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.
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Issue 13 – January 2016
Draft Budget 2016/17
The big loser in the draft budget is local government. The budget is cut by 3.5% or £500m in cash terms. On top of that there are additional commitments like the NI increases that could double that cut. CoSLA calculates this will cost 15,000 jobs or ‘the equivalent of 50 Tata Steelworks’ – but don’t expect a taskforce! There is the prospect of some additional funding for social care routed through the NHS budget, but it remains to be seen how much reaches these services when the NHS is under pressure and political scrutiny. This emphasises the importance of local government speaking up for council services that are just as important to our communities.
We need to expand the budget envelope not just shunt austerity to councils. The Council Tax freeze is simply unsustainable and there are indications that the public agrees. The Commission on Local Tax Reform has again run through the options, but a local income tax would be a whole new headache.
Trade Union Bill – thanks for your support
Many thanks to those councils who have passed motions of support for the campaign against the ‘Anti-Union Bill’ and for the very helpful CoSLA statement. The UK government is desperate to ignore the devolved consequences of the Bill that will allow the English local government minister to dictate how industrial relations operate in Scottish councils. The Bill also conflicts with devolved and council duties under human rights and equality legislation.
We need to have a grown up conversation about local taxation. Dismissing the Bed Tax out of hand isn’t it. Public services must meet complex needs and technology has a central role to play in that. But as the UNISON
Scotland survey of ICT staff shows, staff are not listened to and shortcuts simply lead to failure. School libraries need professional Librarians to support young people in the information age as our evidence to
the Scottish Parliament shows. Our survey of public library staff indicate similar concerns.
The Commission for the Provision of Quality Care in Scotland supports UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter and a real living wage for all care workers in Scotland. New Statutory Guidance means this can be delivered by all councils.
|UNISON THERE FOR YOU - WINTER FUEL GRANTS 2016
WORRIED ABOUT PAYING YOUR WINTER FUEL BILL?
With rising fuel costs and another cold winter looming many members on low income are worried about how they're going to pay their winter fuel bills.
Help is on hand
'There for You' has set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income by way of a one-off payment of £40.
To apply visit unison.org.uk/thereforyou. Alternatively, call UNISONdirect on 0800 0857 857 or simply contact your UNISON branch office. Everyone that applies will receive a booklet giving information about other help that may be available and how to reduce your fuel costs in the future. The attached Q&A also provides further information.
Closing date for receipt of applications is 23 February 2016.
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.