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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

UNISON statement on Edinburgh Chief Exec's second job

UNISON trusts that the decision to allow its Chief Executive Sue Bruce to take up a second job with an energy company will herald a new approach by the council to all of its staff.

In particular, we look forward to a more sympathetic approach to time off for staff doing unpaid trade union duties, and to staff on low pay who have no choice except to take a second job just to make ends meet.

When front line staff are pushed to the limit covering for staff shortages, it is not a good message that the Chief Executive has enough time to take on a second job.

Justifications that this will help bring lessons from the private sector will not wash with UNISON members. They see how privatised services up and down the country cut costs by cutting wages and quality of service. That is efficient for shareholders but not for those who rely on the services.

Public services have little to learn from the private sector but a lot to learn from their own employees who deliver the services. That is where the Chief Executive's energies should be channeled.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Labour party and trade union link

From Dave Prentis' Blog: UNISON has always given its members the choice of opting in to its affiliated political fund, that gives them a say in the democratic processes of the Labour Party, or of opting in to the General Political Fund, independent of any political party. Our processes are democratic and transparent. UNISON has never operated the arrangement whereby we pay Labour Party membership fees for new members.

Trade unions are a vital and intrinsic part of the Labour Party and, together, we have helped ordinary working men and women have a say in the democratic processes of this country and a say in Labour Party policy.

However, UNISON believes that the current debate about the relationship between Labour and the unions, played out so publicly in the media, is an unforgiveable diversion from the real issues that this country faces.

There are 2.5 million people out of work, young people without a future, families having to rely on food banks and payday loan sharks to make ends meet, and massive cuts to our public services. And our members have seen the value of their pay cut by up to 16% as a result of years of pay freezes.

Those are the issues that matter to people. UNISON will continue to fight to protect and defend its members from attack and to help the most vulnerable in our society. We expect the Labour Party to do the same.

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