Tues 20 April 2004
Public services central to economic success
Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary, today said that Scotland's
public services were key to the country's economic success, and
that public service workers needed to be paid properly to deliver
the service people need.
Moving a composite motion at the STUC Congress today, Matt said
"Public services are not what comes at the end of the economic cycle
- some drain on the country's progress. They are the life blood
of our economic base. They purchase, they create infrastrructure,
they educate, they regulate, they provide health and care, they
innovate, they create employment, they ensure the quality of life
and build standrads for others."
UNISON also sounded a warning that pay in public services would
have to rise, if the Scottish Government wanted to improve their
"We are already seeing the results of shortage in key skills."
"In social work, nursing and other health care professions, professional
pay must be part of the package to recruit and retain staff. We
must also ensure we are not exploiting those who deliver our services
in low pay areas like care staff and nursery nurses."
UNISON and the STUC will also continue the campaign against PFI/PPP.
Matt said "This method of funding mortgages Scotland's future, and
wastes money by demanding huge projects to enhance profitability.
It also means that privateers' profits are guaranteed - even if
there are cuts in public funding."
Matt also warned that any attempt to privatise Scottish Water would
meet a massive campaign of resistance. "Already there is a softening
up process underway." He said "Let me make it quite clear that Scottish
Water is not for sale."
However Matt welcomed the Government's recent announcement of the
Public Service Forum, and pledged that UNISON would work with this
to develop new ideas and to raise concerns about Scotland's public
services. "It does not mean we shall agree with every item, and
we shall hold true to the values we have outlined. But it will allow
dialogue and a platform to take proposals to a wider audience.
"Public services were at the forefront of the campaign for a Scottish
Parliament. They define the nature of the new Scotland we set out
to build. And if people don't think distinctly Scottish decsions
are being taken in Scotland then look at the vote on Foundation
Hospitals. Scottish MPs who voted to impose them in England were
wrong, and there could be no clearer reason to have a Scottish Parliament
than to secure commitment to public service provision."
For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (Scottish
Secretary) 07771 548 997(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer)
0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)