Tag Archives: Sector Forums

Unite releases phone bank results for Scottish Voluntary Sector

14 Dec

Unite Scotland has today (14 December) published results from an online phone bank showing that eighty-three per cent of workers in the sector face cuts. The phone bank spoke with 423 Unite members in ten voluntary sector organisations across the length and breadth of Scotland. This is largest representative survey done by a trade union in the sector.

Key findings:

  • 423 of the 468 members contacted completed the survey. Of those respondents eighty-three per cent said their workplace was being directly affected by cuts.
  • Nearly half of those who responded to the question: ‘are you affected by any of these issues’ stipulated that they were at risk of redundancy – a huge figure.
  • Worryingly seventy-four per cent stated that they had their terms and conditions changed and nearly a quarter stated that ‘bullying’ was an issue in the workplace.


As a result of the startling findings in our representative survey of voluntary and third sector workers Unite is calling for the following:

  1. A Scottish Parliament Inquiry into voluntary sector funding based on these results.
  2. A sector forum to be set up for areas of the voluntary and third sector in consultation with the relevant bodies which can help put in place and coordinate sectoral training, funding, investment, and, terms and conditions.
  3. For the Scottish Parliament to enforce that public procurement is used as a lever to ensure quality service provision and fairer conditions for the workforce.

Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said:

“For many years we have been aware of the precarious situation of the voluntary and not-for-profit sector. However, even we were taken aback by the crisis in the sector.”

“The results portray an extremely worrying picture for the sector and that organisations and the workforce are on the brink of breaking point. A workforce who have had their terms and conditions eroded, a sector that is being dragged to the bottom, and, people fearing whether they will have a job this time next year.”

“The Scottish Government on the back of these results must intervene and all of us have a collective responsibility to ensure that we protect this vital sector which delivers a fantastic public service.”

Unite for our Society report


Notes to Editor:

  1. For a copy of the report please visit our website here or can be obtained by contacting Andrew Brady and Peter Welsh.
  2. The phonebank was conducted between June and September 2011.
  3. Unite members were selected randomly.

Making Devolution Work

14 Jun

Unite has developed an economic paper which aims to kick-start the push for prosperity in Scotland by calling for the establishment of sector forums.

The ‘Making Devolution Work’ document is designed to stimulate a discussion about the existing collective bargaining arrangements and the type of economy to be created for Scotland’s future. Unite believes that new ways must be found to promote economic and sustainable wage growth.

We believe the Scottish government has an opportunity to take the lead in the establishment of sector forums throughout the economy which would help to combat inequality and assist in improving workers’ purchasing power.

‘Making Devolution Work’ states:

  • Sector forums (along with other initiatives) are necessary to revitalise the Scottish economy, by helping to improve the spending power of Scottish workers, in the interest of everyone.
  • Sector forums could be piloted in the voluntary, road haulage, renewables industries and tourism sectors.
  • Sector forums would allow Scotland to address some of the structural problems of the economy, by bringing together those who know best, to deal with concerns about productivity, competitiveness, learning and skills, and adjustment to change.
  • The proposal reflects the best practice of almost all the other EU15 member states where collective arrangements are widely recognised as being in the public interest.

Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish regional secretary, said:

“We believe sector forums being piloted in areas of the Scottish economy, including outside the public sector, with the support of a new Scottish government would help stimulate and rebalance our economy by strategically looking at issues such as wages, skill and productivity levels, investment and procurement.”

Professor Keith Ewing, Kings College London, commented:

“This is an important and imaginative proposal which would place Scotland in the front line on the road to recovery. By bringing together both sides of industry, Unite’s proposals will help to restore consumer confidence, and enable those who know best deal with the needs of their sector, following the example of the most resilient European economies.”

Richard Murphy, chartered accountant and director Tax Research UK, said in support:

“There is one way out of recession – and that’s by investing in growth. The Scottish government has to choose wisely where it will use its resources for best effect and payback. In that context what it can do is ensure Scotland’s workforce are well trained, well paid, and work in businesses that want to contribute to a strong Scotland that delivers prosperity for the nation as a whole.

“That prosperity must extend to the businesses that will benefit from having staff who can deliver high value to their employers that increase the profitable opportunities for investment in the country. It’s all these things that this policy seeks to promote, and that’s why it’s to be warmly welcomed.”

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, added:

“Mechanisms to deal with the issue of low pay in the private sector are badly needed. Whilst we are making progress on the introduction of a living wage in the public sector for too many Scottish workers in areas like hospitality and retail earning less than a living wage is a continuing reality.

“We welcome Unite’s proposals for sectoral forums as a positive step in the fight against low pay. Such forums could also help push forward a broader quality work agenda, rather than just being focused on the question of pay.”

What do you think of this idea? Read the paper and let us know.

Discussion paper – Making Devolution Work

Making Devolution Work Summary