Thursday, June 21, 2007

Conference rejects 2.5% pay offer

Just got back from National Local Government Conference and want to give you feedback on Unison's key decision on pay.

The local government conference sent a resounding message to chancellor and future prime minister Gordon Brown over pay today, warning that pay cuts will not be tolerated.
General secretary Dave Prentis's call to work together with civil service union the PCS was warmly welcomed by the floor, and it was agreed to recommend a complete rejection of 2.5% or less, together with positive support for "a programme of industrial action".

It is highly likely we will be looking to ballot members on industrial action in the late summer/early autumn, along with other unions in the public sector, unless Gordon Brown offers a reasonable pay settlement.
Current inflation is 4.5%, so a 2.5% offer is actually a 2% pay cut to our members!

The pensions dispute last year saw the biggest public sector strike since the general strike in 1926, with more than a million members taking industrial action. A co-ordinated dispute on pay the covers, Nurses, Teachers, Council Workers and Civil Servants could make that dispute look small in comparison.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Management Shenanigans and the Redundancy Scheme

Management underhand tactics in meetings with Unions

Unison convenors have been involved during the past 3 months in discussions with the authority over a new look redundancy scheme to replace the previous enhanced scheme which became defunct on March 31st 2007 due to new age discrimination laws.

This has been a frustrating process but UNISON's position from the start has been that any new scheme must be at least as good as the previous scheme if not better for any employee faced with losing their job.

The details of the scheme are fairly straight forward: it is based on the statutory redundancy scheme ( where you get 1 - 1.5 weeks salary for each year of service ) but is based on actual weekly salary ( rather than being capped at £310 per week).

The authority has proposed ( and this is where it gets interesting) taking this figure and applying a

In the latest meeting trade unions were informed that the authority would agree to a multiplyer of 2.0 but then stated that if we did not agree immediately it would be taken to the Employee Relations Committee with a management recommendation that a multiplyer of 1.75 should be imposed!!

UNISON strenuosly objected to management using blackmail as a negotiating tactic and insisted that it was unacceptable to bring an offer to the negotiating table only to threaten its withdrawal. UNISON formally demanded that Trade Unions be allowed to present their proposals to the ERC. Unsurprisingly, this request has been refused and management have insisted that we either accept 2.0 by Friday 8th June or see 1.75 imposed.

It is our view that we are here to represent your interests and to secure the best terms and protections possible. In this context it is unforgivable that senior management should threaten to collectively punish the entire workforce simply because they don't like it when Unions do their jobs.

We believe that our proposals were reasonable and affordable and that we were close to an agreement. However it is solely due to management intransigence and shoddy tactics that we find ourselves in this situation.

UNISON entered into these discussions in good faith and we believe that we had achieved much at this stage. We also believe that it is entirely reasonable to expect that the authority should not seek to save money at the same time that employees are losing their jobs.

We are now making representations to the ERC and this may be an issue over which we are forced to register a dispute. Watch this space to keep informed - more news by the end of the week.

NJC Pay Award 2007 - Update

The UNISON NJC Committee met on the 22nd May to consider negotiations on the 2007 pay claim. The pay claim for 2007 was for 5% or £1,000 whichever is the greater. It included improvements in annual leave, increases to sleep in and night allowances plus a 35 hour working week. In response the employer made an offer of 2% in March 2007. This was immediately rejected by the TU side. Since then there have been 2 further meetings.

At a meeting of the NJC Executive on the 21st May the employers set out their response to Unisons rejection of the 2% offer. Although no formal offer was made at the meeting they stated they might consider 2.5% on the total NJC pay bill.

Inflation is currently 4.5% and average earnings are increasing at 3.7%. The cost of childcare,housing and fuel remain high. Tax credits and child benefit thresholds have only increased by 2.5 - 3%. The employers suggested package, while being higher than that offered to NHS staff would still amount to a real pay cut for us all.

We have been asked to get a sounding from members on what they think about the offer. So please let us know what you think. Our email address is or you can write to us at Hallcross House or email any of the convenors.

We all deserve a better offer than this so let's have your comments!!