Welcome to UNISON Highland Branch Website
UNISON Highland Branch represents Highland Council Staff, Further Education Support 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
- contact the branch office
- find out about joining UNISON
- check up on branch news and events
- update your membership details
- connect to UNISON nationally and other useful links
If you have any suggestions or there is anything in particular you would like to see on the website please send an email to the Web Manager
COUNCIL PSA UPDATE
Hour cuts & unmet need:
At the end of the last school session, UNISON supported many PSA members across the Highlands who reported drastic cuts in hours & income. We continue to support & represent members in unresolved situations.
Many cuts were imposed with a minimum of consultation, in a terrible atmosphere, with poor communication from school & ASN management & with little or no PSA input in care assessment.
Many members are also reporting a growing disconnect between the results of the ‘matrix’ used to assess pupil need (& staff hours) & the real, tangible need in the school. UNISON shares the concern of many that damaging service cuts (& cuts to our PSA members’ incomes) are occurring through the unfair tweaking of an opaque, complex process.
Our bottom line is that staffing must address need, for the good of both our members & the service.
After challenging Council Officers & some elected members, UNISON has secured a review of the way PSA hours & roles are managed & adjusted.
We are seeking evidence from the ‘coal face’ so this review can be as comprehensive as possible. This can be given ‘off the record’ if members do not feel comfortable speaking out.
Intimate care collective grievance:
UNISON, with the input of our PSA shop stewards, is seeking a clarification of intimate care responsibilities & associated grading issues.
The initial grievance ‘carrying’ this issue stalled due to a change of circumstances in the school concerned. We are now pushing the Council for a review to provide a resolution. We hope to have more to report on this before long.
Blurring of job roles & ‘good will’ tasks:
We have received reports that some PSAs (& indeed some clerical staff) have been asked to take on roles outwith their job description on a semi-regular basis. In some cases, this has been linked to a change in the role of janitorial staff.
Reasonableness & good will are an essential part of the running of any school, but constant, unpaid work is a form of exploitation. If you are in this situation, get in touch.
Ensuring a safe workplace:
UNISON is hoping to mount a series of union health & safety inspections of Highland schools quite soon. Having a role involving contact with children does not mean you are exempt from the right to a safe working environment.
If you feel your workplace could benefit from some scrutiny of its health & safety practice, let us know. Again, this can be done ‘off the record’.
Re-deployed nursery hours:
As part of the flux involved in the recent changes in nurseries, UNISON & GMB negotiated the protection of earnings for existing staff. One of the remedies was the redeployment of some nursery hours into the school, particularly in P1. The Council gave the unions assurances that these hours would be supernumerary; that existing PSA staff would not suffer a detriment or be displaced. If you believe this is happening in your school, let us know.
If we’ve missed something...
Please let us know! Contact details for the UNISON office are listed below. If you would like a meeting in or out of the school, that can be easily arranged.
As there are so many issues cropping up in this service, across such a large geographical area, we would love to have more volunteer PSA shop stewards. In a time of squeezed budgets & political opportunity, we desperately need more leadership, experience & insight from the grassroots. We’ll give you training, support & will not force you to do anything you don’t want to do. Union duties & training are paid work time & childcare costs can be re-imbursed.
If you received this in error, you may still be in our records as a PSA, LSA or Classroom Assistant. Please contact our Inverness Office so we can amend our database. We hope to send similar updates to your non-PSA colleagues very soon.
Finally, your union’s ability to negotiate for your benefit is affected by how many members we have. Although we have hundreds of PSA members across the Highlands, our mandate is stronger with every additional member. Please encourage colleagues who aren’t in a union to join.
Area Organiser (on behalf of the Highland Branch)
E-MAIL ADDRESS DETAILS
HI ALL, THE BRANCH OFFICE IS TRYING TO UPDATE MEMBERS E-MAIL ADDRESSES. IF YOU HAVE NOT INFORMED THE OFFICE OF YOUR ADDRESS OR HAVE CHANGED ADDRESSES COULD YOU PLEASE LET THE OFFICE KNOW, EITHER BY USING THE CONTACT FORM, OR PHONING ON 01463 715891.