Archive for "News"

Successful fifth Jimmy Reid annual memorial lecture on 5 October 2017

Oct 23, 2017 Add a comment

Around 150 people came to hear Mark Serwotka make the case for pay, people and power in the public services.

PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, was introduced by Nicola Fisher, EIS president.

PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, was introduced by Nicola Fisher, EIS president.


Fifth Annual Jimmy Reid Memorial Lecture Thursday 5th Oct

Aug 14, 2017 Add a comment

PAY, PEOPLE and POWER: the progressive case for public services

Thursday 5th October 7pm

Govan Old Parish Church
866 Govan Road
Glasgow G51 3UU

General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union

President, Educational Institute of Scotland

After 10 years of austerity cuts, out sourcing, privatisation and wage freeze, public services are now reaching crisis point. In Scotland, for example, over 10,000 civil services and 40,000 local government jobs have been lost, seriously affecting the delivery of even adequate standards of services. Workers’ morale is at an all-time low and recruiting new staff becoming more difficult. Under the pretext of “cutting red tape” and increased efficiency, service users’ and providers have been put at risk. We need a public sector for the 21st century, properly funded with fairly paid staff and democratic ownership. Come and hear that case from one of the most powerful advocates of it and one who without his heart transplant last year would not be here today.

  • Doors open from 6.00pm, tea and coffee, exhibition and stalls.
  • Lecture commences at 7.00pm, followed by question and answer session, finishing about 8.30pm.
  • Govan Old Parish Church is at 866, Govan Road, Glasgow G51 3UU, about 100m west from Govan Cross Underground Station.


Ticket Type

Note: Please print and produce your PayPal ticket receipt for presentation at ticket desk before Lecture.

Trade unions and other organisations can make block bookings at and be invoiced for ticket costs.


Trade Union Act 2016 – examining the impact of the new act upon strikes and industrial action

Jun 18, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is pleased to launch its latest policy paper called The Trade Union Act 2016: what has its impact been so far?’ The paper examines the impact of the new Conservative act upon strikes and industrial action since 1 March 2017, finding that so far it has helped stop a number of strikes. The detailed analysis shows that a number of unions have been affected more by the Act than others and in ways that may not have been anticipated. The paper concludes by drawing upon the different experiences of unions of the Act to suggest a number of ways in which unions may best respond to the situation of the two new thresholds required for a lawful mandate for strikes and industrial action. The launch of the paper was covered by the Sunday Herald today.

New Jimmy Reid Foundation working paper on automation – friend or foe?

Apr 23, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is pleased to publication the working paper, ‘Automation – friend or foe?’ by the Unite Scotland Politics, Research and Campaigns Unit on the eve of the 120th STUC Congress (in Aviemore). The paper (available here) assesses a number of contending claims (positive, negative, neutral) on the implications of advanced forms of new technology for workers’ jobs and incomes. The paper forms a key part of the rationale for a motion to be moved by Unite Scotland to the Congress. The significance of this was picked by the Sunday Herald newspaper today.


Jimmy Reid Foundation 2017 STUC fringe event

Apr 06, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is pleased to announce that it is hosting a lunchtime fringe meeting on its research report against the renewal of Trident (see ) at the 2017 STUC congress in Aviemore on Monday 24 April at 12.30pm. The meeting is entitled ‘Trident and jobs – facts and fiction’.

Chaired by Lynn Henderson, the vice-chair of the Foundation and PCS national officer, the meeting will hear from Gary Smith (GMB Scottish Secretary), Richard Hardy (Prospect union Scottish Secretary), John McInally (PCS national vice-president) and Professor Mike Danson (lead author of the report, Heriot Watt university).

It will no doubt be a lively exchange of views and one of the highlights of this year’s congress. We hope that the aforementioned report will provide for an informed, productive and stimulating exchange of views.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the GMB, Prospect, PCS and UCU unions in hosting this event.

The event is part of the work of the Foundation in disseminating its publications to interested groups and parties.

Comments on the Scottish Budget Scrutiny Consultation by Dr Jim Cuthbert

Apr 04, 2017 Add a comment

The Budget Process Review Group was established by the Finance and Constitution Committee of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, to carry out a fundamental review of budgetary scrutiny. The main driver for the review is the need to accommodate the Scottish Parliament’s new financial powers, as well as the operation of the Fiscal Framework, within the budget process. The Group, which includes Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament officials, produced an interim report on 10 March 2017, which included a number of questions for consultation. The note sets out the response of Dr Jim Cuthbert to this consultation, on behalf of the Jimmy Reid Foundation, and is the basis of the oral evidence he gave to the Budget Process Review Group on 30th March 2017.  JRFJCBudgetScrutinyConsultationresponse032017

Brexit: rights, risks and responsibilities: What’s at stake for human rights in Scotland?

Jan 23, 2017 Add a comment

Brexit: rights, risks and responsibilities: What’s at stake for human rights in Scotland?

You are invited to attend a meeting organised by the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Jimmy Reid Foundation to raise awareness of the importance of human rights and social protections as the UK takes steps to leave the EU, and the opportunities to strengthen the protection and implementation of rights in Scotland.  Here is the briefing paper produced for the event to outline some of the issues to be discussed.JRF meeting background paper vFinal

The meeting will take place on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 in the Radisson Blu Glasgow, 301 Argyle Street, G2 8DL.  Registration is free just go to the Eventbrite page


4.15 – 5pm    Registration, tea coffee, juice and biscuits

5pm              Opening remarks from Chair Judith Robertson, Chair of Scottish Human Rights Commission

5.10- 5.45     Keynote Speakers – rights, risks, responsibilities

  • Grahame Smith, STUC and Standing Council on Europe
  • Kavita Chetty, Scottish Human Rights Commission
  • Carole Ewart, Jimmy Reid Foundation

5.45- 6.15     Spotlight on The Issues

  • Human rights and Charter of Fundamental Rights-  Tobias Lock, University of Edinburgh
  • Employment, including health and safety – Nicole Busby, University of Strathclyde
  • Environment- Dr Antonio Cardesa-Salzmann Lecturer in EU Environmental Law, Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance
  • Equality and discrimination – Muriel Robison University of Glasgow

6.15- 6.45     Roundtable discussions followed by Q & A

6.45- 7.15     Advancing our rights, next steps panel discussion

  • Peter Kelly, Poverty Alliance
  • Mary Alexander, Unite

7.15- 7.45- Roundtable and Q & A

7.45- Closing remarks from Chair

The Jimmy Reid Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support given by the Scottish Human Rights Commission in the organisation of the meeting.

Reid Foundation Gives Evidence to UK Scottish Affairs Committee

Jan 12, 2017 Add a comment

On Wednesday 11th January 2017, the Jimmy Reid Foundation gave oral evidence and delivered a written submission to the Scottish Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament to inform its current inquiry ‘Sustainable employment in Scotland’.  The Inquiry is examining how employment in Scotland may change in the coming decades, how the UK Government will support the creation of quality, secure jobs. and is looking at how successful UK policy is in protecting people from unfair employment practices.

The Jimmy Reid Foundation highlighted the problems for workers and their families inherent to the current economic and social system, the threats from Brexit and global changes, and the dangers across Scotland and the UK from withdrawal of current employment rights. Solutions and new directions of travel were offered.

Professor Danson, who delivered the evidence, said:

‘The main argument made was that there is a need to address our long standing productivity problems and that requires a fundamental change in how skills, expertise and experiences of the workforce. Moving towards the high innovation-high wage-high productivity industrial model that has brought success to the Nordic countries and Germany requires a new strategic approach and paradigm. Sustainable employment must be based on utilising the high levels of skills in the workforce, too many of whom are currently under-employed in low wage and low skill jobs. By restructuring employment and industrial markets, the Scottish economy can go through a transition to a new equilibrium that works for all compared with the current state of waste, hopelessness and decline’.

He continued, saying:

‘The current precariousness of many jobs and careers is exacerbated for some by the growth of self-employment and enforced ‘entrepreneurship’. Without the protection of employment rights – with no maternity and paternity rights, no paid holidays, no employers’ pension contributions, and other basic elements of the normal work contract – these workers face insecure and unstable lives, with a bleak old age. With lower incomes, their taxes and NI contributions are lower than expected so that society suffers the consequences. Corporations, public and private, save on their costs, boost their short term profits but society is made poorer’.

Concluding, Professor Danson stated:

‘The Jimmy Reid Foundation is, therefore, calling for conditions to be applied to public procurement to raise standards in the labour market, to increase the number and quality of apprenticeships, to promote gender, BME and disability equality, to support SMEs in gaining access to subcontracting.

Complementing this, the Foundation has demanded that the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Framework is supported with legislation and regulation, requiring the devolution of employment law and all social security powers to the Scottish Parliament. This would allow Scotland’s economy to begin the transition to a high wage-high productivity-high innovation status with sustainable employment, and higher returns to investment. Other institutional initiatives and structural changes would be required, including a national investment bank, a refreshed development agency network, and stronger means to protect indigenous firms from hostile takeovers and monopoly practices’.   The submission is available Submission SAC 11.01.17


Public Service Reform – Policy Paper Launched

Jan 06, 2017 Add a comment


A major new policy paper by Dave Watson of UNISON

The Paper covers the following areas: * The Case for Public Services * Challenges Facing Scotland’s Public Services * Public Service Workforce * Approaches to Public Service Reform * The Third sector * The Christie Commission * Scottish Approaches to Public Service Reform * Financing Public Services * Principles of Public Service Reform * New Approaches to Public Service Reform

The Paper will be launched at a seminar on Friday 20 January at 10am and you can attend but registration is essential.   Register online at

The venue is Lecture Theatre 2, Appleton Tower, University of Edinburgh, 11 Crichton Street, EH8 9LE

Registration tea/coffee 10.00/30 and event begins 10.30am-12.30pm.

Chairperson: Professor James Mitchell; Speaker: Dave Watson: Questions and discussion

The Foundation gratefully acknowledge the support given by the University Academy of Government in the organisation of the seminar


The financial and other pressures on Scotland’s public services are driving an agenda of piecemeal public service reform. Five years after the Christie Commission set out the principles of a particularly Scottish approach, it is time to take a holistic look at the next stage of reform. Dave Watson’s paper for the Reid Foundation examines the context and development of public service reform in Scotland and analyses the approaches of the current government and those who advocate other reforms. The paper makes the case for change that recognises the value of public services to the economy and society generally.

It argues for the delivery of integrated public services built around recognisable communities, whose primary focus is to challenge the underlying inequalities that blight our country and waste public resources, generation after generation. Services should be delivered at the lowest practical level, allowing staff and citizens to design services in a way that best meets the needs of their communities.

The role of central government should be to set the strategic direction based on outcomes – rather than trying to direct services from Edinburgh. However, the paper recognises that a country the size of Scotland cannot justify duplication and difference for the sake of it. It makes the case for public service frameworks that allow local services to focus on what matters to achieve positive outcomes.

This paper attempts to break out of the sterile centralism v localism debate, with a different approach. It offers a co-operative more equal Scotland, rather than one left to the vagaries of the market.

The author is the Head of Policy and Public Affairs at UNISON Scotland. He was an expert advisor to the Christie Commission and has worked with all levels of government over a lengthy career in public service.

The Policy Paper can be downloaded Public Service Reform by DaveWatson

See also Dave’s Blog on  ‘Public Works’


The Prudential Code: flimsy fig leaf in the coming storm

Dec 30, 2016 Add a comment

Independent statistician and economist, Jim Cuthbert, warns the Prudential Code provides Scottish local government with no protection in the coming storm. 

After the Scottish Government’s tight local government funding settlement in its December 2016 budget, and ahead of the local elections in May next year, independent statistician and economist, Dr Jim Cuthbert, sheds light on a little known but now critically important rule, the statutory Prudential Code in a new policy paper for the Jimmy Reid Foundation. The paper is entitled ‘The Prudential Code: flimsy fig leaf in the coming storm’.

The Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities was introduced in Scotland in April 2004. Since then, local authorities have discretion to determine their own levels of capital expenditure and borrowing, provided they abided by the code which is designed to ensure that authorities act prudently and sustainably.

Since its introduction, the code has operated without attracting much comment. But now that we are in an era of much greater uncertainty, with the Scottish Government in control of much more of its own budget after the fiscal settlement, with economic growth remaining weak, and with the implications of Brexit continuing to be unclear, Jim Cuthbert questions whether the code remains fit for purpose over a decade later.

He concludes that the kind of disaggregated system represented by the operation of the code is unlikely to be able to cope with the challenges it will face. There is a manifest danger that local authorities will find themselves over-committed, both in terms of traditional borrowing, and in terms of the contractual commitments they are undertaking through various forms of Public-Private Partnership, (like the Scottish Future’s Trust NPD (Non-Profit Distributing) schemes.) And, there is also the danger that, if times turn hard, authorities may be exposed to various forms of ‘off balance sheet’ debt, (arising, for example, from Arm’s Length External Organisations (ALEOs)), which are not adequately captured in the current operation of the code.

In his paper, Jim Cuthbert, therefore, makes five recommendations:

1) Local authorities need to work to longer time horizons than many of them are currently using when they are assessing the future budgetary consequences of the capital funding decisions they are making.

2) It is not enough to rely on local authorities independently assessing their future expenditure commitments because they may well be making assumptions which are mutually inconsistent.

3) What is required is a joint-system, under which local authorities’ independent financial plans are informed by, and in turn, inform, a national assessment of the prospects for the aggregate of local authority budgets.

4) It would not be appropriate for central government to attempt to carry out this national aggregate financial projection role so a suitable independent body would have to be commissioned to carry out this role. But central government will have to play its part. In particular, it will have to display much greater maturity than it does at present in being more open about potential long term financial prospects.

5) There are a number of more specific issues about the Prudential Code which need to be addressed, in particular, the code should require authorities to be much more open about issues like the financing costs actually being incurred under the guise of public private partnerships.

Commenting on his Jimmy Reid Foundation paper, Jim Cuthbert said: ‘“Dark storm clouds are now gathering and it is a matter of urgency that the Prudential Code system is adapted to cope with the uncertain environment for local authority finances. More authorities need to work to longer term planning horizons: but that alone would not be enough. In addition, there needs to be a national assessment of the prospects for the aggregate of local authority budgets, carried out by a suitable independent body. My recommendations are intended are intended to help local authorities get to grips with the challenges they face but they will need help from the Scottish Government to do so.’

The full paper is available hereJRFJCPrudentialcode  Useful coverage of the Paper appears in Public Finance in an article by Keith Aitken