Sunday, 19 February 2017

Stop the huge rises in SSSC fees for Scottish care workers and social workers

UNISON, Scotland’s largest public service union, has hit out after an announcement by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to hike registration fees.  These will see annual fees rise by 66% for social care support workers and 75% for supervisors, with rises of up to 166% for the most qualified staff.

The union says the decision will come as a blow to workers and add further negativity to a sector already blighted by low-pay; insecure employment; unsafe staffing levels; and poor career development.

Stephen Smellie, UNISON Scotland Depute Convener and Chair of the Social Work Issues Group has set up a petition calling for the SSSC to rethink and is calling on all registered or soon to be registered workers to sign it. As a branch we are urging our social work and social care members to sign the petition.

Click here to sign the petiton 

The SSSC registers workers across social care services including: social workers; social service workers; those managing and working in children’s services; day care and residential care.  The proposal for a rise in fees has been  approved by the Scottish Government  and will be applied in September.

Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair and member of UNISON Scotland's Social Work Issues group said, “This is a slap in the face for hard-working social care and social work staff who are already facing a real-terms pay cut. An increase in fees is nothing more than a tax on compassion and we urge the SSSC to review their decision as a matter of urgency.

“Care could and should be a profession. We want a professional body with the standing and influence to recognise the value of care work and care workers – but this is not the case in Scotland.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Cornerstone recognition agreement returns negotiating rights to UNISON

Deborah Clarke
UNISON has signed the Joint Negotiation and Consultation Committee (JNCC) Terms of Reference: Collective Bargaining with Cornerstone.

Despite having a recognition agreement since 1995 Cornerstone introduced an Employee Forum 8 years ago which effectively removed all bargaining rights away from UNISON to this unelected staff body.

Deborah Clarke, UNISON Head of Community said, "As you know the relationship between UNISON and Cornerstone has been under considerable strain over the last six months, however we have now turned a corner and put UNISON back as the sole body with which Cornerstone negotiates and consults as per the recognition agreement.

"This is very good news. We have re written the Employee Forum Terms of Reference to remove any rights to negotiation and consultation. 

"The new EF:Terms of Reference were agreed by the board in January. This means that we are now better placed to represent the Cornerstone Members."

Deborah paid tribute to the Cornerstone stewards.

"These stewards have done an exceptional job over the last six months with this very difficult employer. This represents a huge success for our members."

Pay offer upped slightly but employers asked to think again

Union negotiators met CoSLA in the Steering Group on 14th February to start negotiations on pay.

Branch secretary and UNISON negotiator Inez Teece said, "We reached a point where the employers tabled a slightly different offer which was; £300 for those earning up to £30,000 and 1% for those above.

"The joint trade union position was united behind the need for only a flat rate claim and not a mixed offer. The employers position was that the new offer made was the limit of their mandate.

"We did however persuade the employers to go back to the COSLA Leaders Forum and seek a fresh mandate on the basis of the trade union position.

"We also made the point that since the offer was tabled the LG settlement had marginally changed and asked the employers to consider whether more money could be directed into the pay financial envelope.

"The Steering Group will next meet on 3rd March where we expect the employers to make a final offer."

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Pay Update 24th January 2017 - UNISON urges councils to agree decent pay rise now

Aberdeenshire UNISON branch, along with all the other council branches in Scotland, will be writing to the leaders of our councils urging them to make a decent pay offer to staff when they meet on 27th January.

This is the latest in UNISON Scotland's long running pay claim for council workers which was first submitted back in August 2016.

UNISON council branches will also lobby the CoSLA meeting on 27th January.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "Our claim has been in for 5 months now with NO response from CoSLA. It's a disgraceful way to treat hard-working staff.

"Council workers deserve a decent pay rise this year after years of falling living standards and we will continue to press the employers for a decent settlement."

Monday, 16 January 2017

Support staff struggling to maintain standards for pupils because of cuts, says UNISON's "Hard Lessons" report

Lack of time, resources and heavy workloads mean support staff are struggling to maintain standards for pupils in Scotland. That is the finding of a wide ranging UNISON report released on Monday 16 January 2017

In probably one of the biggest surveys of school support staff ever in Scotland, staff report heavier workloads, jobs cuts, lack of educational supplies, and dirtier schools. This is while pupil numbers and education support needs are increasing.

There are 6707 more pupils since 2010 in Scottish schools, but there 1841 less support staff and 1389 less teachers. This report confirms the enormous stress this puts on support staff.

54 per cent of support staff say budgets have been cut, 40 per cent carry out unpaid work to meet workloads, 60 per cent say morale is low, and 80 per cent say workloads are heavier. And services like school libraries are closing. Many report stress from the lack of training and support they receive for the tasks they are asked to carry out – like administering medicines or caring for pupils with challenging behaviour.

The report reveals a dedicated workforce committed to supporting children to reach their potential. Staff skip breaks and work late to meet their pupil’s needs. But they are exhausted, undervalued and under enormous pressure.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Come along to the aggregate AGMs on Weds 8th and 15th February. All members welcome.

All branch members are invited to attend the branch aggregate 2017 AGM at one of three meetings.

There will be a first meeting for our members in the Community and Voluntary Sector in the West of Scotland on Wednesday 8th February at 2-4pm in the UNISON Office, West Campbell Street with a light buffet provided.

The two local meetings will be held on Wed 15th February. The first will be held from 12noon to 2pm in Committee Room 4, Woodhill House, when a light lunch will be provided.

The second will be held from 6pm –9pm in the Kintore Arms, High Street, Inverurie, with a buffet & refreshments from 5.30.

Please come along if you can.

Click here for further details and for nomination forms for Branch Officer and steward posiitions.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

No happy new year for Local Government Workers

UNISON has slammed Scottish council employers after they have failed to respond to a pay claim lodged by unions in August 2016. 

"Council staff who work tirelessly to provide services across the festive period are being treated in a disgraceful fashion by their employers," say UNISON.

UNISON, and other local authority trade unions, lodged a pay claim with the Scottish employers in August 2016. See pay claim.

However despite many requests employers have failed to respond to it. That’s despite arranging pay claim discussion meetings but then cancelling them at short notice.

UNISON is calling on Scottish local government employers to get round the table in the first days of January 2017, so we can get the new year off to a good start.

UNISON’s lead negotiator, Douglas Black said ‘this is a dreadful way to treat staff who are working exceptionally hard under extreme circumstances to deliver the services that we all rely on. The Scottish employers need to take a hard look at themselves and understand that the greatest asset they rely on are their own staff.’

Mark Ferguson, chairperson of UNISON Local Government Committee added, ‘if an offer is not forthcoming then UNISON will not hesitate to consider taking action to force the employers to the negotiating table. Local government staff are keeping our vital services going over the festive period. It’s surely not too much to ask that the employers at least respond to our pay claim.”

UNISON is contacting all local Councillors to ask them to exert pressure on the employers negotiators to address this issue immediately.