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Weds 27 April 2005

Scottish Enterprise rejects conciliation in pay dispute

UNISON, Scotland's public service union, today condemned chiefs at enterprise agency Scottish Enterprise for refusing to meet the conciliation service ACAS.

The union proposed the referral in an attempt to break the deadlock in the current industrial action between the agency and 1100 UNISON members. Scottish Enterprise have rejected this and instead offered to use a private mediation company.

UNISON Regional Organiser, Matt McLaughlin said, "It's incredible that this public organisation is being allowed to operate as if they are some private company with no public control. Scottish Enterprise is a public body, funded by public money and under the political direction of Jim Wallace but it seems that they are allowed to do what they like, and waste public money.

"ACAS is the correct body for this matter to be referred to. ACAS have the skills, experience and are there to arbitrate and conciliate between workers and their employers. They are set up by government, are transparent, arbitrary and have the confidence of the public and our membership.

"Scottish Enterprise would apparently rather spend public money meeting some private company who have no track record, are not known to UNISON and do not have the confidence of either the union or for that matter the government."

UNISON members have been taking part in industrial action for 5 weeks after Scottish Enterprise chiefs implemented a performance related pay system, which the union believes could discriminate against women. This was implemented with no agreement with the union.

Attempts to engage Enterprise Minister, Jim Wallace MSP to help resolve the dispute have been rejected. The industrial action means staff are refusing to participate in the organisation's performance management scheme and refusing to record data which assists in the performance management of Careers Scotland.


[Notes to the Editor - Careers Scotland became part of Scottish Enterprise in April 2002 bringing together 67 separate careers bodies across Scotland.)