Headlines: March 17th, 2003

In the run up to the Scottish elections in May, UNISON has called on political parties to end low pay which disproportionately affects women. The union has successfully negotiated pay increases for the lowest paid in local government and the health service and it is now focusing on higher and further education and the community and voluntary sectors where low pay continues to be prevalent.Ending low pay is one of the issues in a ‘boost public services’ campaign which calls for a comprehensive and innovative look at public service renewal in Scotland. The manifesto for the campaign says that while many Scottish politicians have accepted the need to improve the country’s public services, good intent has not been matched by action. It sets out the union’s solutions to issues ranging from health care to the police, energy and transport.

Matt Smith, UNISON’s Scottish secretary said: “Politicians must address the concerns of those who provide and use our public services, if they are to deserve their votes and, more importantly, if we are to successfully deliver revitalised public services. The parties need to be aware that UNISON members have a vote and are likely to use it.”

The campaign will involve newspaper adverts, direct mailing and a special magazine sent to all 150,000 UNISON members, calling on them to challenge their candidates to adopt those principles.