'There is a great deal of anger'
- Published on Thursday, 13 October 2011 09:50
- Posted by Scott Buckler
UNISON members in the police force and NHS launched the union's pensions strike ballot in Scotland this week
Police staff posed for the media outside Strathclyde Police HQ in Glasgow, and uniformed NHS staff outside the city’s Gartnavel General Hospital - all of them holding placards with the message "Vote yes – stop the great pensions robbery".
Across the UK, UNISON is balloting 1.1 million members for industrial action over proposed changes to pensions.
The ballot follows months of talks in which ministers have refused to move on from the hard-line stance to make public sector employees work longer, pay more and get less when they retire.
Some 150,000 members will be balloted in Scotland, in the biggest industrial action ballot in the country’s history.
It will involve almost all UNISON’s members in Scotland including local government, the NHS, police and fire service staff, further and higher education, some members in the community and voluntary sector, and Scottish Water.
"There is a great deal of anger among our membership at these attacks on the pensions that we have earned and which are modest enough without being delayed or downgraded," said UNISON Scotland secretary Mike Kirby.
They were particularly angry, Mr Kirby said, because the money raised through these "unfair measures" would not be used to sustain pensions, but to repair the deficit caused by the banks.
"Our members are already dealing with a pay freeze, redundancies, cuts in pay and conditions and cuts in the services they deliver," he added.
"This attack on pensions is the final straw. We need to take a stand across the UK to say enough is enough.”
UNISON is urging its members to vote Yes in the ballot. The first day of action is scheduled for 30 November.
At the same time, the union has made it clear that it is willing to negotiate “any time, any place” if ministers demonstrate that they are interested in serious talks.