Aberdeenshire UNISON

UNISON Food Standards Agency Sector

Update 11th April 2014
Branch to consult members on pay

The Branch will conduct a consultative ballot of FSA members on whether to accept the FSA's implementation of the 2014 pay award. Ballot papers have been issued and need to be returned by Tuesday 15th April.

This follows a decision of the UNISON FSA Sector Committee on 1st April.

The UNISON Sector Committee's view is that the employers' below-inflation pay offer falls far below the aspirations in our 2013-14 pay claim and what our members deserve. It means a further real terms pay cut for our members.

However, the Committee also believes that it is the best offer achievable by negotiation and that only sustained, all-out strike action can achieve an improved pay offer. The type and format of any strike action will be geared to causing the most disruption that can be achieved with the smallest possible effect on members’ take home pay.

Regional Convenor, FSA said, "UNISON has not accepted this “award” neither have we “rolled over” in fact we were pivotal in ensuring a basic cost of living pay rise for those members unfairly deemed to be the under performers.

"FSA imposed this upon us, after literally no formal negotiation. This is the second year we had a pay award that is well below RPI. This is a real terms pay cut when you compare it with the rising cost of living."

He added, "You need to consider where you place your tick on this consultative ballot paper. Your tick will guide UNISON’s approach as to how we deal with the ongoing situation of FSA imposing real terms pay cuts on our members and it will be crucial to the decision on whether or not we run a full ballot for industrial action.

"We need to make it clear that although this was imposed upon us, it is in our opinion the best that can be achieved by negotiation."

UNISON FSA Sector - Summary of the Pay Talks

It was clear from our first formal pay meeting on the 21st February that FSA were going to impose their first formal proposal. The FSA forced through - with their intention to harmonise the ex-MHS and FSA pay structures - from within the 1% cost of living pay rise remit.

We had previously raised that this was not ethical, as everyone's cost of living rises by the same amount and what the FSA were proposing would unjustifiably favour the higher grades in the FSA, some of whom would receive 8-10% pay uplifts. In the face of rising fuel and heating costs, this will mean that the lower earners would see a greater percentage of their take home pay being absorbed into the increased cost of living expenses than their higher paid colleagues.

FSA made it very clear that they were going to impose this latest proposal and when pushed, would not confirm that another pay meeting would take place. The TUS arranged to meet separately on the 28th February to discuss our position. The FSA then indicated they would come to our meeting on the 28th. The FSA then withdrew their offer of 0.75% pay award to employees in the PRP box marking scores 0 and 1. UNISON refused to accept this. The talks were adjourned and restarted with agreement to pay the 0.75% across the board.

So where are we now? We told FSA that we could not agree to this offer as our process requires us to consult members on pay offers. The FSA stated their intention to impose this offer without further discussion and without waiting for us to consult our members.

Aberdeenshire Branch is asking you to complete the postal ballot that is included with this letter and return to: UNISON Freepost (AB048), 7 Alford Place, Aberdeen, AB10 1ZQ.

The Ballot Paper must arrive at the UNISON Resource Centre no later than noon on the 15th of April 2014. Your vote will only be counted once, we will be ensuring that no member is able to vote twice.

If you need any help, then please contact Graeme Anderson, Regional Convenor FSA on 07984 149028 as soon as possible. Remember, the number of members voting is just as important as the result.