header32
headerleft

By UNISON, Sep 18 2019 01:43PM


UK local authority pension funds hold investments of over £16 billion in coal, oil and gas companies. These companies’ actions are making climate change worse, threatening all our futures. There are ethical and financial reasons for local authorities to sell, or disinvest their pension holdings in these fossil-fuel companies. Local government pension funds have a duty to act in their members’ best interests and this is met by ensuring financial performance and by acting in the best interests of society at large. Pensions are for our future security. Climate change is one of the biggest threats to that security.

Divesting from fossil fuel companies should not negatively affect the financial performance of funds - plenty of mainstream alternative investment options exist which have no or very low fossil-fuel investments and can perform as well as, if not better than, indices with fossil fuels in them.

Falkirk LGPS’s Statement of Investment Principles recognises the need to act as responsible owners, supporting the transition to a low carbon global economy, consistent with the aims of the Paris 2016 Climate Change agreement to limit temperature increases by 2050 to a maximum of 2oC. The Committee believes that ongoing “engagement with investee companies is preferable to divestment” but, “where, over a considered period there is no evidence of a company making visible progress towards carbon reduction, we believe that divestment should be actively considered”.

The engagement approach to climate change could be successful with vehicle manufacturers or power utilities because for both of these there are viable alternative business models that can be adopted, such as electric vehicles and renewable power. But for the fossil fuel exploration and production sector, all the oil and gas majors have current and future business models overwhelmingly based on fossil fuel extraction with no prospect of change within the timescales required by the Paris Climate Change Agreement goals. Engagement is therefore an unfit strategy for pension funds to use with these fossil fuel exploration and production companies. Engagement also carries greater financial risks than divestment because, if it is not successful, there is a high risk of exposure to stranded-assets as momentum gathers to cease using fossil fuels altogether.

With respect to Falkirk LGPS’ July newsletter stating BP and Shell taking positive action to adapt their business model, neither company has a good track record. Companies like Shell continue to show themselves ill-placed to fund the renewables transition, with their core business of oil and gas always pulling them back to their old ways. The most realistic plan for these companies would be to wind down their extraction activities over time to zero.

The truth is that by planning to continue extracting fossil fuels well into the 21st century, these oil companies will remain some of the world’s biggest climate criminals. Their announcements may be small positive steps (aimed at distracting campaigners) but organisations that are some of the world’s biggest climate polluters need to take a series of giant leaps to undo the chaos they are creating.

While we wait for Shell to become sustainable we should divest and put our money behind genuinely green companies. If and when BP or Shell make plans to be zero-carbon, we could always reinvest!

Send your e-mail (sample below) to adannab.mccue@falkirk.gov.uk:

Dear Councillor McCue

I am concerned about climate change that is happening now and as a member of Falkirk Council Pension Fund I believe it is morally and financially misguided that our pension funds are invested in companies dedicated to finding and burning more oil, gas and coal.

I call on my Pension Fund to adopt a policy of divestment from fossil fuels.

Signed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


By UNISON, Sep 18 2019 01:41PM


UNISON Scotland has led the way in taking forward issues relating to global warming and climate change, both within UNISON and the wider trade union movement in Scotland. As General Secretary Dave Prentis said in June: “The climate crisis is the greatest single threat humanity faces”.

Since last year’s first Green UNISON Day, the importance of climate change has risen right up the political agenda: we have seen governments declare climate emergencies and there’s been a huge rise in protests such as Extinction Rebellion and the school students’ strikes for action on climate change.

This year’s Green UNISON Day is taking place on Friday 20 September to show solidarity with the school student climate strike movement – which is planning a week of activities across the globe from 20-27 September. This time the school climate strikers are calling on adults to join them for their day of action to send a message to governments that can’t be ignored.

Information on where student strikes are taking place can be found on their web-page - https://climatestrike.scot/ or events page: www.facebook.com/syclimatestrike/

For further information from UNISON on this important topic, follow this link - https://unison-scotland.org/green-unison-day-20-september-we-must-act-on-the-climate-emergency/

and UNISON events page - https://www.facebook.com/greennetworkunisonscotland/

If you want to take action on climate, but can’t join one of the strikes on Friday, then you could support UNISON’s campaign for local government pension funds to disinvest from fossil fuels by sending an email to the Chair of the Falkirk Pension Fund – see below. Your local UNISON branch will also be writing to relevant officers involved in our pension fund, who must already be feeling the pressure as they took a whole page out of 4 to explain their position in the July newsletter.

If you do email the Falkirk LGPS, please copy us in or let us know so we can monitor effectiveness of this call for action.


Send your e-mail (sample below) to adannab.mccue@falkirk.gov.uk:

Dear Councillor McCue

I am concerned about climate change that is happening now and as a member of Falkirk Council Pension Fund I believe it is morally and financially misguided that our pension funds are invested in companies dedicated to finding and burning more oil, gas and coal.

I call on my Pension Fund to adopt a policy of divestment from fossil fuels.

Signed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Copy to - Stirling UNISON Branch e-mail address thomsonl34s@stirling.gov.uk


By UNISON, Sep 13 2019 01:15PM

This survey is for UNISON members who work delivering Freedom of Information. That means it is for UNISON members across Scotland who have some responsibility for how your public body employer complies with Freedom of Information legislation.


You may be a Freedom of Information Officer or similar - or someone whose work regularly involves providing information for responses to FOI requests - or you may be involved in delivering FOI in some other way. Whatever your role, if part or all of your job involves FOI, we would welcome your input.


UNISON campaigns, along with other organisations, to defend and strengthen FOI legislation and the public's right to know. MSPs are currently looking at what does and doesn't work and any changes that should be made, through post legislative scrutiny of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.


Our members play a key role in delivering FOI and we want to know what you think. Your responses here will be used to write a Damage Report which UNISON will use to campaign on your behalf.


Your details will remain confidential and any quotes used will be anonymous.


The report, when published later this year, will be available here where you can also access previous reports in the Damage series.


We would like responses as soon as possible. However, it will remain open until the end of September. Members working in FOI are encouraged to send it on to their colleagues who are members. We hope with your help to receive a high number of responses.

See our Facebook - Unison Scotland

Unison Scotland Twitter

By UNISON, Sep 6 2019 02:37PM

UNISON is committed to offering members valuable membership services and as part of this commitment we wanted to highlight one of your key membership entitlements.

I am pleased to let you know that your UNISON membership entitles you to £5,000 of free cover which pays out if you should die as a result of an accident.*

Cover is for UK residents aged 18-69. It lasts for one year and then you can renew it again for free. For full details, please click here.

Our membership services partner, UNISONProtect is arranging this cover. Following your registration a UNISONProtect representative will telephone you to set up your free cover and explain the other benefits available.

This cover is just one of the valuable benefits of your UNISON membership and will help provide financial security for your family. We hope you find it reassuring

By UNISON, Aug 29 2019 03:25PM


We are now sharing the outcomes of the recent late consultation in relation to the imposition of the move from weekly pay to Monthly pay for staff that have previously retained this arrangements as part of their T & C’s/contract of employment.


We have advised the employer that this is something that our branch do not agree with and cannot agree to on behalf of our membership. Many of our members are opposed to this change. Whilst the employer has stated that it allows staff to be resourced in a more efficient manner they do not identify any cost saving figures.



We have shared with Stirling Council the issues that this will present for our members and have acknowledged that as a result of joint Trade Union representations made by UNISON and Unite on Tuesday 6th August 2019 that the employer is now offering the option of extending this change to take place in November 2020 as opposed to this being imposed immediately.



In the event of any change taking place the employer has proposed making an interest fee loan to those affected and colleagues in our sister trade union GMB made representations to the employer that affected staff start paying back any loan in advance of receiving it, some would say an interest free loan to the council, not surprisingly this was accepted by the employer. On this we have been clear with the employer that if this is something they intend to go forward with then it should only been done as an option that staff can say yes or no to.


Going forward we have made clear that due process needs to be followed in the event of such suggested changes so that we do not find ourselves in this position again particularly in relation to matters that constitute appropriate consultation and negotiation in line with Collective Bargaining.


join - 8