Unite the union has today (21 February) confirmed that it will now hold a statutory ballot on industrial action for the first time ever at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). Unite held a consultative ballot with a 84 per cent turnout. Of those voting, 96 per cent of Unite members issued a vote of no confidence in senior management, and 89 per cent supported potential strike action up to and during the examination period.

The union, which represents hundreds of SQA workers, has been involved in an internal restructuring process for almost a year, which has left a number of workers without specific job roles. This follows two other occasions of failed restructuring since 2013.  

Unite members have raised a collective dispute with the SQA due to concerns about the organisation’s ability to restructure in a fair and competent manner. A separate collective grievance on the Business Systems (IT) restructure was submitted by both Unite and Unison unions on behalf of a number of the workforce. In a severe and serious breach of confidentiality by senior figures at the SQA, the identities of the individuals involved in the grievances were internally revealed. Unite believes that this is an attempt to de-legitimise the unions and to intimidate union members. Unite has now written to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to report the data breach against members of the Unite and Unison unions.

Alison MacLean, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The behaviour of some senior managers in the SQA demonstrates a complete disregard for the organisation’s stated commitment to the Scottish Government-supported Fair Work Charter, which is one of its corporate goals, and the official agreements between the unions and SQA. Staff morale within SQA generally is at an all-time low. The confusion and chaos this restructure is causing has wide and deep impacts across the organisation.

“In our opinion, the workforce is being harassed and intimidated by the actions of senior management, who are attempting to deflect from their own mismanagement. Unite has received a resounding mandate to ballot for industrial action. We urge the SQA to enter meaningful consultations and negotiations with the unions at the earliest opportunity. However, if they do not, then potential strike action during the examination period will be the full responsibility of senior management at SQA.”


For more information Alison MacLean on 07793662077.
Notes to editor: 

Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.