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

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

UNISON Scotland NHS staff strike on pensions

NHS UNISON members in Scotland kicked off a new round of industrial action on NHS pensions yesterday. Selective strikes started with Ayrshire and Arran and will roll out to Glasgow and Lothian throughout March.
The action is designed to put pressure of the Scottish Government for a Scottish solution to all aspects of pensions changes. This includes the Year 1 increases to employee contributions of up to 2.4% - a pensions tax on health workers. http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/

The action by members in the Central De-Contamination Unit at Ayrshire will run to 14 March. Action by Greater Glasgow and Lothian Health will follow, including Sterile Services, Procurement and Finance staff, and other groups.

Ewing Hope UNISON Ayrshire and Arran Branch Secretary, said, "The staff within the CDU were superb in their support to take action in defending the pensions of all our members in the NHS and are grateful for the support shown by other UNISON branches. The support of the Regional Secretary, Scottish Head of Health, Chair of the Scottish Health Committee and colleagues from Renfrewshire LA Branch, NHS Glasgow and Clyde Branch was greatly appreciated".

Tam Waterson, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Health Committee, said: “Our members are very distressed and angry that the Scottish Government, at the behest of the UK government, is asking them to pay much more in pension contributions.

“The reality is that many of our members will simply not be able to afford to make the proposed contribution increases due to start in April, and will be forced to opt out of their scheme to the future detriment of themselves, their families and communities - and the public purse."

Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary, said: “We do not accept that the Scottish Government has no option other than to follow the UK Government’s proposals. There is a separate scheme in Scotland and there are other options to fund the cost. These should be pursued in partnership.

"We call on the Scottish Government to seek a Scottish solution, delay the pensions tax, and engage with us to find a negotiated settlement.”