Date: Tue 18 Jan 2005
MEDIA INVITE - UNISON House, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow.
12.45 pm Tue 18 Jan 2005
Scotland's biggest union sets out Scottish election priorities
the full manifesto at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/prioritiesforscotland
On Tuesday 18 January, Dave Prentis, UNISON's General Secretary
will launch the union's General Election Manifesto for Scotland.
Speaking at a meeting of UNISON's Scottish Committee in Glasgow,
Dave will stress that the union is seeking commitments on public
services, equal pay and public service pensions and that prospective
MPs will be faced with demands on these topics by trade union members.
Media representatives are welcome to attend this launch.
Dave Prentis UNISON's General Secretary, said: " Just because there
is a General Election, there is no reason for Scotland to import
inappropriate English public service models that offer the illusion
of choice. It is important that the Scottish public service ethos
of co-operation and collaboration is continued and developed, to
provide excellent, accountable and efficient services rather than
wasting resources on competition and privatisation. In particular
we should start providing real value for money and granting a level
playing field between public and private finance. This would allow
public authorities to stop wasting billions on PFI and PPP."
The manifesto recognises that many of the issues that will be faced
in the forthcoming election are devolved to the Scottish Parliament
, and concentrates on UK issues that impact on Scotland. In addition
to public services, it covers the economy, public service pensions,
fairness and equality at work, work-life balance, stronger communities,
Europe and international affairs.
Dave Prentis said "Of particular concern are the attacks on public
sector pensions. Public service workers give a lifetime of service,
putting up with lower pay and conditions, and making substantial
contributions. There is a pensions contract between them and the
government. I have already written to all Labour MPs warning them
that current proposals to increase minimum retirement ages, increase
contributions and threaten the 'final salary' nature of the schemes
are causing widespread anger and resentment. We have also written
to MSPs as similar attacks are threatened on Scottish pension schemes.
Trade union members across the public sector are banding together
to defend pensions and this will be a major issue in the run up
to the probable General Election."
Another key area that manifesto will concentrate on is the need
to tackle unequal pay. UNISON is calling on government to lead the
way and promote best practice in the public services.
"A new strategy is needed." said Dave, "One that addresses the
evidence of inequality in the public sector, ensures that employers
take their responsibilities seriously, and that government is aware
of the need to resource the solution."
Note for Editors: Interviews with and photographs of Dave
Prentis will be available. Please contact Chris Bartter, below.
For Further Information Please Contact: Mary Maguire, (Press
Officer) 0207 338 6609(w) 07771 548 957(m) Matt Smith (Scottish
Secretary): 0845 355 0845(w) 07771 548 997(m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer): 07715 583 729(m)