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Date: Weds 14 December 2005

UNISON launches charter for Occupational Therapists in Scottish councils

UNISON, Scotland's public service union, will today (Wednesday)launch a charter that outlines the need for action to be taken to tackle issues faced by Ocupational Therapists (OTs) working for Scottish Local Councils. The launch will take place in Committee Room 1, Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 14 December at 1.00pm.

Hosting the event will be Michael Mathieson MSP, SNP spokesperson on Culture and Sport, and himself a former council-based OT. Also speaking at the launch will be Kirsten Hey, of UNISONScotland's OT working group and Gail MacNamara, from the Scottish Board of the College of Occupational Therapists (COT)- the professional body for OTs. Representatives from the Association of Directors of Social Work (ADSW) and CoSLA, and the 21 Century Social Work Review Group have also been invited.

You are requested to be represented. Please contact Chris Bartter - numbers below.

Occupational Therapists and OT support staff work with some of the most vulnerable people in society, enhancing their ability to participate in everyday activities. They are employed both in the Healthcare and Local Government sector, and are at the forefront of the Government's joint working initiatives.

Kirsten Hey, said "OTs working for local councils face a number of challenges which their union - UNISON - is campaigning to have addressed. Whilst we work closely with colleagues in the NHS - have the same qualifications and in some areas do very similar jobs - we often have worse terms and conditions and Agenda for Change in the NHS is likely to widen the gap. As Joint Future working moves on, OTs are becoming more and more involved in the management of complex care services in both social work and healthcare and the implications for pay and conditions are becoming urgent."

As staff who work in both the NHS and local government, changes to the public sector pension schemes will affect OTs who work in both the NHS and local government, and who move between the two.

Kirsten said "It is unacceptable that staff who increase their skills and take on more complex responsibilities by moving between health and social care should see their pensions diminished as a result. As someone who has transferred from the NHS to a local council, I feel the unfairness of this particularly, and whilst I know that UNISON is pulling out all the stops to change the UK employers position, it may yet come to industrial action."

The OT charter will form a key part of UNISON's negotiating agenda with both the Scottish Executive and the employers.


For Further Information Please Contact: Kirsten Hey (Chair - UNISON OT working group) 07771 881 615 (m) Mandy McDowall (Regional Organiser) 0845 355 0845(w) 07903 846 427(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)


OT minisite