Care workers stage mock funeral in protest at wage cuts
The Herald March 18 2009
Care workers in the voluntary sector staged a protest outside the Scottish Parliament against cuts in wages yesterday.
Around 50 demonstrators staged a mock funeral for the "death of the voluntary sector", calling for equality of wages and conditions with council and health board staff.
The protesters from unions Unite and Unison paraded a coffin in a glass carriage, pulled by horses, before handing over a petition to Frank McAveety, petitions committee convener.
advertisementThe unions claim staff are receiving pay cuts as local authorities seek to drive down the cost of contracts for care services to achieve budget savings.
A union survey of staff in the voluntary, or third, sector found almost nine out of 10 said their organisation was under increased financial pressure compared to previous years, and almost three-quarters said they had suffered negative effects on wages and conditions as a result of funding cuts.
Roz Foyer, senior regional organiser with Unite said: "This is clearly unacceptable. We want the Scottish Parliament to deliver a framework for public procurement of voluntary sector services. We also need them to scrap competitive tendering.There is now a massive gulf between the voluntary sector and those delivering the same services in the public sector."
Mr McAveety said: "We will take up the issue directly with the Scottish Government and local authorities."
The group was also met by Labour leader Iain Gray, finance spokesman Andy Kerr and other Labour MSPs.
The SNP said the Scottish Government had made more money available to the voluntary sector and urged the campaigners to lobby Westminster as well.