Unions call for fair funding and fair pay

Derek Mackay is to unveil his first draft budget since becoming Finance Secretary.
Derek Mackay is to unveil his first draft budget since becoming Finance Secretary.

Scotland’s largest trade union will join with other public service unions tomorrow (Thursday) to call for an end to public service cuts.

The lobby takes place on the day the Scottish Government delivers its draft budget for 2017/18.

Local government has taken the brunt of cuts in Scotland, with Scottish Government funding falling by £186m in real terms since 2010/11 – a real terms cut of 8.4 per cent.

UNISON says the cuts are unsustainable and is calling for councils to receive fair funding to deliver the services the people of Scotland rely on.

Mark Ferguson chair of UNISON local government committee said: “These cuts are quite simply unsustainable. We are already seeing drastic cuts to services for disabled people, older people, education, youth services, school support, libraries, road repairs and this can not be allowed to continue.

“We all rely on the services delivered by local government. From childcare to care for our elderly and vulnerable; keeping our streets lit to emptying our bins; helping us to stay fit and our children to learn – local government is at the heart of Scottish society. Ensuring councils are properly resourced and capable of meeting the demands placed upon them must be a priority.

“This year alone has seen 7,000 jobs lost across local government and further cuts to services will have a devastating effect on our communities and the economy. We are calling on the Scottish Government to ensure they put people first and ensure fair funding for Scotland’s councils.”

Meanwhile, on the eve of the Scottish budget and the publication of the Scottish Public Sector Pay policy, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members will be lobbying MSPs today at the Scottish Parliament to demand Fair Pay for Fair Work.

Lynn Henderson PCS National Officer said “When Derek Mackay stands up in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow to move his first draft budget he will be speaking to 129 MSPs whose pay settlement for 2017 has just been agreed at a level in excess of the pay cap that public sector workers are expected to endure.

“He should therefore reflect on the fact that many of his own staff across Government have told PCS that they are struggling to make ends meet, they have told us that they have downsized the quality of their food and clothing shopping, given up family holidays nights out and cars and been forced to turn down heating and cancelling their pet insurance.”