Scotland and Cymru Wales joined forces
to put devolution issues on the Conference agenda as delegates
supported plans to deal with the separate bargaining arrangements
in the devolved nations and to develop the constitutional
Delegates supported their call for suitable and
sufficient resources, devolution proofed materials
and briefings and a review of the democratic arrangements
the Local Government Service Group.
An amendment from the Service Group Executive made clear
that these steps will be taken within the framework of
UNISON as a UK union.
Moving the Devolution and Bargaining composite, Scotland
Regional Delegate Scott Donohoe, pointed to the significant
change in Scotland’s political landscape following
the elections in 2011 and the proposals for a referendum
on independence, which “presents challenges and
opportunities for our trade union.”
He also reminded delegates of the separate bargaining
structures in Scotland in local government, further education
and in many voluntary organisations.
He warned that the devolved bargaining arrangements
can be a source of tension and confusion within the trade
union, citing the 2011 pensions dispute, where in Scotland,
after serious and sustained campaigning, the Scottish
Government decided not to implement the UK proposals.
“However, confusion arose due to the question
of whether Scotland were going to be balloted in the
dispute,” said Scott, adding that after a meeting
and decision by the Scottish Local Government Committee
Scottish members were balloted.
“We believe this type of situation needs to be
avoided,” Scott added and called for improved communication
and moves to strengthen UNISON’s devolution protocol.