UNISON slams Swinney’s response to their ‘Education: It’s ONE Team’ campaign

The largest trade union in local government have slammed John Swinney’s, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, response to their campaign for a fair pay rise for all local government workers.

Thousands of UNISON members wrote to Mr Swinney highlighting the vital role they play in the delivery of high quality education to Scotland’s children and calling on him to ensure that if teachers received an improved pay offer that this is extended to all local government employees.

Last year the Scottish Government, as part of the tri-partite negotiations for teachers, agreed a bigger pay increase for teachers than that given to other local authority workers. UNISON members are angry that this could happen again this year and have written to Mr Swinney to highlight the unfairness of that position and to ask him to think again.

Carol Ball, chair of UNISON Scotland’s Education Issues Group, said: “In every education establishment across the country both teachers and education support staff work alongside one another and all contribute to the delivery of high quality education. Mr Swinney appears to acknowledge this fact in his response to our campaign but then goes on to describe our members as ‘non-teachers’. Describing thousands of workers by something they are not gives every indication that he does not value what they actually are. Mr Swinney also refused to take this opportunity to confirm that everyone working in education would be treated equally and all receive a fair pay rise. ”

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland’s Head of Local Government (Bargaining), said: “UNISON are proud of our education support staff members and the contribution they make to the education of Scotland’s children. Education support staff describes our member’s collective roles and what they contribute, the use of “non-teachers” is derogatory and further insults thousands of local government workers across the country. If Mr Swinney truly values the contribution of the whole education workforce he will ensure that his government delivers a fair pay deal for all rather than hiding behind the technicalities of bargaining machinery.”

Notes:
– UNISON are the largest trade union in local government, representing 80,000 members in Local Government.
– Read Mr Swinney’s letter, the Pay Claim submitted by the Joint Trade Unions and all correspondence with the Scottish Government and COSLA here http://www.unison-scotland.org/service-groups-and-sectors/local-government/local-government-pay2018
– The four local government bargaining groups are: Local Government, Teachers, Craft and Chief Officials.
– The Joint Trades Unions, representing local government workers on the Scottish Joint Council are Unison, Unite and the GMB.

For more information please contact:
Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland’s head of local government bargaining on 07817 120 894 or j.baxter@unison.co.uk