27 Mar 2003
Media must make room for local elections - STUC
Matt Smith, STUC Treasurer and UNISON Scottish Secretary, today
called for the media to provide more room for local and Scottish
Speaking to CoSLA's Annual Conference in St Andrews today (27/03)
on behalf of the STUC, he expressed concern that the combination
of simultaneous Scottish elections, and dominant media concentration
on the war in Iraq threatened to squeeze out news of the local elections
also taking place on 1 May.
"The media has a responsibility to make room for domestic and local
political issues to be addressed and debated." Matt said. "Local
government deserves better. Our democratic structures deserve better."
Matt also called for closer campaigning and work between trade
unions and local government, pointing out that they shared many
common aims like the funding, powers and future of local government.
"When did the STUC and CoSLA last sit down together to address
areas of importance to each of them?" He said. "We could provide
much support to one another, in campaigns like UNISON's Revitalise
Public Services Campaign"
Finally, however, Matt predicted a period of uncertainty on the
issue of pay in Scottish local government. The four year pay deal
that settled the 2000 pay dispute is coming to an end, and in many
public services staff shortages are threatening service delivery.
"We can only successfully resolve the issue of pay if we are aware
of the pressures that have built up and where there are going to
be problems of recruitment and retention in the future." Matt said.
And he pointed to the work of the Pay Commission in England and
Wales and the McCrone Review of teachers pay as other factors that
unions would be taking into consideration when discussing the next
[Notes for Editors: Matt's full speech is available from Chris
Bartter, numbers below.]
For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (STUC
Treasurer and UNISON Scottish Secretary 07771 548 997(m) Chris Bartter
(Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)