Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Bedroom Tax Conference Saturday 29th June

There have been many comparisons made between the Bedroom Tax and the Poll Tax. Most of these are misplaced. The bedroom tax is much, much, worse than the Poll Tax.  Unlike the Poll Tax it only affects the poor  - and is specifically designed to drive them from their homes.

It is, as the STUC put it, unfair, immoral and frankly absurd policy that will do nothing to improve the housing crisis that exists in this country. There are there are steps that Councils and the Scottish Government can take but frankly we can’t rely on them. So the finale of the Austerity Uncovered tour the STUC are calling a Anti Bedroom Tax Conference in Edinburgh this Saturday. Try and be there.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Spirit of 45'

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a  time when Britain responded to crippling debts and chronic daily hardship with a decisive move to the left: nationalising industry, building council houses and creating brand new public services from scratch.

The fact that it’s hard to imagine now is exactly why Ken Loach has made ‘The Spirit of ’45’.
The film is at its most emotionally powerful when talking about the foundation of the NHS.
Harry Keen tells of when, as a junior GP, he visited a family on the day the NHS came into being. He had previously left some medicine for a child with a cough. I said, “How’s little Johnny?” And Johnny’s mother said, “Oh he’s fine.”

And I heard a lot of coughing and spluttering at the top of the stairs. I said, “He doesn’t sound terribly good, would you like me to go up and see him?” She said, “No, I’m sorry doctor, we can’t afford it.” And I said “Today, July the fifth, it will cost you nothing.” And I was able to go up, and I’ve never forgotten that moment in my life.

Later we hear about how the NHS is now being privatised in England.

 Extract of an article at:
Spirit of 45
Film 4 at 9pm Tonight

Friday, 7 June 2013

1% Pay Rise Delayed

The 1% pay rise awarded to over 155,000 NHS Scotland staff has been hit by further delays.
The pay rise was due to be paid in April but health workers will now have to wait until June for the extra money in their pay packets.

Although the pay rise will be backdated to April staff may have to wait even longer for back payments.
Willie Duffy, Head of Health for UNISON Scotland said: "Clearly this is unacceptable. We signed off a circular instructing health boards to implement the pay rise, three weeks ago.

"I was assured the pay rise would be in the May pay packet. Our members will be angry about this given that they have had the pay rise in England, the North of Ireland and Wales and we are still waiting."

"I am going to be writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil, to express my anger at the way the whole process has been handled and the fact we were assured it would be paid in May. I will be asking for an explanation from him as to why it has not been."

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Hundreds of health workers win backdated maternity leave public holidays

Women health workers in Scotland are to receive backdated public holidays they were wrongly denied while on maternity leave.

NHS mums, including nurses, physiotherapists, cleaners, midwives, admin workers and other staff, could receive up to seven days if they were in full time posts. Women who have had more than one period of maternity leave since 2008 would be due backdated holidays for each period.

UNISON, the public services union, took up the case after the NHS employees, were told they could not accrue public holidays on top of their annual leave, while they were off on maternity leave.

Willie Duffy, the UNISON lead on the NHS, said that management conceded an argument first raised and won by the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde UNISON branch.

He said: “As a result of UNISON’s efforts, potentially hundreds of women in the NHS will be getting back some backdated annual leave that they were refused previously.

We knew that we were right to argue this should apply Scotland wide. The employers have agreed we were correct and agreed to implement it from April 2012. However, at first they would not backdate this any further.

“I am pleased that the employers side has now accepted that they made a mistake which they are committed to fixing and will backdate it to April 2008.”