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!!