UNISON Highland Branch represents Highland Council Staff,  Highlife Highland, Bear Scotland and Community and Voluntary Organisations in and around Highlands and Islands.  We negotiate with employers on pay, terms and conditions, and assist members with work issues including grievances and disciplinary, bullying, and health and safety matters.


UNISON is Britain's biggest public service union, representing more than 1.3 million people across the UK's public services.


On this site you can:


  • get help and advice
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LG Pay Update

As you will be aware UNISON wrote to COSLA Leaders last week following the outcome of our consultative ballot and in advance of their meeting on Friday 30th April.  We were hopeful that they might have factored in the strength of feeling amongst our membership and make an improved pay offer.

However, the SJC Steering Group met yesterday and were disappointed to be told that Leaders had decided not to do anything at all until the outcome of the Holyrood elections were known and a new government in place, at which point they will again ask the Scottish Government for more money for local authorities to improve the offer.

We pointed out that we had been campaigning for more money for local authorities for over a year and there was little sign of movement from the Scottish Government on this issue.  We also pointed out that our members pay implementation date has been and gone and any further delay to a pay uplift, and consequential backdating, has the potential to create difficulty for members on benefits and that additionally COSLA need to be cognisant of the fact that they, rather than the Scottish Government,  are the employer.  Members can only take a dispute with their employer, not a third party, and Leaders need to be aware that two of the three SJC trade unions have members telling them that they are willing to take some form of action.

Your local government Chairs met yesterday and agreed to issue a press statement.  'You can read that here: 

A meeting of LG Branch Secretaries will be convened next week to discuss next steps.  COSLA Leaders meet again at the end of May so we need to redouble our campaigning efforts in advance of that.
I hope this is helpful. 
Best wishes 

           2021 Local Government Pay Claim

Education Recovery - UNISON Working to protect your safe return
We know you will have been surprised by Scottish Government's announcement last week that they are planning for the full re-opening of schools on 11th August, and early years establishments from 15th July, and we know this has raised a number of concerns.
We want to reassure you that UNISON is working hard to protect your safety, and that of the children you care for, in our discussions with government about these return plans.
It is important to be aware that the full re-opening on 11th August is a planning assumption of Scottish Government.  This will only be 100% confirmed by Government to Parliament by 30 July at latest.  Councils will plan on this basis and your local UNISON Branch will be heavily involved in making sure these plans are fit for purpose.  But at all times decisions made on re-opening will be led by the science.
UNISON has outlined our key asks of employers, through the national Education Recovery Groups and in local discussions, which put your safety and that of the children you look after, first.  
We have asked for:
·         Clarity on the scientific evidence to support full re-opening on 11th August;
·         Clarity on the use of face coverings at work;
·         The availability of PPE;
·         Provision of adequate hand washing, and other infection control, facilities;
·         Funding for enhanced cleaning provision;
·         A specific Test and Protect strategy for educational establishments (including routine testing similar to that which has been rolled out to workers in social care;
·         Clarity on the processes and procedures to deal with suspected or confirmed local outbreaks;
·         Bespoke assessments for specific risks e.g. staff health conditions; known pupil behaviour etc;
·         Safe transport.

The Education Recovery Group meets again this week and we are expecting to receive a presentation on the scientific evidence at that from Prof. Tannahill, from the Scientific Advisory Board to the Cabinet.
The Schools and Early Years Recovery Guidance will need to be urgently reviewed - UNISON will be part of this detailed work, arguing at all times to ensure there is a safe return and process in place to protect you. 
We will keep in touch with you throughout and your local UNISON Branch Health and Safety Representatives and Officials will be there if any matters of concern arise at school/centre/hub or council level.
We know that public services, and schools and early years in particular, are key to supporting plans for Scotland re-opening for business and we are so proud of the efforts you make every day in support of the children and working people of Scotland.
Best wishes,
Head of Local Government Scotland 
Chair, Education Issues Group


Hello All


It is with great sadness that I have taken a phone call today informing me that Alastair Owens passed away yesterday morning in Raigmore Hospital.


Alastair worked for the Highland Council for many years, and when he retired from his post in 1995 become a very active member of the Inverness Retired Members Section, where he was their Branch Secretary, and was very faithful in attending the Branch Committee meetings to represent the retired members within our branch. He stood down from that post only a few years ago.


He will be sadly missed and we send our condolences to his family.


John Gibson

Branch Secretary

UNISON Highland

(presently working from home)

07879 034546







UNISON Highland branch - Tribute to Janice Hardacre


It is with great sadness that I must inform you that Janice Hardacre, one of our Education Representatives, has passed away.

Janice suffered a stroke on 9th April 2020 and passed away on Thursday 16th April 2020.


Janice first joined UNISON back in 1997, and became active within the branch firstly in 2003.  She worked in various schools within Inverness, including Lochardil Primary School, Central Primary School and latterly Charleston Academy.  Janice worked for a spell with High Life Highland as a Gardener at the Floral Hall in Inverness, Janice also worked in Front of House at Eden Court Theatre.

Janice regularly attended the Branch Committee meetings and was a great advocate for Pupil Support Assistant’s (PSA’s) within the schools of Highland Council.  Janice fought passionately for the rights of PSA’s and to get them the recognition they deserved within the Education Service of Highland Council.  Before becoming a PSA, Janice was a Nursery Assistant where her determination and passion for the recognition and rights of her fellow workers, as well as the needs of the children, showed through.


Janice is survived by her husband Gareth and her son and daughter Jamie and Emily.

She will be sadly missed by all who knew her and our thoughts are with her family at this time.





John Gibson

Branch Secretary

UNISON Highland

(presently working from home)

07879 034546