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UNISON Scotland Local Government May 2012

The Scottish Local Government Conference newly elected in April met in mid May at its Annual Policy Seminar.

Over the two days the committee was set the task of considering the key issues facing Local Government and setting the 2012 workplace to reflect what needs to be done in relation to developing our responses, strengthen our relationships across UNISON service groups and building on campaigning activities.

Scotland's Political Landscape

Our seminar started off setting aside time to consider the new political make up of each of the local Councils in Scotland. What this might mean for our engagement with local politicians, what are the focus points for our discussion with new administrations.

What is your vision for this council and how it delivers quality public services?

What is your commitment to the local economy in terms of sustaining employment?

Do you support our position of no compulsory redundancies?

Do you support our view that quality public services can be delivered by in house teams?

Do you support our Fair Pay Claim - to introduce Scottish Living Wage, to reduce low pay in Local Government by paying 250 as a minimum to those earning 21K and under?

How do we work together to achieve the above?

Joint Trade Union Pay Claim 2012

Fair PayThe joint trade unions GMB, Unite and UNISON submitted our pay claim to the Scottish Joint Council (SJC) Scottish Employers on 8 May 2012. We already know the Scottish Employers are not willing to consider a claim for this year.

We have laid out the reasons why we believe our claim is fair and reasonable.

UNISON members are feeling the effects of what is a real term pay cut over a number of years. We are significantly worse off as inflation remains high and the cost of living soars.

The joint TUs (UNISON GMB and Unite) already have established a Joint Campaign Group. Our committee has committed to building a strong campaign plan to encourage participation amongst Branch Activists and members, details have been circulated to Branch Secretaries.

Work had already begun in the run up to local elections and we continue to develop and provide materials to our branches.

Branch Secretaries and Pay Champions are invited to develop the Campaign at the forthcoming meeting on 6 June - Edinburgh.

Materials for Branches and members are currently being produced for our "Fair Pay Campaign".

We received a presentation on Procurement with the Scottish Living Wage from colleagues in Community & Voluntary Sector. We require legal advice on legislative changes that may be required. However we are committed to the principle of fair level playing field for colleagues providing services in Community & Voluntary Sector or where outsourcing goes ahead that contracts should include Scottish living wage.

Health & Social Care Integration

The Local Government Committee acknowledges the necessity to develop stronger links with UNISON colleagues in Health and Community & Voluntary Branches.

On a Scottish basis we meet regularly to discuss some of the big issues for our members and models for service delivery. Local Government members are encouraged to take part in a joint Health, Community & Voluntary and Local Government seminar taking place on 26 June 2012.

The Future of Scottish Local Government - Radically Local- the committee received a thought provoking insight from Peter McColl - Rector Edinburgh University and previously Local Government Policy Officer SCVO.

His input allowed the committee to consider potential innovations, planting the positive seeds needed to invigorate local government to find new areas for growth and to be used as a vehicle for creative ways to tackle big issues - unemployment, economic recovery, fairness and equality. Food for thought - and hopefully no heartburn!