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Also in the news / NHS staff ballot, sporting success, McGhee retires and more…

INDUSTRIAL action in the health service appears to become a distinct possibility after Unison announced on Monday that it will ballot 35,000 NHS staff across Scotland recommending they reject the Scottish Government’s pay offer and vote to take strike action in the coming months.

The trade union says the pay offer of five per cent is well below the rate of inflation – which stands at about 10 per cent – and it is deeply unfair as it will give those at the top a higher pay rise than staff at the lower pay bands.

This ballot is launched in the midst of a staffing crisis in the NHS with staff turnover higher than ever before. There are over 6,000 nurse vacancies across Scotland. 

Chair of Unison’s Scotland health committee Wilma Brown said: “NHS staff have been taken for granted, staff have endured over 10 years of real terms pay cuts only to be told by the Scottish Government that, yet again, they will have to accept a below inflation pay rise.”

The union’s consultative digital ballot closes on 8 August.


SHETLAND veteran athlete Martin Leyland had a clean sweep at the Scottish Masters Championships in Dundee at the weekend, winning four gold medals in the men’s 65 to 69 category.

Leyland came first in the 100m, 200m, long jump and triple jump, including the championships best performances in the 100m and 200m in his age group.

The 65-year-old completed the 100m distance in 13.11 seconds and won the 200m in 27.17.

Results in the long jump were 4.68 metres and in triple jump 10.20m.

Meanwhile Michelle Sandison, also from Shetland, won the 5,000m event with a time of 17:36.


George McGhee (centre) with Anne Bain, panel member (left) and Faith Tulloch, vice-chair (right) at a recent gathering to mark his stepping down from the panel. Photo: SIC

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FORMER manager of the Anderson High Schools’ halls of residence George McGhee has stepped down as chair of the Shetland Adoption and Fostering Panel after 27 years of voluntary service.

A panel member since November 1995, he was vice-chair for a while before becoming chair in August 2007.  

The panel’s role is to independently consider and make recommendations on adoption and fostering matters.   

Paying tribute, the newly elected chair of the council’s education and families committee Davie Sandison said: “George’s voluntary service and commitment to the welfare of Shetland’s young people for so long is remarkable.  

“His huge contribution to the work of the panel has undoubtedly shaped many lives. On behalf of the panel and the council, I’d like to offer our sincere thanks.”


SKIPPERS and fishing boat owners are again being asked to share some of their companies’ financial performances and crew demographies for this year’s UK fishing fleet survey.

Researchers from Seafish started their annual survey in Peterhead today (Monday).

The interviews take no longer than 15 minutes to complete and all responses are treated as strictly confidential, with no figures from any individual vessel revealed in any outputs.

Seafish economist Nick Patience said: “The UK fishing fleet survey is a vital piece of research that explores the health of the sector, covering its economic challenges and deeply important social impact on the communities built around it. 

“The results are essential in helping government understand where costs are changing, how businesses are really performing and what is charting its course.”

Vessel owners who are willing to participate in the fleet survey should e-mail fleet.survey@seafish.co.uk with their name, e-mail and/or phone number, and port of operation to allow Seafish researchers to arrange a meeting with participants in port or by call.

For any further enquiries about the survey or previous industry estimates contact the team on fleet.survey@seafish.co.uk or 07870 894 035.

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