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.”