Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thanks to all who emailed MSPs to support Protection of Workers Billl

The Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill was defeated in the Scottish Parliament today by 75 votes to 42. Thanks to all those who sents emails to their MSPs to ask them to vote for the Bill, which was promoted by Hugh Henry MSP and supported by UNISON along with other unions and the STUC. 

See reports on BBC News and STV News.

Also see UNISON Scotland Health & Safety campaign page on the Bill at for more info including briefings and press releases.


UNISON Scotland urges MSPs to support Protection of Workers Bill

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

UNISON Scotland has called on MSPs not to turn their backs on those who face violence at work, and to support a Bill to protect them.

MSPs will debate the Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill at stage one in Parliament today (Wednesday, December 22) and will decide whether or not the Bill should proceed to stage two.

Violent incidents at work are a major problem in Scotland. UNISON Scotland’s annual Violence at Work survey highlighted more than 30,000 recorded incidents in the public sector last year alone. However, as not all violent incidents are reported, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Last month, the Economy Energy and Tourism Committee recommended that Parliament should oppose the Bill, claiming it would not extend the protection currently available to workers under the common law. But, as the committee recognised, there is no statistical evidence that this approach works. UNISON believes incidents involving uniformed staff may be taken more seriously than the lower level – but just as traumatic – incidents which involve thousands of our members and fall below the radar of current criminal law provisions.

UNISON believes legislation is only part of the solution and must go hand-in-hand with public awareness campaigns, workplace measures and criminal legislation.

Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, said: “Each year, thousands of dedicated staff providing vital services in our communities are being assaulted at work. These people deserve stronger legal protection and better protective measures and MSPs can not turn their backs on these workers.

“While legislation on its own is not enough, it is part of the solution and sends a clear message that violence against workers is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our society. We therefore urge MSPs to take this matter seriously and to support this Bill to protect workers from violence.”


Notes to editors
1.    Click here to view UNISON’s Violence at Work Survey (PDF)
2.    For further details on the Bill visit

For further information contact: 
Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser, on 07958 122 409
Trisha Hamilton, Communications Officer, on 0141 342 2877 / 07939 478 461


Monday, December 20, 2010

Take action now! Email your MSPs to support Protection of Workers Bill

Latest: Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill will be debated on Wed 22 Dec 2010... 

Click here to take action now! Email all of your MSPs for support

It's not part of the job - end violence against workers
It's not part of the job - end violence against workers

UNISON Scotland wants to end violent attacks on public service workers

UNISON Scotland, along with other unions and the STUC, has supported Hugh Henry, Labour MSP for Paisley South, in promoting the Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill. This will make it an offence for anyone to assault a public service worker carrying out their job or because of the job they do.

The Bill's first stage debate was expected to be in January 2011 but has been brought forward to Wednesday 22 December 2010 - this Wednesday - in the Scottish Parliament.

You can help by urging your MSPs (including your regional list MSPs) to support the Bill.
Send emails - click here


Thursday, December 9, 2010

UNISON Scotland attacks council grant cuts

Thursday 9 December 2010

UNISON, Scotland’s largest local government trade union, today attacked the grant settlement for local government as bad for services, communities and democracy.

The settlement means a cut of 5.5% in real terms. Councils are given a classic Hobson’s choice. A cut of 2.6% if they accept the Government’s priorities, or a 6.4% cut if they don’t. If any council wanted to bridge the gap with a Council Tax rise they would need an increase of between 15% and 18%. Not a realistic political prospect for any council.

UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said:

“This settlement will damage essential services and the local economy. It also heralds a return to ring fencing and a major attack on local democracy. Councils are being turned into the administrative arm of central government.”

The main Scottish Government priority is the Council Tax freeze. This undermines local democracy and the shortfall is increasingly being made up by charges for services. This disproportionally hits low income households who rely on council services, yet it is the wealthiest who gain most from this real terms tax cut.

Mike Kirby said:

“The Council Tax freeze is simply not viable in the current financial climate. It supports wealthy homeowners at the expense of those who rely most on local services. The Scottish Government is keen to talk up this tax cut as part of its election strategy, but less keen to identify the services that will be cut to pay for it.”

The actual financial impact on local services will be greater than this allocation implies. Councils are already planning budget cuts and job losses over and above this grant settlement due to higher inflation, reducing income, rebuilding balances and demand for services in a recession.

UNISON Scotland will be calling on councils to protect services by setting a needs budget and publishing local economic and equality impact assessments.


For further information please contact:
Mike Kirby (Scottish Secretary) 07939 143355
Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122409


Saturday, December 4, 2010

More must be done to protect our ‘Cinderella’ services, says UNISON

UNISON’s general secretary Dave Prentis says more must be done to protect our ‘Cinderella’ services.

Dave Prentis will make the call at the meeting of UNISON’s Scottish Council – which consists of representatives from all Scottish branches covering UNISON’s 160,000 members – today (Saturday).

He will tell members: “Not everything that is valuable is popular. Not everything that transforms lives wins applause. “Will those working with young offenders be as popular as those who work in childcare? Will people supporting drug users be as voter friendly as paramedics? Who will speak up for the ‘Cinderella’ services?

“Who will champion what is right, not just what is popular? I’ll tell you who. We will. We will speak up for the vulnerable. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with those who work in public services, and those who rely on them.”

Dave Prentis will also pay tribute to Matt Smith who is stepping down as Scottish Secretary with UNISON Scotland. Matt has almost 40 years dedicated service to the trade union movement and has held the position of Scottish Secretary since UNISON was formed in 1993.
· Matt Smith, 58, has led UNISON Scotland as Scottish Secretary since it was created in 1993 and is the only one to have held the post. Over the years, Matt has worked to promote policies which advance the interests of members, particularly in relation to low pay and equal pay. He has also played a pivotal part in championing the role of trade unions and ensuring their relevance as a major stakeholder in civic society. In 2004, Matt was awarded an OBE in recognition of his contribution to trade unionism.

Friday, December 3, 2010

UNISON condemns job losses in forensic services across Scotland

UNISON Scotland has condemned the Government’s decision to cut 74 highly skilled forensic and fingerprint jobs in Scotland.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced his plans for the future of Scotland’s forensics services yesterday (Thursday), which will mean a move away from four forensic labs – in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee – to two super-labs, supported by four ‘satellite’ units.

The Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) issued an options paper to its staff in July this year outlining possible ways of modernising forensic services in Scotland.

UNISON has consistently argued that the only viable option was to retain services in all four cities.

UNISON’s Regional Organiser Peter Veldon said: “UNISON condemns the loss of 74 highly skilled forensic and fingerprint jobs from the SPSA. The reduction will affect the quality of service in drug analysis in these areas and across Scotland. We would have preferred no job losses at present until decisions are made on the future shape of policing in Scotland and the requirements needed by the new police service on forensic services.

“We would welcome a genuine review in 18 months, but are concerned this is code for a future attempt to cut services in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.”

Adverse weather updates

09.10 Scottish Local Government Conference, Social night and Scottish Council are going ahead as planned.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

False Economy website and video: why the cuts are wrong

Check out the False Economy website from the people who brought you The Other Taxpayer's Alliance  - the good one! And here's their video about Why the cuts are wrong.

Why cuts are the wrong cure from False Economy on Vimeo.

More on Scotland from STUC's There Is A Better Way
and UNISON Scotland's Public Works