Media Release: UNISON launches charter for occupational therapists in Scottish Councils

THE launch will take place in Committee Room 1, Scottish Parliament on
Wednesday 14 December at 1.00pm. Hosting the event will be Michael Mathieson
MSP, SNP spokesperson on Culture and Sport, and himself a former
council-based OT.

Also speaking at the launch will be Kirsten Hey, of
UNISONScotland’s OT working group and Gail MacNamara, from the Scottish
Board of the College of Occupational Therapists (COT)- the professional body
for OTs. Representatives from the Association of Directors of Social Work
(ADSW) and CoSLA, and the 21 Century Social Work Review Group have also been

You are requested to be represented. Please contact Chris Bartter – numbers

Occupational Therapists and OT support staff work with some of the most
vulnerable people in society, enhancing their ability to participate in
everyday activities. They are employed both in the Healthcare and Local
Government sector, and are at the forefront of the Government’s joint
working initiatives.

Kirsten Hey said: “OTs working for local councils face a number of challenges which their
union – UNISON – is campaigning to have addressed. Whilst we work closely
with colleagues in the NHS – have the same qualifications and in some areas
do very similar jobs – we often have worse terms and conditions and Agenda
for Change in the NHS is likely to widen the gap.

“As Joint Future working moves on, OTs are becoming more and more involved in
the management of complex care services in both social work and healthcare
and the implications for pay and conditions are becoming urgent.

“As staff who work in both the NHS and local government, changes to the public sector pension schemes will affect OTs who work in both the NHS and local government, and who move between the two.

Kirsten added: “It is unacceptable that staff who increase their skills and take on more
complex responsibilities by moving between health and social care should see
their pensions diminished as a result. As someone who has transferred from
the NHS to a local council, I feel the unfairness of this particularly, and
whilst I know that UNISON is pulling out all the stops to change the UK
employers position, it may yet come to industrial action.”

The OT charter will form a key part of UNISON’s negotiating agenda with both
the Scottish Executive and the employers.


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Contact: For further information, please Kirsten Hey (Chair – UNISON OT working group) 07771 881 615 (m)
Mandy McDowall (Regional Organiser) 0870 7777 006 (w) 07903 846 427 (m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0870 7777 006 (w) 0771 558 3729 (m)