No Public Contracts for Blacklisting Companies.

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UNISON Fife supporting a sister Trade Union, Unite, at a demonstration outside of Fife House this morning.  The demonstration was part of a national campaign to ensure that companies involved in operating a ‘blacklisting’ system are excluded, where legally possible, from our preferred list of suppliers, a campaign that UNISON Fife fully supports.

 

Fife Council is embarking on a number of projects which will see new schools, new affordable housing and new care homes being built here in Fife.  The practise of ‘blacklisting’ is archaic and draconian and has no place in modern day society.  It ruins reputations, leaves individuals unable to secure employment and sees families become destitute.  A motion to Fife Council’s Executive Committee on June 27th calls on the Council to support Trade Unions in a bid to eradicate such an unethical practise.

 

At our 2013 National Conference  we heard a very impassioned speech delivered by Ricky Tomlinson on this very issue.  Ricky and colleagues were victims of ‘blacklisting’ and still, decades on, are trying to clear their names. The  words on behalf of himself and affected comrades told of the heartache and injustices suffered by those who are victims of these archaic measures.  Ricky was given a standing ovation for his passion, his belief and his continued fight for justice. 

 

We all come from different backgrounds, many of our single status members work alongside colleagues in the craft sector who have been ‘blacklisted’.  Therefore we would call on all of our members to show their solidarity to this campaign and help ensure that Fife Council only use companies that sign up to ethical practises and fully support the fundamental right of being part of the Trade Union movement.

 

 

 

 

 

“This Council is deeply concerned by recent revelations that some major construction companies have been involved in denying employment to workers who have been engaged in trade union activity, such as the reporting of breaches of health and safety standards, through the unacceptable practice of operating a “blacklist” of these workers collated by private consultancies such as the Consulting Association.

This Council notes that:

 Information and evidence has been provided to the Scottish Select Affairs Committee during the committee’s enquiry into the use of blacklisting of trade unionists in Scotland

 

 The UK Information Commissioner has investigated and taken action against the Consulting Association for this practice

 

 Trade Unions (notably Unite, GMB and UCATT) have an on-going campaign against the blacklisting of trade unionists which has severely impacted on many trade unionists and their families

 

 It has been asserted that the blacklisting of trade unionists has involved covert surveillance and record keeping and may have involved the complicity of the police and security services

 

 

  • · The operation of such blacklists may be a breach of legal statutes, regulations and conventions covering employment rights, human rights, freedom of information, data protection and rights to freedom of association

 

 Victimisation of workers raising concerns over workplace health, safety and welfare discourage efforts to prevent workplace accidents, fatalities and injuries and encourage industrial disputes both official and unofficial

 

 The current consideration by the Scottish Government of legislation on rules for Public Procurement provide an opportunity to ensure that companies engage in the blacklisting of trade unionists are prevented from tendering for public sector contracts

 

 Councils, such as Hull City Council, have resolved to ensure that companies involved in blacklisting are not included, where permitted by legislation, in future lists of approved suppliers and have urged UK Government Ministers to ensure that such companies are prevented from securing future public sector contracts by the inclusion of appropriate clauses in the sustainable procurement bill being considered at Westminster

 

This Council resolves to:

 Support the campaign by trade unions against the operation of blacklists against trade unionists

 

 Where permitted by legislation, exclude companies involved in blacklisting of trade unionists from future approved suppliers lists

 

 Where permitted by legislation, ensure that companies included in future approved suppliers lists demonstrate that they have processes in place to encourage the reporting by workers, including those who are trade union members, of workplace concerns, particularly in respect of health, safety and welfare

 

 Write to the Scottish Government urging the inclusion of clauses in future Scottish bills covering public procurement to prevent companies involved in the blacklisting of trade unionists from securing future public sector contracts.

 

PVG Payments

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Unison Fife  welcomed the recent announcements relating to the introduction of the living wage and the payment of PVG membership. 

 

Branch Secretary, Debbie Thompson, commenting on both matters said “These are massive successes for Unison Fife.  We have campaigned for a long time on these matters and are pleased that Fife Council have listened to our arguments.”

Low paid members will see the introduction of a living wage of £7.50 per hour which is equivalent to  more than a 3% increase in their salaries.  Debbie continued “This increase will benefit thousands of low paid members, predominantly women, across the Council.  For years, Unison have been arguing that the living wage should be introduced to ensure some form of decent living standards for all people.”

“At a time where benefits are being cut, many of these staff need to work in several jobs to make ends meet.  This increase wont fundamentally change their lives, but it will go a long way to improving it.

Speaking on the PVG scheme, which requires that members pay for a membership before they can work with vulnerable people, Debbie commented “Fife Council recognised that their stance to make our members pay whilst other groups didn’t was untenable.  Again our members were being penalised, I am pleased that Unison Fife maintained our position that our members were entitled to equitable treatment.”

Unison Week 86

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4th – 8th June 2013   Issue 86 (had enough of not enough edition)

 

Local Government strike ballot for fair pay

Council Staff  are like anyone else  – they  deserve to be paid fairly  for the work they do. In recent years pay has been frozen, while prices have risen, particularly unavoidable essentials like food, gas and electricity.  Most staff have seen a decline in the value of their wages of almost 13%.  They have also been put under pressure  – over 34 000 jobs have gone in Local Government  in recent years. The current offer of 1% with no guarantee of an annual uprating of the Living  Wage level just isn’t enough.  We are balloting   our 75 000 members in Local Government for strike action. We’re saying Yes to Fair Pay 

 

 

On never letting a crisis go to waste

…so a Tory MP and three members of the House of Lords are caught agreeing to take money  from lobbyists (allegedly). It’s a scandal .. and a scandal that was predicted. A sensible response to this might be Bill along the lines of the one Neil Findlay MSP is proposing in Holyrood on Lobbying Transparency (which incidentally  UNISON supports). But no,  what we get instead is an attack on Trade Unions.  This makes about as much  sense  as bringing  new  cycling safety measures after an  outbreak of food poisoning.

 

What it shows is that this Government hate the idea of ordinary people working together to get a fairer deal from themselves,  and will use any and every opportunity to attack our ability to do so.  (That said,  maybe we should consider ourselves lucky they  intend restricting themselves to legislation and aren’t  despatching the Eton Rifles )  

 

 

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UNISON’S NEWS

02/06/13 unison-scotland.org.uk

UNISON Training still some places left on some courses.  Details here

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03/06/13 unison.org.uk

UNISON can help low paid members with School uniform costs Details here

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24/05/13 unison-scotland.blogspot.co.uk

College Staff threaten Strike to  strike over pay offer Details here

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29/05/13 heraldscotland.com

NHS pay rise delay  unacceptable More here 

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PICK OF THE MEDIA

30/05/13     gov.uk   unison.org.uk

A new ONS Labour Force Survey shows that union membership rose by 59,000 to 6.5m, it pays to organise!

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24/05/13 Scotsman.com

Claims about centralising services don’t add up

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31/05/13 Guardian.co.uk

Big numbers, Benefits  and Government Ministers being (ahem) less than truthful

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31/05/13     stuc.org.uk      scotsman.com

The Trade union movement  has never been convinced that Corporation Tax Cuts are any kind of step forward.

We’re delighted that  a Nobel prize winning  first ministerial adviser  agrees

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25/05/13 guardian.co.uk  bbc.co.uk

 More millionaires than ever  and more people using foodbanks than ever… brings to mind

“What thoughtful rich people call the problem of poverty, thoughtful poor people,

with equal justice call a problem of riches” RH Tawney 

School Uniform Assistance

UNISON: Help with school uniform costs

 

If you’re struggling with the rising cost of living, and worried about how you’ll be able to cope with back-to-school costs, UNISON might be able to help.  The union’s welfare charity, There for You, has set up a limited fund to help with school uniform costs with a one-off payment of up to £120, and is now accepting applications from members on low incomes.

To apply, and to find out if you may be eligible, Download this file……… TFY_130514_SchoolUniformGrant [pdf file]. Alternatively, you can contact your UNISON branch.

Please feel free to circulate to all UNISON members.  Join UNISON at www.joinunison.org.
You will need to submit completed application forms by 5 July 2013.

Strike Ballot

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Union announces Scotland wide strike ballot of council staff

Local government workers across Scotland are being balloted on strike action, after rejecting a 1% pay offer.

UNISON, the public services union, will ballot 75,000 members working for Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

Stephanie Herd, Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Committee, said: “Members are angry about a miserly 1% offer, following two years of a pay freeze.

“The year before that they only received 0.65%. Over this period the value of their pay has gone down by nearly 13%, while the cost of food and heating has soared.

“Council staff work hard delivering quality public services. They are overstretched after more than 34,500 local government jobs have gone. They are underpaid, and they see the wealthiest people in this country getting ever richer.

“Our members deserve fair pay and we believe they will vote yes for strike action to put pressure on the employers to improve the offer.”

UNISON is calling for a fair pay rise and for COSLA to commit to an annual increase in the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.50 per hour. The current offer from employers includes the Living Wage, which the unions have campaigned for, but no annual uplift.

Dougie Black, UNISON lead negotiator in local government, said: “We tried to get the employers back round the table for talks after members voted to reject the offer, but the employers refused.

“It is clear that our members do not believe 1% is fair. They also lost out because they did not receive the £250 increase for the lowest paid NHS and civil service staff in the last two years, which was supposed to soften the blow of a pay freeze.”

 

More info can be found at……

http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2013/