Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Interim Payment agreed

UNISON has confirmed that the employers have agreed to pay Local Government staff 2.45% ( plus £100 for those on SCP 4,5,6) backdated to 1st April 2008 as an interim payment pending the outcome of ACAS talks. Doncaster Council say the money will be in December pay packets (even though UNISON claim it should be paid in November.) Unions meet with employers again on the 23rd October.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Talks over Pay Claim Reopen as Employers come back to the table

Local government pay talks in England, Northern Ireland and Wales reopen tomorrow in an about face by the Local Government Employers with UNISON hoping they will usher in a 'new era' for council workers. This represents a significant u-turn on the part of the Employer's side following their previous statements about the "final offer," and would not have been achieved without the fantastic efforts of our members over two tough days of strike action.

The union is seeking improved pay and conditions that begin to match up to that of other public service staff.Speaking ahead of the talks, UNISON senior national officer Lucille Thirlby said: "Local government staff play a vital role in keeping communities across the UK running smoothly."

"They work as social workers, provide home care, work in libraries, and keep our streets clean. During the school holidays many will also be looking after children in summer play schemes or teaching them to swim at local leisure centres."

"We hope that this week's talks with the local government employers will herald a 'new era of employment' for local authority staff."We will be doing our best to make sure that pay and conditions begin to match up with the crucial work local authority do day in, day out, and to rates of pay elsewhere in the public sector."Last month around half a million council workers took strike action to protest against a below-inflation pay offer of 2.45%.

Unions have agreed to suspend further action pending the outcome of the new negotiations.

Doncaster UNISON says:

There is no doubt that the fantastic response of UNISON members across the country has helped to focus the employers minds on the need for further movement on this years pay claim and the fact that they have re-entered talks shows that, as a last resort, industrial action does have an impact.

Having said this, it is our view that, having forced the employers back to the table, agreeing to suspend further industrial action sends the wrong message. We believe that it would have been more productive to have named the day for further action if the talks do not deliver a significant improvement for our members and to have entered talks with a clear and early deadline for this to be assessed.

What we do on the ground now is important. As a branch, we strive to accurately reflect the views of our members and the workplace meetings that took place across the Council and in schools played a great part in enabling us to do this. It is for these reasons that the strike days in Doncaster were so successful.

Organise workplace meetings in your office/depot and school so that we can update members as soon as possible. Talk to your colleagues about the possibility of a positive result in the talks and also the possibility of more strike days to come and communicate with your stewards and the branch to let us know your views.

We cannot allow the brilliant support and spirit of the 16/17th July be lost. One of the most important aspects of the strike days was that we were able to recruit a whole new layer of predominantly low-paid women workers into UNISON and many of these new members will form the backbone of any further action.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

1/365th V 1/260th

Did you know that if you take 1 days unpaid leave then you have 1/365th of your salary deducted BUT if you take 1 days strike action then you have 1/260th of your salary deducted? Why is that? I hear you say.... Well that is what we are trying to determine. We have been told it's because that's what the LGA have advised. It doesn't make sense and it's blatantly discriminatory. If you have an opinion on this then please let us know. Watch this space!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

LGE agree to reopen negotiations!!

The employers ( LGE ) have approached UNISON for discussions on the proviso that no dates are fixed for further industrial action. Before the strike the LGE were adament that further negotiations were pointless as they had nothing to discuss. Who says strike action doesn't work! The meeting is to take place on the 13th August. In the meantime branches are to be consulted on what forms of industrial action they consider to be appropriate.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Strike Action 16th - 17th July

The Branch Officers would like to pass our thanks and congratulations to all our members who supported the strike action over fair pay. The strike was extremely well supported and we anticipate over 80% of DMBC staff supported the strike over the 2 days. These figures are similar across the region.

Doncaster held one of the best demonstrations in the region with over 500 members meeting at the Mansion House and marching around the town centre. I’m sure everyone who was there will agree it was good-natured and had a carnival atmosphere, with many members carrying balloons and blowing whistles.

The only negative aspect of the dispute has been the abuse and aggression of certain strike-breakers who are clearly disappointed at the success of the action. We would like to praise those who attended picket lines and would especially like to congratulate them over the way they showed restraint when being intimidated by strike-breakers.

If any members feel they are facing bullying or intimidation back in the workplace due to taking lawful industrial action, they need to contact the branch office or local shop steward immediately.

What next? I hear you all say. Well, we need to keep up the momentum over the next few weeks and I would ask all of you to contact your local Councillors and demand that they put pressure on the Local Government Employers to come back to the negotiating table. The employers in Northern Ireland have agreed to re-open negotiations so why can’t they in England & Wales?

There is no doubt that we have had one of the most successful two days of action Doncaster has ever seen and its thanks to all of you who participated. A trade union branch is only as strong as its members and this proved we have a very strong branch indeed!
Well Done!
More photos can be found on the national and regional websites and the Doncaster UNISON Blogspot!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Advice from the South Yorkshire Pension Scheme.


Due to the proposed industrial action many members are concerned about the effect that any absence may have upon their pension rights. In short, the number of years and days used to work out the benefits are reduced by any days of strike action which have not been paid for. Although any absence not paid for is recorded on our pension records as a break of service, it does not affect any pension rights built up before or after the absence.

However, there are further points that need to be made. . The eventual loss of benefits depends upon the number of days absent and the rate of pensionable pay in their year leading up to retirement. . If the absence falls in the last 12 months of membership, the pensionable pay used to calculate benefits for a member who leaves within 12 months of the end of the strike period could be very marginally higher/lower than it would otherwise have been.

For each day a member is on strike, this will extend by a day the date when a member attains 3 months membership, this being the period of membership necessary to be entitled to a benefit under the Scheme (this will be of no relevance to you if you already have more than 3 months membership).

In some cases, extended by one day the date when a member could retire before age 65 on an unreduced pension (i.e. add one day to the date on which a member’s combined age and membership in the Scheme, both in whole years, add up to 85 (known as the “85 year rule”).


If the member’s pensionable pay at retirement is £16,000 per year and at 65 the member would have built up 24 years membership with no loss of membership due to absence:

Pension = 24 years x 1/60 x £16,000 = £6,400 per year

The same member at age 65 with 2 days absence:

Pension = 23 years 363 days x 1/60 x £16,000 = £6,398.54 per year.

The member in this example would lose £1.46 per year from their pension for 2 days absence.


A member of the Scheme who is absent as a result of a trade dispute can elect to buy the period back at a rate of 16% of the pay lost. As an example of what this means: say the above . is on strike for two days . and would have earned £123.08 in two days . and elects to buy back the absence this member would see a deduction of £19.69 on their payslip in respect of the 16% contribution.

An election to buy back the membership must be made within 30 days of the last period of absence. If you wish to make an election please complete a Form 21. Please note that, regardless of whether or not you decide to pay the 16% contribution to count the strike period as a period of membership in the pension scheme, any additional contributions you may be paying to purchased added years of membership, to uprate any pre 1 April 1972 membership to provide a greater lump sum on retirement, or to purchase extra additional pension by way of Additional Regular Contributions (ARCs), will continue to be collected from your pay.

If you are paying Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) to provide additional life cover we will assume that you would not wish the life cover to lapse and so continue to deducted these contributions from your pay.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Local Government workers vote for Strike Action!

UNISON members in local government in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have voted by 55% to 45% for a programme of sustained strike action over a 2.45% pay offer.

The union’s negotiating team, the National Joint Council committee, will now meet tomorrow to decide what action to recommend to the national strike committee that meets on Friday 27 June.

Commenting on the ballot result, general secretary Dave Prentis said:

"This is a solid vote for action and a clear message to the local government employers that our members are willing to fight for a decent pay rise. They are fed up and angry that they are expected to accept pay cut after pay cut, while bread and butter prices go through the roof. Most of them are low paid workers, who are hit hardest by food and fuel price hikes and they see the unfairness of boardroom bonanzas and big city bonuses. Other local government workers who have to use their cars for work are being hit hard too by spiralling fuel costs and they end up subsidising their employers."

UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield added:

"The employers should be in no doubt: the members have voted for a programme of sustained and escalating strike action because they are sick of being treated as the poor relations of the public sector. Their case for a realistic pay increase is indisputable. We are, of course, willing to meet with the employers at any time, but we will decide tomorrow what recommendations to make to our national strike committee."

Nearly 600,000 UNISON members were balloted on industrial action; including social workers, housing benefit workers, rent collectors refuse workers, school meals staff, teaching assistants, cooks, cleaners, architects and surveyors.Almost 250,000 of those balloted earn less than £6.50 an hour and 75% of them are women.The joint unions' pay claim was for 6% or 50p an hour whichever was the greater.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Voters back Fair Pay for Public Sector workers.

As hundreds of public service workers prepare to lobby their MPs today, new research shows wide public backing for union calls for public sector wages to keep up with the cost of living and with wage rises in the private sector.

The YouGov poll shows that 79% of voters think public service pay should keep up with the cost of living. Nine out of 10 agree that the government should take housing and energy bills into account when working out the cost of living, rather than basing pay negotiations on a measure of inflation that excludes these figures.

Nor did those surveyed want the pay of school workers, NHS staff and other public service workers to fall behind private sector pay – 68% believe it is unfair that public service pay settlements currently average 2.7%, while the pay of people working for private companies is increasing by 4%.

At lunchtime today, trade unionists working in schools, councils, the NHS and elsewhere will take part in a rally at Westminster before lobbying MPs over union calls for public service wages to keep up with the cost of living.They will tell MPs that the government’s pay policy means that public service workers are facing cuts in their standard of living, that many are already struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford a below-inflation pay rise.

This expression of public support for hard pressed workers in councils and schools, the health and emergency services should give each and every one of us considering industrial action over pay a massive boost. It is not enough for the Government to keep spinning the myth that it is public sector workers that cause wage inflation and that there is little sympathy from ordinary people up and down the country.

This poll shows that this is not the case. We should all take this opportunity to talk widely with our friends, families and neighbours to explain the issues on public sector pay and why it is necessary that we take action. The public are already with us - let's build on that support.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Reminder - Return Your Ballot Paper!

As if any UNISON member needed reminding of just how appalling the employers pay-cut (oops! we mean pay offer...) really is, hopefully this will refresh your memory.

For every worker in the Public Sector, costs and expenses are rising, just at the point where the Government decides that we should bear more of the cost. On top of this, we are now contributing more to our pensions than before and are faced with the threat of job evaluation and possible pay cuts for hundreds of DMBC employees.

So if you are a Social Worker or one of the many employees that has to use a car for your job, you are already paying a hefty extra price just for the "privilege," of doing your job; if you are a homeowner, you will be paying more just to keep a roof over your head; we are all paying more for food, fuel and just keeping body and soul together for ourselves, our children and our families.

This Government has peddled the myth that Public Sector pay adds to inflation - while at the same time allowing the wealthiest in our society to continue to rake in huge salaries, tax breaks and avoid what they should be paying to support schools, the NHS and other publically provided services. There are no reasons why we should not expect our standards of living to keep pace; no reasons at all why we should have to suffer pay-cuts from a government that can no longer be bothered to represent the very people that voted them in.

Later today we will have the results from the UNISON ballot on a three year pay offer to staff working in the NHS. Let's hope that our sisters and brothers in the health service send an overwhelming message to the employers that we will not accept being continuously treated as though they do not matter. We all know that it is not managers and accountants that run public services; if they all disappeared tomorrow, schools would still open, patients and vulnerable people would still be cared for, roads would be swept, meals cooked and offices cleaned.

But if we don't come to work, we all know that everything would stop!

Bearing this in mind; bearing in mind that we all work hard to ensure that the job gets done and that services are delivered day in, day out, let's just ask ourselves one simple question;

Hands up everyone, if you think we should have to take a pay-cut?

Thought so!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Moncada Rocks," Festival - Leeds, 7 June 2008.


Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, is the guest speaker at this year’s “Moncada Rocks” music festival in Leeds. This is the fourth annual “Moncada Rocks” event. Moncada Rocks 2008 is raising money to buy basic necessities (e.g. blankets and sanitary towels) for women who are unfairly imprisoned in Colombia for trade union activities.

* Moncada Rocks 2008 – Saturday 7 June, Brudenell Social Club, Queens Road, Hyde Park, Leeds, LS6 1NY
* 9 top quality bands of various genres are playing the event.
* Doors open at 2 pm.
* The event runs from 2 pm until 11.15 p.m.
* First band on at 2.55 pm.
* Bob Crow’s speech will start at 4.45 pm.

Bob will be speaking for around half an hour on the situation faced by Trade Unionists in Colombia and about the situation in Cuba, Venezuela and Latin America generally.

All welcome - £5 entry (from 2pm onwards).

Local Government Pay Ballot Approved.

UNISON members working in local government in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been given the green light for a ballot on industrial action after rejecting the pay offer from employers.

The offer is for a 2.45% increase on all grades from scale point 7, with an additional £100 flat rate increase on scale points 4, 5 and 6, giving workers on those points a 3.3% rise.Employers also want agreement that the National Joint Council, the negotiating body, will seek to conclude a review of 'Green Book' terms and conditions, started as part of the 2007-8 settlement, by the end of this year, and 'seek to' agree pay rises of 2009-10 and 2010-11 by 31 December also.

The offer is below the current inflation rate of 4.2% and less than the increase in average earnings across the economy. As such, it can only be seen as a pay-cut in real terms for all local government workers.

If members vote Yes to industrial action, that is likely to start with a two-day all-out strike in early July, and be followed by a sustained campaign of escalating action, involving strikes of more than two days.Asking members to vote for action, the union is making it clear that the employers' offer is final, and "solid and sustained" industrial action will be needed to convince the employers to reopen negotiations.

In Scotland, an 80% rejection result in UNISON’s local government pay consultation is also likely to lead to a campaign and an industrial action ballot.

Scotland’s local government committee has agreed to try and build a united campaign for industrial action with the other unions on the Scottish negotiating body.The offer from the Scottish employers hasn’t been improved in recent discussions despite recent increases in inflation. It stays at 2.5% each year for three years, with no weighting for the low paid, and no chance to reopen negotiations should inflation continue to increase over that period.

Scotland’s local government policy forum discussed the pay dispute and the results of the consultation exercise in some detail at their recent seminar and agreed to hold further discussions with colleagues from GMB and UNITE (T&G) at the next joint union side on 22 May. A Scottish local government conference has been called for 29 May, where a full report on the current position will be made, and a campaign is planned during June, aiming to build toward an industrial action ballot in the summer.

The importance of this years pay campaign cannot be overstated. Local Government employees are yet again being treated like an easy target by a government that seems determined to make us pay through job and pay cuts, privatisation and job evaluation even as they continue to cosy up to their wealthy friends in the City.

Our response, at every level of UNISON, will be crucial in securing a better deal for all workers in councils and schools. We have already taken a below inflation pay increase during the last year. We cannot afford to continue to see the value of our pay go down as, all around us, everything goes up in price.

When you receive your ballot paper, return it quickly. If we send a determined message to the employers and to the govenment we can win.

Print version

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Council workers seek strike ballot

UNISON’s local government NJC committee is seeking authorisation for an industrial action ballot after members said No to the employers’ offer of a 2.45% pay rise.

That request, which was endorsed by the local government service group executive, will now be considered by the union’s industrial action committee, which is responsible for authorising all industrial action undertaken by the union.

The move comes after a lengthy consultation of members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland saw a rejection of the 2.45% offer.The offer included an element of 'bottom loading', making it worth 3.3% for those on the bottom three pay points. Also as part of the offer, the employers had said they would 'seek to' negotiate pay for 2009-10 and 2010-2011 by 31 December 2008 and conduct a review of the Green Book national terms and conditions by the same date.

Any industrial action ballot will be on the basis that a sustained strike action campaign will be needed to move the employers, starting with a two-day all-out strike and moving on to escalating all-out action for longer than two days.

Members in Scotland were consulted on a proposed multi-year deal of 2.5% in each of the next three years. The joint unions are discussing the outcome of their consultations and a decision on the way forward will be made at a local government conference next week.

For more information, click on the link below.

Schools minister confirms new pay body

Schools minister Jim Knight confirmed that a new national negotiating body for school support staff will be in place by September when he spoke at a UNISON schools seminar in London today.

It will provide national guidelines for pay and conditions.UNISON head of education Christina McAnea said it was a crucial step towards fair pay for this group of workers – made up of teaching assistants, nursery staff, administrators, secretaries, policy officers, technicians, cleaners, caretakers and school meals workers.

Their efforts had been undervalued for too long, she said, adding: “UNISON has campaigned long and hard for a fair system to recognise the very positive contribution made by schools support staff.”Ms McAnea pointed out that the government’s plans for extended children’s services will depend on schools support staff.

“To make this work, we need fair and equal pay and a robust training and career structure to apply in all schools. “The setting up of a national negotiating body for schools staff is a crucial step in this direction.”

Monday, January 14, 2008



Once again UNISON members and other DMBC employees are being asked to bear the brunt of the Council’s spending decisions and mismanagement with the threat of over 250 job cuts and more sweeping cost-cutting across the Authority.

As Martin Winter seeks to drive through a budget which commits Doncaster to yet more borrowing to build huge construction projects, ordinary workers are seeing their jobs disappear and their pay threatened. All to pay for the interest on Council debts which will stretch well into your children’s future.

DMBC was given a more generous grant settlement from Westminster than had been expected this year and for each of the coming three years. Yet we are expected to listen to our leader and senior managers tell us that we can save by cutting, “backroom,” staff and putting more into the frontline.

Everyone knows that it makes no sense to cut the funding from public services while at the same time arguing that things will improve!

These job cuts will leave many areas like Libraries, Museums, Home Care, Wardens, IT, Early Years and the Youth Service struggling to deliver the level of work demanded of them. There is no doubt that the service to your communities will suffer.

This year we will face real challenges to defend your pay and jobs and to defend quality public services – the services you deliver. Please get to these meetings and bring people from your team. If they are not members of UNISON they will be able to join at the meeting.


12 noon – 2pm & 5pm – 7pm