At this time of year, when people take time off for holidays and family time and festivities, thousands of UNISON members will be working and on call – caring for people at all stages of life in the NHS; in local councils from social work to the roads department to home care services, libraries and leisure centres; in public utilities like gas, electricity and water; in the police and fire services and many more.
As a union, we are proud of our members and the vital work they do throughout the year to provide decent public services for our communities. People rely on the public services especially at this time of year and come to recognise their importance.
The Christmas break can be a time of stress. Of course we always face the impact of cold and severe weather. And in the current cold political climate, more stress and strain is being caused by economic conditions.
Many thousands of our members have suffered three years of wage freeze. The real wages of public service workers have dived far below the freezing point and many are being frozen out from real pay rises for up to ten years into the future. The pensions tax of 3% which faces many of our members adds an extra burden. All this is as a result of the unfair and unnecessary austerity measures being visited upon us through all levels of government.
Our pledge at this time is to fight for our vital public services and the jobs, pay and pensions of those who deliver them – this Christmas, and all year, every year.
UNISON Scotland wishes everyone who provides our public services and all who benefit from them all the best for a safe and happy festive period – whether on holiday or at work – over Christmas and the New Year.
Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary, UNISON
24 December 2012
For further information please contact:
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 078765 66978
Note for editors
1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing over 160,000 members working mainly in the public sector in Scotland.