Date: 19 December 2014
Christmas message from Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish secretary
was a significant year and we should be rightly proud of the role
UNISON played in the independence referendum. We led the debate
for a fairer and just Scotland. Thank you to UNISON members, activists,
staff and supporters for the way you conducted yourselves throughout.
We showed, once again, the importance of trade unions in shaping
the country we live in
Public services remain a key issue. People in
Scotland made it clear they want more, not less investment in
public services and want to keep public services in public hands.
UNISON will continue to keep all political parties to the promises
they have made both on where powers lie and how they will use
them. And most importantly we will ensure ordinary working people
have a strong voice.
2015 promises to be just as busy. We have a
general election in a few months and the outcome matters to us
all. UNISON members and their families have been struggling under
UK government austerity. We have seen jobs lost with the biggest
squeeze on wages since Victorian times while prices for everyday
goods are increasing.
The statistics speak for themselves. Six in
ten children who live in poverty have at least one parent in work,
four in ten Scots live in fuel poverty, personal debt is on the
increase and many families continue to struggle to pay for childcare
or find decent housing. The debate over the next 18 months or
so could not be more important.
As soon as we get the general election out the
way we will start building towards the 2016 Scottish Parliament
elections. We will be fighting for public services and those who
deliver them; an end to the council tax freeze; and to hold all
our political parties to the promises they made to build a fair
and just Scotland.
I am proud that I can say life is just a little
bit better for ordinary working people because of the hard work
of UNISON activists and staff. Whether we are negotiating a big
pension deal, campaigning for better pay, fighting the cuts, or
representing a single UNISON member who has a problem at their
work. Sometimes it may not feel like it, but these things make
life a little better for UNISON members and their families.
We are the biggest trade union in Scotland,
with more members than any political party in Scotland. We take
our responsibility seriously and work in solidarity across civic
Scotland. Stick together and we will continue to improve lives
for many years to come.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank
everyone for the support and hard work you have given UNISON over
the last year. Enjoy your Christmas break, I hope you get to spend
it with family and friends, and take time to remember those who
are no longer with us.
Lastly let’s remember our colleagues who
do the difficult and sometimes dangerous job of keeping the rest
of us safe and well over the festive period. Instead of spending
time with their families they are out there working 24/7 on our
behalf, and they do an amazing job.
I look forward to seeing you all back in a week
or so refreshed and ready for a busy 2015.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!