Branch AGM 2022—the nominees

Join the branch AGM on Thursday 24 March

Your branch AGM will be held on Thursday 24 March from 4pm to 6:30pm—email graeme.smith2@unitetheunion.org to get your invite to come along.

Nominations closed on 28 February, please find the list of nominees and some comments on these below.

The nominations

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Budget Day demo—united in our call to invest in Council workers and jobs

On Thursday, we braved the chill and snow to demonstrate outside the City Chambers in solidarity with fellow trade unionists, activists and concerned citizens as the Council met to approve next year’s budget.

Read the budget papers and watch a webcast of the budget meeting, which includes the full deputations summarised below.

The Council have delivered a balanced budget for 2022/23, thanks to an underspend in 2021/22 and a 3% Council Tax rise, however the forecast for the years following looks bleak, with a gap in 2023/24 of around £55m with this gap increasing around £25m each year thereafter. The Council have said there must be a ‘robust savings plan’—which we know by now, translates to more cuts.

The demonstrators sought to raise awareness of the impact of cuts and call for measures to tackle the crises we face today that will be worsened by further cuts and by failing to change how the Council delivers services. We need a shake up and we need it now.

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Unite calls for protection guarantees in the National Care Service

Read all our posts on the National Care Service.

Unite Scotland press release

Following on from the independent evaluation of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the creation of a National Care Service by 2026, Unite the Union has today (Monday 14th February) issued a stark warning to the Scottish Government that there should be no dismantling of the NHS or Local Authorities when developing a National Care Service.

The evaluation identified that the consultation was rushed through, with vague and unclear questions. However, what was clear is that workers, organisational bodies, and service users have identified the level of care currently provided is not good enough.

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Low paid, overworked, undervalued—Audit Scotland’s findings on social care

Last week Audit Scotland published a social care briefing analysing the state of the sector and the challenges it faces. We encourage all staff in Health and Social Care to read this and provide a brief overview in the following article.

The findings confirm what Unite CEC Branch has long believed: that social care staff are low paid, overworked and undervalued, and that the current staffing crisis is not caused by external circumstances, but exposed by them. The cause of the crisis is historical poor treatment and undervaluing of social care workers.

The briefing raises further alarms about the marketisation of social care, which is particularly worrying as the SNP’s National Care Service (NCS)—or National Commissioning Service, as would be more accurate—is on the horizon. Proponents of the free market would argue that competition between companies increases standards and increases the range service users can choose from, yet the briefing reports with concern that

commissioning focuses on cost rather than quality. Competition between providers has been at the expense of collaboration and quality.

And later in the report

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Agreed principles for Health and Social Care staffing crisis

We previously wrote about the staffing crisis in Health and Social Care, sharing the opportunities for staff and highlighting some origins of the crisis. We understand the need for this radical move and offer support to the Council and to all staff that decide to help out in these difficult times.

Staff that honourably take on work in social care must be adequately supported and protected by their employer—as do existing social care staff who may be concerned with the arrival of staff new to the field. There also needs to be careful work around the services that reduce due to staff going over to work in social care.

Unite, GMB and Unison have agreed the following principles with the Scottish Government and COSLA.

Joint statement on prioritisation of Social Care principles for engagement

In achieving the aim of prioritising social care it is recognised that where possible volunteering to assist in other roles will play a part. As such the following high level principles will support effective and proactive engagement with Trade Unions locally to ensure staff feel safe, protected and supported to take on time limited roles. Local Resilience Partnerships are asked to ensure as part of their ongoing process that the following arrangements are in place and met:

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