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Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


Fri 11 Mar 2005


See also Pensions Campaign pages

UNISONScotland the union representing 90,000 Scottish Local Government employees today announced that their Scottish ballot resulted in similar massive majorities in favour of strike action as elsewhere in the UK.

This will result in an initial one-day strike in councils across the UK on 23 March unless agreement can be reached. UNISON and four other local authority unions, described talks with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and national employers last night (10 March) over proposed Government changes to their pension scheme as constructive. Progress was made and further talks will go ahead early next week.

Although Scottish Local Government Pensions are devolved, the Scottish Public Pensions Agency and the Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform have made it clear in letters that whatever decision is arrived at in England and Wales should apply in Scotland.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said: 'Raising pension age and penalising hard-working public sector workers will have an even more detrimental effect in Scotland. The proportion of public service workers is higher than in England and more families will be hit. As Scotland also has lower average pay than the UK this means an increase in pensioner poverty and more reliance on means-tested benefits. Members across Scotland are angry at the proposals to tear up their contracts without even proper consultation and negotiation."

Yesterday's ballot results in UNISON, Amicus, T & G, and Ucatt recorded votes of between 73% and 87% in favour of strike action. including ballots in Scotland. The five unions - including the GMB which has held ballots of its members in four English regions - are angry at changes to raise the retirement and pension age. Feelings among members who regard themselves as the 'poor relations' of the public sector are running high.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: "Our members who have paid their pension contributions week in, week out are very angry and are not prepared to accept changes by diktat. The average local government pension is just £3,800 a year - not a 'fat cat' sum. Low pay within councils means low pensions. UNISON wants real negotiations for the first time on a sustainable good quality pension scheme which benefits all local government workers and which councils and staff can afford. Let's hope the LGA and the employers see sense and abandon these changes so that real negotiations can take place".

UNISON is working with the other local government and public service unions and the STUC in arranging a series of rallies for the proposed strike day of 23 March. Further details of these will be announced soon.


[NOTE TO EDITORS - The UK release from the five unions is also avaialble from Chris Bartter (below) or UNISON's UK Press Office - Martin Deller - 0207 388 1183 or Ann Mitchell - 0207 383 0717]

For Further Information Please Contact: Joe Di Paola (Scottish Organiser - Local Govt) 07990 505 698 (m) Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 0845 355 0845(w) 07771 548 997(m,) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)