Date 20 March 2007
Local government workers raise equal pay and patchwork services
as key issues for poll
UNISON, the union representing Scotland's local government staff
is today launching its manifesto for the local government elections
scheduled alongside the Scottish Elections on May 3. The union is
to use the manifesto to lobby council candidates and is also providing
questions for their members to ask council candidates.
The key issues that the union raises in the manifesto are the large
costs expected to be incurred to deliver fair pay in local councils
and an increasing trend to move services out of democratic control.
Mike Kirby, UNISON's Scottish Convenor said "The Accounts Commission
has recently recognised that equal pay is a massive problem for
local councils - something that we have been arguing for some time.
Councils have a responsibility to comply with equal pay law under
best value. Whilst some councils have already funded these debts,
the vast majority have not yet implemented equal pay."
The union also highlights concern about local control of services,
as the government pressures councils to bring in efficiencies -
leading to centralising services away from local control, and some
council's attempts to rid themselves of services to new employers.
Mike Kirby said "Councils moving cultural and other services out
to private trusts and, transferring housing stock out of public
control, put barriers in the way of joined-up service provision
and remove services from direct democratic control, as do PFI/PPP
projects. Increases in the patchwork nature of service provision
are also threatened by shared services of different types. We want
to know from parties and candidates whether they back democratic
accountability for services, or want to remove peoples' say in their
The manifesto -Revitalising our local services - is part of the
union's campaign for Scotland's public services. It will be sent
direct to all existing councillors, and also be used by local branches
to help them campaign in the local elections.
A leaflet with a simple statement of key policies and suggested
questions is also being produced.
Click here for the leaflet
ENDS Note for Editors:- UNISON is Scotland's major local
government union, representing well over 100,000 workers working
for Scotland's local authorities. The Revitalise our local services
manifesto is available on the UNISON website on
where you can link to the Local Government Manifesto.
For Further Information Please Contact: Mike Kirby (Scottish
Convenor) 07803 952 261(m) Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 07771
548 997 (m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser - Policy) 07958 122
409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)