Monday, 30 June 2014

ISS update

UNISON Lanarkshire Health Branch has issued a consultative ballot to all members employed within ISS at Hairmyres Hospital. This followed on from the plans by ISS at a UK level to cut weekend enhancements from staff’s salary if they are off sick. UNISON believes this is an unacceptable attack on staffs terms and conditions which needs to be resisted. The consultative ballot asks members to confirm whether they would take action short of strike action or strike action in the event that ISS introduce these cuts. The Branch has also issued petitions to stewards and members asking that they urge the wider NHS family in Lanarkshire to sign the petition to demonstrate their support for their fellow workers in ISS. We would urge to sign the petition if you are asked.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

UNISON warns of a major assault on public services as 60 per cent of cuts are still to come

UNISON Scotland launched a report today (25th June)  – The Cuts Don’t Work: The impact of ‘austerity’ cuts on Scotland’s public services – showing what’s really happening to public services across the country.

The report highlights that Scotland’s budget is being slashed by more than £6 billion in real terms. Around 50,000 public sector jobs have already gone with a further 60,000 expected jobs expected to go over the next 5 years. And local authorities have little choice but to put up charges for services like school meals, burials and cremations, day care and home care rates as they attempt to balance the books as a result of the ongoing council tax freeze.

While the cuts affect everyone in Scotland, it is the most vulnerable who are hardest hit, as services are cut back, jobs go, pay is cut and living standards fall.

Lilian Macer, UNISON’s Scottish Convener, said: “It’s impossible to take this level of funding and staffing out of public services without serious problems arising over time. And 60 per cent of the cuts are still to come. It’s a major assault on services everybody relies on.

“Some problems may become visible suddenly and dramatically if something goes wrong, for example in food safety, or hospital cleaning where lives can be put at risk. Others may not be noticed in headline news, but are also deeply damaging to the people affected, their families and communities.

“It could be local libraries closing, or the rushed - and very impersonal – 15 minute care visits your grandmother gets, or children whose lives could have been helped and turned around with proper social work support and intervention. Then there is the isolation of people who relied on day care centres that have closed down.”

The report also looks at how the cuts are piling on pressure to overworked, underpaid staff across Scotland including in hospitals, schools, police support staff, colleges and the voluntary sector and it is bringing public services to breaking point. Some of the comments included:

o    “If I was given the time and energy to apply to the families that I work with I could change their lives forever, but currently we stick plasters on wounds that need stitches.”   Social worker

o    “Growing workloads are a real problem. We often have to work through breaks, or work late, just to do the job properly and deliver the right level of care.”   Community midwife

o    “It’s getting worse. I don’t know where it’s going to end, no one cares about the patient or client anymore.”   Home carer

Lilian Macer continued: “This report shows the damage cuts do to local communities, local economies and the fabric of our society. They are the result of decisions and choices made at every level of Government; local, Scottish and UK.

“We can afford public services. Cuts are neither necessary nor inevitable and UNISON will continue to campaign  for the properly funded and accountable public services our society needs.”

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


View personal information without authorisation and you could face disciplinary action

NHS Lanarkshire has implemented a new communication plan which went live on 2nd December 2013.  Employees have been notified of changes through payslips and introductory events.

UNISON has highlighted how these changes would affect members through previous bulletins.

The new system went live on 2nd December 2013.  This system has provided NHS Lanarkshire with information which enables them to spot potential misuses of personal information and breaches of confidentiality.

Confidentiality breaches include:-

1.  Unauthorised examination of the records of famous or public figures
2.  Accessing your own medical record
3.  Accessing records of colleagues, friends, family or neighbours
4.  Using the login of a fellow member of staff

This is Fairwarning!!

for more information visit http://firstport2/staff-support/ehealth-ict or contact the local UNISON branch office

Thursday, 5 June 2014

UNISON Scotland annual nursing & midwifery conference

 This one-day conference is open to our members across the whole nursing family, including: nurses, midwives, health visitors and healthcare assistants. Together we will consider the key issues currently affecting members and offer an opportunity to debate the future of nursing in Scotland.

 Provisional agenda
09.00 Registration and coffee
10.00 Opening remarks and welcome
10.15 Ros Moore, Chief Nursing Officer (Scotland)
Community nursing in the context of Social Care Integration
11.00 Thomsons Scotland,
Resonding to the NMC on behalf of members and other benefits
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Gail Adams, Head of Nursing for UNISON
14.00 Referendum Hustings
Neil Finlay MSP and Christina McKelvie MSP confirmed
15.00 Tea and coffee
15.15 Willie Duffy, Regional Organiser and UNISON lead of NHS pensions
15.45 Closing remarks

28 August 2014
Mercure Hotel,
Ingram Street, Glasgow
The cost for attending this one-day conference,
10am-4pm, is £25 per delegate, payable by your branch.

To register, contact your local branch or Jean Fraser on

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Anti-Roma racism is on the rise - Morning Star

OUR friend Michael came to stay with us recently. We got on to the subject, as one does, of grandparents.

Michael’s grandparents lived in Bethnal Green, and were butchers during the 1930s. He told us that his grandfather carried a hammer with him because as a Jew he feared physical assault by anti-semites.

Mosley’s British Union of Fascists were politically active in the East End of London. This rather stark image reminded me of the waves of racism than have scarred British history.

Before the first world war, the British Brothers’ League were also active in the East End and also targeted the Jewish population.

They were formed in 1902 by Captain William Stanley Shaw and a local Conservative MP, Sir William Eden Evans-Gordon.

The League was apparently not at first anti-semitic but opposed all Eastern European migration to East London.

In the 1950s Afro-Caribbean communities bore the brunt as Mosley tried to win votes with his Union Movement in Notting Hill.

Promoting the slogan Keep Britain White, Mosley’s agitation encouraged Teddy Boys to attack the local black population.

Anti-semitism is once again on the rise.

For example, we have seen recently the horrific killings in Belgium, where on May 24 a gunman killed four people in Brussels’s Jewish Museum.
Racism against a range of groups continues.

Racism often functions as a device used by populist politicians to gather votes. In tough economic times, like the 1930s depression and the current ongoing austerity, racism can be electoral gold for the unscrupulous.

If troubles can be blamed on an identifiable group, the racism can be nurtured and made to grow into deep-seated and enduring hatred.

While a wide range of ethnic identities are targeted, the demonisation of the Roma stands out. Nigel Farage stated in his LBC interview that individuals might be uneasy about living next to Romanians.

Ukip have stressed that Romanians and Bulgarians are likely to arrive in Britain increasing numbers.

Romanian is, however, a code word, it seems — not for the population of that country but to a specific group who are, of course, the Roma.
Farage’s remarks follow an avalanche of tabloid media stories, particularly from the Daily Express, about Roma gangs.

The Roma face racism right across eastern and western Europe and have been subject to hate campaigns in Romania too.

Racism against the Roma is, apparently, more acceptable than racism directed at other ethnic groups.

Tabloid newspapers that in the 1970s conjured up the mugging crisis, demonising Afro-Caribbeans as more likely to commit crime, hammer away at the message that Roma are a source of crime.

Statistics are neither here nor there. Emotive imagery has an effect, irrational fears are stoked up and take hold.

Challenging racist populism is not easy.

I guess we all risk discriminating against a perceived “other.”

From football to religion, there are many examples of dislike of another group.

I can joke with Newcastle fans about the bitter conflict with my team of choice, Sunderland.

However an innocent game of football has been known to lead to violent conflict in north-east England.

The examples of religion as a source of identity and extreme conflict between groups, whose theology is apparently identical to others, gives rise to persecution in every continent of the world.

There are no easy solutions to fears, hatreds and resulting prejudices but political organisations need to openly campaign against racism.

I am glad to say that the political party to which I belong happens to have a leader who works to challenge racism, Natalie Bennett.

Up for re-election this summer, Natalie is robust in presenting our Green Party policies on migration and migrants. She’s a powerful voice in campaigns against racism and all forms of scapegoating.

Natalie happens to be from another country, Australia. In recent years our party has worked hard to point out that diversity provides many benefits and that racism is a poison.

I think challenging the demonisation of the Roma is especially important.

There are a range of campaigns and groups promoting Roma rights. In particular we need to work to educate people about the Roma Holocaust.

Not only did Hitler and his allies attempt to exterminate Jews, they also worked to wipe out Roma, Sinti and other travelling communities.

While we don’t face the same kind of threat today, it is sobering that racist rhetoric elected politicians in the 1930s who went on to kill millions.

The Roma Holocaust is not well known — and, of course, during the 1940s it was difficult to convince the allied forces of Hitler’s extermination of Europe’s Jews, people like my friend Michael’s grandparents.

Some estimates suggest that 25 per cent of continental Europe’s Roma were exterminated by Hitler and his allies.

The anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were amended to cover Gypsies and it is thought that other than the Jewish community, traveller communities suffered more than any other group from genocide.

Nobody is really sure how many died but estimates suggest at least 250,000 Roma were killed.

When politicians and tabloids raise fears about the Roma, we should remind them of where such fears led in the past. Fear leads to prejudice, prejudice leads to hate, hate leads to violence.

It is never ever justified. Saloon-bar banter needs to be countered with some stark presentation of the facts about where such banter led in the last century.

Roma communities, as the Economist has noted, are Europe’s “most marginalised ethnic minority.”

They suffer the worst health, education and economic prospects in Europe today.

Populists, as we know, pick on those with the worst problems in their immoral pursuit of easy electoral success. We must shame them and the tabloids when they do so.

In tough times we may have legitimate concerns about wages being driven down.

The solution is, of course, to work for stronger trade unions and effective minimum and living wages.

Incidentally the same arguments around migration have been used to oppose women working in particular sectors of the economy.

Migrants, particularly in the form of the Latin American Workers Association, have been at the forefront of campaigns for better pay, in their case for university cleaners as part of the 3 Cosas campaign.

Crime figures are dressed up to link crime to ethnicity, the ethnicity changes with the fashions of popular racism but it is false to associate crime with some supposed genetic or cultural manifestation of ethnicity.

White Europeans have a historical reputation for forming gangs, travelling to other parts of the globe and violently taking property from others.

From the Australian aborigines to Canada’s First Nations to the Iroquois of New York state and African nations, many have been victims of this crime wave.

It is of course described by the words colonialism and imperialism. However, there is nothing innate or enduring about a supposed European connection with imperialism.

The mechanisms and motives that led to racism need to be demystified and a good example of where racism has borne particularly bitter fruit is the Roma Holocaust.

It is vital that we make this example better known.

UNISON - There for You

There for You -  UNISON’s  Welfare charity have set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income with school uniform costs by way of a one-off payment of up to £120.