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Date 19 August

UNISON General Secretary supports 100,000 members on strike on 20 Aug

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, will tomorrow tour picket lines, address a major rally and explain to commuters why members are striking for fair pay. Dave will join UNISON's Scottish Secretary Matt Smith to support around 100,000 members of the largest council union, who will be on strike with colleagues from the GMB and Unite unions.

Today he said "Our members are taking this action very reluctantly. They care deeply about the vital services they provide and those who depend on them and we apologise for any disruption. However, members feel that they have no choice when the employers' offer is effectively a pay cut.

"I believe the public understand the frustration at an offer that would lock council workers into a 2.5% pay offer for three years, when inflation is way ahead of that and rising. Yet the employers have failed to invite us back to talk to them since before the strike ballot was called."

Dave and Matt will tomorrow join pickets at 07:15 at the City of Edinburgh Council headquarters at Waverley Court, where they will launch an advertising trailer. They will then go, via pickets in Cockburn Street and the City Chambers, to Waverley Station at 08:45, where they will distribute leaflets to members of the public, explaining why UNISON members are taking action.

The pair will then support picketing workers at West Lothian Council in Livingston (10:00) and Bathgate (10:30), before travelling west to Glasgow to join pickets at the City Chambers (12:00).

Dave Prentis will then address a rally in George Square, Glasgow at 12.15pm. The full itinerary for the General Secretary is below. Dave Prentis and Matt Smith will be available for interview.

Please contact Chris Bartter, Communications Officer, to arrange this today, Tuesday, or on Wednesday please contact Matt Smith. Contact details are below, including for Dougie Black, Regional Officer and Secretary of the TU negotiators.


Note for editors The itinerary for Dave Prentis and Matt Smith's tour of picket lines is below. Please note also that UNISON members will be staffing picket lines and holding rallies across Scotland, with rallies and demonstrations in Paisley, Inverness, Motherwell, Dundee, and Inverurie. Earlier news releases have detailed these. Please contact us for updates or check the website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2008/events.html There will also be a running blog with the latest news and messages of support at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2008/strikeday.html

ITINERARY for Dave Prentis and Matt Smith.

EDINBURGH 07:15 - 08:30 - Join pickets outside City of Edinburgh Council HQ, Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BG 07.15 - 08:30 - Launch advertising trailer highlighting the reasons for the strike. (The trailer will tour Edinburgh before going to Dundee for a lunchtime rally at 12 noon in City Square.) 08:45 - 09.15 - Distribute leaflets to general public outside Waverley Station (expected to be at top of station ramps at Waverley Bridge)

WEST LOTHIAN 10:00 - 10.15 - Join pickets at West Lothian House, Almondvale Boulevard, Livingston. 10.30 - 10.45 - Join pickets at Lindsay House, North Bridge Street, Bathgate.

GLASGOW 12:00 - 12.15 - Join pickets at City of Glasgow Council HQ, City Chambers, George Square, Glasgow. 12.30 pm - 2:00pm - Rally at George Square. Speakers will include Dave Prentis

For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary, 07771 548997 (m) Dougie Black, Regional Officer, Secretary, TU negotiators, 07958 121 851(m) Chris Bartter, Communications Officer, 07715 583 729(m)