Aberdeenshire UNISON

Branch Annual Report 2007/08

It is always difficult to capture the work of the Branch in a few headings but to try and cover all that we do would produce a long list. Here I will try to stick to the main issues.

Single Status Implementation
Aberdeenshire Council The last year has been dominated by this. Across Scottish Local Government only a handful of Councils have been able to reach agreement with their Unions on a package for implementation.

Our negotiators approached this from the basis that a National Agreement existed and that there was an obligation on both sides to seek to negotiate an agreement for local implementation.The package obtained was put to you as the best we could negotiate and you, along with colleagues from GMB and Unite (T&G) indicated acceptance.

Implementation was effected from 1st July 2007 with changes in basic pay backdated to 1st January 2007. Implementation raised a number of problems for Services and Personnel and Payroll with 14,000 new contracts issued. With perseverance most of these have now been resolved.

Over 2000 employees have submitted appeals against their Single Status mapping (grade), over 700 of these being UNISON members. The appeals stage is now under way following training of panel members, including Trade Union nominees.

UNISON has also provided training to Stewards and contacts to assist members preparing for their appeal. Informal stage appeals have been considered for those who are deemed "singleton", in other words, people who carry out a job unlike any other in the Council. Over the next few weeks the first Formal Stage appeals will go before the Appeals Panel.The Council has indicated that they intend to complete the appeals by October 2008.

Click here for more information on single status and equal pay


Equal Pay Claims
On Single Status and Equal Pay the Branch has kept members informed through a series of plain language bulletins of progress and of their individual rights. We have also held forums and surgeries where we have met hundreds of members face to face to offer advice and assistance. The feedback on this has been very positive.

Our work on Equal Pay has been led by Inez Teece, Assistant Branch Secretary and our Resource Centre Staff. This has been a major task with demanding deadlines. Inez has taken all our Equal Pay Grievances against the Council under the grievance procedure in the face of the Council view there was no Equal Pay liability for former APT&C Employees.

We strongly challenge that view and our cases are now in the Employment Tribunal System and with Thompsons, our solicitors. It can take many years for Equal Pay cases to be resolved by Tribunal and members involved will be kept fully informed of the process.

Click here for more information on single status and equal pay

Modernisation Reviews
The Council is undergoing a series of Modernisation Reviews across all Council Services. These have the potential to change the shape and delivery method of the present structure. By extension this could alter the grading of posts, up or down.

Council policy is that if your post goes down they will seek to resign your job by adding duties to justify your present grade. This process will require careful monitoring and feedback from members is essential.


Community and Voluntary Sector
Our members in this vital area, now often referred to as the Third Sector, have and are continuing to face a difficult time. Funding is extremely tight with, in many cases Employers unable to match the public Sector pay comparison on an annual increase or in some cases make an increase at all.

UNISON along with the SCVO and other organisations will continue to campaign for full funding from Government. We also need to strengthen our organisation in the sector to allow members to support and represent their colleagues within the sector.

Click here for more information

In addition to the plain language bulletins referred to above, the Branch has continued to issue a regular newsletter which is direct mailed to all members. Our web-site continues to grow and develop due to Kate Ramsden's work on this. Other sections of UNISON are now looking at our site as a model for their use.

Communications is however a two way process and we welcome feedback on our publications and web-site.


Participation in UNISON
The Branch continues to play an active role in UNISON's Scottish and National work and delegates have represented the Branch at most of the Annual Conferences. It is essential that branches fully engage within the Union and plays our part, influencing its policies and direction for the benefit of the wider membership.

Click here for Conference reports

As ever we need to thank all those who hold elected positions, whether stewards or officers. They form the vital link between members and the Union. All are volunteers who give freely of their time and talents for the benefit of all members. As ever we need more help in this area.

Special thanks should be noted to Bill Edwards and Inez Teece our Assistant Branch Secretaries who between them deal with most of the one to one issues raised by members at grievances and disciplinary hearings. Also the staff at the UNISON Resource Centre deserves our thanks. We note this every year but they do a power of work behind the scenes.

This is no more than a rough sketch giving some flavour of the work of UNISON Aberdeenshire - so much is done by others in all kinds of ways to help members and this should not be overlooked. Really it is all about you, help us to help you in UNISON.

Branch Secretary
20th February 2008




AGM 2008 report