As a UNISON branch we engage in regular campaigns to improve the pay and conditions of our members, raise awareness of issues in the local area or to larger issues that may impact our members. Please keep an eye on this page to keep up to date on all of our work.
Budget Cuts in Falkirk
UNISON Falkirk is committed to fighting back against any and all cuts to public services in the local community. Please see the below update from our Branch Secretary Janet Robertson.
Budget Update - Strategic Property Review
We note that a strategic property review paper went to the council on the 31st January 2024. This recommendation is part of Falkirk Council’s budget saving plans which recommend the potential closure of a significant number of facilities across the Council. UNISON Falkirk were disappointed to discover that due to years of underfunding of Local Government from the Scottish Government and Westminster, Falkirk Council believes that these facilities are now unsustainable due to the cost of on-going maintenance of some of the facilities and these facilities will have to be closed or transferred where possible to the community to look after and fund.
The proposal has identified a significant number of properties which they have asked the Councillors to consider for closure. While this may be an unpopular move for the communities, we believe Councillors are likely to back the closure or transfer to the local community of some of the properties earmarked.
UNISON is also very concerned that these closures may mean staff may be displaced or may even potentially be placed into the situation where their jobs are at risk. It is the Council’s obligation to try to mitigate job, losses through redeployment or asking if staff would be willing to take Voluntary Severance however, this may be difficult for some staff or not be a viable option for where Community buildings such as Community Centres and halls are to transfer to community ownership. We understand it is the Council’s intention to transfer existing staff whose work involves the direct running of the buildings, with the transfer. While there is community funding in place this may provide some security in the short term however, this will be subject to future funding streams.
UNISON will be consulted on these changes if the Councillors decide to close a facility. We understand that a recent Council decision puts a few buildings on notice of imminent closure. UNISON reps have already joined workers at briefings on these closures.
UNISON urges members to get in touch if they are concerned in anyway about their jobs.
Falkirk Council has now notified us of potential jobs at risk and we will work with the employer to avoid redundancy situations.
Violence at Work: Its not part of the job.
We launched our Violence at Work campaign this year due to continual issues arising surrounding violence in our public services, it became clear that something had to change. Fundamentally every employee deserves a safe and secure environment, free from violence and aggression. The alarming rise in assaults on our fellow workers is a pressing issue that demands our collective action. It's time to rewrite the safety narrative together. You work hard to provide key services to your community, its time for your employer to keep you safe!
Facing the Stark Reality: Violence and aggression have become a major concern in council workplaces. Shockingly, assaults by members of the public or clients are a growing issue. The numbers are soaring. For example, in 2022, 1,036 violent incidents were reported, Over 80% of these incidents occurred in Falkirk Schools and Nurseries. Just in the start of 2023, there were already 910 incidents reported. It's important to note that these are only the reported cases – there's a troubling culture of underreporting abuse and assault.
The Ongoing Consequences: Workplace injuries and the stress from incidents lead to employee absence, which not only affects the injured but also places added pressure on our hardworking colleagues. This stress has a ripple effect, resulting in challenges in managing our work, increased instances of lone working, and heightened risks of further issues.
What we're doing: We've kicked our campaign off with an opening survey to allow us to accurately assess the problems facing our members and see where we can make the most difference. We've also arranged a series of workplace meetings and have an opportunity for any council staff to come speak to us and get involved at our office drop in day on the 24th January, from 3pm through to 6pm. Keep an eye on this page and on our social medias to see our next steps!
We will be attending some local schools on the following time table:
Wednesday the 24th January
Kinnaird Primary: 11:15 - 12:20
Larbert High: 12:20 - 13:30
Thursday the 25th January
Grangemouth High: 10:00 - 11:00
Carron Grange High: 12:00 - 14:00
Social Work Survey.
We are inviting UNISON members who are qualified social workers to take part in a survey related to the National Social Work Agency.
We are asking : What would help you to do your job right now?
With plans in place to create a National Social Work Agency (NSWA) what kind of social work should the Agency be championing? What kind of support do you think our Social Work profession needs?
This short consultation survey is being sent to all members who are qualified social work practitioners.
The survey is completely confidential so please be honest with your views. Please also feel free to share with colleagues who are not UNISON members (but of course, encourage them to join). The survey is open until 22 March.
We know, from previous surveys, that social work needs to change to enable you to do your job in a way that is consistent with your skills and values, and to support the recruitment and retention of social work professionals.
We’ve put together some key statements based on what we’ve heard social workers say, and we want to use these to underpin long term goals for the profession. Link to statements here
UNISON has been closely involved in drawing these up and we need you to tell us if we've got it right. Is there anything missing? Please take a few minutes of your time to read it and give us your views. This must be informed by front-line practitioners, or it won't work.
Social Work Scotland (SWS) and SASW are also engaging with their members to get the broadest possible response. These will all be brought together and will be shared with you.
If you would like UNISON to keep you up-to-date with developments on the National Social Work Agency you can sign up here.
A new UNISON briefing on the National Social Work Agency is available to read here.
With many thanks