Aberdeenshire UNISON

UNISON Scotland 2017/18 PAY CLAIM

Scottish Pay Campaign

Update 31st May 2017

Vote today for fair payMembers vote for action but turnout below threshold

UNISON Scotland today announced the result of the Industrial Action ballot which closed yesterday with 62.7% voting in favour of industrial action. However the turnout was 22.8%.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "As the turnout is below the 50% threshold, it is not possible to take industrial action under current legislation imposed by the UK Government."

• Number of votes cast; 15,214
• Number of yes votes; 9,540
• Number of no votes; 5,662
• Number of spoiled or invalid papers; 12

The employers have previously stated that they would be prepared to meet with the trade unions once the ballot had concluded and as a result UNISON will be seeking an early meeting to explore how pay can be concluded for 2017/18.

Inez Kirk, Vice-Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee added, "The committee met in Glasgow this morning to consider the ballot result and were understandably disappointed.

"The ballot did return a vote in favour of taking industrial action but did not meet the requirements of the Trade Union Act 2016.

"However the result did indicate that there are a substantial number of UNISON members who are unhappy with the employers offer on pay and we will be taking this into our meeting with the employers."


Update 3rd May 2017

Pay ballot now open - don't forget to vote

Why should you vote in the pay ballot?
Your pay is worth far less now than ten years ago after years of pay restraint and inflation.

Local government workers are seeing their living standards squeezed as the prices of food, gas and electricity, travel and childcare continue to rise. This can not continue – you deserve more. You deserve fair pay.

To take action we need a 50% return on the ballot. Let's show the employers that we care about our pay and that we want decent pay.

What’s not fair?
While inflation indexes show how costs are rising, the impact on individual households is often worse. This cannot continue.

The employers have offered:

• Employees earning less than £35,000 a £350* increase (*pro rata based on 37 hours)

• Employees earning more than £35,000 a 1 per cent increase.

• Scottish Local Government Living Wage is the minimum pay for all pay and allowances including additional hours, contractual overtime and other allowances. It will be pensionable.

What is fair?
The employers’ offer falls far short of our claim. We asked for:

• A flat rate payment of £1,000 for all employees.

• The continued uprating of the Scottish Local Government Living Wage.

• A future pay strategy to identify and redress the imbalance caused by previous pay awards below the rate of inflation.

How do I vote?
UNISON recommends that you vote YES for strike action. Ballot papers along with a pre paid return envelope will be sent directly to members home addresses. If you do not receive a ballot paper then call the Ballot Helpline 08000 857 857 which will be open from 17 May – 25 May.

Am I being asked to strike?
Yes. This is a formal industrial action ballot. The consultative ballot that you previously took part in returned a very firm rejection of the employers offer.

What action might I be asked to take?
This will be determined by UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Committee later this month however it is likely that any programme of action will commence with a single day of action for all members.

Click here for UNISON Scotland resources


Update 3rd May 2017

Fair pay for allChange to ballot timetable - now runs from 11th May to 30th May 2017

Dougie Black, Regional Organiser/SJC Secretary has written to advise branches of a change to the ballot timetable.

Due to an unforeseen administrative problem the original notices to employers had to be reissued. The consequence of this is that the opening of the ballot has been delayed until 11th May.

There is no change to the closing time and date which remains as 10am on 30th May 2017.

The Ballot Hotline will now be open from 17th May until Noon on 25th May.  I will ensure this change is publicised through the UNISON Scotland webpage and our social media platforms but would  be grateful if you could also advise your members of this.




Update 1st May 2017

Fair pay for allUNISON members to be balloted for industrial action
– Voting opens 5 May & closes 30 May

A letter has been sent out to all members urging members to vote YES for industrial action in support of decent pay.

Dear Member
Following one of the highest returns in a full membership consultation, UNISON members voted overwhelmingly to REJECT the Employers’ offer (77.6% of those voting).

On this basis a decision was taken to proceed to a full Industrial Action ballot. Members have sent a clear message to say they have had enough of years of below inflation pay rises.

Members of UNITE The Union and GMB have both accepted the Employers’ offer, however the number of UNISON members rejecting the offer exceeds the total combined Local Government membership of these trade unions .

UNISON will continue to fight for FAIR PAY, putting our members at the heart of the campaign.

The Tory Trade Union Act designed to make it more difficult for workers to exercise their right to withdraw their labour cannot succeed. It is important that every member participates in the ballot to maximise the ballot return.

Please note that, in order to comply with current legislation, the ballot will be a full postal ballot as the law prevents us from carrying out any ballot by digital means.

The ballot will run from 5th May 2017 until 30th May 2017.

UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Committee is recommending that members VOTE YES for a programme of Industrial Action.

You are encouraged, in advance of the local and general elections, to raise the need for FAIR PAY with all candidates.

Mark Ferguson
Chair, Scottish Local Government Committee
Douglas Black
Regional Organiser, SJC Secretary


Update 11th April 2017Fair pay for all

Members overwhelmingly reject pay offer - UNISON to ballot on industrial action

UNISON will ballot 70,000 local government members across every local authority in Scotland on industrial action.

The decision was announced at UNISON’s local government committee meeting on Monday following a consultative ballot which saw 77.6 per cent vote to reject the employers’ pay offer.

Dougie Black, regional organiser for UNISON Scotland, said: “Local government workers have suffered years of pay restraint and their pay is worth far less now than ten years ago. The cost of food, gas and electricity, travel and childcare continue to rise and, as a consequence, their living standards have been severely eroded. This can not continue.

“If pay had even just risen with inflation a home care worker, for example, would be paid £19,900 a year when instead they are paid just £16,900; an early years’ worker would receive £24,100 instead of £20,400 and a library assistant would earn £26,400 instead of £22,400. And that’s just to keep up with the cost of living.

“Fair pay remains a priority for UNISON. Our members are the cogs that keep local government services turning and they deserve to be treated fairly.”

Mark Ferguson, Chair of the Local Government Committee added, "The result of the ballot on SJC Pay resulted in an overwhelming rejection of the employers offer.

"The Local Government Committee met to consider this result and unanimously agreed to pursue a further ballot for industrial action to seek to force the employers to make an improved offer."

A Branch Secretaries meeting will be organised w/c 17th April at which further details of the consultative ballot outcome and the arrangements and campaign for the formal industrial action ballot will be outlined.


Update 17th March 2017

Online consultation on Pay Offer - Vote to REJECT

UNISON will be balloting members on the employers' latest pay offer via an online forum for the first time ever.

To register your vote, please click here. You will also see leaflets and posters explaining why the pay offer is not fair pay.

N.B. Please check your e mails and Junk folder for the ballot materials and to go to My UNISON to update your e mail addresses.

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, "The employers have offered Local Government workers a pay increase of £350.00, which will be added to the pay of all staff earning under £35,000 per annum.  That is, the annual pay will have £350.00 added based on 37 hours per week, which equates to approximately 18 pence per hour for workers.  Those earning over £35,000 will receive a 1% increase.

"UNISON, and other unions, submitted a claim for a £1,000 flat rate increase for all workers.  During negotiations, the employers have increased their offer but it falls short of our original claim and ignores the direct request for a flat rate increase for all staff. 

"Our pay is worth far less now than ten years ago after years of pay restraint and inflation. Local government workers are seeing their living standards squeezed as the prices of food, gas and electricity, travel, food and childcare continue to rise. But while inflation indexes show how costs are rising, the impact on individual households is often worse. This can not continue," warned Inez.

"As a result of the offer not reflecting our original claim, UNISON is recommending rejection, but if you do reject this offer, then we need to be able to deliver industrial action up to and including strike action. 

"It is vitally important that we deliver a good turnout in this ballot due to changes coming into effect as a result of the Trade Union Act.  Please register your vote and tell the employers that it is time for Local Government workers to be paid fairly for the vital work we do," urged Inez. 

We are worth it

We are Worth Fair Pay.


Update 13th March 2017

UNISON to consult on new pay offer with recommendation to REJECT

Fair pay for allLocal government employers have tabled a final pay offer and UNISON will now consult members on their views with a recommendation to REJECT this offer.

For the first time this will be an an online consultation.

UNISON Scotland’s Local Government Committee unanimously decided to recommend REJECTION of the offer. The committee also agreed to consult members in a digital online ballot commencing 17th March and closing at 12 noon on 7th April.

Click here for leaflets and posters to promote the ballot

The employers upped the two previous offers to £350 flat rate for those earning up to £35,000 and 1% for those above, but it fell far short of the union’s demand for a flat rate across the board.

Dougie Black
Dougie Black

Dougie Black, UNISON lead negotiator, said: “The joint trade union position was united behind the need for only a flat rate claim and not a mixed offer.

"Since the offer was tabled the local government settlement had marginally improved. Previous offers had seen £250 up to £25,000 and 1%, then £300 up to £30,000 and 1% for those above.

“We had persuaded the employers to go back to the COSLA leaders and seek a fresh mandate on the basis of the trade union position.

"However this is nowhere near enough. Our flat rate claim of £1000 would have gone some way towards redressing the 14% fall in pay in real terms. This is a mere drop in the ocean, even for our low paid members."

He added that on a positive note, councils would continue to pay the Scottish Local Government Living Wage, ensuring it applies to all pay related enhancements and is pensionable.

Inez Kirk
Inez Kirk

Inez Kirk, Branch Secretary and UNISON negotiator added: “A high participation in this ballot is absolutely crucial if we are to move towards a full industrial action ballot.

"New thresholds within the Trade Union legislation mean that a 50% participation rate in industrial action ballots is required and whilst this consultative ballot is not governed by this legislation it is imperative that we demonstrate that we can achieve a percentage return close to that level.

“To seek to maximise participation we have agreed to run this consultation on the basis of a full digital consultative ballot. This means that access to the ballot will only be through a secure UNISON web page. Where we have members email addresses registered on the RMS these individuals will receive an email and a link to enable them to vote.

"Those members for whom we do not have email addresses for will be required to access a web page, answer two security questions and vote online. There is a significant job of work to do by branches to encourage participation and assist those members who may not have electronic access. I will prepare a full briefing sheet on the ballot detail.”

Click here for more on the UNISON Scotland webpage


Update 8th February 2017

Pay offer upped but employers asked to think again

Fair pay logoUnion negotiators met CoSLA in the Steering Group on 14th February to start negotiations on pay.

Branch secretary and UNISON negotiator Inez Teece said, "We reached a point where the employers tabled a slightly different offer which was; £300 for those earning up to £30,000 and 1% for those above.

"The joint trade union position was united behind the need for only a flat rate claim and not a mixed offer. The employers position was that the new offer made was the limit of their mandate.

"We did however persuade the employers to go back to the COSLA Leaders Forum and seek a fresh mandate on the basis of the trade union position.

"We also made the point that since the offer was tabled the LG settlement had marginally changed and asked the employers to consider whether more money could be directed into the pay financial envelope.

"The Steering Group will next meet on 3rd March where we expect the employers to make a final offer."


Update 8th February 2017

Pay offer "another slap in the face" to public service workers

The Scottish employers have finally responded to our pay claim. The offer is:

  • £250 flat rate for those on spinal column points up to £25,000.
  • 1% for those on spinal column points over £25,001
  • Continue to pay the Scottish Local Government Living Wage and ensure it applies to all pay related enhancements and is pensionable.
  • Agree to participate in a joint working group with the trade unions to look at a future pay strategy going forward.

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary and Scottish negotiator said, "This offer falls far short of our claim, however the employers have indicated that they are prepared to negotiate.

"The first negotiating meeting will take place on 14 February and a further update will be issued following this meeting."

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair added, "This offer is another slap in the face for hard-working council staff delivering essential services to our citizens. It took CoSLA long enough to respond to our claim now their offer is just an insult.

"We hope that further talks will result in a better offer. We are making the necessary arrangements to ensure that all members are consulted on any final offer and if need be preparing for a possible industrial action ballot.

"In a time when real wages have fallen by around 15% this offer is nowhere near good enough. It equates to around 13p an hour for our low paid staff.

"As we face rises in the cost of living through fuel rises, council tax rises and hikes in food costs, this will be another year on year cut for most members.

"It is particularly galling when we hear that MSPs are getting a rise of 60p an hour on a salary that is far more than many of our members can even dream of. Yet again it's one rule for them and one for us. It's not good enough!"

The branch will now be making every effort to raise the profile of pay with our members.


Update 24th January 2017

UNISON urges councils to agree decent pay rise now

Fair pay logoAberdeenshire UNISON branch, along with all the other council branches in Scotland, will be writing to the leaders of our councils urging them to make a decent pay offer to staff when they meet on 27th January.

This is the latest in UNISON Scotland's long running pay claim for council workers which was first submitted back in August 2016.

UNISON council branches will also lobby the CoSLA meeting on 27th January.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "Our claim has been in for 5 months now with NO response from CoSLA. It's a disgraceful way to treat hard-working staff.

"Council workers deserve a decent pay rise this year after years of falling living standards and we will continue to press the employers for a decent settlement."


Update 28th December 2016

No happy new year for Local Government Workers

UNISON has slammed Scottish council employers after they have failed to respond to a pay claim lodged by unions in August 2016.

"Council staff who work tirelessly to provide services across the festive period are being treated in a disgraceful fashion by their employers," say UNISON.

UNISON, and other local authority trade unions, lodged a pay claim with the Scottish employers in August 2016. See pay claim.

However despite many requests employers have failed to respond to it. That’s despite arranging pay claim discussion meetings but then cancelling them at short notice.

UNISON call on Scottish local government employers to get round the table in the first days of January 2017, so we can get the new year off to a good start.

Douglas Black
Douglas Black

UNISON’s lead negotiator, Douglas Black said ‘this is a dreadful way to treat staff who are working exceptionally hard under extreme circumstances to deliver the services that we all rely on. The Scottish employers need to take a hard look at themselves and understand that the greatest asset they rely on are their own staff.’

Mark Ferguson, chairperson of UNISON Local Government Committee added, ‘if an offer is not forthcoming then UNISON will not hesitate to consider taking action to force the employers to the negotiating table. Local government staff are keeping our vital services going over the festive period. It’s surely not too much to ask that the employers at least respond to our pay claim.”

UNISON is contacting all local Councillors to ask them to exert pressure on the employers negotiators to address this issue immediately.


Update 2nd December 2016

Unions submit one year £1000 flat rate pay claim for council staff

Negotiators from UNISON, Unite and the GMB have jointly submitted a one year pay claim of £1000 flat rate for all staff.

The unions have also called for the continued uprating of the Scottish Living Wage, due to rise from £8.25 to £8.45 from April 2017.

And they will press for the development of a pay strategy to identify and make good the imbalance in pay caused by the below inflation pay awards of recent years.

Lead negotiator Dougie Black said, "The trade union side believes that this claim is realistic and fair. We hope that the employers will engage in constructive talks with us so that we can reach an early settlement."

Mark Ferguson, Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee added, "The emplyers have already agreed to fully consolidate the Scottish Living Wage within a three year period so they will need to do that by 1st April 2017.