New website

PLEASE NOTE: With the move to our new website, we are no longer regularly updating this blog. See the latest updates from our website on the right or click here for the new website.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Edinburgh Health and Social Care Inspection response

Many of the issues raised in the inspection published today mirror issues raised by UNISON over recent months and years, not least about central cuts at a time of rising need.

The report will be very disappointing for staff, especially since the inspection comments on how committed they are to joint working and how hard they have been working to make that a success.

This inspection came at a time of huge upheaval as the whole service was being reviewed. While some of that review was about different ways of working, the major issue was pressure on budgets. We know from lots of research that the eye comes off the ball when staff resources are taken up with reorganisation rather than service delivery.

Health and Social care has struggled to stay within budget for several years. You cannot just keep cutting while the demand for the service increases.

Westminster and Holyrood cuts mean Edinburgh has had to cut hundreds of millions over the years with another 145 million over the next three years. With health and social care accounting for about a third of the council's whole expenditure, it has obviously taken a big hit. Staffing has reduced year on year.

A key issue is pay and conditions of home care staff in procured services. How can you hope to recruit and retain care staff when they can get paid £2 ab hour more in Lidl?

We just cannot go on pretending that we can have social care on the cheap.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Vote in the UNISON NEC elections! Who the branch nominated

NEC elections: 5 reasons to vote
It is time to vote for your National Executive members. The NEC is the union's lay governing body. NEC members are ordinary members who work in the public services and, like your stewards or branch officers, give of their time to represent you. The ballot runs from 3 April to noon on 28 April. If you haven’t had your ballot by 11 April, call the helpline on 0800 0857 857

The City of Edinburgh Branch nominated the following candidates

Scotland Female Seat
Kate Ramden (Aberdeenshire)
Kate Ramsden is a well known activist in her branch and in UNISON Scotland. She is a children’s rights officer. As Branch chair she is involved in representation and negotiation, giving her direct experience of the issues affecting members. Kate believes in a strong voice for members. She is an elected member of Scottish Committee and Scottish Council so has been active in shaping Scottish UNISON policy and putting it into practice. She is passionate about social justice and equality and believes that unions have a central role to play in creating a fairer and more equal society for all

Scotland Region Male Seat
Tam Waterson (Lothian Health Branch)
Tam is from our sister NHS branch and is standing on a very clear platform of defending and building public services. He will oppose cuts in funding and cuts in service delivery whether in the NHS, local authority services, the police, the utilities or other public services. Public service workers did not cause the economic crisis and they should not be paying for it. Job cuts, pay freezes, attacks on our pensions are not acceptable and must be opposed. As a trade union he believes we must also work closely with community groups as we defend our services.

Scotland General Seat
Duncan Smith (City of Edinburgh Branch)
Duncan is our own Branch Chair and has been active in the branch for many years. He is standing on a platform of
• A UK co-ordinated response using the full force of UNISON against cuts, privatisation, pay freeze and attacks on our terms and conditions
• No more leaving branches to fight austerity attacks alone
• Break the 1% public sector pay cap
• An accountable UK leadership that puts members first
• UNISON to punch its weight. Fight austerity with action not just words

Scotland Region Reserved Seat
Maggie Cook (Falkirk Branch) unopposed

Local Government General Seat
Paul Holmes (Kirklees Branch)

Local Government Male Seat
Paul Gilroy (Newcastle City Branch)

Community General Seat
John Gray (Housing Association Branch)
John is currently the Community NEC General seat representative and has been an activist in UNISON for many years and held a number of branch and regional positions including Treasurer, Health & Safety, Welfare, Labour Link, International officer and Assistant Secretary.  He works as a Housing officer and is the Branch Secretary of the Greater London Housing Associations Branch which has over 3000 Community members.

Community Female Seat
Denise Charles (Ymlaen/Forward Branch )
Denise has a background as a support worker for women fleeing domestic abuse. As a Branch Secretary she set up a steward’s network to mentor workplace activists and representatives. On the SGE she has championed equalities and tackling low pay in the sector.

Black Members Female Seat
April Ashley (Southwark Branch)

Disabled Members Female Seat
Pam Howard (Warrington Branch)

Young Members Seat
Josie Runswick (Bolton, Salford & Trafford Mental Health Branch)

Friday, 24 February 2017

Recall AGM 2 March

Thursday 2 March 2017 in the Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh 6.30pm to 8.30pm at the latest.

The AGM of 9 February was short of the 200 members needed to have a legal AGM. Thanks and apologies to the 120 members who did attend.
We MUST have an AGM if the branch is to be able to represent you this year.
Without an AGM we cannot...
  • Elect your officers for 2017
  • Approve the financial statement and consider updates on issues like pay, transformation and workloads. Please try to be there on the 2nd.
The papers for 9 February still apply can be accessed on the website by clicking here.

For Creche or Carers Allowance, contact 558 7488

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Edinburgh budget response: Defending services or administering austerity?

UNISON's Tom Connolly made the following submission to Edinburgh City Council's budget meeting today as Joint Trade Unions Staff Side Secretary.  

As we come towards the end of the organisational review processes associated with the Transformation programme, we have witnessed the loss of over 1400 jobs.

We have real concerns of the current and future impact on our member’s terms and conditions, their lack of resources and excessive workloads and the negative impact that this has on the services provided to the most vulnerable and deprived.

Monday, 23 January 2017

New newsheet online

Latest updates on council cuts and updates on Pay, Transformation, Health and Social Care integration and Schools and Lifelong Learning. Get the pdf here