Bhopal, 30 years on and no justice

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.

You can make a donation to the Bhopal Medical Appeal at

UNISON members vote to maintain political fund ballot

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.”

Stars in our schools celebration day 28 November


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.

What’s your school doing to celebrate the day? Why not take a “class photo” including the wide variety of support staff in your school and e-mail it to us at, post to our facebook page  or post in the UK Stars in our Schools website. (Dressing up as superheroes is optional!)

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.

3 Hamiltons Living Wage Link Up

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.

UNISON Local Government members in Scotland vote to accept revised pay offer

The results of the consultative ballot for local government UNISON members in Scotland was a resounding yes to accept the revised pay offer, with over two thirds of the votes for agreeing to the offer.

Strike action for the 21 October had been suspended, whilst members were consulted on the offer… an offer that would commit the employers to the future participation in the agreed bargaining machinery, the consolidation of the living wage and the deletion of spinal column point below the level of the living wage.

Whilst at South Lanarkshire Council, the living wage had already been consolidated, this was not the case for the majority of local authorities, so this is a great achievement for UNISON members throughout the country.

However the fight for fair pay continues.

Suspension of Industrial Action 21 October 2014 – new consultative ballot

Following a meeting of UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Committee today, the committee has taken the decision to suspend strike action planned for 21 October and consult our members on new proposals put forward by the Scottish Employers (CoSLA).

The proposals concentrate on three areas of our dispute: the future participation in the agreed bargaining machinery; consolidation of the living wage; and the deletion of spinal column point below the level of the living wage.

The view of the Scottish Local Government Committee is that these proposals represent a significant change to the current award. In line with our agreed procedures UNISON is consulting members on the revised pay offer from the employers and a full consultative ballot will now take place.

The ballot will open on Monday 20 October 2014 and close on Monday 3 November 2014.

Join us on STUC Just Scotland March and Rally on Saturday 18 October

Saturday 18th October
Meet at 10am at Glasgow Green

March off at 10:30am

Rally in George Square

Creating decent work and providing dignity for those who cannot work is at the heart of the battle against austerity and tackling inequality.

As part of Challenge Poverty Week, trade union members and community activists from across Scotland are coming together in October to say, irrespective of their views on the outcome of the referendum ‘It’s time to create a Just Scotland’.

UNISON Local government workers to strike across Scotland on Tuesday 21 October

South Lanarkshire UNISON council workers will join their  local government colleagues across Scotland in a one day strike on Tuesday 21 October as the start of a national programme of industrial action for a fair pay.

Douglas Black UNISON regional officer for local government said ‘UNISON has consulted its members and the clear democratic decision is to take further industrial action. We will be running a programme of action which will affect every area of Scotland. We do not take decisions like this lightly. Our members know how many people rely on our services. But local government pay has dropped 14% since 2007. We have seen 39,400 job losses. And UNISON members feel they have to say enough is enough’

UNISON is the biggest trade union in Scotland and the biggest in local government. UNISON balloted members in local government between 9th to 29th September 2014. The UNISON ballot result was 53.5% for yes and 46.5% for no.

Douglas Black continued ‘This is a clear democratic decision. Our demands are simple. Fair pay for all workers and an end to low pay, and for employers get back round the table to discuss the big issues facing local government. There is real anger out there and so they need to talk to us as soon as possible.’’

Scottish employers have imposed a pay award of 1% on our members from 1 April 2014. This is below inflation and below Retail Price Index. UNISON members pay has eroded by 14% since 2007, based on Retail Price Index

It’s a robbery not a recession – Glen Williams

Closing the New Lanark Family Fun Day on Sunday August 31, Glen Williams, Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Service Executive, slammed the continued public pay restraint, contrasted against the plans for 11% rises for MPs, and obscene increases for cabinet advisers  – in one case a rise of 36%. Yet there is no money for the public sector workers to get  a decent rise.

It would cost  £1bn for a 5% pay rise, whilst Trident costs £32bn. There is money, it’s just what you choose to spend it on. This is robbery. It’s not a recession.

He acknowledged that the living wage in local government in Scotland did mean that things were a bit better here than in England and Wales, where local government members will be taking their next day of industrial action in October. However, we have all been suffering from under inflation pay rises for years.

Moreover, it’s not just about pay explained Glen, but about the refusal to negotiate – in essence our employers might as well be tearing up our collective agreements. It is time for us all to draw the line in the sand.

It was a very stimulating end to the New Lanark Family Fun Day – food for thought. Watch out for your local government ballot paper after 9 September and make sure you take your vote. UNISON is asking you to vote in favour of industrial action.

On a lighter note, over the course of the day, we had some great music from Alastair McDonald, Pauline Bradley, Liam Toner and Hilary McFarlane, with a variety of songs from the three acts from You Cannie Throw your Piece off a Twenty Storey Flat, right through to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.

There were plenty of other activities including  birds of prey, and Indian Head Massages, and for the kids – the bouncy castle, balloon modelling, and face painting.

Another sunny funny day!

Yes or No, Vote for a Fairer Scotland


There’s not long to go before the Scottish nation takes the Independence vote. UNISON activists and members have had the opportunity to contribute to an interesting debate and to continue to put our politicians on the spot demanding a fairer Scotland regardless of the outcome of the Referendum on 18 September.

UNISON’s position remains that we do not have a policy position either way on the referendum debate.

We continue to scrutinise the positions of the various campaigns and would urge all sides to explain to our members how they intend to go about creating a more just, fairer society in Scotland. Any constitutional change should be a means to that end and not an objective in itself.

Click here to find out more.