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Siu Index
April/May 2007 No 66

Time to get equal - and make sure your election candidates do too

A successful launch of the Time to Get Equal Campaign took place on International Women's Day (March 8) at the Scottish Parliament. Cathie Peattie MSP, Glyn Hawker and Stephanie Herd all spoke at a meeting in the Parliament attended by branch reps and MSPs.

Cathie Peattie was presented with a huge invoice for £800m - being the estimated cost of dealing with equal pay claims from a range of staff who haven't yet been considered - classroom assistants, library workers etc.

She said "The public sector should be setting an example in providing equality-proofed pay. The delays in delivering this have concerned us in the Scottish Parliament and have concerned the EOC. "All levels of the public sector should accept their responsibility and agree equal pay with unions."

Glyn Hawker called for the Scottish Executive to assist employers - especially in local government - to fund this duty without having to force staff or the public to pay for it, and Stephanie urged branches to use the forthcoming elections to raise the issue - both with council candidates and with prospective MSPs.

TARGET your candidates

New material is available in the Campaign Pack on the Equal Pay portal - www.unison-scotland.org.uk/equalpay. Template letters for branches to use to lobby both council candidates and prospective MSPs have been added to the pack.

Based on a letter devised by Aberdeen City Branch, they provide the ammunition for stewards in branches to approach members, getting them to submit them (either directly or via the branch) to candidates.

The different target candidates reflect the different campaigning priorities of branches because of their different situations. Glyn Hawker also suggests that branches could introduce the topic into hustings -either organised by the branch or by outside bodies.

"It's a good idea to raise this issue with candidates at hustings", she said, "Or indeed arrange hustings yourself. "As long as you ensure you invite all the main contesting parties in whichever election you are targeting, then these events can be paid for from branch funds without breaching the election legislation."

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