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!