Silverline Care Caledonia (Unions)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 4th April 2019.

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Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

4. To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to Silverline Care Caledonia derecognising GMB Scotland as the trade union representing the staff in six of its care homes. (S5O-03113)

Photo of Jamie Hepburn Jamie Hepburn Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government’s fair work action plan recognises the important role of trade unions and we are committed to supporting strong trade unions for the benefit of workers and our economy. It is therefore regrettable when an employer chooses to derecognise a union. I strongly urge both parties in this case to come together to reach an agreement.

Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

Does the minister consider that the decision is a concerning development at a time when care home staff across Scotland may feel undervalued, despite providing some of the most valuable services in society?

Photo of Jamie Hepburn Jamie Hepburn Scottish National Party

I agree with Stuart McMillan. Our care home workers, and our social care workers more generally, provide an essential service. The strong message from this place should be that we recognise their great value to our economy and society.

In relation to the specific circumstances, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport is aware of and closely monitoring the situation, and we will be willing to offer any support that is required. However, the matter is being dealt with by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, and I reiterate my message that we strongly urge both parties in this situation to come together, through ACAS if necessary, to reach an agreement.

Photo of Neil Findlay Neil Findlay Labour

The derecognition of the GMB at Silverline comes on the back of the derecognition of Unison at Cornerstone. A deliberate anti-union stance appears to be emerging in the care sector. What is the Government doing to stop that from becoming a growing phenomenon? Has the minister met the companies and the trade union concerned to try to end that derecognition movement?

Photo of Jamie Hepburn Jamie Hepburn Scottish National Party

I have not, at this stage. I will be willing to do so, as is necessary. As I said, the

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport is monitoring the situation. Clearly, it would be preferable if the parties could come together to resolve the situation. If it requires our further involvement, we will consider that. ACAS is actively involved and I hope that both parties can come to an agreement and an arrangement.

I reiterate that we greatly value the work of, and are working with, the trade unions, and I consider it a matter of the utmost regret when, in any circumstances, an employer actively derecognises a trade union.