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April/May 2007 No 66

Quarriers staff vote two to one for strike

by Chris Bartter

UNISON members working for Quarriers, one of Scotland's biggest charities, have voted by two to one to take strike action in their dispute over pay.

The union balloted staff on industrial action after pay talks broke down when Quarriers management offered only 2.5% and refused to target pay rises at the lowest paid. Inflation is currently running at 4.6%. Members at the charity voted by two to one for strike action and by over three to one to take action short of a strike.

Simon Macfarlane, UNISON Regional Officer said, "This is a magnificent result and clearly demonstrates the strength of feeling amongst our Quarriers members. Our members have shown that poverty pay is no longer acceptable when working for a major Scottish charity.

"Surely now management will get back round the table and start negotiating seriously to achieve a just pay settlement. "UNISON recognises the financial pressures organisations like Quarriers face. That is why we campaign for the Scottish Executive and local authorities to fund them on the basis of the true costs to provide the service.

"And through our manifesto to Revitalise Scotland's Public Services we are making this an important election issue.

"However Quarriers can't stick their heads in the sand and blame others whilst continuing to inflict poverty on their staff and their families.

"They need to speak up more for decent funding and reprioritise to ensure that they can pay their staff a decent wage.

"Our members don't work in social care for financial reward; they do it out of commitment to service users.

"In Quarriers these include some of the most vulnerable in society. But we can't continue to have staff working for Quarriers seeking charity because they themselves are experiencing poverty."

UNISON is still considering what industrial action to take so that members can be effective while ensuring that vulnerable service users are not significantly affected. It is likely the first action will be on 25 April.

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