Inez Teece, Branch Secretary and lead negotiator said, "UNISON has been pressing the council to keep to its commitment to backdate the living wage to April 2012 and we are delighted that they have heeded our call.
"This is great news for our low paid members who will see a boost to their wages early this year.
"This is not just great news for the lowest paid workers, living as they do in one of the most expensive parts of Scotland. It is also good news for the local economy as these workers will have a little bit more to spend in local shops and businesses."
The council has also improved its offer on terms and conditions as a result of tough negotiations led by Inez as lead negotiator.
"Although UNISON members voted to accept the improved terms and conditions package back in May, as a union, we have kept our promise to negotiate for further improvements and I am pleased that the council has seen the sense in our demands and has made us an improved offer," said Inez.
UNISON Scotland has cancelled the Recall Local Government conference to enable discussions with the other trade unions to take place. It will also give CoSLA a chance to set up a proper negotiating meeting so that discussions on the pay offer of 1% plus a Living Wage of £7.50 per hour, can begin properly.
A scheduled Local Government conference will take place on 1st February and your branch delegates, Steve Gray, Inez Teece, Kate Ramsden, Susan Kennedy and Morag Lawrence, will be there to hear a report on the progress of talks. Plans will be made at this meeting for a Scotland wide consultative ballot of all members.
Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "This gives our stewards a bit longer to speak to members about their views on the offer so that we can report these back to the Conference."
Steve Gray, Assistant Branch Secretary and Branch Pay Champion added, "A 1% pay offer breaks the current pay freeze and we welcome that.
"However, when you think that the pay freeze has translated into a pay cut of 13% for most workers you can see that 1% goes nowhere to addressing that.
"In work poverty is a growing problem across Scotland and the rest of the UK. Local Government workers need and deserve better pay which can be used to support local shops and services."
If you are a member and have views on this pay offer, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Pay negotiations to begin as Branch consults members on Scottish pay offer
UNISON Scotland and the joint trade unions have called on CoSLA to return to the recognised bargaining machinery so that negotiations on the pay offer can begin properly. Our negotiators will return to a Recall Conference on 11th Jan to report on progress.
Meantime, branches will start getting the views of their members on the pay offer and plans will be made for a Scotland wide consultative ballot of all members.
Your delegates to the Scottish Local Government Conference on Friday 30th Nov agreed that our negotiators should liaise with the other trade unions to seek improvements to the employers' offer of 1% which still represents a pay cut for many, plus a Living Wage of £7.50 per hour.
Steve Gray, Assistant Branch Secretary and Branch Pay Champion said, "This national pay offer comes on the back of the Aberdeenshire Council Living Wage pledge made last month but still not delivered upon. UNISON welcomes the commitment to a Local Government Living Wage of £7.50, which will help many of our lowest paid members and which is set at a higher level than the current £7.20 or even the proposed increase to £7.45 in April 2013.
Branch delegates - Steve Gray, Inez Teece, Kate Ramsden, Susan Kennedy and Morag Lawrence will attend the Recall Conference.
Kate Ramsden said, "In the meantime we will be asking all our stewards to speak to members about their views on the offer so that we can report these back to the Conference."
If you are a member and have views on this pay offer, please email them to email@example.com
UNISON Scotland to consult on local government pay offer
UNISON Scotland is set to consult members on a pay offer for local government workers.
Dougie Black, Joint Trade Union Side Secretary, said that today’s offer from COSLA will be discussed initially at a conference in Glasgow next Friday (30 Nov). Branch delegates will attend that conference.
He said: “The offer was made to us at a meeting of the joint secretaries which was not a negotiating meeting.
“The employers are offering a 1% pay increase from April 1 2013, a one year settlement. That is no real surprise given government pay policy.
“They have also made an offer to apply what they call a Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.50 per hour from April 1 2013.
“We welcome the fact they have made an offer on the Living Wage as this has been part of our claim for the last couple of years. We would need to discuss with the employers their proposals for implementation and the details of how it would apply.”
Stephanie Herd, Chair of the union’s Local Government Committee, said: “We have a local government conference on Friday next week. We will ask delegates how they want to consult members over the next few weeks. We would then expect to take the results of that consultation back to the employers in the New Year.”
The Branch has welcomed Aberdeenshire Council's pledge today, to pay the Scottish Living Wage to around 1500 of its lowest paid workers, and has issued a press release.
Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, “We are delighted that the council has listened to us and has agreed to introduce a living wage as soon as possible.
“When you think that almost 60% of children who live in poverty have at least one parent in work, you can see how important the living wage is.”
In an email to all staff, Colin Mackenzie, Chief Executive said that councillors on Policy & Resources Committee had this morning agreed in principle to introduce the Living Wage supplement, "supporting our lowest paid workers across the authority."
He added that proposals will be presented to committee at the earliest opportunity exploring the full implications and options for introducing the Living Wage supplement in the context of on-going national and local negotiations.
The decision was made in recognition of the large proportion of our workforce who are in low paid jobs due to the nature of the services that the council offers and the need to support them through these difficult financial times.
He added, "I hope that this commitment by the council will make a significant difference to the lives of our lowest paid staff and their families."
Inez Teece said, "The Branch will now wait to hear at what level the council will pay the living wage. At present it is £7.20 per hour but it is due to be uprated to £7.45 per hour from April next year. The City of Edinburgh just last week announced that they will pay the Living Wage at a rate of £7.50."
Kate Ramsden added, "Under the Terms and Conditions package, the council had stated their intention to back-date the living wage to April 2012. Clearly UNISON will want to press the council to maintain this commitment."
Aberdeenshire UNISON has called on the council to immediately put in place an hourly living wage of £7.20.
Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, “We very much welcomed the council’s commitment to introduce a living wage backdated to April 2012, as part of its proposed changes to terms and conditions but we see no reason why that can’t be put in place now, especially with the council’s £20 million underspend and the fact that it has already been budgeted for.
Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair added, “When you think that almost 60% of children who live in poverty have at least one parent in work, you can see how important the living wage is.
"It would also be good for the local economy, as these workers would spend any extra money in local shops and businesses.
The 2012 Fair Pay Campaign was launched in June 2012.
UNISON, along with GMB and Unite, submitted a pay claim to the Scottish Government for a £1,000 flat rate payment, the introduction of a Living Wage with a minimum hourly rate of £7.20 for 2012 and the end of the public sector pay freeze.
The Pay Campaign has a petition for people to sign and return for lobbying the Scottish Parliament to debate the local government pay freeze, end it and support the introduction of the Living Wage as part of the funding to local government.
"The Pay Campaign is not just a matter of fairness, it is also a matter of economic sense as increased wages will provide a much needed boost to local economies in Rural Aberdeenshire and a UK in recession.
"Aberdeenshire Council have about 1,500 employees earning less than £7.20 per hour. However the Council has indicated its willingness to introduce a Living Wage of £7.20."
"Well done to those Branch Members who returned the 20 petitions from across Aberdeenshire and distributed the Fair Campaign posters across most of the Shires workplaces, said Steve, adding that it is still not too late to sign the petitions, which will be circulated to stewards and activists again.
Update June 2012
Steve Gray of Aberdeenshire UNISON said: “Local government workers are among the lowest paid in the public sector.
“Teaching assistants, care workers, librarians, school catering staff, refuse collectors, street cleaners – they are all struggling to make ends meet and can no longer afford this continued pay cut.
“Employers need to look at the damage they are inflicting on local government workers and realise that the pay freeze must thaw.”
Susan Kennedy, Assistant Secretary, said:
“The cost of gas, electricity, fuel and food has risen sharply while local government workers’ pay has remained the same. This means workers are worse off now than before – it’s not a pay freeze, it’s a pay cut.
“The lowest paid are carrying the heaviest burden as they have to spend a higher percentage of their income on heating their homes and feeding their families. But it’s not just a matter of fairness, it also makes economic sense as increased wages would boost local economies.
“Local government workers work hard to deliver the services we all rely on and it’s time they were recognised for the vital work they do by getting a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”
FAIR PAY DAY is on Wednesday 27 June. An invite to this will be sent out on Facebook. Help to build this by inviting your friends on FB to it as well.
Every member of UNISON, GMB and Unite can help to make this day a success by helping to distribute leaflets and stickers. A Fair Pay for Council Workers petition has been launched and we are asking every member and their friends and families to sign up.
Steve Gray is the Branch Pay Champion. Watch out for more information from Steve and from Stewards and Contacts in the Branch. Steve can be contacted via the UNISON Resource Centre on 01224 620624.
Following UNISON's Scottish Local Government Conference on 23rd April agreement has now been reached with Unite and GMB to submit a pay claim for local government workers for the period 1 April 2012 - 31 March 2013.
The claim is as follows
UNISON's Dougie Black, Chief negotiator for the Joint Trade Unions said, "It is not enough however to simply lodge the claim and hope that negotiations will prevail! We have to win the hearts and minds of our members as to why pay matters more than ever at this time.
"Workers in local government are the poor relations of the public sector as we enter the second year of a pay freeze. Our employers have already told us that they have no intention of engaging with the trade unions on pay this year. If we are to change this we need to ensure that our members are ready to stand up and fight for Fair Pay, it is no more than they deserve."
A Fair Pay campaign timetable and plan is being developed in order to gauge and encourage support among our members across the three trade unions.
Campaigning resources are now available for branches.
Each branches has been asked to identify a Pay Champion to coordinate the campaign locally.
Political lobbying will be a key component of our campaign, both locally and nationally. However the key to a successful campaign to burst the pay freeze will be to ensure the members help us win wide support to raise public awareness of the contribution UNISON members make to local communities and the pressures they face.
The Scottish Employers have now formally rejected the unions' 2011/12 pay claim and have stated that there will be no change to their position of a further pay freeze for 2012/13.
Dougie Black, UNISON's national negotiator said, "This confirms their previous statements that any pay award would be unlikely. However, in a letter to trade unions they have said that they want to engage with us in discussions on a range of issues covering pay, terms and conditions and reform of Schemes of Service with a view to reaching agreement for implementation on 2013.
"The SJC Trade Unions met on 13th March to consider this and agreed to lodge a claim for the forthcoming year, backed up with a high profile campaign to pursue our claim by engaging with members through branches, and providing branches with the full range of resources to support this."
A small campaign group has been established to develop the materials. Dougie added, "We would also wish to link in with the NJC in England and Wales, who have also had their claim rejected by the employers, to highlight the issue of low pay and the effect that the public sector cuts are having on all our members but particularly the lowest paid across the UK."
This will be further developed at UNISON’s National Pay Seminar to be held next week.
The Joint Secretaries will meet with the Employers Joint Secretary to scope their intentions. Dougie warned, however, that "discussions may be short lived given that the employers have refused to address pay and pay related issues last year and have no intentions of doing so for this year."
The normal consultation process with branches would be lengthy and the Joint Trade Unions plan to submit the same claim that was submitted last year, but uprating the Living Wage hourly rate to £7.20ph. This would allow the Joint Trade Unions to start developing the campaign immediately and begin to raise the issue with branches and members.
If branches agree to this the claim for 2012/13 would therefore be;
The Branch will consider their position at the next Branch Committee in April. Inez Teece, Branch Secretary and member of the national negotiating body said, "Given the position we are currently in and the fact that the employers simply refuse to consider the issue of pay until 2013, I hope the branch will support this course of action and engage positively with our members to seek to break this pay freeze imposition.
"We have said for a while that the current pay freeze has been nothing less than a pay cut, when the cost of basics like food and fuel are spiralling. Coming on top of job loss and vacancy freezes, our members are already working more for less, with our lowest paid hit hardest. We need to tell the council and the Scottish Government that enough is enough."