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Thursday 19 May 2005

Opportunity to 'level the playing field' in voluntary sector provision - UNISON

UNISON, the union for Scotland's Community and Voluntary Sector, today called for Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm MSP to use tomorrows Scottish Executive Debate on Voluntary Sector and the Social Economy to begin to tackle the real issue that affects the Community and Voluntary Sector.

The sector which employs over 100,000 people in Scotland and continues to grow by around 5% per annum has been the subject of a number of independent studies which conclude that there is a growing funding crisis in the sector which needs to be addressed.

Matt McLaughlin, UNISON's Regional Organiser for the Scottish Voluntary Sector, said, "Obviously UNISON welcomes this debate in the Scottish Parliament, I only hope that the Minister will use this opportunity to take positive action that tackles the growing funding crisis in our Community and Voluntary Sector. Too often, funding from government is inadequate to deliver the full quality of service that Scottish people deserve. UNISON members need action to tackle the low pay and long hours culture, not warm words and platitudes."

The Community and Voluntary Sector in Scotland is bigger than the manufacturing sector, with staff providing a wide range of services; from caretaking in the local community facility to providing social care and advice for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Matt added, "Many social care providers are providing services that Local Authorities cannot or do not want to provide. In addition it is not unusual for voluntary sector workers and NHS/council staff to work side by side with the same client group - and they can often be paid less for the same job. UNISON believes that Community and Voluntary Sector providers should be paid the full cost of providing the quality of service which is expected of them and in turn workers in the sector should be paid at rates which are comparable with their local authority and health colleagues. The Scottish Executive can make this happen if they have the will."


For Further Information Please Contact: Matt McLaughlin (Regional Organiser) 0845 355 0845(w) 07946 339 036(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)