Date Thurs 30 June 2011
‘Care before cost’ says UNISON as it urges the Scottish Government
to save St Philip’s
UNISON Scotland will today make an urgent plea to the Scottish
Government to put care before cost and to reconsider its decision
to close St Philip’s secure unit.
Representatives from the 259 staff at the facility, who will
lose their jobs if the unit closes, will demonstrate outside
the Scottish Parliament tomorrow morning to urge MSPs to save
The secure unit, in Plains, North Lanarkshire, received notice
on June 17 that it had not been awarded a contract, meaning
it will no longer be able to receive referrals from the courts
and Children’s Panel.
The site also houses residential care and education facilities,
which will have to close due to the loss of contract for the
UNISON, Scotland’s largest union in community and voluntary
sectors, said staff are still hoping the Government will see
sense and put the priorities of the vulnerable young people
they care for first.
Janet Stewart, UNISON’s area organiser, said: “The unit was
built only five years ago at a significant cost, including £5
million of public money, and it has consistently performed well
in all facility inspections so the decision to close it is absolute
“We’re urging the Scottish Government to put care before cost
and to prioritise the needs of the vulnerable young people who
are cared for at St Philip’s by this dedicated team of staff.
“We feel that our concerns are falling on deaf ears and we
only hope they listen to us before it’s too late.”
Frank McAteer, a care worker at St Philip’s, said: “We have
an excellent facility and our staff work really hard to ensure
these young people have the best standards of care. That’s why
it has come as such a massive blow to find out that we’ll all
lose our jobs and the young people will have to be moved elsewhere.
“Most of us who work here live locally to the facility, so
it will not only be a big loss to the young men who attend St
Philip’s, it will also be a massive loss to the local community.
Many of us retrained to be care workers after the closure of
the steelworks, so this is the second time a government decision
has thrown us on the scrapheap.
“We’re asking the Scottish Government to think seriously about
their decision and to realise that it’s not too late to save
Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon, who will be attending the demonstration
tomorrow, will be questioning the Scottish Government’s decision
during First Minister’s Questions tomorrow.
PHOTO / INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY You are invited to send a photographer,
reporter and/or crew to the Scottish Parliament tomorrow at
11am where staff from St Philip’s secure unit will be demonstrating
against the decision to close the unit. Staff and union officials
will be available for interview. For more information contact
Janet Stewart, UNISON’s area organiser, on 07958 121 120.
Notes to editors St Philip’s provides secure, residential
and education facilities for young men. While all three types
of care are provided at the St Philip’s campus, a withdrawal
of funding for the secure unit will leave St Philip’s facing
a cross-campus closure. St Philip’s is run by a voluntary board
of managers and is a registered charity. It is one of three
units – together with St Mary’s Kenmure and the Good Shepherd
– that are run by voluntary organisation the Cora Foundation
For further information contact Janet Stewart on 07958
121 120 or Trisha Hamilton, UNISON’s communications officer,
on 0141 342 2877 / 07939 478 461. Or visit our website at www.unison-scotland.org.uk