UNISON Scotland joins day of action against Trade Union Bill

Facility time, overwork and workplace stress among the big themes as unions engage with employers

UNISON branches in Scotland are today taking part in the Scottish TUC’s day of workplace action against the Trade Union Bill.

The STUC is encouraging all its member unions and their branches to organise specific workplace activities that will both promote opposition to the bill and focus on organising and recruitment in the workplace.

The activities will build on the TUC’s ♡ Unions initiative at the beginning of the month.

UNISON Scotland pledged “strong and visible support” for the action. And among the options it has proposed to its branches are to:

  • use facility time to hold health and safety inspections, focussing on workplace stress arising from the austerity cuts and overwork;
  • promote UNISON’s “Say No To Overwork” campaign;
  • gather information on workload and stress issues from members;
  • distribute to workplaces material on overwork, stress and the union’s position against the bill;
  • gather data on stress-related absences;
  • formally raise opposition to the bill in discussion with employers;
  • publicise the action throughout the day, through press and social media.

Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland’s head of policy and public affairs, commented: “These activities are meant to demonstrate the constructive industrial relations culture in Scotland, and the support that we have received from employers as a consequence.”

He added that the involvement of safety reps on the day “obviously emphasises facility time as a key issue.”

And the benefits of facility time that will be highlighted during the day include lower dismissal rates and staff turnover, fewer employment tribunals, fewer workplace injuries and less workplace illness.

For its part, the STUC has contacted politicians and civil society organisations to seek their support for the day of action, either as employers or more generally.

Many Scottish employers, particularly those in the public sector, have stated their opposition to the bill, which is currently in the House of Lords, and continue to engage positively with unions.

The STUC hopes that for this reason many will grant additional facility time for today’s activites.