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Tuesday 2 Nov 2004

Overseas nurses network builds on existing successes to cover all Scotland

UNISON, Scotland's nursing union, is to expand its successful Overseas Nursing Network (ONN) in Scotland by setting up regular meetings for overseas health workers in different cities across Scotland.

This will start with a meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday 4 November for overseas nurses based in the Lothians and in Fife. The meeting will be in the union's Edinburgh office at 60 Belford Road, at 7.30pm.

The union, who started the network two years ago has seen it rapidly expand until there is now a contact list of 200 health workers from the Indian sub-continent, China, other parts of Asia, Africa and recently from Eastern Europe.

Sofi Taylor, UNISONScotland NEC member, and founder of the ONN said, " It shows what a need there is for an active union taking up cases for our overseas colleagues. When we started this we attracted six nurses to our first meeting. Now we regularly get 50 or 60 to our regular monthly meetings in Glasgow. We are about to start meetings in Edinburgh, and hope to expand to Aberdeen and beyond in the near future. It helps overseas workers immensely to be able to get together, to share experiences and to know there is a union out there that has shown it is prepared to fight for them."

UNISON has now had experience of some of the problems affecting this group of staff, and has fought several successful cases on their behalf. Bridget Hunter, UNISONScotland's Lead Officer for Nurses said,

"We have highlighted scandals such as the 'Cash for jobs" being charged by recruitment agencies in the Philippines, and an earlier scam involving excessive rents being charged to overseas staff by a private company. We have made sure that all these staff are fully informed about their rights in employment and for welfare. We have also brought in staff from the NHS and elsewhere to speak to our members to give them information about employment and training opportunities."


[Notes to the Editor: UNISON's Overseas Nurses Network started in 2002 in Glasgow. It now has a contact list of over 200 members. It also has a dedicated mini-site on the union's Scottish website. http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/nhs/overseas. Bridget Hunter will be available for interview on Monday 1 Nov. She will be out of the office on Tuesday 2 Nov]

For Further Information Please Contact: Sofi Taylor (UNISON NEC) 07970 719 062 (m) Bridget Hunter (Lead Officer for Nursing) 0845 355 0845(w) 0 7968 960 040(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)

Note for activists: Click here for a poster advertising the event.