April 2000 No 28
UNISONNews April 2000 No. 28
Interim deal won on shorter week
- deal for manual workers and social work residential and nursery staff
- down to 38 hour week from 1 April
- further 45 minute cut for manual workers if national talks succeed
The working week for manual workers and social work residential and nursery staff will drop to 38 hours from 1 April, thanks to an interim deal won by UNISON.
But the branch is fighting on for a further 45 minutes cut for manual workers.
The interim deal will cut 15 minutes off the manual working week and one hour off the residential and social work nursery week.
This results from the Single Status agreement which reduces manual hours to 37 by 2002 at the latest, phased in by cutting one hour by April 2000.
For most Scottish workers this means going to 38 hours in 2000 but Edinburgh manual workers are already on 38.25 hours and the branch is clear that should have been cut by one hour to 37.25 by this April.
UNISON's John Mulgrew, who as Staff Side Secretary negotiates for all Council unions, said;
"The council says it only has to go to 38 hours this year, but we believe the Single Status clause is absolutely clear about the one hour cut.
"While we do not accept the Council's view, we have a firm commitment that it will implement a further 45 minute cut if this is the outcome of talks at Scottish level.
"However, given the length of time this may take, we need to be pragmatic and get some benefit for workers now with the 15 minute cut".
UNISON wins reprieve for Craigmillar childrens project
UNISON members, staff and parents lobbied councillors last month to win a last minute reprieve for Craigmillar Childrens Project, threatened with closure in the 2000 budget.
Branch officers won a commitment that closure would be delayed until the results of two reviews could be assessed.
But despite this, as we went to press, preparations for closure still seemed to be under way.
The branch has written to all councillors inviting them to come and see for themselves the work the project does.
Letters of support are also coming in daily from educational bodies, other workers and the community.
UNISON vice chair John Stevenson, Social Work steward Lyn Williams and Rhona Leese from the project made a presentation to the full Council just 36 hours after the closure plans surfaced.
This was backed by further detailed submissions to the Social Work Committee from Rhona and service conditions convener John Ross.
Why Craigmillar Childrens Project must be reprieved
The campaign to save Craigmillar Childrens Project is not one of self interest.
The staff will be redeployed so jobs are not their major concern. Their concern is for a crucial service which keeps children at school in their local community. A service that is relied on by parents and children but also by other Social Work and Education staff.
"We want to see if there are better ways of providing this service. That is impossible if the project is closed before the reviews are complete", said project worker Rhona Leese.
John Ross Edinburgh UNISON service conditions convener told councillors,
"There has been no consultation with staff or service users and are still waiting for the results of two reviews into provision in the area.
"Our members are not resistant to change. Like the council, they want "Joined Up Working" and they are committed to the Scottish Executive's social inclusion policies.
"But If this project closes now, the council will have nullified all the detailed work that has been done to look at integrating services in the area", added John.
Rhona Leese and staff at the project produced a clear, well organised and reasoned case for reprieving the project.
"The clarity and strength of Rhona's arguments clearly impressed the Council and the Social Work Committee", said vice chair John Stevenson.
John summed up concerns in a press statement,
"This is a valuable project that has been supporting children in their local schools, and in their local communities for 12 years. The alternative could mean some children going away to residential schools".
Stewards were furious at how the closure was announced. Like many rejected options such as the closure of a childrens centre, the project had been listed in budget documents. But while stewards were meeting the director, another senior manager was at the project telling staff about the closure.
The case for the project
Established: 1988. The first project in Edinburgh to work with primary school age children within schools.
Funding: Joint funded by Education and Social Work (SW contribution - £137,000).
Staffing: Social Work: Project manager, three project workers (social workers), full time clerical. Education: Four project workers (teachers).
New funding: In 1999, £50,000 to support children to remain in their own families, local schools and communities. The funding was for two years with money saved from the closure of St Joseph's school.
Project Aims: To help children achieve their full potential by supporting them at home and school. To support children at risk of exclusion or family breakdown.
Who does the project work with? Children from 4 - 14 years of age who attend schools in the Greater Craigmillar area. The CCP is actively assessing or working with 54 children.
How does the project support children and families? The team works in partnership with parents and uses a variety of methods such as individual support for a child in school and home; parenting groups; groupwork with children with low self-esteem or who have suffered loss or abuse; family support such as advice on behaviour management; class support.
Points to be considered
1. A large number of children and families receive support from the CCP.
2. The Council says that services will be maintained by the current budget but this is not identified.
3. Families are upset and angry at the news.
4. There has been no consultation with service users.
5. The Council is promoting a "Working Together Strategy" in deprived areas of Edinburgh. A report to councillors in November 1998 noted that "the developmental work of projects such as the Craigmillar Childrens Project has had a strong influence on the strategy".
6. The same report also noted that "the further a pupil is removed from their home school the less likely it is they will go back to that school on a permanent basis"
7. The average cost of a pupil attending a residential school is in the region of £60,000. If the project only helps prevent two children from being excluded and accommodated, the project would more than cover the cuts being implemented.
8. The Working Together Strategy in Craigmillar is being reviewed. This will look at the best ways of delivering services to vulnerable children and how agencies should best work together to achieve this. This review should be allowed to conclude.
9. The project welcomed the review and is keen to positively develop good practice and different ways of delivering the best service to children and families.
10. The Scottish Executive has a vision of new community schools to raise educational attainment and promote social inclusion. This vision has been integral to the aims of the Craigmillar Childrens project.
11. Craigmillar's Community Education Strategy Group has commissioned a consultant (from New Community Schools funding) to look at the services to children and families in the area and a possible merger of the CCP and another local project, 'Instep'. This report still needs to be discussed and acted upon.
12. The vision of a New Community School should not and, in our view could not go ahead without the Social Work Department offering a full commitment.
13. Craigmillar Primary School closed in December 1999. Children have been unsettled by this and need extra supports rather than another closure.
14. The work of the project is highly valued by the local Social Work team. There are implications for the workload and pressures on staff in the Children & Families team.
90 new jobs means much to welcome in 2000 but..
Budget marred by project closure
UNISON's deputation to the Council budget meeting was led this year by vice chair John Stevenson. UNISONNews reports the main points of the submission.
"UNISON comes before the council on budget day looking for partnership, but forced into conflict when we have to defend our members jobs and - just as importantly - the services they provide for the people of Edinburgh.
"In previous years, we have had to fight for our members very livelihoods, against redundancies or against your employees' jobs being sold to the highest bidder.
"When astronaut Buzz Aldrin was asked how he felt just before blast-off, he said 'How would you feel sitting on 1,000 lowest tenders?'. That is how it has felt to us over the last few years", said John.
Voluntary sector jobs risk
John welcomed the new jobs and the fact that there were no redundancies among council staff, but warned that jobs were at risk in the Leisure Trust and voluntary sector.
"Redundancies are still a risk in the voluntary sector. Some projects are likely to close and many others will not be able to manage with no provision for inflation in their grants.
"Large organisations may be able to absorb cuts in grants in the way the council has had to with its allocation, but smaller projects will see staff conditions cut and jobs lost. Many of our members have now gone several years without receiving the agreed pay settlements."
John said Social Work could not go on the way it was, and "perhaps it took the tragedy of the Edinburgh Inquiry to highlight just what is needed in the way of resources to provide essential services."
"Things will not be better tomorrow, staff are still working under intolerable stress with the buck too often stopping at their level, for problems that are created at a political or managerial level."
And as the Craigmillar Childrens Project crisis showed, cuts and closures were still very much with us.
More support staff needed
John outlined the budget cuts of 20's and 30's of millions of pounds since the new council was formed and how far there is to go to re-build services. And he warned
"If extra resources are going into Social Work and Education, where do the cuts to make up the £8.5million come from?
"UNISON is deeply concerned at the pressures faced by the council's central support functions. They have faced cuts, reorganisations and the label of surplus bureaucrats.
"In reality the problem is that there is not enough administrative support, with higher paid staff in this technological age writing envelope upon envelope by hand, photocopying and so on instead of the jobs they are being paid to do - sometimes called 'efficiency savings', these are false economies.
New deal for manual workers
John turned to the hammering manual workers have taken in recent years and called for a new deal for them.
"They have borne the brunt of outsourcing, trusts and privatisation. They, often on the lowest wages and poorest conditions, have found even these conditions under threat and agreements broken due to Compulsory Tendering in the past, and in the present, voluntary tendering and a misapplication of Best Value.
"We are asking the Council to make a new commitment to its manual workers, to Grounds Maintenance, to the Leisure Trust, to cleaners and catering staff, to school ancillaries, to crossing patrol guides, to home helps and many others whose jobs are no less important to the running of the council and its services than anyone else's."
Partnership and principles
John said that UNISON genuinely welcomed the improvements in the budget and challenged the Council to take a joint position on properly funded public services.
"Our offer to build a real and lasting partnership between the council and its workers remains on the table as strongly as it did three years ago.
"Perhaps now is the time for the council to take a lead from some developments in the NHS, pick up our partnership document and enter serious talks about it."
He reminded the Council that Susan Deacon MSP had recently told UNISONScotland that her principles were the same as our Serving Scotland Campaign themes of:
- services that are responsive to the needs and wishes of the Scottish people - giving people a say in their services.
- services that are the best that can be delivered - choosing quality services
- services that are provided by a public services team, a workforce trained and qualified, treated fairly and equally, with the resources to deliver
"If we and the council could go forward on those principles", said John, " it would best serve the aims the Labour Administration says it aspires to, it would best serve our members' hopes and most of all it would best serve the interests of the people of Edinburgh."
UNISON Edinburgh Partnership Document
Branch demands no cut in earnings in bonus deals
The Single Status deal means there are a number of local negotiations under way, not least of which is consolidation of bonus schemes.
The branch AGM gave negotiators a clear mandate:
"This Branch recognises the vast majority of Manual and Craft Workers are dependent on bonus and incentive schemes if they are to achieve a reasonable living wage.
"We consider such schemes to be contrary to the principles of Single Status as they directly discriminate against non-APT & C workgroups who have to work additional hours or achieve targets to maintain a reasonable living wage.
"We recognise the issue of bonuses and incentive schemes will be explored as part of the Single Status discussions and instruct negotiators to oppose any attempt to put in place any new wages mechanism which would lead to reductions in contractual earnings for Manual and Craft workers"
Other talks under way cover:
- Harmonising pay frequencies - all staff moving to monthly
- Harmonising enhancements and allowances between manual and APT&C
Again the AGM had its say, demanding moves on existing conditions before meaning full talks can take place on Single Status.
A motion from John Ross demanded,
"This Branch deplores the fact that four years after Reorganisation, the Council has failed to progress discussions on harmonisation of many ex District and ex Region conditions.
"Branch Officers are instructed to seek an urgent commitment from the Council to allocate sufficient resources to meet the needs of a harmonisation Work programme and the demands of a new Job Evaluation Scheme.
"The situation whereby colleagues work side by side on different conditions leads to confusion and conflict and must be resolved properly so that meaningful talks can take place on Single Status within the national deadline."
Your views needed on conditions changes
The Council has raised issues it wants local deals on, and already negotiators are warning of problems with some. These include:
- Travel & subsistence schemes
- Car Allowances (locally agreed mileage rates)
- Transfer of some fixed public holidays to annual leave (6 fixed and 6 added to annual leave).
Stewards and members should look out for details as these emerge. Make sure the union gets your views.
Social Work wrangle over shorter week
Residential workers are facing a wrangle over how the shorter week will be implemented.
UNISON steward Michael Greig had agreed with the department that units would be asked to look at how best to work the cut to benefit staff and maintain the service.
However, the circular that went out did not reflect this and put a much more prescribed formula to managers, looking for something like 12 minutes off a day.
As we went to press, social work stewards were taking this up again with management.
The full objective for residential and social work nursery staff is the same working week as APT&C staff.
Crucial stage in IT outsourcing
Discussions on the outsourcing of Information Technology are reaching a crucial stage with the choice now lying between two companies, British Telecom and CSL.
Branch officers have had meetings with both firms and have gained assurances on issues like no job loss and protection through Transfer of Undertakings regulations.
The Council will decide the successful bidder by the end of May.
A team of branch officers and stewards, supported by Bill McAllister (UNISON Regional Officer) will then enter the detailed negotiations on transfer.
One big issue is representation rights. CSL want us, BT don't!
Leisure Trust creche staff face redundancies
Budget cuts facing Edinburgh Leisure Trust will mean creche workers facing redundancy.
On top of this the Trust is trying to push through changes to payment rates for public holidays.
Manual convenor George Lee is in talks with Trust management to try to save jobs and conditions.
Look out for more details in local briefings and in the next UNISONNews
Redundancies saved in Blindcraft restructuring
A new business plan looked like bringing redundancies at Blindcraft until UNISON stepped in.
UNISON's John Mulgrew secured a 'no redundancy' guarantee from the Council for the members concerned, most of whom are disabled.
The union is also close to agreement on a recruitment protocol for jobs in the new structure.
"This has been a period of upheaval and great uncertainty for our members. But the 'no redundancy' guarantee will go a long way towards bringing stability for the future", said John Mulgrew.
"We are now concentrating on negotiating a fair and transparent recruitment procedure in the new structure".
Many members will be aware of the quality of Blindcraft products, especially with the special deals on offer to Council employees.
Best known for the beds it makes, Blindcraft employs a majority of disabled workers.
Janitors threaten action as talks break down
The long wrangle over outstanding issues from the Janitorial Review is about to come to a head with the Council refusing to refer the matter to Scottish level.
The branch is now set to refer the case unilaterally and to contact UNISON Scotland to request a ballot of primary school janitors.
UNISON has been negotiating on four issues which have caused problems for janitors:
- payment for boiler duties
- evening lets
- holiday working hours
- irregular hours payments
"After meetings with the Education Department, we found resolutions to the first three issues", said John Mulgrew who is now leading the negotiations.
"But talks have now broken down on irregular hours payments."
The branch wanted to refer the dispute to the joint secretaries at Scottish level but the Council refused.
The joint secretaries (one from the employers and one from the unions) can rule on disputed conditions in individual councils.
Usually cases are referred jointly by council and union to the joint secretaries but with the Council's refusal, UNISON intends to go it alone.
"We are confident of our case and we only wish we could get a solution at local level" added John.
UNISON will call further meetings of primary school janitors to seek their views before a final decision on balloting is taken.
Modern Studies course gives students union input
Branch officers back at school
During the past few months UNISON branch officers were sent back to school.
This time it was without the threats of lines or detention (branch officers are well used to punishment) - this time they were there to talk about the need for trade unions.
There is a module in Modern Studies courses on the role of trade unions and progressive teachers at Leith Academy asked our branch officers to speak to students.
Irene Stout, branch equalities officer and John Ross, service conditions convenor stepped in with some trepidation.
"I have never been so nervous. Give me a branch meeting any time", said Irene.
"The students were so clued up on issues like employment law and the historical role of the unions. They had obviously done their homework".
John Ross (can you believe he was nervous?) could only manage to say "get me out of here and give me a drink!"
Nervous or not, reports are that their contribution was well received by the students - they even got applause, not something they are used to at branch meetings.
"Getting young people to trust and believe in unions is essential. After all they are the trade unionists of the future", added John.
Given the success of the Leith visits we are told that the union can expect requests from other schools in Edinburgh.
Greendykes says enough is enough
Staff at Greendykes Social Work Centre were set to abandon their workplace and turn up for work at the Shrubhill HQ on 10 April.
After years of enduring disgraceful working conditions, many of which would not meet health & safety requirements, the staff have had enough.
Promise after promise has been made over the years and staff have kept going with goodwill, but nothing has happened.
Now they are taking an appeal to councillors but are also ready to vote with their feet.
"Greendykes needs major capital investment, not portacabins", said John Ross, APT&C convenor.
The Council has decided to make its 'Task Forces' pilot scheme a permanent fixture with staff moving from Recreation to Environmental Services.
Branch officers have raised concerns about the future viability of the rest of the DLO and continue to pursue this.
No changes to conditions of the transferring staff are anticipated.
Branch Administrator off to new job
Stevie Weddell, our branch administrator since the new branch formed and with the old District branch for several years before that, has left for pastures new.
An ex lay activist in the old Dental Estimates Branch, Stevie's efficiency and engaging personality will be greatly missed,
We all wish him well in his new career.
The branch is now pushing UNISON to fill the post which is part funded by the national union.
Talks re-start on Career Scheme protection
Talks have re-opened on Career Schemes after the Council blocked them rather than discuss protection for staff who would lose out.
Some months ago members in Management Services were presented with a Career Development Scheme which could have been detrimental to one group of workers.
Branch officers sought agreement on a Personal Protection Clause (not an unusual provision when dealing with contractual changes) but management were upset about this to the extent that they walked away from discussions and complained to their political masters.
The end result was the Council putting a block on all new schemes.
This has affected large groups of members in City Development, Corporate Services, Environmental and Consumer Services and Recreation. In all those areas, schemes have been agreed which had no potential for detriment - yet they cannot be progressed.
"The branch position remains that we will not accept potential gain for staff when it comes on the back of detriment to others", said APT&C convenor John Ross.
Talks are ongoing and branch officers are hopeful the log-jam of schemes may provide an argument to get the required movement from management.
Matthew Crighton reports on UNISON at Scottish Labour Party Conference
Rank and file and unions can influence Labour policy
... despite the Single Transferable Speech
Yes, we still have a lot to do, but never ignore what we have done already", Tony Blair told me on 10 March.
John Reid, Robin Cook and Donald Dewar told me that too - I was a UNISON delegate to the Scottish Labour Party Conference, and that message was part of what some delegates came to call the Single Transferable Speech, obviously agreed in advance by the party strategists.
No-one there would have disagreed with that statement of Tony Blair's.
After all, it was their first conference since the Labour government had established the Scottish Parliament.
The other popular achievements which senior ministers all quoted included the Minimum Wage and the abolition of hereditary peers in the House of Lords.
It was on this basis that John Reid claimed that Keir Hardie would have been proud to be a member of New Labour!
Adapting to power
However another part of the message was that the Labour Party needs to adapt to being in power.
"Replace the politics of protest and grievance with the politics of government" said Tony Blair.
"Government is for real" said Donald Dewar, "We haven't got the funds to respond to do all you might ask us to do."
To me the message really seemed to be: "We are in power now. You aren't".
By contrast with the senior ministers who spoke mostly of their achievements, speakers from the floor emphasised the things still to be done, and in some cases the wrong things being done.
Housing stock transfer and the extension of the 'right to buy' were attacked by UNISON, other unions and constituency delegates, including Keith Geddes from Leith.
Local government under-funding also came in for criticism, as did the failure to deliver the recommendation from the MacIntosh Commission for a full review of Council finances.
Donald Dewar told us that he recognised the difficulties which people in local government had been facing and said that the next two years would see real increases in funding.
UNISON speakers attacked the Private Finance Initiative, manufacturing unions attacked the high pound, the AEU spoke strongly against proportional representation in local government.
Personally, I took my opportunities in the Question and Answer sessions with ministers, which have replaced debates on motions, to put forward UNISON policies.
Fair deal for public services
On the economy I urged a Fair Deal for Public Services. On Britain in the World, I urged that the government should take steps towards nuclear disarmament instead of blocking it at the United Nations.
I told a session on changes in party structures that we should not modernise away the right of unions to participate in constituency level decision-making.
One thing I did not do was vote. Policy Forum documents and Executive Statements went through on the nod, for revision and final decision next year.
Motions on any subjects they covered (including housing and almost everything else) were not allowed to be discussed.
In the meantime, the Scottish Executive proceeds with housing stock transfer and the conference could not vote on whether it agreed.
Trade unions do still have a large influence in the Labour Party and UNISON had ensured that the Executive's statement on Local Government and Housing contained guarantees of staff rights on transfer of stock to a new employer.
Furthermore it contained a number of opt-outs on the Right to Buy. Signs that Housing Minister Wendy Alexander is going to move further on this could be the proof we were seeking that the conference is a place where the rank and file and affiliated unions can influence the policy of Labour in government.
It does seem to me, however, that trade unions may have traded the their right to submit motions in an openly democratic forum for less visible influence through policy commissions, policy forums and meetings with ministers.
Will the results be better for our members ?
Had I helped influence the course of party policy or had I just had the chance to let off steam in the hearing of ministers?
Answers on a postcard, please, to
Branch Affiliated Political Fund Officer.
New family care leave deal
A final draft of the improved Family Care agreement has gone out to stewards for comment.
This agreement covers issues like maternity leave, parental and adoption leave, dependant leave etc. Negotiations are also under way on:
-Flexitime for part time and job share staff (and changes to the full scheme)
-Harmonised job sharing scheme
-Public Interest Disclosures Policy.
Officers dealing with 322 cases
The Service Conditions Team is currently dealing with 322 cases including over 40 policy issues and a number of complex negotiations.
"John Mulgrew, team leader says, "We know there will always be times when members consider their case needs an immediate response.
"While we try to provide a speedy response, this is not always possible for officers with an extensive caseload. We hope members appreciate this and will allow for it."
Waste Management review
The Council is looking at the future of refuse and litter collection, including proposals that would:
- make the service part of a PPP/PFI scheme which could mean staff transferring to a private contractor
- changing current service delivery, DLO structures, working practices
The Council is expected to approve the report in principle and embark on an exercise to examine future provision.
While the majority of members in this service are T&G, UNISON is represented and the branch is involved in discussions.
Social work inquiries and investigations
The branch has voiced concern about the apparent tone of recent investigations.
"We accept the need for inquiries to be made but we want the Department to recognise its duty to staff as well as to service users and the public", said John Mulgrew, service conditions co-ordinator.
"We are committed along with the Council to the interests of people in our care being paramount", added John Stevenson, vice chair.
"This is best delivered by a trained, supported and valued staff working to the highest professional standards. The role of adequate resources in that is crucial
"Our members recognise that sometimes their interests will be affected if inquiries have to be made into practice, indeed often it is our members that raise concerns.
"However, this needs to be done in a way that maintains morale and treats staff with respect", he added.
The union hopes to agree a set of principles for future inquiries.
As the use of e-mail grows in the Council, members need to be aware of the problem of unsolicited material.
If you receive sexist, racist or homophobic material, you must seek advice right away from management and union.
UNISON stresses that such material is unacceptable and all members should co-operate in ensuring it is not distributed.
Dougie Black took over as Secretary at the AGM with previous Secretary Morag Stevenson moving to Assistant.
Joe Galletta became as President on the retirement of Bill Heeps (see a full profile on Bill in the next issue) and Terry O'Donnell stepped up to Chairperson.
Maureen Christie is back in as Vice-Chair and Andrew Craig stepped in as Service Conditions Officer.
John Mulgrew (Service Conditions Co-ordinator) and Wattie Weir (Convener Craft) held their positions comfortably against challenges from Recreation's Derek Lloyd and S.McKay.
Amanda Kerr took over as Education Officer.
Shale Voices: Real and rounded history of the people
Alistair Findlay, a UNISON member and social worker in West Lothian, was an activist for several years in Nalgo's Lothian Region Branch.
His book Shale Voices is published by Luath Press Ltd, 543/2 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2ND in paperback at £10.99.
Shale Voices, says Tam Dalyell MP, "has added a basic source of material to the study of Scottish History that is invaluable." Scotland owes author Alistair Findlay "a debt of gratitude".
No doubt. But the book's strength is not the cataloguing of events and politics surrounding the West Lothian shale mining industry (and of course Durhamtown Rangers FC), it is the real and rounded history of the people.
It is their word of mouth accounts, the perceptive and sensitive poetry and the contemporary stories from the West Lothian Courier that transport you in time and context.
It is also the humour (what else, with a Findlay family motto of 'haud the bus') and the authority and respect that shines through the writing.
Alistair Findlay was brought up in West Lothian, played for Hibs and was in the Communist Party of Great Britain (kidgerie revisionist section, he says). He draws on a wide range of influences, none stronger than his father, Bob Findlay who was a shaleminer and editor of the West Lothian Courier.
The paper's archives are part of the host of widely researched sources that bring a series of in-depth analyses, cameos and occasional eccentricities spanning the late 1800's to the 1960's.
From 1850, 100 shale mines transformed West Lothian from a small rural population to a growing, industrial and multi-ethnic one. Paraffin and petrol were produced in the world's largest oil works in Addiewell.
It is a human story. The Burngrange disaster, the 1926 West Calder rent strike led by Sarah Moore, the football hero Willie Thorton. The keen eyes of the shale voices and the contrasting perceptions tell the grass roots story of the simultaneous simplicity and complexity of West Lothian working class politics that perhaps still puzzles outsiders today.
The evolution from Orange miners heckling Keir Hardie to inter-war generations voting for class rather than sectarian interests, is tinged with the insight that "bigots and bigotry did not so much retreat as they were left standing on ground no one but themselves wished to defend".
Shale Voices can be personal, as in Brithers....
How they wid laugh tae see
the reduction o' oor history
tae buildin an extension, or worse
.. or about football as in Fitba' Cliche
In the room the punters come and go
Talking of De Stephano
On the terraces,
beneath the stand,
a poet speaks for a nation:
the ref's a baam.
.. or in the letter to the editor from one D. Thompson that shows even in 1885, the facts of a game depend on who is watching it!
It is about older people who (though not all) lament the loss of the mines, "but would anyone today really choose to return to the life of the shale workers?"
But mostly it is a story of a hard but efficient industry killed off by cheap imports and no government support. A picture the author links to the loss of our coal mines. "Perhaps governments would do well to consider lessons of the past before deciding the future", says Alistair. Not surprisingly, perhaps he best sums up his purpose.
"History belongs not only to those who made it, but to those who inherit it. The first priority is to set it down. The second is to make it available. Only then can we argue about it later".
Shale Voices is not easy, but it is important. Informative, captivating and inspiring, speckled with hardship and humour, it is well worth a read.
Look out for Alistair's work in progress, a song called 'Tories and other sad peoples'.
The branch has suffered a sore loss with the untimely death of Rab Lorimer from the Housing Department.
Throughout his employment with the old District Council and with the City Council he was a strong supporter of the union.
In the past few years he took on the role of shop steward strongly representing Housing technical staff on many matters.
His perseverance with issues was renowned and it was not unusual to see managers hide when they saw him coming.
UNISON members in the Housing Department will recognise the loss more as Rab's experience and knowledge would have been a great asset in the next few years when transfer of housing stock becomes a focus. Filling the gap caused by his death will not be a simple exercise.
The branch would like to thank the many members who attended Rab's funeral and would extend their sympathies to Rab's wife Joan and his family
Is the person next to you a member?
The successes on this page are just some of reasons why everyone at your workplace should be in UNISON.
The union is only as strong as its members - our ability to protect you depends on how many members we have.
Give this to a colleague who isn't in the union. And remind them about who negotiated the procedures that protect them in the workplace.
Ask them whether they would have got any pay rises without the union?
Remind them about...
- representation in grievances, gradings, disciplinaries, health & safety
- free legal help on work issues and free or cheaper advice on many others
- mortgage discounts
- 20% off car breakdown cover
- holiday and insurance deals and much more
Phone 0131 220 5655 to join. You can also join by clicking here.
Free Internet with UNISON
Phone 0870 9009090 for your free unisonfree.net CD now. Quoting membership no.
UNISON is the first union to give free internet access to its members through unisonfree.net.
Free access, free email address, free web space to start your own site. It is for members only and you will need your membership number (contact 220 5655 if you've lost yours),
Joint call for Safety Reps
Home Helps and Social Care workers (Domiciliary Care)
Are you interested in helping your colleagues and the Social Work Department in looking at Health & Safety issues as they affect Domiciliary Care services?
This request for expressions of interest comes through he Departmental Joint Consultative Committee (DJCC), comes from the trade union and the management side and is being published in both out newsletters.
Both sides wish to strengthen representation on the Departmental Health & Safety Committee and increase the level of support available from Health & Safety Representatives in Domiciliary Care.
Training and approved time off is available.
If you wish to volunteer please contact:
David Hop, UNISON Stewards Vice Convenor 0131 621 1427, or Danny Currie, UNISON Health & Safety Convenor 0131 220 5655
Alternatively, if you wish to discuss this with the Department's Health & Safety, please contact
Douglas Hope, Shrubhill House on 0131 553 8282
The views expressed in UNISON News are not necessarily those of UNISON City of Edinburgh Branch or the union.
All articles/comments to John Stevenson, Communications Officer at 0131 220 5655
P&P by UNISON City of Edinburgh Local Government & Related Sectors Branch, 23 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN