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Sat 10 April 2010

UNISON demo urges - stop to 'cradle to grave' cuts

UNISON – Scotland’s largest public service union, is holding a major march and rally in Glasgow’s West End today (Saturday) where speakers representing thousands of UNISON members from different public services across Scotland will urge Scots to defend their services. The union will also be supported by its UK President, Gerry Gallagher, STUC General Secretary, Grahame Smith, and PCS Scottish President, Janice Godrich.

UNISON’s Scottish Convenor, Mike Kirby said:

“UNISON members, who deliver services across Scotland are reporting that cuts are already threatening services for Scots from the cradle to the grave. Fewer full time places will be available for under fives in Edinburgh. Play groups or under fives groups might have funding withdrawn in East Ayrshire, classroom assistants hours are being cut in Falkirk, Dumfries & Galloway, Highland, Inverclyde, and others.

“Many communities will see their mobile library service withdrawn, eg in Falkirk, Clackmannan and Moray. If you find yourself out of work due to the recession, better get yourself up to speed on how the benefit system works as Welfare Rights Units employed by councils to make sure you get your due entitlement are cut back or closed in Aberdeen, Glasgow, and East Lothian.

“The annual spring clean that some elderly people receive is being abolished in Fife. The cost of meals on wheels for the elderly and vulnerable is going up in the Borders or switching from fresh to frozen food in Midlothian. And the cuts don’t stop when you die as the cost of being buried or cremated is increased to more closely reflect charges at private crematoria in Fife. No-one is exempt.

“And this is just the start of a sustained period of attacks on the public sector. As politicians vie with one another to out trump each other’s cuts to pay for the bail out of the banks, we urge our members and community campaigns to join UNISON’s Public Works campaign and tell politicians at all levels – in Westminster, in Holyrood and locally, that you will not accept cuts in our vital public services to bail out the fat cats.”

UNISON UK President, Gerry Gallagher will bring greetings to the marchers from a similar rally in London. He will say

“In Glasgow and in London today our key message is that public services should not suffer because of the bank bailout. Our members didn’t cause the crash, and neither did the people we serve every day in communities across Scotland.

“Cuts will damage recovery from recession; Cuts will hit public services we all depend on; Cuts will threaten the wellbeing of our members and their families. You all have your own story to tell. And tell them you should. Because it is the combined voice of public service workers and service users that need to be heard in corridors of power.”

UNISONScotland’s Public Works campaign will now target the election, with hustings at Scottish and local level, and by questioning political parties and individual candidates.


Note for editors;
The March will assemble from 9.30am in Kelvin Way for March off at about 10am. March route: from Kelvin Way via Gibson Street, Woodlands Road, Great Western Road, Byres Road and University Avenue back to Kelvin Way 11am Rally in Kelvingrove Park plus fun stuff for kids.

This link http://bit.ly/dqVEx6 gives you a Google map of the event. Check the UNISON Scotland blog http://unison-scotland.blogspot.com for more details of the cuts we are uncovering day-by-day.

For Further Information Please Contact:
Mike Kirby (Scottish Convenor) 07803 952 261 (m)
Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 07771 548 997(m)
Glyn Hawker (Scottish Organiser) 07876 441 237 (m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 07715 583 729(m)