UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Second wave of action on Scottish NHS pensions

As the second round of selective strikes started in NHS Scotland, UNISON lobbied the Scottish Parliament today calling on MSPs to seek a Scottish solution to the proposed changes to NHS pensions. Workers in Lothian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lanarkshire Health Boards came out on strike, following action in Ayrshire and Arran on 13 and 14 March.

Finance staff from across the three boards will be undertaking a full day of strike action. There were lunchtime demonstrations at Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride; Wishaw General Hospital, and Kirklands Hospital, Bothwell.

Lilian Macer, UNISON’s Scottish Convener, said:  “We’re calling on MSPs to take a good look at NHS pensions and not to just blindly follow the UK Government’s proposals.

“We have a separate scheme in Scotland and therefore we need to seek a Scottish solution. Taking money out of health workers’ pockets to give to the Treasury is not the answer.

“As the Scottish Government has the responsibility to address these issues in Scotland, we’re calling upon Scottish Ministers to delay the pensions tax and engage with us to find a negotiated settlement.”

Tam Waterson, Chair of UNISON’s Scottish Health Committee, said:  “The sad reality is that many of our members will not be able to afford these increases and will be forced to opt out of the pension scheme altogether.

“Our members don’t take strike action easily and this day of action is yet further testament to the anger and distress that is being felt among health workers.

“We’ve always believed public sector workers deserve decent pensions, and our members have shown they are willing to take action to defend these.”