Voluntary sector 'buried' outside Scottish Parliament

Trade unions Unison and Unite stage mock funeral to highlight 'climate of fear'

Unite, Unison and SCVO 'funeral' outside Scottish Parliament (picture by Douglas Robertson)
Unite, Unison and SCVO 'funeral' outside Scottish Parliament (picture by Douglas Robertson)

A ‘funeral' for the Scottish voluntary sector was staged in Edinburgh this week to highlight concern about funding cuts.

Members of the trade unions Unison and Unite dressed in black and arranged for a horse-drawn hearse and coffin to accompany them as they gathered outside the Scottish Parliament.

The stunt was staged before a delegation including representatives from the unions and the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations handed over a 4,000-signature petition urging the Scottish Government to ensure front-line voluntary sector employees get the same pay and conditions as public sector workers.

Simon Macfarlane, regional organiser for the community and voluntary sector at Unison Scotland, said charity staff worked in a "climate of fear".

He added: "Vital projects providing lifeline services are being shut and increasing numbers of jobs are being lost.

"Scotland needs a vibrant voluntary sector, but that can't be funded on the cheap."

Unite also published a report, Death by a Thousand Cuts. It reveals that 73 per cent of Unite voluntary sector members had experienced negative effects on their working conditions and/or their pay and benefits as a result of funding cuts or retendering.

"Pay and conditions for workers in the sector have reached crisis point," said Roz Foyer, senior regional organiser for Unite and author of the report.

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