Original article from UNISON Scotland
“The general election is hugely important for the future of UNISON members and the services they deliver. It’s vital that members use their vote and their influence to ensure that public services and the people who work in them are high on parties agendas” said UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby launching UNISON Scotland’s manifesto for the December 12th poll.
Almost all of UNISON Scotland’s members work in areas which are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, this election still matters though. Westminster has a huge influence over the overall levels of public spending in Scotland. While the Conservatives want the election to be all about Brexit, there are many other reserved issues that matter including; most economic policy, much welfare spending and rights at work. So the results of this election will a have a huge impact on UNISON members’ lives in and out of the workplace.
To highlight this and help push the issues that matter to our union, UNISON Scotland has published “For Our Public Services” UNISON Scotland’s manifesto. In this manifesto we set out the issues that UNISON will expect the political parties to address in the election.
Foremost among the concerns expressed is ‘undoing the damage’. This is a reference to the series of surveys and reports published by UNISON Scotland. What we see in these surveys are an overworked, underpaid and stressed workforce trying hard to deliver quality services without adequate funding. It is made clear that we need a government that will invest in services and give citizens the high quality services they deserve.
In order to do that the manifesto argues for a progressive tax system that raises enough money to pay for public services. Companies using aggressive tax avoidance measures should be excluded from all public procurement.
Fairness at work
The manifesto also has a focus on a better deal for our members at work. For almost a decade workers in public services have been experiencing a real terms decline in the value of their wages. Cost of living rises this year do nothing to address that injustice – nor impact on the spiralling levels of personal debt many face.
The manifesto finishes with a series of questions members and branches can ask those seeking support. These questions challenge would-be MPs across parties about what they will do to: raise our wages; make corporations and the rich pay their fair share; improve our rights at work; get us a vote on any Brexit deal; and others. It’s the answers to these questions that will determine whether candidates are worth supporting.
As Mike Kirby puts it “Public services are central to the quality of life of our citizens. Not only are public services essential to those in need: they are the glue that holds our society together.”
We need to raise our voices about that in the days ahead – then go out on December 12th and make sure that message is heard. Your vote matters.
You can download For Our Public Services here.