Carol Ball, Chair of the Nursery Nurse Working Party.

Back on 11 August, UNISON had already branded CoSLA's Working Group as 'flawed'. Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Local Government said then, "Nursery nurses are deeply suspicious of this technical working group. The employers' technical report will be worthless unless individual councils can guarantee that they will implement any grading or backdating of any agreed pay level.

"In addition, the remit of the group failed to include career structure for nursery nurses." Nursery nurses have been taking strike action around the

country for almost four months, along with a boycott of extra duties. The average nursery nurse is on only £13,000 a year and their last review was 15 years ago.

As in all disputes, things move quickly. Keep up to date with the latest nursery nurse news at www.unison-scotland,org.uk/ locagovt/nurserynurse

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Policy Pools fish for experts

by Chris Bartter

UNISONScotland has reestablished the policy pools experiment it started last parliament.

These are bodies set up to monitor the activities of the Scottish Parliament. They cover the same subject areas as the Parliament's Committees and try to ensure that things that affect UNISON members are flagged up and a response (where necessary) is delivered to the Parliament.

Mike Kirby (Scottish Convenor) said, "We did have some problems last time in getting people with specific interests to come forward. This year we would again encourage people to express an interest, but it doesn't have to be for the whole parliamentary session.

"If you know there is likely to be legislation affecting your job, or something that concerns you as a citizen, why not write in flagging up your interest, and the subject area?"

The policy pools are organised by the Policy and Information Team, and any activists, or ordinary members that activists know of with specific involvement, are asked to flag these up with Dave Watson, P&I Team leader on 0845 355 0845 d.watson@unison.co.uk.

Dave says, "If people just want to have a chat about what is involved or merely contribute on one particular issue, I would be pleased to hear from them so we can have them briefed and come back to them when we need them."


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UNISON uses 10th birthday to target Scottish Parliament

by Chris Bartter

Over 100 MSPs, researchers, Civil Servants and journalists gathered in Edinburgh to celebrate UNISON's 10th Anniversary and to promote our policies to the second Scottish Parliament.

Held at the Hub, a venue next door to the Scottish Parliament, the lunchtime event featured stalls of UNISON material, a jazz band, key speakers and refreshments. Mike Kirby, UNISON Scotland's Convenor, welcomed the attendees, both to Scotland's second Parliament and UNISON's 10th Anniversary.

He also drew attention to the work UNISON had already done with the Scottish Parliament. Despite the competing claims of the Russian Premier, Vladimir Putin, the impressive range of Scottish Parliamentarians heard Dave Prentis promote UNISONScotland's Revitalise our Public Services campaign.

Andy Kerr, Minister for Finance and Public Services, welcomed the prospect of working with UNISON in the forthcoming Parliament. The guests also collected UNISON material on the five main principles underpinning the campaign - recruitment retention; democratic accountability; capacity and innovation; performance and public service networks - spoke to UNISON officers and activists, and checked current materials on the UNISON Scotland website.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said: "The aim of the day was to use the link between our 10th Anniversary and the start of the new Scottish Parliament, to promote UNISON and its policies with both new and established parliamentarians, researchers and civil servants. In this it succeeded admirably."

Many connections were made on a variety of topics and with a range of people. UNISON Scotland is currently planning further briefings, on more specific topics, a popular demand.

See the Revitalise Campaign pages on the UNISONScotland website at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/revitalise.

 

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Power cut wake up call for Scottish energy industry

The recent massive power cut in London, following similar problems in New York, should act as a loud wake up call to the energy industry regulator Ofgem and to government energy policy, says UNISON.

UNISON also warns that parts of the Scottish system are just as much as risk as those in London. The Tube's new reliance on a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) power station should also act as warning to government over its policy of relying on private finance to run essential services.

UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Utilities Dave Watson said: "This incident should be a wake up call to government over the current direction of energy policy. The tube carried on during the blitz - but not through the PFI regime. The shambles of our privatised energy system will soon cripple Scotland's economy unless realistic decisions are taken soon."

UNISON has repeatedly warned that the pursuit of cheap electricity is resulting in an under-investment in Scotland's energy infrastructure. There are two main concerns. Cost cutting on the network imposed by Ofgem means that there is little incentive for the privatised electricity companies to invest at the levels needed to guarantee secure supply.

We need to take realistic decisions now on Scotland's long term electricity supply. It is simply unrealistic to expect renewable energy alone to replace the power generated by Scotland's current nuclear and coal power stations.

The alternative is to rely on gas imported from central Asia along pipelines that are far from secure. Recent terrorist attacks on oil pipelines in Iraq vividly highlight the risks. UNISON Scotland has published its own proposals A Scottish Energy Strategy which calls for a planned energy policy that provides safe, secure and sustainable generation.

Details on the UNISON Scotland website: www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ response/energystrategy.html

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School Technicians share £53,000 payout

Secondary School technicians working for South Ayrshire Council have recently won a regrading claim worth £53,000.

Technicians who were graded at Tech 2 are now Tech 2/3 and Senior Technicians have risen from Tech 3 to Tech 3/4.

Any technician who was placed at the top of their grade has automatically moved to the top of the new grade. Technicians also received an average back payment of around £1,500 each.

Campbell Peden UNISON education steward said, "We had been in negotiations for a lengthy period and had received a couple of unsatisfactory offers from our employers.

"However with the backing of UNISON South Ayrshire Branch we stuck to our original plan and held out for the back payment and the move to the top of the new scale.

"Our main gripe was our jobs had never been reviewed for over twenty years with our workload and responsibilities continuing to grow and no financial reward in return.

"We now feel that at last our employer has recognised the vital role that technicians play in the delivery of a quality education service in schools".

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Agenda for Change update

Four areas have been asked to see if they are willing to be 'virtual' early implementers.

This would be a purely paper exercise to get data to compare the actual wage of staff with the Agenda for Change wage.

The four sites are: West Lothian Trust - will trial the full AfC package. Golden Jubilee Hospital - will test the job evaluation process only. Highlands Primary Care and Common Services Agency will test job evaluation for those jobs which are unique due to their rural and remote locations.

While the pilot was accepted nationally as a way forward, Scottish branches have always had misgivings as to whether Agenda for Change would benefit members in Scotland.

For more information, see www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ nhs/agenda.html www.unison.org.uk/healthcare/a4c/index.asp
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STAFF WALK OUT OVER SOARING TEMPERATURES

'Boyling Point' at Edinburgh's PFI Royal Infirmary...

by by Lui Giacomello

When Britain was basking in temperatures of up to 36.4 degrees Celsius, falling just short of the all-time record, Glasgow only managed 27 degrees and Edinburgh city trailed behind with a miserable 23.

However, at the new £1000 million privately owned Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, it was a different story. Temperatures there were reaching a staggering 35 degrees Celsius.

That's when UNISON stepped in and health bosses finally agreed to install air conditioners that could be moved around the hospital. But this was only after a damning report by the Health & Safety Executive and a staff walk-out in the form of a 'coffee-break' to escape the heat.

Tom Waterson, UNISON Lothian Acute branch secretary said: "We are delighted that at last our concerns have been noted. Even if it is only a temporary measure, it is certainly progress. At least they are attempting to address the situation.

"The staff walk-out was the straw that broke the camel's back after 18 months of UNISON complaining about this situation. And the return of the HSE inspectors must also have helped bring this about."

Staff were so hot they were fainting in the wards. Many staff were feeling nauseous. Several office staff have had to be escorted from very hot windowless offices to sit beside fans in order to cool down.

Therapy Services staff couldn't perform certain parts of their job effectively due to the heat. IT staff, at the end of their tether, called in contractors' bosses to deal with their concerns about the heat. Plastic incineration bags were being taped to windows in order to block out the sun.

"It's a hell hole" said one member of staff. Eventually UNISON members at the new Royal Infirmary reached the end of their tether.

As the heat still continued to soar inside the new ERI they left the building in order to get some fresh air and cool down.

"We cannot work in this. We're suffering from heat exhaustion and everything. We're completely exhausted by it. We want something done now - we can't wait any longer." - said one medical secretary.'

"Patients and staff were suffering because there is no air conditioning in the building" said Tom Waterson.

"Staff have become frustrated because they feel that management are failing to act - they just got fed up with the Trust's inaction", said Tom

"The whole place does not come up to standard yet the building will cost the NHS over a £1000 million by the end of the contract. This is money that we need to pay for a building that we will never own and that only cost the owners, Consort, £184 million to build. "

You'd think that with that sort of profit margin they could have installed air conditioning. The problem has not simply been caused by the recent hot weather but has been going on for the past 18 months."
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New on the web

NHS Reform Bill Briefing www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ briefings/nhsreform.html

PFI Illusion Briefing www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ briefings/pfiaug03.html

August Bargain Brief www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ briefings/bargain16.html

SW Criminal Justice meeting and Correction Agency discussion paper www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ localgovt/socialwork/#top

Early retirement within local authorities briefing www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ briefings/earlyretire.html

Giving evidence to Scottish Parliament Committees Briefing www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ briefings/evidence.html

Principles to Revitalise Scotland's Public Services www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ revitalise/principles.html

LabourLink key decisions www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ labourlink/keydec.html

Proportional Representation in Local Government Briefing www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ briefings/prlocalgovt.html


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Fair pay for NHS chefs demand as UNISON launches NHS Food for Good Charter

by Chris Bartter

UNISON Scotland is lodging pay claims with NHS Trusts across Scotland to end the historic low pay and undervaluing of NHS chefs and associated staff. The claim seeks £331.02 per week for qualified chefs. This is the same rate of pay as a plumber gets in the NHS.

In addition UNISON is launching a 10 point NHS Food for Good charter which seeks to ensure that the spending power of Scotland's biggest food buyer is used to improve the food economy and health of Scotland, whilst fulfilling its social and environmental responsibilities.

The charter covers:-

Organic Food, Animal Welfare

Meat Quality, Fair Trade

5 Portions a Day

Recycling/Composting

Patients not Profit, Resources

Real Food, Fair Pay.

Simon Macfarlane, UNISON Lead Officer for Ancillary workers said: "The vital contribution chefs make to the NHS and improving patient health is completely unrecognised by NHS Trusts.

"Some Trusts only pay chefs £5.34 an hour despite having three years training. Yet they pay plumbers £8.83 per hour. "The vocational qualifications for plumbers and chefs are at the same level yet there is a huge disparity in pay.

"We don't think it is coincidental that there is this discrepancy between the pay of cooks and plumbers. Of 360 cooks in the NHS in Scotland 254 are women, yet of 139 plumbers none are women."

Lilian Macer, a chef working in the NHS, and Vice Chair of UNISON's Scottish Ancillary Sector Committee said, "Our campaign is about addressing the historic low pay of chefs in the NHS.

"But it is also about our members campaigning pro-actively to improve the service they provide to patients.

"Hospital food is often the butt of jokes, but our members want to turn NHS catering into a world leader. One that benefits patients' health, improves the diets of tens of thousands of workers and significantly improves the food economy for all.

"We are therefore calling on the people of Scotland to help us petition the Scottish Parliament in support of our NHS Food for Good Charter and fair pay for Chefs and associated staff, whether they work for the NHS directly or for a contractor."

The Food for Good Charter and more information about the campaign can be found at www.unison-scotland.org.uk /nhs/chefs/charter.html
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UNISON wins Edinburgh porter £100,000

Dick Haddow stepped into the portacabin in which porters in Astley Ainslie Hospital, Edinburgh, were housed.

The access to the cabin was by a wooden step that was often wet and unsafe. The unsuitable nature of this accommodation had been pointed out to management many times, but nothing had been done.

Dick slipped on the step, totally dislocating his ankle and ended up in A&E. The damage was severe - Dick almost lost his foot - and he was off work for over three years with four operations and three bone grafts.

Despite attempts to find him alternative work in the Admin and Clerical field the injury proved too severe and eventually he lost his job.

Mick McGahey, Branch Secretary of Lothian Primary Care Branch said, "Whilst the Trust did their best to keep Dick's job open and find him alternatives, he unfortunately lost his job because of the severity of the preventable injury.

"We ensured he was always represented and ensured that he was referred to UNISON's lawyers. That resulted in a £100,000 award.

"Whilst no compensation will negate the pain and job loss, we are pleased that UNISON has been able to help in some way", added Mick. Dick said,

"Having lost my job due to this injury, the compensation goes some way towards helping. UNISON helped me all along the way. I would not have been able to sustain the claim without UNISON's backing."

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Scottish Branches Organise Awards

by Jennifer McCarey

Aberdeenshire and Scottish Enterprise Careers and Development branches travelled to London on 14 May to represent UNISONScotland in the National Organising Awards ceremony.

In this the second year of the awards, a total of 45 winning entries qualified for the four categories -

Organising and Recruitment,

Membership participation,

Representation and Negotiation

Best Effort

They provided the judges with some clear winners demonstrating innovative ideas. Previously Aberdeenshire branch received a Scottish award for an excellent example of a well-executed campaign called 'Crisis in Social Work'.

For Scottish Enterprise Careers and Development Branch who received a National award commended in the Organising and Recruitment category, it was an extremely positive experience.

"Gaining the award has given something of a boost to the stewards and branch officers of our branch most of who are new to this level of trade union activity." said Neil Cruickshank, Branch Secretary. Branches are now being encouraged to apply for entry in this year's competition Organising Our Future.

For information on Organising our Future Contact Jennifer McCarey on 0141 342 2879 or j.mccarey@unison.co.uk

At National Conference in June Scottish branches also figured highly in the Communications awards. Kate Ramsden (Aberdeenshire - see above) won a best campaign award and Jane Aitchison (South Lanarkshire) won a highly commended for the best magazine. City of Edinburgh got a merit (or as some said unkindly a 'long service' award) for its magazine edited by John Stevenson, SiU editor.

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Scots think elected bodies deliver services better than quangos

Two-thirds of Scots think that public services are better delivered by democratically elected representatives than by government-appointed boards says an opinion poll commissioned by UNISON.

The poll, carried out by NFO (System Three) found that 66% of Scots agreed with this compared to 8% who disagreed.

The result was announced by the union as delegates from social work departments across Scotland met to discuss the Executive's proposed creation of a Correctional Agency quango, and removing powers from local government.

"This shows the danger of making policy on the hoof," said Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Local Government.

"The proposal for a Correctional Agency was a last minute attempt to be seen to be 'doing something' on crime. Our members, and indeed local authorities had they been asked, could have told the Executive that creating this kind of quango will not deal with the problems and causes of crime."

UNISON members who work for Criminal Justice and Community Service teams will be discussing the Executive proposals, the way forward to tackle crime and will hear from Mairi Brackenridge, from the Association of Directors of Social Work (ADSW) on attempts to set up similar quangos in the past and elsewhere.

"It looks like managers and frontline workers are agreed that any move towards a quango combining local social work services and the prison service would be a disaster." Said Stephen Smellie, Chair of UNISON's Social Work Issues Group.

"Previously these suggestions have been rejected both in Scotland and England. No-one in the professions and services supported this kind of centralised quango. And neither do the people of Scotland."

UNISON has been campaigning to Revitalise Scotland's Public Services. The positive principles that underpin this campaign could form the basis of union suggestions to improve the service and help tackle crime and its causes.
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Courses coming up

Unless otherwise stated, closing dates for courses are two weeks before the start date.

All applications must come through branch secretaries. Contact your branch for any information on courses or the Education Unit at 0845 355 0845.

See also details at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/educ/courses.html

Stewards Introduction Glasgow - Non-Residential 23, 24 and 25 September

Branch Education Officers Forum - Glasgow 24 September

Stewards Introduction Glasgow - Residential 3, 4 and 5 October

Health & Safety (Stage II) Edinburgh - Residential 7, 8 and 9 October

Confidence Building - Falkirk Residential 17, 18 and 19 October

Stewards Introduction Edinburgh - Non-Residential 21, 22 and 23 October

Magazine Editors Glasgow - Residential 24, 25, 26 October (to be confirmed)

Website Design - Glasgow Residential 24, 25, 26 October (to be confirmed)

Employment Law Stirling - Residential October

Bullying & Harassment Aberdeen - Residential 7, 8 and 9 November

Media Training Glasgow - Residential 14, 15, 16 November

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Glasgay! sponsorship marks 10th Birthdays

A major sponsorship of Glasgay!'s main venue, The Tron theatre, will be a birthday stepping stone to wider UNISON involvement according to Neil MaCInnes, Secretary of the UNISON Scotland Lesbian and Gay Group.

Neil says "It is excellent that UNISON and Glasgay!, who are both in their 10th Year, are continuing to work together and promote one another.

"We will get displays at the Tron, included on their poster and other advertising and get a link on their website (obviously we will also link to theirs).

"We want to develop a 'look how we've grown' recruitment theme in line with the partnership between us."

The L&G Committee will also be using the £1750 sponsorship to highlight Glasgay! at the UNISON national Lesbian and Gay Conference, to try and persuade them to a national sponsorship of the festival.

For more information on Glasgay! or on the UNISONScotland Lesbian & Gay organisation, contact Neil MacInness at macinnesneil@aol.com or on 07810 358 139

See the UNISONScotland Lesbian & Gay minisite at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/lesbiangay

Check out the Glasgay! site at www.glasgay.co.uk


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


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