Wednesday, March 21, 2007

2% pay offer rejected - talks continue

The Local Government Employers have responded to our claim for a pay rise of 5% or £1,000 with an offer of 2%.

The trade union side have rejected this offer and further negotiations are to take place.

There are further details on the local government section of the UNISON website. I hope we are forthright in our condemnation of this stingy offer which won’t keep up with inflation and offers nothing to the low paid.

It would appear the employers may be prepared to go up to 2.5% and perhaps a little higher – but we will only get a decent pay rise (and reverse the decline in our living standards over the last three years) if we can mobilise support for industrial action.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Branch Annual General Meeting



5:30 P.M.

Quick Reminder

There is to be a members meeting and the AGM, which is to be held at the above address, which will be open to all Unison members to attend.

Items on the agenda which may be of interest to you include:-
· Job Evaluation - Latest
· Pensions

Other issues that may be raised during the meeting could include:-
· Restructures
· Redundancies – Voluntary/Compulsory

This will give YOU, our members, the opportunity to ask the questions and comment on the issues which are important to you. To vote and make policy which the Branch will be required to follow. By attending, your voice and vote will count.

If you have concerns over Single status, the latest restructure, or up coming redundancies?
Do you agree/oppose it. Then come along and voice your opinions.

The outcome of this meeting could decide your future.
Don’t leave it up to someone else to decide it for you!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Conference rejects strike call on pensions

Yesterdays Special Local Government Conference on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), rejected calls for a further strike ballot and voted instead for continuing negotiations, to be followed by a consultative ballot in which members will be asked to choose either to accept the Government’s proposals, with any further changes secured in those negotiations, or to back substantial and escalating industrial action.

Doncaster branch delegates, along with most delegates in the Yorkshire & Humberside Region, supported the alternative view, that negotiations should continue alongside a further strike ballot to strengthen the hand of our negotiators.

Jean Geldart, Chair of the Service Group Executive(SGE), moved the successful composite motion, acknowledging that we had not achieved all our objectives, but pointing out significant improvements which she claimed had arisen from the negotiations to date. Her most powerful argument, borne out by the eventual vote, was that many branches lacked confidence in the willingness of members to take further strike action on this issue at this time.
Doncaster branch has raised criticisms of the tactics in this dispute, especially calling off industrial action planned for last years local elections, without consulting branches. This has undoubtedly played a major role in creating circumstances which has led to many members and activists losing confidence in our ability to repeat the effective strike action taken on 28 March last year.

Paul Holmes, Secretary of the Kirklees local government branch – the branch which had led pressure for a Special Conference to be called – proposed the alternative point of view, that whilst members may have lost confidence and enthusiasm for the dispute because of the errors which had been made, nevertheless when presented with the arguments, members would be willing to back action.

After a lengthy debate the majority of the Conference backed the “top table”. Further negotiations are in prospect on contribution rates for part time workers and former manual workers, ill health retirement provisions and provisions for protection for those losing out under the Rule of 85. At the conclusion of these negotiations there will be a consultative ballot.

It would be wrong to view the outcome of the special conference as a crushing defeat, just as it would be wrong to view the current proposals on the new look LGPS as simply a bad deal. They fall short of our objectives (and it is dishonest to pretend otherwise) but there are positive aspects of the proposals.

Our strike action on 28 March last year put us in a better position to secure concessions than if we had not struck (just as further timely strike action would have put us in a better position still). There will be further challenges to our pensions, as there will be to our pay and conditions, our job security and our public services.

The outcome of the LGPS dispute to date shows what can be achieved with organisation and the willingness to take action, and how much more could be achieved with greater organisation and greater willingness to take action.