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POLICY OUTLINE INTRODUCTION
The four branches that merged to form this branch had built up separate
bodies of policy. An outline that brought these policies together was
approved at the 1997 AGM. New policies have been inserted and updates
are appended to each section where applicable.
NOTE: The branch must act within UNISON national policies. Where policies
below differ, they are a guide for campaigning within the union only
and cannot be acted on unilaterally.
We believe that no member should be debarred from involvement
in their trade union for financial reasons, work reasons, care responsibilities,
or due to disability. We should do all possible within our resources
to ensure accessibility.
We believe that all officers, stewards and full time staff are accountable
to the union's policies and procedures. Nobody acting on behalf of members
has the right to conclude any agreement without reference to them and
agreement from them through the most appropriate form of consultation.
Workplace meetings and ballots are two readily identifiable ways of
consulting. Such consultation should be weighted in some circumstances.
We do not believe that it best serves the union to elect all full time
officers. This would give them a greater policy role.
At every level there must be a clear line of accountability with a
clearly identifiable constituency.
We believe that, as a branch, we have a role in affiliating to organisations
that share our aims and policies or which provide a service or platform
for us. Criteria should be that the organisation has a democratically
accountable structure, is broad-based and not sectarian. We subscribe
to the Scottish Communications & Campaigns Committee criteria for
Oppose: Non-co-operation with 'spying' for immigration service.
AGM 2008: Asylum seeker children and families This branch welcomes
the developments since it passed resolutions at the 2006 and 2007 AGMs
- campaign for an end to the forcible removal of asylum families and
an end to dawn raids.
- campaign for an amnesty for all asylum families living in this country
for a year or more.
- support members working with asylum seeker children to use Scottish
legislation to the full to ensure these children had the same rights
and protections as all other children.
It notes the key role of the Branch in promoting the campaign at Scottish
and UK level culminating in:-
- lobbying of government resulting in immigration officials having
to be subject to enhanced disclosure checks, a review of the removal
process and a lead professional for asylum seeker children to assess
- a well-received a guide for members jointly produced by UNISON and
the British Association of Social Workers and co-written by the Branch
- joint work with campaigning organisations, conferences, lobbying
and keynote events to promote the concept that ALL children's welfare
is paramount under Scottish legislation.
- a very successful Conference Fringe meeting and the mounting of
a UK campaign.
In addition, the campaign has contributed to:-
- an indication that 1,400 families who have been in Scotland since
2004 will be allowed to stay and further 400 will be assessed. This
is fantastic news for children who have made Scotland their home over
the years. politicians referring more and more to the child's welfare
being 'paramount' - the basis of the campaign from the beginning.
- a UK Conference to campaign against the UK government's reservation
from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will be held on
15 March 2008 and work is under way to set up a Scotland action group.
This branch resolves to:
1) Continue to be active in campaigning work through the UNISON Scotland
Social Work Issues Group
2) Continue to promote the principles laid out at the 2006 and 2007
AGMs and continue to devote the necessary resources to maintain the
activities necessary to achieve that.
3) Publicise the successes of this campaign with our membership.
Branch employed staff should be required to be members of a recognised
union. They should be accountable to staffing structures in the branch
in agreement with their union and agreed negotiating structures. Direct
staffing matters should not be a matter for branch meetings or committees
other than a committee designed specifically for that purpose. Staff
should not be criticised in public forums.
The branch supports a national charter of minimum conditions for branch
employed staff and access for staff to benefits, training etc provided
by the national union.
CHARGING FOR STEWARDS MATERIALS
This Branch condemns the NEC decision to apply charges for core
Organising and Health and Safety documentation.
We believe it fundamental to the strength of the union that all stewards
have access to relevant information to assist them in their duties but
consider the application of charges may lead to those branches with
little financial resources not making these important documents readily
available to stewards.
We call upon the NEC to reverse this decision forthwith.
BONUS AND INCENTIVE SCHEMES
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
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.
Affiliation to UK Breast
Cancer Coalition (UKBCC) (AGM 2003)
Formed in 1995 UKBCC have been champions of patient advocacy, working
to inform and train women to take action and instigate improvements
in breast cancer services in their area.
We believe the work of UKBCC to be of fundamental importance to the
women of this Branch and agree to affiliate to UKBCC.
Honorary Life Membership of UNISON for Aung San Suu Kyi (AGM 2003)
Proposed: John Stevenson (Social Work) John Ross (Housing)
Conference congratulates UNISON for its support for the Burma Campaign
UK (BCUK) and in particular for its ongoing campaign within the labour
and trade union movement to pressurise international governments to
impose investment sanctions on Burma.
For nearly 40 years Burma has been controlled by a military regime
which has been condemned as one of the worst violators of human rights.
The democratically elected President of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, has
only recently been released from house arrest and remains unable to
take up her role as leader of her country.
She has called for support from organisations such as independent trade
unions to highlight the plight of her people.
Conference calls for Aung San Suu Kyi to be made an honorary life member
of UNISON and for branches to press local authorities and Regional governments
in their geographical areas to award her with freedom of the city, county
Such initiatives would raise the profile of Burmese issues which have
too often slipped down the international agenda. We call upon UNISON
1 embark on an awareness raising campaign within the membership
2 advise members on how they can support the work of BCUK at a local
3 explore options for directly supporting some of the innovative international
programmes which seek to provide educational opportunities for Burmese
4 explore options in conjunction with the Federation of Trade Unions
Burma for providing internships for refugees who are seeking experience
of collective bargaining, globalisation, advocacy and representation
5 work within the labour and trade union movement at a national and
international level on solidarity actions with the Federation of Trade
6 explore options for high profile awareness raising / fundraising
events organised in conjunction with BCUK.
(AGM 2000) We note the 1998 Branch AGM called for improvement
to the level of Carer Allowances for those who incur such costs while
on union business. Further, we note the Branch Officers agreed not to
pursue the terms of the motion as a UNISON working party was considering
that matter and would bring forward a report which would be subject
to amendment at Annual Conference.
It is with regret we note no such report has been forthcoming and the
discriminatory payments remain in place.
We call upon Branch Officers to restate our position that full costs
should be met rather than reimbursement on a pre-set sliding scale.
[ The terms of this motion should be adapted and submitted to UNISON
Scottish Council and Annual Conference ]
We note the 1997 Branch AGM called upon the council to accept Carer
costs as a legitimate reimbursable expense when incurred outwith normal
It is with regret we note the council has failed to accept our arguments
and has failed to recognise this is an equality issue which they should
be supporting as an Equal Opportunities employer.
We call upon Branch Officers to raise the matter with the council under
the terms of Single Status and to make appropriate representations to
the Scottish Local Government Service Group.
We oppose the Criminal Justice Act and legislation that discriminates
against those who are infringing nobody else's rights. We recognise
that rights bring responsibilities not to infringe other's rights and
to defend the rights of others. We support SCCL and Amnesty International.
We believe in a community care system that provides equal access to
all, responding to individual needs, offering real choice and independence
and providing mechanisms for improving quality of life. We believe the
current system is about cutting costs, not providing care. We believe
the care required is best provided by the NHS and local authorities.
We recognise the valuable role of the voluntary sector but oppose the
'voluntarisation' of NHS and council staff and services.
We oppose the need to contribute to care, especially health care.
We support harmonisation and single status on a best practice basis.
We support national bargaining and national negotiating structures with
opportunities for local improvements within these structures.
Manual Worker Conditions
-(AGM 1998) This meeting recognises a major impact of the 1997
budget cuts was on manual workers with many posts lost through early
retirement and reviews within DSOs.
We view with concern indications that to achieve spending limits in
the current budget crisis, management are targeting conditions such
as manual worker bonus schemes and overtime rates as areas for achieving
savings. The consequences of this will greatly affect the earnings of
many of our lowest paid members.
Branch officers are instructed to take whatever necessary measures
to protect current earning levels.
(AGM 1999) This Branch welcomes the Single Status initiative as a positive
step to further removing the falsely perceived barriers between manual
and APT&C workers with the creation of a single pay spine and a
merged service conditions package.
We further welcome the commitment towards an agreed Job Evaluation
system and towards ensuring Equal Opportunities for all will be a lead
factor in developing Single Status.
We consider it essential any implementation must not dilute local agreements
where the terms of such are an improvement on the terms of the Single
Status package. Further, Single Status must be underpinned by agreeing
minimum conditions at a Scottish level which would afford a level of
protection in instances of rogue employers.
We call on our Scottish negotiators to seek agreement on those terms.
Agreement on the aforementioned terms would provide for this Branch
committing itself to giving support to the Single Status Agreement and
to seeking early discussion with the employer of the impact of single
The Branch Committee must ensure decisions are made with input from
the affected members and that regular updates are provided to the membership.
HARMONISATION AND SINGLE STATUS
(AGM 2000) 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
Conference Locations (AGM 2003)
Whilst recognising the restrictions on choice for the National Annual
Conference (due to the scale of the event) this meeting states its concerns
with the locations chosen for other conferences.
We note this year's National Women's Conference is to be held in Plymouth
and that other locations such as Cardiff have been chosen in the past
for Annual conferences of self-organised groups.
Whilst accepting the good standard of facilities we are concerned that
the geographic location of these venues provides for travelling difficulties
and can extend periods away from home for activists with family commitments.
The additional travelling time can also create problems in getting
time off to attend with a three day conference requiring, on occasion,
five days away from home.
We call upon the National Executive Council to ensure all conferences
are held in locations with easy accessibility for the majority of delegates
and that the location should be accessed by a mainline railway station.
CONGESTION CHARGES (AGM 2004)
This AGM notes that the City of Edinburgh Council intend
to hold a referendum on the introduction of Congestion Charging.
However, there remain a number of concerns which need
to be addressed should Congestion Charging become a reality.
1. UNISON members who currently use their vehicle to carry
out their duties and are authorised car users should not be financially
2. That Congestion Charging should not discriminate against
disabled members who, because of their mobility problems, cannot access
public transport and require to use their vehicle to get to and from
3. That there are a huge number of members who live outwith
Edinburgh and as such will experience difficulty in accessing adequate
public transport, unless the Council resolve to significantly improve
public transport facilities.
This AGM therefore instructs Branch Officers to raise
these concerns with the Council and seek agreements on the above.
We believe in arms diversification. We oppose trident and all nuclear
weapons. We believe in the transfer of non employment related spending
to public services.
Missile Defence and Nuclear Disarmament
(AGM 2002) We recognise with alarm that we live in a world in which
major powers, in particular the USA supported by the UK, are increasingly
using force and military power to achieve their own ends rather than
use negotiation, international law or any international institutions
like the United Nations; and that actual military campaigns are ignoring
the principles of international law like the Geneva Convention. We believe
that in these circumstances the use of nuclear weapons becomes more
At the same time the USA is spending billions of dollars on increasing
the scale and technological sophistication of its armouries. The USA's
intention to develop and deploy National Missile Defence is the prime
example. It will enhance both the capacity to use nuclear missiles as
aggressive first strike weapons and the ability to deploy non-nuclear
weapons throughout the world. We note that the use of facilities in
the UK is central to NMD. This would set up our country as a target
in an increasingly dangerous world. We believe that if a British government
were to allow this it would be betraying the security of its peoples
as well as the cause of global peace and security.
We reiterate our opposition to all weapons of mass destruction, including
nuclear weapons, and our belief that the UK should disarm itself of
them unilaterally and devote its energies to the cause of nuclear non-proliferation.
We unequivocally oppose National Missile Defence (NMD) and call on the
government to give a commitment that it will not support it nor allow
British facilities to be used for it.
We expect UNISON-linked MP's and MSP's to give active, vocal and public
support to this policy. We expect all UNISON representatives to promote
this policy in appropriate forums and not vote for any policy on defence
or international relations which differs from it. Our expectation in
this respect includes APF representatives within the Labour Party.
TRIDENT PLOUGHSHARES 2000
(AGM 2000) This meeting welcomes (1) the decision in the Greenock
Sheriff Court that the International Court of Justice's ruling on the
illegality of nuclear weapons applies in Scotland; and (2) the acquittal
of three women who damaged Trident facilities on the basis that they
were acting to prevent a greater crime. This confirms that the Trident
programme is illegal and should be scrapped.
It congratulates members of Trident Ploughshares 2000 on accepting
personally the responsibility of all citizens to act to prevent crimes
of mass destruction. As a union we too accept this responsibility of
all citizens to act to prevent crimes of mass destruction. As a union
we too accept this responsibility, on the legal grounds and also because
we recognise that high defence expenditure, and the Trident programme
in particular, help undermine funding of public services and civil liberties.
We note that:
The government has not made any response to the ruling of the
International Court of Justice;
It has voted consistently against motions promoting nuclear
disarmament in the UN;
It has done nothing to fulfil legal obligations under the Non-proliferation
Treaty to take real steps towards disarmament.
We call on the government to accept international law and accordingly
to move rapidly to abandon the Trident programme. We call on UNISON
to place maximum pressure on the government to this end, including publicising
the government's lamentable record on these matters.
Delegations should act and vote as one. A majority vote on a delegation
means that the whole delegation must vote that way in representing the
branch (including on elections). Delegations can decide, by majority
vote, to abstain or split a vote.
Speakers will only speak to branch policy and will only speak if agreed
by the delegation. Speakers will clear an outline of their speech with
the delegation leader who will seek the view of the delegation should
there be any conflict.
Delegations are always accountable to branch policy. Where there is
no identifiable branch policy, they will try to link the issue with
an existing policy. If this is not possible, the delegation will decide
its position taking into account previous voting records and its knowledge
of the branch. In such cases it will report its actions to the branch
at the first possible opportunity.
DISABILITY AND ACCESS (AGM 2004)
This Branch looks forward to the conclusion of the audit of all council's
properties in relation to Access for the Disabled but is concerned that,
without major additional funding from the Scottish Executive, local
authorities will not be able to initiate the works required to address
the problem. We call upon the union to initiate a campaign along with
colleagues in the STUC to call for the required additional monies and
for the APF to raise this issue within the Labour Party.
This branch notes that a National Executive Council Disciplinary Hearing
has expelled a member following charges of harassment being established.
This branch believes that this sends a clear message about the standards
of behaviour expected of activists towards each other.
It notes the distress, and at times perceived lack of support that
several branch members, both male and female, have had to endure over
the last eleven months.
It resolves to:
1) Press for speedier but fair disciplinary procedures both locally
2) Ensure that the principles which guide our approach to members
harassed in the workplace also guide our approach to members harassed
in their trade union role
3) Adhere firmly to the guidance drawn up for behaviour on delegations.
We oppose all forms of sexism, racism, harassment against lesbians and
gay men, discrimination against disabled people and all forms of sectarian
discrimination. We recognise that workplace bullying is a problem and
we support measures to address this.
We consider that any member guilty of any of the above acts should
also face disciplinary action by the union. We consider that the union
and the branch has a campaigning role in this area and that this starts
by leading by example.
ACTION AGAINST RACIST ATTACKS
(AGM 2000) This Branch condemns the disgraceful and cowardly racist
attack on UNISON City of Edinburgh Branch member and Scottish Black
Members Committee officer Tamara Mhuru on her return from a UNISON meeting
on Saturday 5 February. We note with shame that no-one came to Tamara's
assistance but welcome the actions of the family who treated her and
summoned help after the attack.
This attack demonstrates that racism permeates our society and is experienced
daily by our members. Many of us only recognise this when it comes to
the fore with such hate and violence. Racism is an issue for us all.
It tarnishes our dignity as trade unionists and as citizens and it devalues
the high principles on which we sought self-determination in Scotland.
We believe that a clear message should go out that such attacks must
be confronted individually, collectively and with the full force of
the law. We all have a role in directly challenging racism in every
form, from the so-called 'unconscious' statement or actively racist
comment in the workplace, to the behaviour of individuals or groups
in wider society. To stand on one side or collude gives permission to
those who perpetrate these attacks.
Therefore, this Branch resolves to:-
1) Send the terms of this motion and a message of comfort to Tamara
and provide her with the full support of the union to seek redress for
2) Extend our thanks to the family who came to Tamala's aid.
3) Make representations at a local and national level to the City of
Edinburgh Council to build on its current anti-racist policies and use
its powers and influence to ensure there is a co-ordinated strategy
to challenge racism in the city.
4) Build on UNISON Scotland's response to the "Stephen Lawrence
- An Action Plan for Scotland" document and highlight the problem
of institutional racism in public and private organisations which contributes
to the climate in which attacks like this can take place.
CHHOKAR FAMILY JUSTICE CAMPAIGN
(AGM 2000)This Branch meeting pledges it's support to the campaign
for justice for the family of Surjit Chhokar who was murdered in Lanarkshire
in November 1998. The judicial system has, once again, failed to deliver
Three men have been accused of his murder. So far, only one has stood
trial. The charge was reduced from murder to assaults and although found
guilty he walked free from the court. The remaining two men are due
to stand trial at the end of February. Even the trial judge questioned
why the accused were not tried together as is the usual procedure. We
deplore racist murders and support the campaign in bringing the accused
We agree to:
1. Send a message of support and a donation of £200 to the campaign.
2. Build support for the campaign and encourage UNISON members to support
the family by attending the court.
AFTER PADDINGTON - SAFETY BEFORE PROFIT
AGM 2000, further advice to be taken from rail unions
This Branch meeting believes that the Paddington Train Disaster was
a direct result of private rail companies refusing to invest their growing
profits in safety measures. This cannot be allowed to continue.
We therefore demand:
1. Profits are used to invest in safety and improve services rather
than benefit shareholders.
2. The more advanced safety system, the ATP system, is introduced immediately
despite the opposition of the private rail companies.
3. That the railways are re-nationalised.
4. The safety role of the Guard is examined and reinstated on all train
We resolve to:
1. Raise the terms of this motion at all levels of UNISON (including
2. Write to John Prescott at the DTE with the terms of the motion.
3. Circulate petitions to all members supporting these demands.
No donations to things that should be publicly funded.
We support an economic policy that involves public ownership, full employment
and investment in public services and infrastructure. Specifically we
support tax on dividends, windfall taxes on privatised utilities and
progressive taxation. Investment in manufacturing industry and in the
public services and infrastructure stimulate each other.
Economic Policy -(AGM1997)
The current financial crisis in local government and other public services
demonstrate that UNISON members' struggles to protect jobs, pay and
services must be matched with effective campaigning for an economic
policy which prioritises creating jobs and resourcing a high quality
This AGM notes the poor state of the UK economy; in particular that
the low levels of investment, continuing despite rising dividend payments
to shareholders, restrict the scope for growth in output and employment
from the private sector, and that the high level of government deficit
despite continuing attacks on public services reveals the fiscal crisis
created by successive Conservative governments.
In these circumstances a new government which continues with the same
macroeconomic policies as the Conservatives will have little option
but to pursue similar policies on resourcing the public sector and on
job creation. Furthermore if the UK were to enter European Monetary
Union on the Maastricht criteria these constraints would be imposed
by European law.
Therefore this AGM/Conference agrees to vigorously promote economic
and fiscal policies which are sufficient to protect its members and
services of the welfare state and reduce unemployment. These will require
a radical break with monetarism and shall include:
- Opposition to the Maastricht convergence criteria for EMU
- A progressive taxation policy which shifts the burden onto high
incomes and dividend payments.
- Reduction in military expenditure.
- A minimum wage of at least half median earnings.
- Job creation in the public sector linked to measures to help the
- Dividend limits to increase private sector investment.
- Taxes on privatised public utilities
UNISON will campaign for these policies. They will be a priority for
publicity campaigns; and UNISON will actively promote them within the
Labour movement, especially in the TUC, STUC and Trades Councils. In
particular UNISON will work with the Full Employment Forum, the Alternatives
to Maastricht campaign and the Campaign to Defend the Welfare State
to hold conferences and seminars and to develop explanatory and campaigning
materials for UNISON members at both Scottish and UK levels.
Economic Policy (AGM 1998)
Local Government budgets and the threats of compulsory redundancies
are consequences of the Government sticking to spending limits set by
the Conservatives, and of its failure to significantly increase its
This approach has also underlain the reductions in lone parent benefits
and threats to benefits for other vulnerable groups, e.g. the disabled.
UNISON members therefore need both to protect themselves and to win
support for an alternative economic policy which can provide sufficient
resources for improved levels of benefits in a welfare state which continues
to be based on universal high quality services. In particular, the Government
should increase taxation on top incomes, dividends corporation tax;
and reducing defence expenditure.
Therefore this meeting resolves to:
i. continue its policy of industrial action, if necessary, in response
to compulsory redundancies
ii. press within the union and the Labour Party for changes in economic
policy outlined above
iii. forge the widest possible alliance locally around the defence
of the welfare state and public services; and calls on UNISON to do
likewise at Scottish and UK levels.
We believe in a quality state education system under direct local authority
control. We oppose any public funding of selective or private education
and oppose tax and other benefits available to private education. We
oppose nursery vouchers. We support a comprehensive in house and accessible
school meals service.
FLEXIBLE WORKING (AGM 2005)
This Branch welcomes the provisions initiated by the Government in
the Flexible Working Regulations (2002) but note only parents of children
aged under six or disabled children aged under eighteen have the right
to apply to work flexibly.
We consider the flexible working provisions would provide opportunities
for those with care responsibilities to remain in work whilst still
meeting their care responsibilities.
We call upon the union at all levels to campaign for the extension
of the Flexible Working Regulations (2002) to encompass any worker with
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (AGM 2005)
This meeting notes the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act
on the 1st January 2005.
This is undoubtedly a positive step forward in terms of ensuring that
public bodies are obliged to make available information that they may
previously have withheld from the public domain.
The Act has fairly tight timescales on responding to requests for information
and how to treat a request for information.
It is vitally important that local government employees are properly
trained on the terms of the act and their responsibilities within it
as not only can the public body itself be prosecuted for failure to
adhere to the Act but individuals of the organisation.
This meeting therefore calls upon the relevant Branch Officers to enter
into discussions with the Council to ensure that:
1. Appropriate training is given to all City of Edinburgh Council staff
to enable them to deal with any requests for information adequately.
2. An agreement is reached that no individual Council employee is held
liable for breaches of the Act and that the Council will take corporate
responsibility for any actions raised in respect of alleged breaches.
ELECTION OF FULL TIME OFFICERS
We do not believe that it best serves the union to elect all full time
officers. This would give them a greater policy role.
We support full employment. We oppose the Jobseekers allowance. We oppose
the massaging of unemployment statistics. We oppose compulsory training
schemes and support real training schemes designed to help people find
work. We believe that industry has a major role in providing training
to meet its needs.
Welfare to Work: (AGM 1998)
This Branch AGM welcomes the Governments decision to levy a tax on
the excess profits of privatised utilities and to use this to fund programmes
to help the unemployed. It believes that these should be implemented
in accordance with principles defended by the Labour movement during
the Conservative Government's in particular;
- Voluntary participations
- No job substitution
- The rate for the job for work done
- Full trade union involvement in approval and monitoring
- Commitment to finding the resources necessary for a quality services
It therefore recommends the joint position of the STUC, COSLA and SCVO
of 1993 but notes with concern that the Government plans appear not
to be in accord with these principles. Participation on training or
employment programmes as a result of threats of benefit sanctions will
disrupt programmes for the majority and waste public money. The Government
should therefore repeal sanctions from the Jobseekers' Allowance.
This meeting notes the strong emphasis on job subsidies paid to employers
in the New Deal and that it will be delivered by a variety of independent
agencies including the private sector. Considering the problem of guaranteeing
quality and to avoid the dangers of pressuring claimants to take low
paid and unattractive jobs, we call for;
- safeguards against displacement of existing workers and termination
of employment when the subsidy ceases, including full trade union
participation in approvals;
- a powerful independent inspectorate; and a charter of rights for
claimants and participants;
- a right to reject or leave any programme which the claimant believes
is not assisting him/her with no detriment
Further, we call upon local authorities to reiterate their opposition
to workfare and coercion. In the absence of these agreements they should
not manage, fund or participate in such programmes.
Specifically, we call on the City of Edinburgh Council in managing
any contracts under the New Deal to ensure that:
i. all participants within the Council's services are paid the appropriate
rate for the job
ii. no placements are provided in sections/work group with long-term
iii. there is no reduction in full-time posts
iv. participants are given adequate support and training
UNISON members and stewards will monitor the implementation of the
New Deal and not approve any arrangements which do not meet these principles.
Pay: We fully support equal pay for work of equal value. We support
Equality of pay in terms of the Equal Pay Act and seek to negotiate
a jobe evaluation scheme that will deliver that. We are committed to
negotiated settlements - and if not possible - litigation to secure
equal pay for our members with compensation.
AGM 2008: This meeting expresses its extreme concern at the
council's approach to Equal Pay. The Council's failure to accept their
employment practices over the past years have discriminated against
groups of workers who are predominately low-paid women has created an
environment where "no- win, no-fee" lawyers are now raising litigation
against not only the employer but also individual Branch Officers on
the basis they were supposedly aware of Equal Pay legislation but failed
to use it in the interests of their members.
The complexity of this particular employment legislation is self-evident
and we are concerned that lead activists are now being asked to respond
on an individual basis to questions raised by the "no-win, no fee lawyers
We consider both the failure of the employer to respond to this situation
and the circumstances facing our lead activists to be unacceptable and
call upon the union at all levels to take whatever action necessary
to address these issues with a view to ensuring a fair and equitable
resolution which protects the interests of all members and those who
Self Organisation: We support the principle of self organisation.
We believe that it should be accountable to the members it represents
and should remain integral to and accountable to the union. We recognise
that the particular needs of self organised group members may require
structures that differ from the branch's normal ones within the above
This Branch meeting supports the Scottish Executive's moves to repeal
Section 28 of the Local Government Act. We agree with Bill Spiers of
the STUC, that Section 28 "is a symbol of homophobic bigotry".
Further, we believe that the campaign against its repeal has opened
the door for an increase in anti-gay prejudice and discrimination. We
note that equality is a founding principle of the Scottish Parliament
and believe that this human rights issue should not be reduced to a
question of individual "conscience" and that, for instance,
all Labour MSP's must support its repeal. We believe that a failure
to repeal Section 28 will perpetuate and magnify abuse and discrimination
against gay and lesbian people and their children in this country.
We therefore resolve to:
1. Write to Donald Dewar and all local MP's/MSP's with the terms of
2. Encourage all our members to do likewise.
3. Call on our members who are parents of school children to raise
the issue with their school boards, asking them to reverse the stance
taken by the Scottish School Boards Association.
We support a woman's right to choose.
We support the Social Chapter. We oppose monetary union /single currency
(AGM 2002) This meeting recognises that the General Agreement on Trade
in Services poses a major threat to public services. It expresses alarm
at the support given by the UK governments to expand trade in public
services; and at the decision of the WTO to speed up negotiations on
GATS. It supports efforts by those governments which are seeking to
ensure this process is required to show the effects and supposed benefits
of liberalisation. We call on the UK government to state clearly that
it will refuse to enter into or sign up to/support any agreement which
obliges it to introduce liberalisation, free markets or privatisation
on any public services; or to weaken its powers to regulate other industries.
We call on the Scottish Executive and public authorities to give support
to this position.
We expect UNISON-linked MP's and MSP's to give active, vocal and public
support to this policy.
We expect all UNISON representatives to promote this policy in appropriate
forums and not vote for any policy which does not protect public service
from the threats in GATS. Our expectation in this respect includes APF
representatives within the Labour Party.
In doing the above we will lend support to and co-operate with the
activities of the World Development Movement over GATS.
HEALTH & SAFETY
-For safe and healthy conditions for workers everywhere and want stronger
legislation and enforcement to ensure this.
-(AGM1998) We therefore resolve to insist that the employer
set up an agreed safety committee, in line with the Safety Representatives
and Safety Committees Regulations 1977. We further resolve to seek agreement
that part of such a Committee's remit would include investigating setting
up safety committee's on a more local basis, i.e. on the basis of buildings,
divisions, departments or sections.
Provisional Improvement Notices
(AGM 1999) This meeting notes with concern the continual cutbacks within
the Health and Safety Executive which is creating barriers towards their
early involvement in reported breaches of Health & Safety legislation.
This situation allows management to abrogate their responsibilities.
We note other countries address such issues in a manner which gives
greater power to union Health & Safety Representatives through the
application of Provisional Improvement Notices. This mechanism places
greater onus on management to respond in an effective and timeous manner
to issues raised by employees' representatives and gives greater punitive
powers to the Health & Safety Executive.
We call on the union at all levels to support the TUC demands for the
introduction of Provisional Improvement Notices and request Branch Officers
seek a local Agreement on this initiative in advance of any legislative
Stress Related Illness
(AGM 1998) This Branch therefore resolves:
1.To seek information from the employers on sickness absence figures,
and causes of sickness, including any increases in sickness and the
employers' explanation for any increases.
2.To start a campaign to highlight the risks of occupational stress
and related illness, and to point out the direct link between increasing
pressures on staff of budget cuts etc, with increases in work-related
3.To include information on any increases in numbers of Grievances,
particularly increases in Grievances relating to the effects of the
cuts, and increases in Grievances where work-related stress or harassment
is a factor.
4.To strongly resist any attempts by the employers to "tighten
up" the Sickness Absence Monitoring Policy as their attempt to
deal with increased staff sickness.
5.To support individual members experiencing work-related stress, and
illness,to fight for improved conditions at work and to give advice
on legal action for compensation.
6.To promote the recruitment of workplace Health and Safety Officers,and
for regular workplace inspections and risk assessments to be carried
out,and to include risk factors which cause stress.
We believe in widely available democratically accountable public housing
without stigma. We recognise the reality of council house sales but
believe receipts should be ploughed into rebuild. We believe that councils
should be able to use council tax receipts to subsidise public housing.
In order to secure funding from the Scottish Executive the Council
has decided to promote the transfer of the entire housing stock to a
new Housing Association. The final decision will be taken by Council
tenants who will vote in 2006 either for or against the transfer proposals.
While recognising that investment is badly needed this branch rejects
that position for the following reasons:
Stock Transfer means privatisation of an essential public service and
democratic control and accountability through elected councillors will
Post transfer there may be threats to terms and conditions of service
as in Glasgow where despite a TUPE agreement the Glasgow Housing Association
has now proposed annual job cuts of £1.75m and a performance related
pay scheme which will replace both the annual pay award and automatic
progression through the pay increments.
The closure of the Housing Department will also have a detrimental
impact on jobs in other Council Departments as it buys £4.5m in
goods and services from other departments.
Stock Transfer is an expensive option and both the Parliamentary Public
Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office have reported that
Stock Transfer results in higher costs than Council's carrying out housing
UNISON believes that the government should provide an Investment Allowance
that would allow Councils to finance borrowing using the Prudential
The campaign for a 'level playing field' in housing finance and for
direct investment in Council housing is gaining momentum and successfully
changed Labour Party policy at its last National Conference.
This branch therefore resolves to:
- Defend any members faced with victimisation for standing by UNISON
- Seek advice about the legality of management instructions to members
to canvas tenants for the Yes vote that may mean their transfer out
of council employment.
- Write to all members in the Housing Department to clarify UNISON's
position and seek their views about the development of the campaign.
- Apply to UNISON's General Political Fund for the resources to mount
a campaign against Stock Transfer.
- Write to the Council to insist that the information given to tenants
sets out the case for and against transfer.
- Affiliate to Edinburgh Against Stock Transfer which has been set
up as a broad campaign to argue the case for the retention of Council
Housing and to campaign for a No Vote in 2006.
In 2001, the Housing Department commissioned research
into the options available to the Council for the future management
of council housing.
The result of this research was to retain the bulk of
council housing in local government ownership.
However, the Scottish Executive now has a target to transfer
75,000 Local Authority houses to other landlords and this has revived
the debate around large scale stock transfer in Edinburgh.
In light of this development we call on this branch to
re-affirm its agreement with UNISON Scotland's response to the Scottish
Executive's proposals for the Housing Scotland Bill regarding mass stock
transfer as noted below:-
- UNISON Scotland believes that a policy of mass stock transfer, or
so-called 'community ownership' is unnecessary and damaging for the
- It is an expensive and unnecessary means of resolving the investment
crisis in public housing stock
- It will lead to less democratic accountability
- It will destabilise communities
- It will result in less diversity in housing tenure
- It may lead to increased social exclusion
- It will, over time, lead to an increase in rents
- And it will inevitably have a detrimental impact on jobs, pay and
conditions of local government housing staff.
- UNISON Scotland believes that tenants should make real choices about
the future management and maintenance of their homes - with the maximum
possible information available to them.
We therefore call on this branch, in the event of a decision
to pursue large scale stock transfer, to:-
1. Promote a broad-based campaign to keep Council Housing
in Local Authority ownership, including support for any tenants' campaigns.
2. Ensure members in the Housing Department are supported
when they give UNISON campaign leaflets to residents in order that tenants
should make real choices about the future management and maintenance
of their homes - with the maximum possible information available to
3.Make use of UNISON's General Political Fund to finance
THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC HOUSING
(AGM 2000) This branch welcomes the Council's decision to reject
the call for wholesale transfer of its housing stock but views with
concern considerations that the stock could be divided into smaller
units for subsequent transfer to Housing Associations,Community Organisations
and other providers of rented housing.
We believe a housing mix is desirable but that there is a paramount
need to retain a democratically controlled rented sector which is controlled
by accountable councillors who are directly responsible to the citizens
of Edinburgh through election processes.
We support the authority's plans to address the needs of Social Inclusion
and stress the availability of high quality rented accomodation is crucial
to achieving the objectives of Social Inclusion. The authority must
take the lead on Social Inclusion and set standards through development
of its own housing stock.
We welcome in principle the proposal for a Single Social Tenancy. However
we also note the serious concerns expressed in the debate on this subject
in the Scottish parliament on 9 January 2000 about the proposals to
extend the "right to buy".
In light of these it calls on the Scottish government to drop proposals
to further extend the "right to buy" to housing association
tenants as part of the introduction of the Single Social Tenancy.
It believes that this proposal would have serious adverse effects on
our policies to achieve Social Inclusion, which depend on there being
a right to rent good quality secure housing.
Therefore we further call upon the government to review the balance
between the 'right to rent' and the 'right to buy', looking in particular
at the distorting effects of discounts.
We recognise the limitations placed on the council through the Right
to Buy, restrictions on New Build and other obstructive governmental
decisions. It is clear without changes in government policy there will
be continuing reductions in the available stock which will inevitably
lead to the removal of a public sector housing provision.
We consider the council's independent study of the future for City
of Edinburgh's housing stock provides opportunities to strengthen and
develop the council's role as a direct provider of rented accomodation.
We call upon the council to ensure the outcomes of the study are considered
by a tri-partite partnership of council, tenants and staff unions and
that the decision to reject wholesale transfer should be reinforced
through this process.
Further, we commit this branch to campaign with all other appropriate
organisations for the retention of publicly owned, democratically controlled,
affordable housing and to call upon the Scottish Executive to make appropriate
legislative amendments to control the Right to Buy and to remove the
restrictions on New Build.
Given it would cost £ 6 billion to restore and refurbish Scotland's
public housing stock, the campaign should also call for improved funding
packages for public sector Housing initiatives.
[The terms of this motion should be adapted and submitted to Scottish
Council, Annual Conference and the Labour Party via the APF]