Equal Pay Update

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Colleagues Finally an update on when Thompsons will be able to write to UNISON claimants with offers. We will be receiving the completed paperwork in large batches from NLC and will be writing to members with offers from Monday. It could take 10 – 14 days to cover all members who have claims with us, so I would urge patience. We wanted to write to all members at the same time, but this would mean a further delay, and I think at this stage we’re best to do them in batches. A lot of work has been done to get to this point, and although it has taken time (over 10 months since negotiations began) we are finally in the final straight. Currently I still do not have an update for those who have not claimed and have lodged their details with us or UNISON Scotland, news when I get it, I promise. John...

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Equal Pay delays and the relevance of the General Election

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in News | 0 comments

There are two recurring themes on our Facebook page we would like to address – Equal Pay delays and the relevance of the General Election. On delay. When UNISON rejected single status in 2006 we moved into the latest phase of what has been a 20 year UNISON campaign for pay equality. This phase of “second wave” legal action has lasted eight years. The union has made a massive financial investment in this project along with an investment of time and effort by activists and staff. We sincerely believe that the various measures agreed with the council will compensate claimants for the historic problems and move the council into a new era of pay equality. Converting that agreement into benefit for claimants is taking longer than expected but members should be assured that every effort is being made to get the job done and to get it done right. We receive daily reports on the process and problems are micro managed as we get ready for mass communication with claimants. Around 50 claimants will receive calls and letters seeking very specific additional information in the next couple of days. Please ensure you reply promptly if you receive a data request. This exercise is expected to be the last step in processing the 4500 cases. On the general election. This is quite straightforward. Councils in Scotland include political parties of every colour. Similarly, the Scottish Executive or Scottish Government has had all the significant political parties in positions of control during the Single Status and Equal Pay process. We can say with absolute certainty that no political party can claim credit for moving this issue forward. It has been the claimants and their representatives who have driven this process. Vote how you want, and be sure to use your vote. But don’t believe anyone who tells you that one party has a better record than another on equal pay. It simply is not true. John Mooney Branch...

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Public Services Election

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in News | 0 comments

“This is the Public Services Election. The outcome will have a huge impact upon UNISON members, their families, communities and the public services in which we work, to protect the disadvantaged and provide a better quality of life for all.” The Public Services Election 7 May 2015 – UNISON Scotland Manifesto April 2015   In Scotland the 2015 general election marks the start of a three year programme of elections with the Scottish Parliament in 2016 and the Scottish local government elections in 2017. It is not uncommon for election to be described as “the most vital in a generation”. However, given the Tory plans for public spending there can be little doubt that the outcome of this election will have a huge impact upon UNISON members, their families, communities and the public services in which we work. Last month we published a full scale poll undertaken by Survation, for UNISON Scotland, that asked Scottish voters to explain their priorities. They said that public services, welfare, jobs and pay were the most important issues for them in the coming general election. Public services are the number one election issue for the majority of Scottish voters. They were also clear about their spending priorities. If the next government was to raise £2bn by cracking down on tax avoidance, 58% of respondents believe that the money should be spent on improving public services, compared to 19% who think it should be spent on reducing public borrowing, and 17% who think that it should be used on income tax cuts. People provide the services. Our people and our jobs are at risk. The latest workforce statistics for Scotland have been published. They cover the period up to December 2014. The headline figure shows a massive 24,000 reduction in public sector staff last year. However, this is misleading as it includes a reclassification of mostly bank staff back to the private sector. The adjusted cut was 1,000 jobs; from 532,000 down to 531,000. This means a total of 62,000 jobs have been lost from the public sector in Scotland since the post-crash high point (2009 Q1), reducing public sector jobs as a proportion of the total workforce from 24% to 20.5%. Last year, local government employment fell by a further 600 jobs from 247,100 to 246,500. 40,000 jobs have been lost in Scottish local government since the post-crash high point (2009 Q1). The largest percentage cut last year was in South Ayrshire at 6.4%. Last year, health staff increased by 2,400; from 158,100 to 160,500.While that’s an increase of 809 jobs since 2009(Q1), it is a drop of 1091 jobs since the 2010(Q1) highpoint. FE colleges recovered 300 jobs last year increasing from...

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Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Colleagues A quick update on our pay campaign. Today I wrote to every Councillor in NLC explaining our position on pay and asking for their support in achieving a fair pay rise. I will share every response I receive with you all. I have copied the letter:-   Dear Councillor 2015/16 LOCAL GOVERNMENT PAY CLAIM I am writing to you to update you on the progress of this year’s pay negotiations at the Scottish Joint Council between UNISON and our colleagues in GMB and UNITE, and the Scottish local government employers. You may be aware that over the past few years Scottish local government wages have not kept pace with inflation and that there were two years of pay freezes. This has meant that the value of wages for Scottish council workers has fallen by around 16% since 2010 in real terms. You may also be aware that as part of the settlement with UNISON last year the employers agreed to re-engage with the bargaining machinery and to have proper negotiations with the trade unions. We are aware of the difficult financial circumstances that councils are in at the present time, however we understand that as employers who value their staff you would wish to properly reward your staff and to address the year-on-year drop in living standards. The trade unions have submitted a claim for an increase of £1 per hour across all grades to address low pay and pay inequality. We were disappointed to learn that an offer of 1% was made and understandably the 3 unions have rejected this. A further offer has now been presented to our negotiators of 2.5% over 2 years (2015/16 and 2016/17). The union side have asked that the employers reconsider this offer. We would like to see an increase in the overall offer. We have also asked that the employers consider whether the offer could be presented as a “flat rate” rather than as a percentage. We believe that it is not unreasonable for the employers to take on board the long term and substantial fall in the value of our wages and that this should be addressed. We also believe that a “flat rate” offer is essential if we want to break the ever widening gap between the rich and poor in Scotland. The employers are due to return to the trade unions by the end of April. We hope that they will have a positive response to our requests and that they will be willing to negotiate with us to find an acceptable settlement. In the meantime we are asking that you raise the issue of a fair settlement for council workers within the council and that you...

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Briefing – Freedom & Choice Pension Reforms

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Colleagues I thought that some information regarding the new UK pension reforms on Freedom & Choice and how they affect those of us in the Strathclyde Pension Scheme would be helpful. I have obtained the below information from the Strathclyde Pension Fund website, and as you can see there is a link to follow that goes in to further detail for you. I trust this is helpful.   Reforms offering greater flexibility, ‘Freedom and Choice’, in the way that individuals aged 55 and over can access their defined contribution (DC) pensions become effective on 6 April 2015. As the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is a public sector defined benefit (DB) scheme, ‘Freedom and Choice’ does not apply to it. However, before retiring, members do have the right to transfer their pension rights out of the LGPS to a DC arrangement offering ‘flexible benefits’. As a transfer out of the LGPS is a major financial decision requiring careful consideration and can only be done after taking advice, we suggest that any members contemplating this course of action first read our Freedom_and_Choice_Q_and_A_for_LGPS_members John...

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