Date:Weds 24 September 2008
Council services grind to a halt across Scotland
UNISON, Scotland's largest council union, said that today's strike
has been massively successful, with similar numbers (around 150,000)
taking part as in the last strike on 20 August. That strike prompted
employers to offer further talks and 'to look to a settlement which
takes account of the rise' in inflation since their first offer.
The failure of the employers to improve their offer at that meeting
- whether this was because of internal inability to agree or reneging
on public commitments - led directly to this further strike by the
three unions involved in the action (UNISON, GMB and Unite).
he action is hitting council services across Scotland, disrupting
schools, nurseries and community education, social care services,
cleansing and environmental health, housing, planning, roads and
transport - including closing ferry services in Argyll and the Highlands
- registry services, parks, leisure and recreation, libraries and
museums, halls and theatres and many more.
Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said "Attitudes have hardened
on behalf of the unions since last month's Day of Action because
our members feel really let down by the employers. There is not
a penny more on the table, despite their public recognition of the
need to reconsider the offer.
"CoSLA badly needs a reality check. The employers told us 5 weeks
ago that they would make an offer in terms of the increases in inflation,
but they have refused to put another penny on the table.
"Until CoSLA makes a better offer strike action will continue."
A major demonstration will take place in Edinburgh, with a rally
at 1.00pm at the Ross bandstand at Princes Street Gardens. Speaking
will be UNISON's Scottish Organiser, Glyn Hawker, and Angela Nicoll,
a low paid nursery nurse from West Dunbartonshire.
There will also be speakers from the GMB and Unite. Whilst this
will be the main focus, other rallies will take place in parts of
Scotland where members would have difficulty attending Edinburgh.
Rallies are planned in Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, and Dumfries.
Details are on our website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2008/strikeday.html
Glyn Hawker said, "Taking further industrial action is regrettable,
but our members and their colleagues have no alternative. The employers'
betrayal has angered our members. Our members are not the causes
of inflation or the credit crunch, they are the victims of it. The
success of today's action shows that they simply want to be treated
fairly by their employers."
Attempts by a number of councils to open schools that were closed
last month, have been condemned by the union. These have been done
with no or untrained staff covering fire safety and health and safety,
with no lunches or no hot lunches - even where children get free
school lunches, with pupils drafted in to keep schools clean, and
planning to abandon procedures to warn parents if pupils fail to
arrive, or to enable parents to contact the school.
Tracey Dalling, UNISON's Regional Organiser for local government
said "It is extremely worrying that some councils are risking our
kids' safety in order to try and claim some kind of one-upmanship
over their striking staff, and it is very confusing for parents.
These frantic half-baked plans to try to open schools not only put
children at risk, but mean that parents don't know whether to send
children to school or not. Councils have had weeks to give a clear
message to parents, where they are trying this tactic they are not
only angering support staff, but alienating teachers and parents."
For Further Information Please Contact: Dougie Black (Regional
Organiser) - 07958 Tracey Dalling (Regional Organiser) - 07904 341
989(m) Glyn Hawker (Scottish Organiser) - 07876 441 237 (m) Chris
Bartter (Communications Officer) - 07715 583 729 (m)