Series of targeted strikes begins with 48 hour stoppage in south-west Scotland, followed by further action, including Edinburgh and Glasgow
UNISON has called a series of rolling strikes on pensions in Scotland for the week beginning 12th March.
It is expected that the first strike will be followed by further targeted action in Edinburgh, Lanarkshire and Glasgow later in the month.
UNISON – which has some 50,000 members working within NHS Scotland – has called industrial action north of the border because management is about to impose an increase in staff contributions from 1st April despite the fact that no detailed negotiations have taken place with ministers in the SNP government over the hike of up to 2.4%.
Tom Waterson, chair of UNISON Scotland’s Health Committee told UnionNews: “Our members have been demanding action on this increase.
“We had been hoping to persuade the government to talk to us before now about the proposed increase, because SNP ministers have said repeatedly they think the Coalition’s pensions proposals are wrong.
“So it’s ridiculous that they won’t come to speak to us about this issue now.”
It is understood both sides agree that the cost of delaying the contributions increase for the coming year will be £42 million.
The Scottish government says its hands are tied by pensions arrangements made at Westminster and Whitehall. However, union negotiators insist the contributions increase has to authorised by the Scottish Parliament and must be agreed with MSPs and staff representatives before it takes effect.
The union insists it is not too late for the government to prevent industrial action by opening negotiations.
The first wave of action will involve staff at Ayrshire Central Hospital.
The Central Decontamination Unit at the hospital is being officially opened by Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon on Monday (5th March).
UNISON has called for members and supporters to join a lobby of the event.
Scottish secretary Mike Kirby said: “Health workers in Scotland will be the major group to face the brunt of contributions increases which even the Scottish Government says are unwanted and unnecessary.
“Scottish Ministers should delay these changes to allow negotiations in NHS Scotland to find alternatives which don’t involve taking money out of Scottish health workers’ pockets to give to the Treasury as a windfall tax.”
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