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Date: Tues 27 Dec 2005

Executive vision of increased use of voluntary sector must include better working conditions

Scotland's biggest union for Community and Voluntary Sector(CVS) workers, UNISON, says that the Scottish Executives vision of the CVS providing more services must include reforming conditions of employment in the sector which it says are Dickensian.

Focusing on overtime payments and sleep over working, UNISON Regional Organiser Matt McLaughlin said, "Scotland's social care employers receive millions of pounds from the Scottish Executive and local councils to enable them to provide support and assistance for people with disabilities living in their own community.

"UNISON members will have 'slept over' in someone else's home on Christmas Eve for as little as £25.00 for the entire night. Plus some UNISON members will have worked Christmas Day for as little as £6.10 per hour for a 12 hour shift. Some of them will have been away from their families for as much at 28 hours."

The majority of staff in Scotland's social care sector do not receive overtime payments and a typical pattern of work would see them starting a work shift at 2.00pm on day 1 and not finishing until 2.00pm the following day, (day 2) with an 'early' (8.00am till 2.00pm) on day 3.

Holiday requests at this time of year are normally not granted, because of the need to continue to provide a service, but due to sickness and vacancies many staff will be working alongside agency workers who could be paid as much as £20 per hour.

Matt added, "Recently the Scottish Executive launched a five year vision for change, designed to give the Community and Voluntary Sector a greater role in the provision of public services. Whilst UNISON welcomes that commitment, the Executive, local councils and employers in the sector really need to stop talking about making change and get on with it. Eradicating terms and conditions that Scrooge would be proud of, should be an important first step"


For Further Information Please Contact: Matt McLaughlin (Regional Organiser) 07904341979 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)