UNISON National Delegate Conference drew to a close yesterday, and we were all proud to be UNISON members and activists. Glad to have been there in a great City, and at a time when the full strength of the union could be seen behind Glasgow City’s homeless caseworkers now twelve weeks on strike, and behind Robert O’Donnell, sacked SECC worker and steward. What shameful treatment. On top of this the SECC doesn’t recognise the union although it is 90% owned by Glasgow City Council.
UNISON vowed to fight for public services to keep them publicly owned, democratically accountable and delivered by the public sector. UNISON will take on the Tories and will fight against their anti trade union legislation and their threat to our right to strike .
UNISON will take the anti austerity message out to our members, the public and our politicians. This is a robbery not a recession and the rich getting richer echoed throughout the hall all week The 1000 richest families increased their wealth by £28bn to £547bn whilst a growing number of people can’t afford to heat their homes and have to rely on foodbanks. Many of these people are working too.
Join us at the Scotland United Against Austerity Rally in George Square, Glasgow, on Saturday 20 June at 12pm. The STUC event in partnership with the People’s Assembly and other organisations will take the Anti Austerity message to rallies throughout the UK on that day.
Austerity economics simply do not work. On top of austerity, there are the proposals to significantly restrict trade union freedom further, let’s be there and unite our opposition to austerity and show our strength in opposition to the Tory Government.
South Lanarkshire Trade Unions commemorated Workers’ Memorial Day on Tuesday April 28, by laying a wreath at the Beckford Street Memorial.
Andy Murphy, chair of the South Lanarkshire Joint Trades Union Council, introduced the event, highlighting the achievements in improving workers’ safety over the years, whilst warning against complacency. There were still 133 people in the UK in 2013 to 2014 who went out to their work and never came home.
Margaret Gallacher, Chair of South Lanarkshire UNISON Branch, reminded us that it was almost two years to the day since the collapse of the garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka that took more than 400 lives, the worst industrial disaster since Bhopal.
Dave Moxham, Depute General Secretary of STUC, was proud to speak at the event. He explained that he is from South London but the majority of his family were from South Wales. He remembers going back to visit the family in the 70s – but the older members of the family were all women because all the men had either fallen in the war or were involved in the mining industry and died young. However, it’s not just people in heavy industry who are injured and die at work. He gave the example of teachers and their spouses suffering from the devastating effects of asbestos.
Dave reminded us that health and safety culture is currently being attacked across the UK and we need to do something about this. We need to redouble our efforts to make our workplaces safer and fit places for our men and women to work in.
UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, Mike Kirby says, “This is the Public Services Election. The outcome will have a huge impact upon UNISON members, their families, communities and the public services in which we work, to protect the disadvantaged and provide a better quality of life for all.”
The winner of the UNISON prize draw of a £20 Sainsbury’s voucher and a box of Thorntons chocolates is Anne Cameron from Housing and Technical Resources. Congratulations!
Irene McAlpine and Audrey Malloy organisers for UNISON were in South Lanakshire Council’s HQ in Hamilton yesterday as part of their programme of visits to retain and recruit members.
Irene said, “Another successful lunchtime in the canteen. It’s great to get new members signing up. It’s always really interesting to talk to the members and the non members too. It just underlines that there are so many reasons to join and stay in the union. ”
“There are the obvious reasons for joining the union for the protection of our jobs, and terms and conditions and to get representation in grievances and disciplines. Then there are lots of other reasons including deals and discounts for members and a free wills service.”
South Lanarkshire Trades Unions laid a wreath at the Beckford Street Memorial in Hamilton on Wednesday 3 December to mark 30 years since the Bhopal disaster and held a minute’s silence for those who have died and those who are still suffering.
Margaret Gallacher, South Lanarkshire UNISON Branch Chair, described the events of December 2nd, 1984, where a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, leaked a lethal gas methyl isocyanate. That night a few thousand people died, but to date 25,000 people have died since as a result of their exposure and over 120,000 people still suffer effects from the incident. None of the six safety systems designed to contain such a leak were operational. It should never have happened.
Victims and their families are still fighting for justice. But 30 years on and there is none.
Commenting on the result of UNISON’s political fund ballot, which saw 87% of members vote to maintain the fund in a postal ballot, UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:
“Our members have spoken loud and clear that they want UNISON to continue to promote their interests at European, national and local levels. This is in spite of the government’s cynical ‘gagging act’ that aims to reduce the lobbying power of trade unions while the Tories happily sit back and pocket millions from corporate and financial elites.
“UNISON campaigns hard to defend jobs and decent employment standards, to promote public services and equality, and to protect the health and safety of our members, and this is possible because of the political fund.”
It takes a whole team to make a school a safe and happy place for children to learn. Many school support employees are tucked away behind the scenes – the unsung heroes of our children’s education. So for one special day we want the focus to be on members of our school support staff.
On Friday 28th November 2014, UNISON wants everyone to celebrate the contribution of school support staff – to say “thank you” for all that they do. Head teachers, teaching staff, parents, carers and children can get involved in making their support staff feel special.
Get children involved in activities to show how they value their school support staff – like making “thank you” cards, drawing pictures or doing a quick quiz on the various support roles in your school. Hold a special assembly and highlight the good work that school support members do.
Let us know what’s going on in your school and we’ll publicise it to let our school support members know how much they are appreciated.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation tonight hosted an online link up between three Hamiltons across the globe – Scotland, Canada,and New Zealand.
Although separated by thousands of miles the stories couldn’t be any more similar. We are all fighting to expand the take up of the Living Wage through out both the public and private sectors not only as a way to eradicate poverty but also as a logical way to boost the economy.
Sarah Wiktoski from the Poverty Alliance highlighted the Scottish situation and the particular success within the public sector.
In the meantime the inclusion of the consolidation of the Living Wage throughout local government in Scotland in the recent improved pay offer is a great achievement.
Representing members working for South Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire College and for other employers in the area