Date: Thurs 7 Jan 2010
The Scottish Government's Public Services Reform Bill will do little to reform Scotland's quangos and fails to address the bureaucratic and tortuous process of pay bargaining, said Scotland's largest public service union UNISON.
In a briefing to MSPs in advance of today's Stage One debate in the Scottish Parliament, UNISON calls for an amendment to enable streamlined pay bargaining arrangements to be introduced covering the different Agencies, Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) and Public Corporations, who all currently have their own structures.
Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser (Policy) said "Although this bill's aim is to streamline Scotland's quangos and improve their efficiency, it has missed the opportunity to streamline their lengthy and costly bargaining process. A process which has resulted in many disputes in recent years, undermined staff confidence and damaged public service."
The union has been campaigning for some time to improve the current confused state of pay negotiations in this sector, and backed the recommendations of the Parliament's Finance Committee inquiry into public sector pay.
Peter Ritchie, Chair of UNISON's NDPB staff sector group said "Sadly little has been done to implement these recommendations. We need to address the mess that has been created in this sector's pay negotiations by the variety of bodies, the range of different negotiating machinery, and the often unhelpful interference of the Government Finance Department."
UNISON is suggesting the creation of two negotiating bodies - one covering Executive Agencies (with staff closely tied to Civil Service pay and conditions) and one covering NDPBs and possibly Public Corporations, which employ staff drawn from a variety of other backgrounds. But the union recognises that the detail of this is not appropriate for primary legislation and is seeking an enabling amendment to be introduced at Stage Two.
Note for Editors:- UNISON is Scotland's largest public service union, representing well over 160,000 workers working in Scotland's public services.