Friday, 27 March 2015

UNISON welcomes decision in Edinburgh social work contempt of court case

UNISON Scotland today welcomed the decision by the Court of Session that the conduct of social workers in Edinburgh City Council did not amount to contempt and that the decision of the Sheriff is quashed.

John Stevenson of UNISON’s City of Edinburgh Branch said:

"The court has recognised complex and difficult decisions social workers have to take in their work in protecting the welfare of children. We hope this decision will assist in providing some clarity for them in exercising their duty in good faith to hold the child's interests as paramount".

"UNISON backed our members from the beginning and we are glad that the long months of uncertainly are now over for them. We have already briefed our members throughout Scotland as this process has continued and we will further brief them on any implications for practice arising from this judgement. We would also acknowledge the support and assistance the City of Edinburgh Council gave to our members throughout this matter”

1. The full decision of the Court of Session can be read here

2. UNISON’s statement at the time of the decision setting out our concerns over the Sheriff’s decision

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Branch to the fore at special conference as fight for fair pay goes on

Branch officers played a key role as UNISON local government delegates from across the UK met at a special conference in London.

The conference was called primarily to debate the lessons of the recent pay campaign in England and Wales and agree a set of strong proposals to increase member engagement and democratic participation in every aspect of future pay campaigns. However Scotland had an important part to play as we shared the lessons from our own pay campaign.

Delegates backed two motions from Scotland. The first called for our bargaining and industrial strategies for fair pay to be allied with a consistent, sustained and coherent political strategy, aimed at addressing the “30 years trends of suppressing wages...”

Aberdeenshire UNISON urges home care members to tell it like it is at council meetings

Aberdeenshire UNISON is urging all our Home Care members to get along to the council's meetings, which have been set up in response to serious concerns from UNISON members and others that the new Buddy phone is not fit for purpose and could put vulnerable clients at risk.

See dates and times of meetings below.

These meetings will take place around Aberdeenshire in March and April. UNISON will be in attendance at all these meetings. The Branch has already raised a number of our members' issues with Home Care management and has issued a survey to all our members asking for their views on a range of terms and conditions matters including the Buddy.

If you have a survey that you have not yet completed, please do so and send it back to the branch in the freepost envelope you were sent out with the survey, as we need this as evidence to take to our employer.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Management promises better consultation on changes to the Community Learning and Development service

Branch talks with Aberdeenshire's Education and Children’s Services, on behalf of UNISON members in CLD have culminated in a commitment to better communication and consultation with staff on proposed changes for the delivery of community learning services.

Senior management has also agreed to meet with all staff, although a date for this in March was cancelled and a further date is awaited.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Aberdeenshire UNISON Nursery Nurse Working Group - a voice for members

Aberdeenshire UNISON has set up a Nursery Nurse Working Group to give members a voice in dealing with the impact of the government’s changes to deliver 600 hours nursery provision to each child.

Two Nursery Nurse members’ meetings were held in February to discuss these changes and their effect on our members and the services they provide.

UNISON members have had their administration time and their lunch breaks reduced to enable the extra hours to be delivered within their 35 hour working week.

The Working Group will now be sending a report to Aberdeenshire Council to highlight the issues around the 600 hours and the current situation which has seen the removal of teaching staff. The group would ideally like a voice and practitioner representation on the Early Years groups.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Holiday Pay update - Branch urges members to act NOW if you think you have a claim

The branch has once again written to all members urging them to get in touch immediately with the UNISON office on 01224 620624 for a Holiday Pay Case Form if you believe you have a claim for additional holiday pay. Because of legal time limits, this must be completed and returned no later than Friday 20th March.

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, "The council is looking to settle the issue over holiday pay, particularly for certain allowances and additional hours that in the past have not been included in holiday pay.

Inez Teece
"These include overtime, additional hours, weekend working rate, night working rate, public holiday rate, standby, call out, sleep in, registrar's allowance, accompanying residents on holiday, home tuition, twilights payments and music centre duties.

"However the council only plans to backdate these payments to 1st January 2015.

"UNISON believes that many workers will have valid claims that should be backdated further. For example if you took annual leave over the Christmas period and your holiday pay didn't include additional holiday payments based on the above allowances, you won't get a backdated payment for them under the council's current proposals.

"If you think that you do have a claim you must contact immediately. We will not be able to pursue a claim for you unless we receive a Holiday Pay Case form by 20th March as legal time limits will kick in. It is members' responsibility to complete the form and return it to us with the documents required.

"Please make sure that you don't lose out!"