UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK




Sponsorship Comms Index Communications Forum Campaigns News Scotland inUNISON Press Releases


Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


Date: Fri 30 Dec 2005

Privatising jobs to avoid equal pay will spark major union reaction

Scotland's biggest union for local council workers, UNISON, today warned local councils not to turn to outsourcing jobs to avoid low pay responsibilities, or face concerted union action. Edinburgh City Council is considering outsourcing a large number of jobs that are likely to be eligible for compensation payments for previous discrimination. The council claims that the cost of paying up is unaffordable without major cuts or council tax rises.

UNISON locally has already notified the council of 1700 equal pay claims covering staff in catering, social and domicilary care and cleaning posts.

"Just as UNISON has warned throughout the negotiations on equal pay at UK, Scottish and local level, unless the whole staff is dealt with, and a negotiated agreement arrived at, and unless costs are funded, some employers may be tempted to try and avoid their legal responsibilities." said Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary.

" It is particularly concerning that a large council, like Edinburgh should try and wriggle out of their responsibilities by casting low paid workers adrift in the private sector, rather than working with the trade union to both come to a fair negotiated settlement and joining with other councils and the trade unions to campaign for the Scottish Executive to face up to their responsibilities and fund efforts to Close the Gap in Scotland's local councils - as the government is doing in the health service."

The Equal Opportunities Commission have recently reported that the gender gap is worse in the private sector, and UNISON finds it hypocritical for a supposedly equal opportunities employer to be considering privatising already low paid staff simply to avoid its commitment to pay fair wages

'Unfortunately, all attempts to privatise jobs will do is alienate staff, lead to increases in Tribunal cases and possible industrial action." Said Matt Smith.

"We will not stand by and allow members to be thrown to the wolves. The only reason to outsource jobs in this way is to further discriminate against these low paid women. Council's know that in-house staff are best value, and they know they provide the best service. We call on Edinburgh and any other council that may be considering this to think again, and call on the Scottish Executive to assist councils in facing up to their equality commitments.


For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 07771 548 997 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)