Thursday, 7 March 2013

Payday loans crackdown - UNISON responds

Steps to regulate the payday loan industry, including a restriction on advertising time, are welcome, but there is still more to be done, UNISON said today.

UNISON said it was high time regulatory steps were taken to prevent companies taking advantage of desperate people, by giving them loans they cannot hope to repay.

Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary, said: “This is a welcome step in the right direction, but a restriction on advertising time does not go far enough. These loans are targeted at financially vulnerable, often desperate people, and companies must be restricted – by regulation – from giving loans to those who simply cannot afford to repay them.

“Cuts to trading standards have restricted the ability of officers to crack down on illegal loan sharks – UNISON hopes the same mistakes will not be made with the new Financial Conduct Authority.”

Scottish Ministers told time is right to act against tax dodging companies

UNISON Scotland will today (Thursday) urge the Scottish Government to respond to overwhelming public outrage about tax dodging companies.

The public services union wants Ministers to use their forthcoming Procurement Reform Bill to ban firms involved in tax dodging from winning public contracts.

Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, will tell a Holyrood conference on Sustainable Procurement that the time is right to legislate and that there is considerable cross party support for the principle.

Also, a recent Christian Aid public opinion survey found that 80% are angry about firms not paying their fair share of tax and a third are boycotting companies over it.

Dave said: “There is enormous public anger over companies that don’t pay their fair share of tax. The timing of this Bill is perfect for the Scottish Government to respond.

“We are suggesting that the Bill should send out a very clear message. As Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has said, ‘Taxpayers’ money should not be funding tax dodgers.’”

The Edinburgh conference, organised by Holyrood Magazine, is to hear about a range of ways in which procurement can be used as a lever for social, economic and environmental benefits, including to support the Living Wage, to support local economies and sustainable development and to contribute to climate change emissions reduction targets.

Dave Watson is speaking at the event, on promoting best practice, including the Scottish Living Wage.

He said: “At a time of massive public spending cuts it is outrageous that some £120 billion of tax is not being collected. The UK Government should be doing more with stronger anti-tax-avoidance legislation, more tax staff and greater transparency in company accounts.

“The Scottish Government can encourage companies to change their ways through procurement.”

Branch AGM 9th March 2013

Hi all it's that time of year when we all get together for the Annual General Meeting  .
This Saturday 9th March from 10am in the Moorings Hotel ,Hamilton Road Motherwell we will have our AGM with Speakers from STUC Learning and Alfamir Castillo from the Women Sugar Cane Cutters Committee in Columbia , who will give us a fascinating account of their struggle. 

There'll be some freebies to pick up and lots of information about what the Branch have done and what they are doing for you the Membership so please come along and have your say in your Union.

Friday, 1 March 2013

UNISON calls for new devolved powers to create a Fairer Scotland

UNISON today launched a set of policy proposals calling for fresh powers, including pensions and income tax, to be devolved to Scotland.
The union’s ‘Fairer Scotland and devolution’ document opens up a debate which has so far focused on fiscal issues and argues that new devolved powers for the Scottish parliament are essential to create a Fairer Scotland and improve the lives of working people.
UNISON Scotland says a range of fresh powers should be devolved: public sector pensions, health and safety, labour market regulation and broadcasting – as well as stronger fiscal powers, including all of income tax revenue.
The focus for UNISON of decisions about which powers to devolve and which to leave at UK level is social change and the creation of a more equal society.
Lilian Macer, Convener of UNISON Scotland said: “Our union hasn’t made a decision about which option to back in the referendum - but we are intent on putting public services and the people who provide them at the centre of the debate.”
In common with much of the trade union movement, UNISON has not as yet taken a stance on the referendum itself. Instead the union has challenged all parties to the debate to explain how their preferred option will match UNISON’s priorities laid out in the previously published document ‘A Fairer Scotland’.
Today’s publication marks a development of longstanding UNISON principles in relation to devolving power to the lowest practical level, and includes devolution below the Scottish Parliament, with a stronger statutory footing for local authorities.
Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary said: “We have always been strong supporters of devolution - and supporters of strong devolution. As political campaigns and parties are discussing more powers for the Parliament we want to make sure we are part of this debate.
“Our concern isn’t with constitutional mechanics. Our aim is to create a fairer and more equal Scotland. The referendum debate so far has focused on fiscal matters. These fresh new powers which we are calling for should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and used – along with the many existing powers it already has –  to improve the lives of working people.”  

Monklands Hospital Visits

In 2013 we'll be out with an information stall at Monklands Hospital , at the Choices restaraunt, from 9.30 to 3.30 on the 2nd Tuesday of every month .

So come along and see what UNISON has to offer  and make the most of your membership - it's not just about representation at work !

We have deals and links with many partner organisations offering everything from discounted car and house insurance to a free will !