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Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns

1998/1999 Archive


McIntosh report should be accepted as a package, says UNISON

UNISON, Scotland's largest local government union representing 80,000 Scottish local authority staff, today called for all the recommendations of the McIntosh Commission on Local Government to be accepted as a package, not for some recommendations to be accepted and some rejected which was the response of the Scottish Communities Minister, Wendy Alexander.

UNISON's Scottish Committee, meeting in Glasgow today approved the response, which will be sent to the government.

Mike Kirby, UNISON's Scottish Convener, said,

"McIntosh contains a lot of positive recommendations. For example on permitting local government employees to stand for election to councils. This is an issue that we have campaigned for for a number of years and we are pleased the Commission has recognised the unfairness of the current system."

Whilst McIntosh makes recommendations UNISON does not fully agree with notably on the recommendations for 'Executive Committees' within councils, which the union says, would lead to 'two tier local democracy' - UNISON are prepared to support the report as a whole - as the Commission asks for - and are disappointed with the Scottish Executive's initial reaction.

Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Senior Officer for Local Government, said, "We are concerned that the Executive don't appear to accept McIntosh's recommendations as a package. It contains points that are fundamental to responsive and responsible local government -such as the independent review of its financing. We will be putting forward our view in the Scottish Parliament and to other organisations and hope to persuade them of the need for effective local government in Scotland"


Note for Editors: A full copy of UNISON's response is available from Chris Bartter (below) or here on the website

Further Information
Joe Di Paola (Senior Officer-Local Govt) 0131 226 2662
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0141 332 0006




Date: 5 August 1999

Millennium payments agreed for Scottish Local Government workers

UNISON, Scotland's largest local government union, today welcomed a deal which will see Scotland's Local Authority workers getting a £100 bonus, if they are required to work over the millennium celebrations.

The deal, which also includes a £50 payment for staff on standby and the usual payments for Bank Holiday working, was agreed during Scottish negotiations on 4 August.

Jane Carolan, Convenor of UNISON's Scottish Local Government negotiating forum said that the agreement provided a framework allowing local arrangements to be agreed between authorities and their workforce.

"This agreement - whilst the amount is not enough - creates parity across all local services - not simply providing large lump sums for a few. Where there are special reasons, local deals can be discussed on top of this"

The union was keen that a Scottish wide deal was agreed to ensure that workers in smaller authorities did not lose out. It does not prevent locally negotiated deals for improved payments.

Joe Di Paola - UNISON's Senior Officer for Local Government said,

"We haven't forgotten that council workers in essential services are at work each New Year - for example, looking after children and old people in residential care, old people in their own homes or finding homes for people made homeless.

"These jobs are often low-paid jobs, and we wanted to recognise their worth in providing an essential service, whilst the rest of us are out celebrating."

See the UNISON Millennium Payments Bargaining Update



Joe Di Paola (Senior Officer - Local Government) 0131-226 2662(w)
Jane Carolan (Convenor LG Neg Forum) 07803 952269(m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0141- 332 0006 (w)




Date:8 November 1999. Embargo: Not For release before 00.01am Tuesday 9 November 1999

Equalities pressure on Scottish Parliament intensifies

Following the announcement that the Scottish Parliament will abolish Section 28 of the Local Government Act - outlawing local councils to 'promote' homosexuality - UNISON, the largest Scottish Trade Union today launches its equalities 'minifesto' Serving Scotland Equally.

Part of the union's £100,000 Serving Scotland campaign , the 'minifesto' will be launched at a meeting in Glasgow today. It includes policy demands from all of the union's self-organised groups (Black Members; Disabled Members;
Lesbian and Gay Members; Young Members and Retired Members). The only group not included are the union's women members who launched their own minifesto last April.

Amongst other demands, the minifesto calls for

  • a right for disabled Scots to access integrated employment,
  • the reduction of the voting age to 16,
  • the decriminalisation of sexual activity in line with the
    principles of equality,
  • for older people to have equal access to health care such as
    cancer screening, coronary rehabilitation etc,
  • for same sex partners to have the same rights as other couples in housing, social work and health services,
  • and for all public institutions to become fully aware of
    institutional racism and the principles of equality.

Neil McInnes, Secretary of UNISONScotland's Lesbian and Gay Group said

"This minifesto comes out at a crucial time for equalities.

Following on the welcome announcement of the abolition of Section 28, we can see many future areas where the Scottish Parliament, and Scottish Executive can deliver proper equalities. In its own functions, and those provided by employers for which it has overall responsibility, for example, it could also name and shame public bodies who do not adopt best practice."

Nigel Pimm, Chair of the union's Disabled Members Group also wants the Parliament to add to pressure on Westminster;

"Whilst much Equalities legislation is reserved to Westminster, we want the Scottish Parliament to add its voice to campaigns for improvement - such as replacing the Disability Discrimination Act. In addition we want to see them taking the lead in promoting the recent public access laws."

UNISON will send copies of its minifesto to the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee and to equalities campaigning groups throughout Scotland. They will also be asking to meet the Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee to reinforce their message.


Full Minifesto

[Note for Editors: UNISON is Scotland's largest union and has been at the forefront of campaigning for equality. It's unique structure of 'self-organised groups' allows members who experience specific discrimination to come together to challenge it. The meeting on Tuesday takes place at 2.00 pm, and will have representatives from all the groups referred to. Interviews with them can be arranged by contacting Chris Bartter or Carol Judge (see contacts)

Carol Judge (Senior Regional Officer) 0141-332 0006(w)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0141-332 0006(w) 0141-959 7165(h)
Neil McInnes (Sec - Lesbian and gay group) 0958 754 315 (m)
Nigel Pimm (Chair - Disabled Members Group) 0411 345361 (m)




Local Authority staff get higher rise than in England

Around 200,00 Scottish local government staff have accepted an annual salary increase of 3.3%, 0.3% more than the settlement agreed for equivalent staff in England and Wales.

UNISON, the largest Scottish local government union, confirmed that all unions have now agreed that the sum, offered by the Scottish employers last month, should be accepted.

Joe Di Paola, Scottish Senior Regional Officer for Local Government, and Secretary of the Local Government Trade Unions negotiating body said today:

"We have carried out a major consultation exercise, and the overwhelming feeling from our members is that the offer should be accepted. It is good to see that the new Scottish negotiating machinery seems to be effectively dealing with Scottish issues".

This is the first separate pay deal done by the new Scottish Joint Council, which broke away from the UK negotiating machinery in 1998/99, came up with a different settlement from England, because of the differences in timescale of implementing the agreement on creating one set of conditions for local authority staff - the so-called "Single Status" agreement.

Dougie Black, UNISON's Scottish Chair of Local Government, said:

"Whilst we are disappointed that we were unsuccessful in getting specific help for the low paid in this pay round, it is clear that members were not prepared to strike to get a better offer. We will now be concentrating on making sure that Single Status is implemented fairly across Scotland."

The 3.3% increase will apply to all manual and white collar staff in Scotland's 32 local authorities and is effective from 1 April this year.



Joe Di Paola Senior Regional Officer 0141 332 0006

Dougie Black, Chair Scottish Local Govt Cttee 0585 482570

Chris Bartter Communications Officer 0141 332 0006




Date: 10 Sept 1999

DLO surpluses prompt warning on housing transfer

UNISON, Scotland's largest public service union, today issued a warning that yesterdays good Direct Labour Organisation results could be put at risk by insistence on the transfer of council housing out of local democratic control.

Commenting on the Review of the Performance of DLO's and DSO's in Scotland, by the Accounts Commission for Scotland, Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Senior Regional Officer for Local Government, said today

"We are delighted that in three short years since the unwanted
reorganisation of local government, local authority staff are have created nearly £38 million to support services across Scotland."

However the union went on to warn that local authority plans to transfer large numbers of council houses to housing associations and private companies could put DLO's at risk.

"Over £5million of that surplus was created in Building Maintenance
work." said Joe di Paola, "The majority of that in maintaining council
housing stock. If Councils don't have those houses the DLO's can't maintain them. That will put tenants at risk from private contractors and other services at risk of cuts and closures."

The union is continuing its £100,000 Serving Scotland Campaign which calls for public services to be of the highest quality and delivered by a democratically accountable public service team.



Joe Di Paola - Senior Officer Local Government 0141-332 0006
Chris Bartter - Communications Officer 0141-332 0006(w)


Friday 31 December 1999

Tribunal victory sparks union recruitment

UNISON, Scotland's largest union, is using a significant tribunal victory on behalf of staff in a Lothian nursing home to launch a recruitment drive in other private residential homes. UNISON just received a decision from an Employment Tribunal which means staff should get back a total of over £100,000 in pay wrongfully cut when their home was sold to a new owner.

Staff at Lammermuir House in Dunbar, a residential home owned by Meadows Development Ltd, had their wages and conditions cut after the company bought the home from the Civil Service Benevolent Fund in 1998. The Tribunal found that the cuts in pay should have been prevented by the Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE) Regulations. UNISON are going to use this victory to point out to residential home staff the kind of protection and back-up a trade union can deliver.

Mick McGahey, Branch Secretary for UNISON's Lothian Primary Care Branch said;

"We are discovering a variety of problems under the surface in some residential homes. In Lammermuir House, UNISON won back pay cuts ranging from £42 - £7,000 overall. Members have said to us that they wouldn't have been able to sustain cases like this had they not had UNISON's support."

David Forbes, UNISON Regional Officer for the branch said

"The increase in the number of private nursing and residential homes has meant a huge number of employees at risk from often inexperienced and sometimes unscrupulous employers. We will be taking the news round that one thing staff can do in these circumstances is join a union. With our experience of these areas, we think that union should be UNISON."

The onset of the Fairness at Work legislation also has given a boost to union recruitment and UNISON will be using this legislation to get recruitment and recognition in many other areas, in Scotland's public services.


David Forbes (Regional Officer) 0131-229 0436(h)
Mick McGahey (Branch Secretary) 07957 374137(m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)


Not for release before 00.01am Mon 27 December 1999

UNISON appeals to members to pool policy ideas

Scotland's largest union has just announced a radical new way of creating union policy in Scotland. This new process, which is starting in the New Millennium, involves asking UNISON's members to comment directly on policy, bypassing the normal UNISON machinery! The union is going to use its own newspaper and its website to try and involve members with knowledge of topics from Student Tuition Fees to the National Cultural Strategy.

Mike Kirby, UNISON's Scottish Convenor, says this is a way of using the resources of the union to the full.

"With the creation of the Scottish Parliament, the need for UNISON to represent our members through responses to consultations etc. has grown tremendously." He said. " We realise that with a Scottish membership of nearly 150,000 there was a fair chance of some of our members knowing a lot about some issues. We had to come up with a way of asking them directly."

The major public service union is setting up a series of working parties (called Policy Pools), and looking to co-opt members with an interest who come forward with their views. Results from these discussions would then be circulated through the union's machinery and passed to the Scottish Executive, MSP's, and other interested parties.

Mike accepts that there was some initial suspicion that these bodies would be taken over by zealots, but points out that a system is in place to stop that happening.

"The pools cannot determine policy on their own, and any extremist nonsense would soon be spotted. " He said. "But I am more concerned with getting people to contribute. We have set up the pools - Now I want to appeal to members to come forward."

Issues that will be on the agenda for the early part of the year will be: -

  • Funding Scotland's public services
  • Council House Stock Transfers;
  • European Integration and its effect on public spending (especially as it affects Scotland);
  • Equal Opportunities for disadvantaged groups (especially Black, Disabled, Lesbian and Gay People.)


Mike Kirby (Scottish Convener) 01426 292751(p)
Chris Bartter(Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)


Date: Tuesday 21 December 1999 Embargo: For Immediate release

UNISON backs local football derby for President

UNISON, Scotland's largest union, will be sponsoring the programme of the Local derby game between Raith Rovers and Dunfermline Athletic, as part of the union's campaign for public services in Scotland, and against racism.The public service union has picked this match to support because this years President, Anne Picking, a nursing sister in Kent, is originally from Dunfermline.

The sponsorship will include a fullpage advert in the matchday programme and a banner at the ground. Anne thinks that it will be money well spent. "Apart from the crowd at the game," She said "we are looking to reach a TV audience as he Premier League will be on its Winter Break, and this will be one of the biggest matches scheduled.

"Our advert will reflect the work that the union has done over the years, both in terms of Scottish public services, and in anti -racist campaigning."

UNISONScotland has been running a major campaign to defend and improve public services in Scotland, and is also a major sponsor of the 'Show Racism the Red Card' campaign, designed to get rid of racism in football.


[Note to Editors: Anne Picking was born and raised in Dunfermline and her parents - Frank and Wilma Moffat - still live locally. She left school after 'O' levels and undertook basic and specialist nurse training in Dunfermline hospitals. In 1980 she moved to Belfast where she nursed in a psychiatric hospital, then moved to the south east of England in 1984 where she has remained since. Anne has specialised in working with people with mental health problems and in drug and alcohol abuse.

Anne has been a member of UNISON's National Executive Council since the 1.3 million strong union's inception in 1993 and previously served on the NEC of the health union COHSE which came together with NALGO and NUPE to form UNISON.She was elected to the Labour Party NEC two years ago, and is vice-chair of its powerful Organisation Committee.

She will be available for interview by contacting Chris Bartter(below), who also has a photograph if required.

Matt Smith(Scottish Secretary)0141-332 0006(w) 07771 548997(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0141-332 0006(w) 0771 558 3729(m) Anne Picking(National President) 0411 677751(m)
Mike Kirby(Scottish Convenor) 01426 292751(page)


Date: 3 December 1999 Embargo: Not for release before 00.01am Monday 6 December 1999

Link to full claim details and supporting evidence

UNISON leader demands pay justice for council workers

UNISON has lodged a pay claim of £500 or 5% for its 100,000 Scottish local government workers on 6 December.

Deputy General Secretary Dave Prentis called on Scottish councils to demonstrate justice and fairness to the staff who work for them.

"As a union we have consistently called for the introduction of a real living wage based on £5 an hour. For many employed by Scottish councils basic pay means only £4.25 per hour. These kinds of wage levels can force staff to take other jobs and work excessive hours just to make ends meet. This cannot be justified in the 21st Century!"

Dave added, "Councils in Scotland have gone through a major period of change since reorganisation in 1996. There have been serious job losses and changes to work patterns, yet services have continued to perform efficiently.

"Isn't it time these public service achievements were noted, and the staff who made it possible rewarded? UNISON members cannot always be expected to keep delivering services if they are given little or no recognition for their efforts."

His remarks are addressed not only to councils but to the Scottish Executive who ultimately hold the purse strings. Past Governments have failed to fund pay rises for local government workers.
UNISON's Scottish local government claim for 2000 seeks to maintain and improve the living standards of all council workers, and to address the issue of low pay by demanding a minimum hourly rate of £5 per hour. In addition the claim seeks an increase of £500 or 5% (whichever is greater) on all spinal column points with effect from 1 April 2000. The claim is relevant to all of UNISON's membership and provides a basis for a real improvement in salary levels.

UNISON now awaits the employers' response to the claim, which is likely early February.


Further Information

Mary Maguire Press Officer 01523 139 547 (page)

Joe Di Paola (Senior Regionbal Officer) 0131 226 2662

Jane Carolan (Chair TU side negotiators) 017893 952 269




29 December 1998

Scots say university fees should go, and grants should stay

65% of Scots oppose the government introduction of fees for university students says a new poll released today. The poll, carried out by System Three Scotland for UNISON, Scotland's public service union, indicates that Scots feel very strongly about this issue with 50% opting for the extreme negative rating of 'strongly oppose'.

Mike Kirby, UNISON's Scottish Convenor, said:

"This shows that Scots remain implacably opposed to the introduction of fees for students in Scotland's universities. In addition to the overall opposition, 56% are also opposed to the 'fourth-year fee' for students from outside Scotland.

"This is an example of the attitude to public services in Scotland. Freedom of access to a university education is a dearly held principle. One that we will be highlighting in our Serving Scotland campaign in the run up to the Scottish Parliament."

The poll, carried out as part of the union's campaign for Scottish Public services, also indicates that Scots feel the government should support students at university with grants rather than loans.

"Only 5% of Scots support current government policy." said Mike Kirby, "91% feel that grants should play a significant part in funding student maintenance, although there is a recognition that some contribution should come from students or their parents."

Mike Kirby also points to the consistency of responses across all social classes:

"Some people have tried to claim that the arguments against fees and loans are 'middle class whingeing'" he said, "This poll shows that the opposition to fees, the priority given to higher education and the importance of a government grant to students produce common responses across all classes, showing the importance all Scots attach to Higher Education."

The union's Serving Scotland campaign will run up to the Scottish Parliament and local council elections in May. All political parties and candidates will be quizzed on their policies on this and other issues of importance to Scotland's public services.

Note for Editors:- A sample of 996 adults across 40 constituencies were interviewed between 26 Nov - 2 Dec 1998. Percentage results were as follows;

UNISON Poll Results



 Fees for university students

 Final year fees for students from outside Scotland

 Strongly support introduction



 Slightly support



 Neither support or oppose



 Slightly oppose



 Strongly oppose



 Don't know




Preferred approach to student maintenance

 Mainly from government student grant


 Combination of student grant and funding from student (loan/part-time work or parental support)


 Mainly funding by student (loan, p/t work, parental support)


 Don't know





28 December 1998

UNISON calls for new deal on PFI in wake of Robinson resignation

UNISON, Scotland's largest union is calling for the new team at the heart of the Treasury to look again at the controversial Private Finance Initiative (PFI) - currently being used to fund a number of future Scottish public services.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary, said:

"We are asking the Government to use this opportunity of a new team at the Treasury to deliver a New Year bonus for Scottish taxpayers and public service workers. The expensive, bureaucratic and unaccountable Private Finance Initiative should be scrapped and replaced by new methods of funding."

UNISON has consistently campaigned against PFI. The union is currently running a campaign, called Serving Scotland, setting out its agenda for public services under a Scottish Parliament. As part of this campaign the union will be releasing a policy paper in the New Year calling for public services to be owned and run by democratically accountable bodies rather than private consortia or contractors under PFI.

Matt Smith says that the appointment of Alan Milburn in particular, allows a rethink. In his position as Health Minister, Mr Milburn put forward ideas about using private finance to provide public services without the private sector running the service, the so-called 'PFI without People' option.

"UNISON's campaign calls for quality services, that give people a say in how they are run, and are delivered by a public services team." He said "PFI currently fails on all these three points. It is more expensive than conventional funding, removes accountability by locking services up into long-term inflexible contracts, and splits up the workforce providing the service.

"We also feel that it is inappropriate to rely heavily on a scheme where the public cost is kept commercially confidential. We think that the best Government is open government and call on the government to open the books on existing and proposed PFI projects.

"The argument is also advanced that it is the only game in town. We now know that this is untrue. The funding of Aberdeen Sick Children's Hospital, and a community hospital in Bo'ness have been provided by co-operation and the selling of surplus assets. The rest of the EU uses a much more flexible measure of government spending that treats it as the investment it is. It is time to say that PFI provides poor value services and Scotland should have better."

The union's Serving Scotland campaign will run up to the Scottish Parliament and local council elections in May. All political parties and candidates will be quizzed on their policies on this and other issues of importance to Scotland's public services.



Date 3 December 1998 Embargo: For operational use.

Web launch for UNISON manifesto

Scotland's biggest union is hoping to make the right connections on Saturday (5 December 1998) when it launches its Manifesto for Scotland's public services.

In addition to a traditional printed copy of Serving Scotland as the manifesto is titled, the union will be also putting all the text on the world wide web, and the site will be available for delegates to read at the meeting.

The document, which contains the main themes of UNISON's 100,000 Campaign for public services, will be the central event at Saturday's meeting of the union's Scottish Council, where representatives of all Scotland's UNISON branches meet to decide Scottish policy.

The document will express UNISON's aims for a Scottish Parliament The union advocates public services that are democratic - giving people a say in their services, effective - choosing quality services, and treat the providers properly - choosing teamwork. The Serving Scotland campaign will be targeting all political parties and other groups in Scotland, and will not advocate support for or against any political party.

The meeting will be held in The Moir Hall, the Mitchell Theatre, Granville Street, Glasgow at 10.30 am.

You are invited to be represented when Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary, and Mike Kirby, UNISON's Scottish Convener launch the manifesto, at 09.30 am in the Moir Hall.

[Note for Editors/Picture Editors - General photo opportunities of the meeting will be available immediately before the start at 10 30 am and interviews with the main participants can be arranged No photos or filming of the meeting in progress will be permitted .]


Further Information

Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 0141-332 0006 (w) 07771 548997(m)
Chris, Bartter (Communications Officer) 0141-332 0006 (w) 0141-959 7165(h)
George McGregor (Research Officer) 0141-332 0006 (w) 0976 754420(m)



16 November 1998


UNISON, the public services union, announced today that 68% of Scots back its campaign to remove political restrictions barring 280,000 local government workers standing as councillors. This demand will form part of the union's Public Services Campaign in the run up to both the Scottish Parliament and the local council elections next May.

Following on from the System 3 opinion poll result, which shows the ban is opposed by most Scots right across the political spectrum, UNISON has written to the leaders of all Scottish local authorities seeking support for its campaign, which is also opposed to the broader political restrictions on more senior officers.

The union's stance has recently also received powerful support from the McIntosh Commission on Local Government - a Government appointed advisory body, which will present its final recommendations to the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Mark Irvine, UNISON's Head of Local Government in Scotland, said

"The present restrictions mean that 1 in 8 of Scotland's adult workers are prevented from playing a full part in the democratic process. Just to get their names on the ballot paper, local government workers must resign form their job. Clearly people with personal and financial commitments cannot take such a big risk in order to play a full part in public life.

No other European country operates such a crazy, scorched-earth approach to the potential problems that arise when public service workers stand for public office. In Germany, for example, workers have a right to stand for public office and only need to resign if elected. They also have a right to return to their previous employment for the following six years.

UNISON believes that there is all-party support for a reform of the current system. Now our arguments have won the backing of the McIntosh Commission we will be redoubling our efforts to spur the present Government and the Scottish Parliament, into long overdue reform of this system."


[Note for Editors: the opinion poll was carried out by System 3, who polled 1009 people over 40 constituencies between 24-29 September 1998. The results were as follows:

Do you think that council employees should or should not be allowed to stand for election to the council in their area?

 Party supporting in Scottish Parliament Election








Uncomitted % 









Should not








 Don't Know 








Mark Irvine Head of Local Government (Scotland)
Chris Bartter Communications Officer

Work - 0131 226 2662 Home - 0131 667 0535
Work - 0141 332 0006 Home - 0141 959 7165




Date: 12.2.99 - Embargo: Not for release before 00.01 am Monday 15 Feb 1999

UNISON General Secretary calls on Scottish Parliament to scrap PFI

Rodney Bickerstaffe, General Secretary of UNISON, Scotland's largest union, will today call for the phasing out of the Government's controversial Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

Speaking to the union's City of Edinburgh Branch AGM this evening (15/2/99), Mr Bickerstaffe will announce the prospective publication of UNISONScotand's Manifesto Briefing Serving Scotland's Taxpayers, due to be published next week. This is the next step in the union's Serving Scotland campaign, which argues for priority for public services in the Scottish Parliament

"Scotland's public services should be democratically accountable, best quality and delivered by a public service team," said Mr Bickerstaffe. "PFI cannot deliver on these criteria and should be scrapped. We are calling on the new Scottish Parliament to draw a line under this system and to develop new ways of funding essential service facilities."

"Serving Scotland's Taxpayers makes clear arguments for changes to this costly and secretive method of funding our public services and we will be campaigning for these changes with all the prospective MSP's, political parties and other Scottish organisations."

Edinburgh has two 'flagship' PFI schemes, a private consortium has been awarded the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and the city's schools are proposed for private takeover. UNISON has already pointed out that the extra cost - 6million - of the Royal Infirmary contract is the equivalent of nearly 16,000 day case operations.

The union's Serving Scotland campaign is planned to run up to the Scottish Parliament elections an May 6. It argues for services that give people a say in their running, are the best quality possible, and are delivered by a public service team. Mr Bickerstaffe congratulated the Edinburgh Branch for taking this message to heart.

"It is good to see that this branch has taken the lead amongst Scottish Branches", he said "and produced its own definition of ‘best value' in local services, which embody the principles set out by our campaign. This is the sort of positive lead we want and I wish them success in negotiating agreement with the employer."



Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 0141 332 0006(w) 07771 548997 (m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0141-332 0006(w) 0141 959 7165 (h)
George McGregor (Research Officer) 0141-332 0006(w) 0976 754420(m)
John Stevenson (Edinb Br Comms Officer) 0131-220 5655 or 0131 343 1991 (o) 0831 381464(m)





Date 18 Jan 99

Government must deal with low pay for all health service staff

UNISON, Scotland's public service union, today commented on the increasing speculation on the forthcoming Pay Review Body recommendations. John Lambie, UNISONScotland's Head of Health said;

"We will save our comments about what is or isn't going to be offered until we hear what it will be. However it is clear that UNISON would support pay offers that attempt to address the problem of nurse recruitment and retention, and that are weighted towards the lower paid. The government must deal with low pay across the whole health service team - not purely for pay review staff, and the pay awards must be fully funded to avoid one person's pay rise being another person's service loss".




Date 8 January 1999 Embargo: For immediate use

NHS has long term problems which will require long term solutions - UNISON

John Lambie, UNISON Scotland's Head of Health today commented on the debate on the. state of Scotland's Health Service.

"UNISON has drawn attention to the staff shortages, and low morale amongst all Healthcare staff continuously over the last 19 years.

"Since the current government came to office we hove noticed welcome steps to try and address some of the problems, and in particular involve the trade unions. I recognise that the government cannot undo in eighteen months, all the damage that the previous government inflicted over the previous eighteen years.

"Many problems still remain and we will continue to campaign - as part of our Serving Scotland campaign leading up to the Scottish Parliament elections - for fully resourced services delivered by trained, properly-paid staff directly employed by the Health Service."




Date 4 January 1999 Embargo: For immediate use

New Year sees UNISON initiative on public services

Thousands of copies of the manifesto produced by Scotland's public services union, UNISON as part of their Serving Scotland campaign are due to be sent out this week to aspiring politicians, campaigning groups and other Scottish organisations This is the next step in the £100,000 campaign the union is running in the lead up to the Scottish Parliament and local council elections in May.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said:

"We are distributing copies of our manifesto to all sections of Scottish society. As well as our own branches and political parties we are writing to non-party groups and associations - organisations like Cosla and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations; charities and campaigning groups like Shelter and the Scottish Low Pay Unit; churches voluntary groups and user groups; local authorities; water authorities; health trusts and health boards. In fact we will be contacting anyone we hear about who has an interest in promoting public services."

The union has already printed 10,000 copies of the manifesto and is anticipating a further print run could be necessary. They want to work jointly with organisations where their policies are similar.

" When we started to research who we needed to contact", says Matt Smith "It quickly become clear that virtually everyone in Scotland has a vested interest in the best public services. We are sure therefore that many organisations will welcome the kind of things we are saying and will find many areas where they can join forces with us."

The Serving Scotland campaign calls for quality public services, democratically controlled and delivered by a public service team. UNISON has already released a couple of opinion polls on local government and on tuition fees and is planning further documents including one on the Private Finance Initiative early in the New Year. Backed by the STUC, the campaign is being paid for from UNISON's General Political Fund.

The manifesto and other relevant information on the campaign are also available on the union's Scottish website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk


Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 0141-332 0006 (w) 07771 548997 (m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0141-332 0006 (w) 0141-959 7165 (h)
George McGregor (Research Officer) mob 0976 754420




Monday 28 June 1999

Scottish Local Government Staff offered higher wage rise than those in England

In the first year of the new bargaining machinery in Scotland, now separate from the UK negotiating machinery, Scotland's [200,000] local authority staff have been offered a wage rise of 3.3%, greater than that offered to similar staff in England and Wales.

UNISON, the largest local authority union, announced today that it is
consulting its 100,000 Scottish local authority members on the proposed rise.

Joe Di Paola, Senior Regional Officer for Local Government in Scotland, said, "The additional money has been offered because we and the Scottish employers have agreed that implementing Single Status in Scotland will not have a cost this year, unlike that in England and Wales. We have also finalised the Single Status deal for Scotland which will start from July 1999"

Single Status is the name being given to the amalgamation of conditions and negotiating machinery for white and blue collar local authority staff - including reducing longer working hours of staff.

Dougie Black, UNISON's Scottish Chair of Local Government said, "This offer falls short of our claim by a long way. We were looking
for 5% or £500 - whichever was the greater. However, we have agreed to put the offer to our members in Scotland."

The consultation will be with UNISON Branches between now and the end of August, and the other local authority unions (T&GWU and GMB) will also be consulting their members. If agreed it will be effective from last April.




Date: 24 June 1999

PFI announcement a first step, but no solution - UNISON

UNISON, Scotland's biggest public service union and the leading campaigner against PFI today gave a guarded welcome to the suggestions put forward by the Finance Minister, Jack McConnell, MSP.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said,

"Anything that takes steps to retain public assets in the public
sector and protect hard-won conditions has to be welcomed. But what we want is best value public services and the retention of public staff in the public sector and we will be continuing our campaign."

The changes announced to PFI schemes, have come after strong campaign fought by UNISON and other unions, but don't go far enough.

The main objections to PFI are

that it is more expensive than traditional public borrowing;

that the buildings remain in private sector hands;

that the services are less democratically accountable; and

that some public service staff will be transferred to the private
sector - meaning a service could be delivered by different groups of staff working for different employers, and under different conditions.

And most importantly - that the 'profit-motive' of the private sector will mean lower-quality services and cuts in training, qualified staff and services.

Today's announcement only answers about one and a half of these objections.

Matt Smith said,

"PFI is still a bad way of financing public services. It will still cost the taxpayer more. It will still break up the team delivering Scotland's services and there are still other, better ways of accessing public sector borrowing that could help.

"We look forward to opening discussions with the government and the
Parliament, on our campaign to reject PFI, and to ensure Scotland has the properly resourced services we so badly need."




31 March 1999

Minimum wage gets record Scots support

On the eve of its implementation, a poll reveals that Scots support for the principle of a minimum wage has hardened in in the past three years. UNISON, the largest public service union released these results of a System Three poll It has commissioned, today (31 Mar 1999).

Anne Middleton, UNISON's Depute Scottish Secretary and President of the STUC said:
"As a union that has consistently campaigned for the minimum wage we are celebrating its implementation. Its introduction will stop unscrupulous employers subsidising their wages bill by relying on state benefits.

"We are delighted that 65% of Scots support the minimum wage, and that the percentage strongly agreeing with the minimum wage has leapt from 33% to 59% in the last three years. However the level Is clearly not adequate, and we will continue our campaign for a living wage".

The poll shows that only 11% of scots think the minimum wage should be 3.60 or less an hour compared to nearly 60% who agree with 4.00 or more.

UNISON is currently running a campaign called Serving Scotland calling for the Scottish Parliament to value the workforce in Scotland's public services; As part of that campaign they have chartered a train - which is now full - to run from Glasgow via Edinburgh to attend a huge national demonstration in favvour of a ‘Living Wage' - currently 4.80 per hour. This is taking place in Newcastle on April 10.

The Scoitish low Pay Unit has welcomed UNISON's support for low paid workers. Peter Hunter Director of the Unit said;
"As expected the Unit is already swamped with enquiries, including those about scams by employers seeking to evade the minimum wage. Employees need somewhere to turn for help with wage problems. Trade unions are a prime source of help and the Unit welcomes UNISON's Campaign for a Living Wage.

(Note to editors: The System Three poll was taken from 982 adults, from 40 constituences across Scotland, between 25 Feb - 3 March 1999. The relevant results are below)

Poll results


Attitudes towards Minimum Wage

 Feb 1999

 March 1996

 Strongly Agree






 Neither Agree nor Disagree






 Strongly Disagree



 Don't Know



 Level per Hour


 Less than £3.60










 More than 4.80


 Don't know




Date: 26 Nov 1999 Embargo: Not for release before 00.01am Monday 29 November 1999

Link to "Serving Scotland's Communities 'Minifesto'

Local democracy demands local funding control - UNISON

UNISON, Scotland's largest union, representing 100,000 Scottish local authority workers will today (Monday) issue a strong call for the Scottish Executive to change course in their approach to Scotland's local authorities. The union has responded to the Scottish Executive's consultation on the McIntosh report, with a strongly worded statement which opposes the Executive line on financial review, continuing centralised business rates, and opposes directly elected provosts.

The main demand is the call for an independent review of local authority funding. This was recommended by McIntosh, but has been rejected by the Scottish Executive. Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Senior Regional Officer for Local Government said;

"With this response and our local government minifesto - also launched today - UNISON is making it quite clear that nothing less than restoring local democracy and rebuilding local services is required. Local democracy can't be delivered when central government controls 86% of its funding. Restoring financial autonomy to local councils requires a review which should be seen to be independent."

The powerful public service union is also launching Serving Scotland's Communities, a minifesto on local services, which calls for local government to have a power of general competence, and for local government employees to be allowed to stand for election to the council.
Dougie Black, Chair of UNISONScotland's Local Government Group, said;

"The time is right to to free local councils from their legislative straitjacket, and allow them to act in the interest of their communities. For this power of general competence to be a reality, a review of councils' financial arrangements must also be delivered."

The union's minifesto will be sent to members of the Parliament's Local Government Committee, local authorities and other civic organisations. It is part of the union's continuing Serving Scotland campaign.


[Note to Editors: Copies of the Response document and/or the Local Government minifesto are available from Chris Bartter or George McGregor (below)]

Joe Di Paola (SRO Local Government) 01786 449 922(Holiday Inn, Stirling) till 3 pm Friday;

Dougie Black (Chair-Local Government Group) 0131-220 5655(o) 0771 556 3666(m)

Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0141-332 0006(w) 0771 558 3729(m) George McGregor (Research Officer) 0141-332 0006(w) 0976 754420(m)




Date: 11 November 1999 Embargo: Not for
release before 12.30pm Friday 12 November 1999


More than 1200 National Health Service workers in Scotland will benefit from a Scottish Executive backed scheme to boost access to education.

The Return to Learn scheme is a learning initiative, which encourages all NHS staff who left school with few or no qualifications to enter further education by providing easy access, by building their confidence and developing their learning skills.

Developed by UNISON and the Workers Educational Association, the Scottish Executive is funding £200,000 towards the Return to Learn scheme over the next two years to widen access to education to all staff in the NHS in Scotland. This initiative is part of the Executive's forthcoming Education, Training and Lifelong Learning Strategy for the NHS in Scotland.

The Minister for Health and Community Care, Susan Deacon in welcoming the initiative said "NHS staff are our greatest resource. We must invest in them to make sure we provide a better service to patients. Learning throughout life is essential. I am delighted that the NHS will be part of the Return to Learn scheme providing access and opportunity for people who in the past have felt excluded.

"Helping staff develop their potential shows we value them, and of course maximises the value they can bring to the service. Each Return to Learn success spreads the message and encourages others to take the opportunity to learn.

"I am pleased to be able to lead the modernisation of the NHS in Scotland. A key aspect of this is developing the way we support and deal with our staff.

"Return to Learn will help to provide a motivated workforce willing to learn, that can adapt to the changing needs of patients and ultimately provide a higher quality of patient care. And that of course is good news for everyone who wants to see Scotland have a modern, accessible NHS fit for the new millennium."

Cath Friel, UNISONScotland's Deputy Convenor said: "John, Norma and Joyce, are successful Return to Learn students from the NHS in Scotland who took part in the local Return to Learn project in Edinburgh. They say much more than we ever could about the success of this scheme. UNISON is proud to have developed and promoted Return to Learn and is pleased that it is now going to be available to Healthcare staff across Scotland."


Contact: Chris Bartter (Communications Officer - UNISON): 0141-332 0006(w) 0771 558 3729 (m)
Margo Maciver(Scottish Executive ): 0131 244 2954
Internet: www.scotland.gov.uk

1. The Return to Learn scheme for the NHS in Scotland has been developed jointly by UNISON and the Workers Educational Association (WEA) as a training package for employed adults who have few if any formal qualifications.

2. This is the biggest Return to Learn employer-supported scheme in the UK.

3. The Scottish Executive will inject £100,000 in this and the next financial year to meet the training costs for up to 650 places in each year. NHS Trusts and Health Boards will contribute to the costs and, it is hoped, carry on with further places at their expense in following years.

4. Return to Learn was launched nationally in April 1999.

5. The Minister, representatives from UNISON and WEA and Return to Learn students from the NHS in Scotland who took part in the scheme in Edinburgh will be available for interview tomorrow, Friday 12 November at 1330 hours in St Andrew's House, Regent Road, Edinburgh.


See also