UNISON WEEK 219 – 29 January 2018

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Scottish Parliament
Stage 1 Debate: Budget (Scotland) (No.2) Bill
Councils have had an 8% cut in real terms since 2010/11 and in the current budget debate, the Scottish government is receiving a £188m cash increase in its budget from Westminster, yet local government gets nothing. Council’s have plugged the gap with a 13% increase in charges, a regressive tax that hits the poorest in society.

The average public service worker has lost almost £4,000 in the value of their pay since 2010. Mark Ferguson, chair of the UNISON Scotland’s Local Government Committee, said: “Our members’ pay has suffered from years of pay freezes and below inflation pay rises, resulting of losses up to 16% since 2010″. UNISON along with other trade unions submitted their pay claim to COSLA on 12th January 2018.

And what about the impact of budget cuts on services? UNISON has outlined the views of staff in our series of ‘Damage’ reports. The common theme is that jobs are cut while demand increases, leaving staff stressed and demoralised while they attempt to keep basic services going.

If local government has had as good a deal as the Scottish Government claims, why have nine out of ten austerity job losses in Scotland been in councils? In our submission to the Local Government Committee, we set out the evidence for a fair funding deal for Scottish local government and in our Policy Briefing, we look at how to do this.

Workforce Planning for Social Care

The Scottish Government and COSLA have published the second stage of their strategy for workforce planning in the health and social care sector.

Our briefing outlines the plan for social care. Unlike the NHS, there are few tools or institutional structures for workforce planning in social care. This plan is therefore largely focused on the process of establishing workforce planning.

Impact of EU Exit on the Health and Social Care Sector

The Scottish Parliament Health and Sport Committee is conducting an inquiry into the impact of EU exit on the health and social care sector.
In our submission to the inquiry we outline the concerns of our members who are EU nationals and the potential impact on service delivery. We suggest a number of actions that need to be taken to prepare for EU exit.

Education Reform Consultation

UNISON does not believe that the proposals contained in the consultation are the best way to tackle the issues in Scottish education. UNISON is disappointed that the responses to original consultation have been ignored. When responses to a plan are so overwhelmingly negative it is best to take those views on board Instead the Scottish government are moving forward with these much criticized plans.

Evidence to Finance and Constitution Committee regarding The Planning (Scotland) Bill January 2018

UNISON is concerned that the Planning Bill is about less regulation of businesses rather than improving lives. The problems in the system are caused by budget cuts and staff shortages not structures. Much of the detail will be provided in secondary legislation and guidance rather than the Bill itself. This and the lack of financial data makes proper scrutiny of the Bill very difficult.

This is the fourth edition of our current newsletter to inform both experienced and new Branch Welfare Officers of activities being undertaken by your Scottish Welfare Committee.

On February 3rd, UNISON Scotland’s ‘Confronting the rise of Racism, Islamophobia & Anti-Semitism’ conference will discuss how we can build that movement. Further details here.

Pick of the Media

25/01/18 morningstaronline.co.uk
Falling wages ‘expose crisis in our living standards’.
24/01/18 scotsman.com
UNISON’s Dave Watson explains why expanding early years provision won’t close the attainment gap unless we have high quality services with a qualified workforce.
23/01/18 scotsman.com
Homelessness on the rise again Scotland – we need more social housing and an end to social security cuts

UNISON Week is produced by UNISON Scotland’s Bargaining and Campaigns Team. UNISON HOUSE, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow, G2 6RX 

Tel: 0141 342 2811
Questions or comments? Email: UNISON Scotland Week