Category Archives: Pay Campaign

You deserve fair pay. Vote Now!

UNISON urge council staff to vote in landmark industrial ballot

South Lanarkshire Council UNISON members are being balloted along with their local government colleagues across Scotland in what is seen as the first big test of the new Trade Union Act 2016.

This tory government legislation means that unless 50% of eligible members take part in the ballot, UNISON cannot call industrial action. There have been localised disputes, but this is the first large scale UK ballot under the new legislation.

UNISON local government members across Scotland are being balloted for industrial action, including strike action, because they had already voted overwhelmingly to reject the pay offer that was put forward earlier this year.

Years of pay restraint and inflation means local government pay is worth far less now than ten years ago. Standards of living have been squeezed as the price of food, gas and electricity, travel and childcare continue to rise.

Mike Kirby, UNISON Scotland secretary said, “This UNISON Scotland ballot affects every trade unionist. It is important that we show the UK government that we will not be bullied by the Trade Union Act 2016. Local government staff have seen big cuts in pay and they have the right to decide how they negotiate with their employers. We urge all UNISON members to return their ballot paper before the 30 May deadline.

UNISON members are clear that what is on the table is derisory considering the cuts that council workers have had to endure. The votes of our 70,000 members could affect the future earnings of nearly four times as many workers – so its crucial we make our voice heard. UNISON has fought hard for fair pay and to end pay restraint and we are recommending further industrial action. But above all we are urging UNISON members to vote.”

Editor’s notes

In the recent consultative ballot UNISON members overwhelmingly rejected the employers’ pay offer for 2017/18 – by 78% to 22%. The employers’ offer was: £350 flat rate for those earning up to £35,000; 1% for those earning over £35,001; Scottish local government living wage to be the minimum pay for all pay and allowances including additional hours, contractual overtime and other allowances. It will be pensionble.

UNISON to ballot local government members in fight for fair pay

Following a resounding 77.6% rejection in the consultative ballot on the employers’ pay offer, UNISON will now move to ballot its 70,000 local government members across every local authority in Scotland on industrial action.

Dougie Black, regional organiser for UNISON Scotland, said: “Local government workers have suffered years of pay restraint and their pay is worth far less now than ten years ago. The cost of food, gas and electricity, travel and childcare continue to rise and, as a consequence, their living standards have been severely eroded. This can not continue.

“If pay had even just risen with inflation a home care worker, for example, would be paid £19,900 a year when instead they are paid just £16,900; an early years’ worker would receive £24,100 instead of £20,400 and a library assistant would earn £26,400 instead of £22,400. And that’s just to keep up with the cost of living.

“Fair pay remains a priority for UNISON. Our members are the cogs that keep local government services turning and they deserve to be treated fairly.”

Local government pay ballot closes noon 7 April – Ballot now closed

UNISON urges local government members in Scotland to vote to reject the unfair pay offer. You only have until midday on 7 April to vote at unison.org.uk/lgscot17 in the online consultative ballot.

What’s not fair?
Your pay is worth far less now than ten years ago after years of pay restraint and inflation. Local government workers are seeing their living standards squeezed as the prices of food, gas and electricity, travel, food and childcare continue to rise. But while inflation indexes show how costs are rising, the impact on individual households is often worse. This cannot continue.

The employers have offered:
• Employees earning less than £35,000 a £350* increase (*pro rata based on 37 hours)
• Employees earning more than £35,000 a 1 per cent increase.
• Scottish Local Government Living Wage is the minimum pay for all pay and allowances including additional hours, contractual overtime and other allowances. It will be pensionable.

What is fair?
The employers’ offer falls far short of our claim. We asked for:
• A flat rate payment of £1,000 for all employees.
• The continued uprating of the Scottish Local Government Living Wage.
• A future pay strategy to identify and redress the imbalance caused by previous pay awards below the rate of inflation.

UNISON urges you to reject the offer.

Local government members vote to accept two year pay offer

Over 88% of Scottish local government members voting in their pay ballot have accepted a two year offer with a new Living Wage deal. Staff will now get a 1.5% rise from 1 April 2015 and 1% from April 2016.

Importantly, the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.85 per hour will be put in place before the 1.5% rise, making it £7.97 an hour.

And in April 2016, the Living Wage will be increased to the recommended figure of the Living Wage Foundation, again before the 1% rise. There will also be talks on removing the pay points below the Living Wage level.

Negotiators succeeded in getting the initial offer of two years at 1.25% front-loaded to 1.5% in 2015 which is above inflation and slightly increases the value of the 1% in 2016. In August inflation was 0.0% on the Consumer Prices Index and 1.1% on the Retail Prices Index.

February Meetings for South Lanarkshire UNISON Members

For an update on cuts, pay and proposed branch constitution changes and more..

HAMILTON
Monday 2 February at 12:30pm and 7pm, Council Chamber, SLC HQ,

RUTHERGLEN
Tuesday 3 February at 12:30pm and 7pm, Ground Floor, King Street, Rutherglen

LANARK
Monday 9 February at 12:30pm uand 7pm, Council Chamber, South Fennel, Lanark

EAST KILBRIDE
Tuesday 10 February at 12:30pm uand 7pm, Council Chamber, Civic Centre, East Kilbride

3 Hamiltons Living Wage Link Up

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation tonight hosted an online link up between three Hamiltons across the globe – Scotland, Canada,and New Zealand.

Although separated by thousands of miles the stories couldn’t be any more similar. We are all fighting to expand the take up of the Living Wage through out both the public and private sectors not only as a way to eradicate poverty but also as a logical way to boost the economy.

Sarah Wiktoski from the Poverty Alliance highlighted the Scottish situation and the particular success within the public sector.

In the meantime the inclusion of the consolidation of the Living Wage throughout local government in Scotland in the recent improved pay offer is a great achievement.

UNISON Local Government members in Scotland vote to accept revised pay offer

The results of the consultative ballot for local government UNISON members in Scotland was a resounding yes to accept the revised pay offer, with over two thirds of the votes for agreeing to the offer.

Strike action for the 21 October had been suspended, whilst members were consulted on the offer… an offer that would commit the employers to the future participation in the agreed bargaining machinery, the consolidation of the living wage and the deletion of spinal column point below the level of the living wage.

Whilst at South Lanarkshire Council, the living wage had already been consolidated, this was not the case for the majority of local authorities, so this is a great achievement for UNISON members throughout the country.

However the fight for fair pay continues.

Suspension of Industrial Action 21 October 2014 – new consultative ballot

Following a meeting of UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Committee today, the committee has taken the decision to suspend strike action planned for 21 October and consult our members on new proposals put forward by the Scottish Employers (CoSLA).

The proposals concentrate on three areas of our dispute: the future participation in the agreed bargaining machinery; consolidation of the living wage; and the deletion of spinal column point below the level of the living wage.

The view of the Scottish Local Government Committee is that these proposals represent a significant change to the current award. In line with our agreed procedures UNISON is consulting members on the revised pay offer from the employers and a full consultative ballot will now take place.

The ballot will open on Monday 20 October 2014 and close on Monday 3 November 2014.

UNISON Local government workers to strike across Scotland on Tuesday 21 October

South Lanarkshire UNISON council workers will join their  local government colleagues across Scotland in a one day strike on Tuesday 21 October as the start of a national programme of industrial action for a fair pay.

Douglas Black UNISON regional officer for local government said ‘UNISON has consulted its members and the clear democratic decision is to take further industrial action. We will be running a programme of action which will affect every area of Scotland. We do not take decisions like this lightly. Our members know how many people rely on our services. But local government pay has dropped 14% since 2007. We have seen 39,400 job losses. And UNISON members feel they have to say enough is enough’

UNISON is the biggest trade union in Scotland and the biggest in local government. UNISON balloted members in local government between 9th to 29th September 2014. The UNISON ballot result was 53.5% for yes and 46.5% for no.

Douglas Black continued ‘This is a clear democratic decision. Our demands are simple. Fair pay for all workers and an end to low pay, and for employers get back round the table to discuss the big issues facing local government. There is real anger out there and so they need to talk to us as soon as possible.’’

Scottish employers have imposed a pay award of 1% on our members from 1 April 2014. This is below inflation and below Retail Price Index. UNISON members pay has eroded by 14% since 2007, based on Retail Price Index

It’s a robbery not a recession – Glen Williams

Closing the New Lanark Family Fun Day on Sunday August 31, Glen Williams, Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Service Executive, slammed the continued public pay restraint, contrasted against the plans for 11% rises for MPs, and obscene increases for cabinet advisers  – in one case a rise of 36%. Yet there is no money for the public sector workers to get  a decent rise.

It would cost  £1bn for a 5% pay rise, whilst Trident costs £32bn. There is money, it’s just what you choose to spend it on. This is robbery. It’s not a recession.

He acknowledged that the living wage in local government in Scotland did mean that things were a bit better here than in England and Wales, where local government members will be taking their next day of industrial action in October. However, we have all been suffering from under inflation pay rises for years.

Moreover, it’s not just about pay explained Glen, but about the refusal to negotiate – in essence our employers might as well be tearing up our collective agreements. It is time for us all to draw the line in the sand.

It was a very stimulating end to the New Lanark Family Fun Day – food for thought. Watch out for your local government ballot paper after 9 September and make sure you take your vote. UNISON is asking you to vote in favour of industrial action.

On a lighter note, over the course of the day, we had some great music from Alastair McDonald, Pauline Bradley, Liam Toner and Hilary McFarlane, with a variety of songs from the three acts from You Cannie Throw your Piece off a Twenty Storey Flat, right through to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.

There were plenty of other activities including  birds of prey, and Indian Head Massages, and for the kids – the bouncy castle, balloon modelling, and face painting.

Another sunny funny day!