Friday, December 22, 2006

Urgent - Unison Members Meeting


5.30 pm, January 18 2007
Earl of Doncaster Hotel

Doncaster Council has now presented initial proposals for the implementation of Single Status / Job Evaluation and intends for this to come into force on 1st April 2007.

These possible changes to Pay and Gradings and to other elements of your current terms and conditions, could have far-reaching implications for you and your colleagues.

It is vital that you attend this meeting.

Please tell all of your workmates. If they are not currently members of a Trade Union, this is the time to join. Membership forms for Doncaster Unison will be available at this meeting and employees will be able to join on the night.

Friday, December 01, 2006





THURSDAY 7th DECEMBER 2006 at 5.45PM.

Single Status News from the Wider World!

A brief update from around the country for those who aren't too sure what to think about Single Status and Job Evaluation.

Obviously we all want to sleep soundly at night without worrying too much about work and getting paid next month, so use this information to be aware, not alarmed.

The Single Status/Job Evaluation negotiations are ongoing in Doncaster and as yet have produced no final proposals - you can rest assured that the thoughts, opinions and ultimately actions of you, our members will be the final decider in what happens here.

Staff in Falkirk reject Imposition.

Workers in Falkirk council are moving to a ballot for industrial action over the latest moves by their employers to impose a Single Status deal in December.

Unison members, along with the GMB, could strike on 18 December.

Unison Branch Secretary Gray Allan said; "The employers own figures are that 80 -85% of workers will be unaffected or will see their pay increase but we are worried about the other 15% who will be detrimentally affected."

He added that action could take the form of a one day council wide strike in which, "...everyone shows their solidarity," followed by selective action.

The action will be followed up by the submission of thousands of formal grievances by workers who have been subjected to the "fire and re-hire," tactics that the council has used to shift them onto new contracts.

Coventry announces more Strikes.

The Exchequer Banking Team were set to strike on Wednesday of this week in the next stage of the Branches ongoing campaign against an imposed deal which saw large numbers of employees downgraded.

Earlier this year Coventry workers took a series of days of strikes and now plan to ballot other groups of workers. Neil Swatman - Branch Communication Officer, said " The Exchequer Teams action was among the most effective - there is still a backlog of work."

Glasgow set to Strike.

The turmoil continues in Scotland. A ballot for industrial action in Glasgow City council (the biggest authority north of the border) ended last week with an overwhelming Yes vote.

The planned action will start on Tuesday of next week and will begin with a three day strike!

Glasgow Unison members were outraged when they found that they were not able to access the branches website from council workplaces.

We will provide an update on this important dispute through the blog and direct to members at the Single Status members meeting on Thursday 7th December 2006 at the Carr House Centre.

Blackburn with Darwen.

Approximately 1250 workers at Blackburn with Darwen council in Lancashire are currently facing pay cuts as a result of Single Status/Job Evaluation.

Staffordshire County Council

If you want to (and have internet access at home) you could check out the web-board set up by IT workers in Staffordshire which will give you a sense of the distress and anger felt by employees at some of the most savage threatened pay cuts yet.

Contributions from workers speak volumes and include;

"Someone in our office is losing £14,000 thanks to JE! NOW THAT IS MESSED UP!"

"I'm £6,156 (27%) down and feel traumatised. It's making me bad tempered with family, friends, colleagues and the public. I hate the person I'm turning into."

"I would support any strike that is called! Fair pay for a fair days work."

These are just some of the Single Status disputes around the country. We are more than prepared to publish any information about where Single Status is being implemented without any hitches and without employees losing money but as things stand such stories seem pretty thin on the ground. If you know of any, please let the Branch office know.

When the Single Status Agreement was reached in 1997, our members were told that "...many should gain and none should lose." Well now, and in the coming months we shall be negotiating and fighting for DMBC to honour that original sentiment.

We want to hear from you, either at the planned members meeting, in meetings in your workplaces or at the Branch office. Please remember, negotiations in Doncaster, although rapid, are at an early stage and the Branch negotiators will be guided by you and by the stewards network.

So, don't lose any sleep, brothers and sisters and please don't worry in silence when we are only a phone call away.

Watch this space!

Work Longer! Pay More! Get Less!

It was perhaps naive to expect anything less but Minister for Local Government Phil Woolas has shown contempt for Local Government workers and given us a clear view of just exactly what we can expect on Pensions in the New Year.

The circular which sets out the Government's proposals for a new look LG. pension scheme has now been published and, surprisingly it was dated 23 November 2006, just 24 hours after the lobby of Parliament organised by the unions (see picture.)

So at the very time that union negotiators were expressing their view that we may be moving toward a negotiated settlement and while New Labour MP,s were being lobbied by Unison members (and expressing sympathy!), it is clear that this document had already been prepared and was sat on Woolas' desk!

This is a wholesale dismissal of Local government workers and their Unions. At the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Council last week, delegates expressed their anger at the Governments proposals, with many of those most loyal to the Government feeling most betrayed.

So what exactly are the proposals?

  • No extension to protection for the 85 Year Rule beyond 2016.
  • Changes to Employee Contributions (5.5% on the first £12,000 of earnings, 7.5% on the rest.) This will be reported as a reduction in contributions for the lowest paid workers but many former manual workers currently pay at a protected rate of 5%.
  • A severely detrimental Ill-Health Retirement Scheme which will not only make it much more difficult to get your Pension on health grounds but will also mean that you may lose any entitlement you do have and be forced back into work on review.
  • Provisions which will allow the LG. Employers to reduce the amount they pay into your pension.
  • An increase in the minimum retirement age!

This is, as every Local Government Pension Scheme member recognises, a massive assault on our members terms and conditions and poses a grave threat to their future incomes and wellbeing in retirement. It is worth stating again that the average LG pension is only £3800 and this for many, predominantly low-paid workers, only after long years of dedicated service and hard work.

The Unions must fight to oppose these changes and must start the campaign for industrial action immediately. It is only because of the determination of Unison and other trade union members that we saw on March 28th, that some minor concessions have been achieved over previous, even more vicious proposals.

Kirklees Branch has been instrumental in leading the campaign for a Special Delegate Conference early in the New Year, a campaign supported by 92 Unison branches (including Doncaster) representing over 300,000 members. This conference is vital and will ensure that it is the members of Unison who will make the decisions on industrial action and the best way to defend our pensions rather than a small group of negotiators.

Unison leader Dave Prentis has said that if the Government does not negotiate a settlement, it will pay the price at the May elections. Whilst this will undoubtedly be true we must not leave it simply to the isolation of the ballot box for our members to express their anger. We must act now to ensure that the campaign for industrial action is won. You, our members, must be involved in setting the direction for this dispute, in campaigning to win the defense of a pension scheme that will offer some measure of security in retirement and in seeing off the "work till you drop," proposals of this Government.

Watch this space brothers and sisters!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Winners and Losers

With the onward march of the Council's Job Evaluation process and the looming possibility that our members will be expected to bear the brunt of attempts by the council to dig themselves out of an £8m sized hole, you could be forgiven for thinking that all employees might be asked to tighten their belts. Not so.

Just a little information that might provide some context and might warm the cockles of your, apparently well-paid, little hearts.

The recently released Authorities Statement of Accounts has shown that the number of Council officers earning salaries of over £50k a year has increased by 25% in the last year!

What this means in plain figures is this; there are 53 managers paid between £50 -60k (up from 35 last year); the number on £70 -80k doubled from 8 to 16 last year; two senior managers earn £110 -120k (compared to none last year) and two managers earn £130 -140k!

Now we are not financial whizzkids in the Unison office, but that looks to us like additional spending on management posts of approximately £1.9m over last year!

Of course, we probably don't need to remind you but just in case you have been living in a cave for the last 4 months, this "efficient," use of resources sits alongside the £3,000 per week it is costing to keep the Managing Director on "gardening leave!"

We are sure that you are all resting comfy in the knowledge that the management of the Authority rests in such well paid hands and that you will not be feeling at all nervous that the very people who are charged with making decisions about how your pay will be affected by Job Evaluation are themselves so adequately rewarded!

Just to top this all off, the publically available Cabinet report, considered at the meeting on 29 November, makes interesting reading (well ok, not interesting as such, but you know what we mean). The point is well made that competency levels amongst managers for Financial Management vary widely - ranging from "proactive management," through to "sheer non-acceptance of responsibility."

We do not believe that you and your colleagues, delivering public services day in and day out, should be made to pay the price for management failures and for a political agenda that sees pay cuts and reductions in services as the inevitable future for DMBC staff and the people of Doncaster.

Watch this space brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Job Evaluation Meeting

DMBC are currently talking to your UNISON representatives about the implementation of the job evaluation scheme. Contrary to what many of you may think, job evaluation has not yet been implemented, therefore your pay could potentially be changed in the near future.

It is extremely likely that some members will be downgraded!

The branch historically holds a position the we will not particpate in the implimentation of job evaluation until "we agree a pay protection policy that is acceptable to our members".

We need as many members as possible to attend the meeting so that you can have your say on whether the current position is a correct one, and if so what would be a suitable pay protection policy?

The meeting will be held Thursday 7th December 2006, Carr House Centre, 5.45pm.

Please make every effort to attend this very important meeting.

Bad News on Pensions

Bad news on pensions – the Government have pre-empted further negotiations and pressed ahead with proposals for formal consultation which are clearly unacceptable – for further details click here.

Have a read of the links and let branch officers know what you think. Many of the branch executive think we need to be resuming a programme of strike action to defend our pension rights!

Congratulations to those branch members who attended last Wednesday’s lobby of Parliament – If you could not make it to last week’s lobby of Parliament, there is still plenty for you to do.

First, recruit a colleague to UNISON – to strengthen our bargaining position. Second – write to your MP and tell them that you don’t want to see members of the Local Government Pension Scheme paying more for less! Third, keep checking this blog – save it in your “favourites” or bookmarks!

Click here for the latest up to the minute news from UNISON HQ on the dispute over our pension scheme.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Doncaster Supports Coventry Strikers

Just a quick update from the Branch Committee!

The Branch Executive on Tues 7 Nov. 2006 voted to donate £500 and to send a message of support on behalf of Doncaster Unison to those members in Coventry fighting against the ravages of an imposed Single Status deal.

The action in Coventry continues on a rolling, selective basis with new groups of workers being brought in to all out strike action. It speaks volumes about the detrimental impact of Single status and Job Evaluation on large numbers of often low-paid workers that the membership has felt it necessary to take such determined action.

With Single Status disputes rearing up in other parts of the country, most notably Glasgow, and with negotiations now taking place in DMBC over the implementation of changes to the Pay and Rewards system - the way you are paid, bonuses, premium payments etc., we are obviously going to have to work hard to keep you informed.

To this end Doncaster Unison is calling a Branch members meeting for the 6 December 2006 (venue to be confirmed). We recognise that it is not always easy for our members to get to meetings but would encourage all members to try to attend. The Council's proposals will have major implications for many of our members and it is crucial that you are involved at all stages in directing the negotiating position of your Union representatives. We are not here to reach cosy deals with the Council behind closed doors but to represent you and to reflect your views.

Friday, November 10, 2006

General Secretary says "Defend our Pensions"

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis wants you to join us on the lobby of Parliament for the Local Government Pension Scheme on Wednesday 22 November.

Dave says; “There are just a few weeks during which we will be holding intense talks on protection and on a new look scheme so it’s vital we put on the maximum pressure on employers and politicians during that period.

We need as many people as possible on this lobby.The outcome of the pensions dispute will make a massive financial difference to many of us if we want to retire before 65. It will also determine the future for coming generations of local government workers.We only have any sort of decent pension scheme because of those who came before us and fought for it.

Make sure you are at Parliament on 22 November, contact the branch for transport details.

We also need to prepare ourselves for the likelihood of further industrial action - but before we get to that stage we need to make clear to the very many Labour MPs linked to our trade union that we won't tolerate being treated less favourably than other public servants.

If lifetime protection of existing pension rights is ok for civil servants, health workers and teachers (and it is!) then it is ok for us too.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

An exciting project that works in partnership with all major public sector Unions and DMBC to promote and encourage learning.

There are lots of opportunities available with a whole host of courses to suit EVERYONE, and whats even better the majority are FREE!! Please click on the Lifelong Learning Link on the right hand site for further details. Dont delay do it today!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Job Evaluation Strike at Coventry

I hope this isn't a sign of things to come, but Coventry Unison branch are currently on strike over managements attempt to implement the results of their job evaluation Scheme.

The photo shows schools admission staff on the first day of their indefinate strike action. Many of these women (who are not well paid in the first place) will loose up to 25% of their salary under the new proposals.

They are being joined on the picket lines by street cleaning staff and staff from Coventry's Exchequer Banking section, as their selective action starts to increase.

Talks with Trade Unions in Doncaster on pay & rewards (which include job evaluation) are due to commence next week, with a view to achieving a new equality proofed pay & rewards package by April 2007. Keep checking this site for the latest updates on the negotiations.

Remortgage for free

Britannia Building Society has removed the arrangement fee from its remortgage packages.

Unison members taking a Britannia Re-mortgage package will benefit from no arrangement fee or adminstration, a free standard valuation and free conveyancing - a saving of £829 for a typical customer.

Unison members also benefit from £150 cashback once the mortgage is set up.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lobby Parliament to defend our Pensions!

For those of you who don't fancy visiting London just for Christmas shopping, why don't you join us in our lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 22 November as part of the campaign to defend the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

We don’t know what proposals the Government will make for sure – it is nevertheless clear that we face the prospect of a worse deal than other public service pension schemes, including proposals to make us pay more for that worse deal.

This isn’t acceptable and I am pleased that UNISON is now stepping up several gears. We could spend time wondering whether we should ever have been in a lower gear, but it makes more sense for UNISON branches to build for a massive attendance at the lobby of Parliament on 22 November. We will arrange free transport to get you there, all you need to do is book the day off work and contact the branch asap, to let us know you're coming.

We also need to start the debate about the industrial action which we will almost inevitably have to take to defend our pensions. This debate needs to take place now. I support calls for a serious and sustained programme of all out strike action starting with at least a two day strike and escalating to further and longer periods of strike action. I don’t think a single one day strike will be a serious response to this attack – and I don’t think we should be messing about any longer with deferring action. If we start this fight we should carry on to win it.

London Trip

Unison Sports & Social are hitting the streets of London on 18th November, on our annual Christmas Shopping trip to the capital.

The coach departs Doncaster from Scarborough House at 7.30 sharp, so don't be late!
The return journey commences at 9.30pm from Marble Arch.

If you fancy a shop till you drop expedition, or just a day out in the capital, tickets are availbale from the Unison Office at £10 per person. Once again this offer is only available to Unison Sports & Social members...there's no excuse not to join with these bargains!

And if that's not enough for you bargain hunters, we have a trip to Gateshead on Saturday 28th October. The coach departs 8.30am sharp from Scarborough House, returning Gateshead at 5.30pm. Tickets £8.

There are still a few left, but you need to hurry to take advantage of this offer.

I'm now off to apply for a job at Wilfreda Beehive.

Panto Tickets Now on Sale

This years Christmas Pantomime is Sleeping Beauty. Once again Unison have used their contacts at Doncaster Civic Theatre, to secure our very own showing on Sunday 17th December, at 1pm.

Tickets are now on sale at the branch office, £7 per adult and kids go free.
All adults must be accompanied by a responsible child.

This offer is only available to members of Unison Sports & Social, so sign up today to make sure you don't miss out!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006