UNISON slams North Lanarkshire council for proposal to slash janitor wages

The trade union UNISON has slammed North Lanarkshire council for voting through proposals that would see the wages of janitors across the local authority slashed as contractual overtime is cut.

North Lanarkshire Council’s Transformation Committee met Thursday 29/2/19 and voted to support the report and recommendations of the Facilities Services Review paper.

UNISON, along with colleagues in the GMB and Unite unions, attended the Committee meeting and spoke up for their members, expressing a number of concerns with the recommendations put forward and urging members of the committee to consider those before agreeing to any service changes.

UNISON Head of local government Scotland Johanna Baxter said: “The proposals approved by the Transformation Committee were predicated on a change to our members jobs and take home pay. The removal of contractual overtime could cost some of our members, some of the lowest paid workers this council employs,up to £4k per annum. The Council, as their employer, cannot make this contractual change without agreement and we have received no proposals from them that would preserve and protect our members take home pay. Until we do we will not be agreeing to changes to our member’s terms and conditions.”

UNISON chair of North Lanarkshire Branch Willie Shearer said: “UNISON is not resistant to change but we will fight to protect our members from detriment. The ball is now in the Council’s hands – they must come back to the table with a proposal which would protect our members take home pay.”


  • The full Facilities Services Review paper which was approved by the council’s Transformation Committee can be read here:
  • UNISON expressed a number of arguments at the committee including:
  • The paper outlines changes to the janitorial role, yet no revised job description has been agreed with the trade unions.
  • The paper outlines clustering arrangements and changes to working hours – these have not been agreed with the trade unions, indeed we have expressed a number of concerns with these proposals in meetings with management.
  • We have requested information on the demographics of the workforce which would assist in evaluating the impact of the proposed changes but have not yet received that information.
  • The paper indicates that going forward the service will no longer require janitors to have contractual overtime and suggests that the financial loss of contractual overtime will be offset by a revision to the job and grading of the janitorial role.
  • HOWEVER we pointed out:
  • There is no agreed revision to the janitorial job description.
  • The revised job description has not yet gone through job evaluation. Until that revised job has been job evaluated no one can say what the grade or salary of that role will be or therefore how/or by how much any revised salary would go to offsetting the financial loss our members would face through the removal of contractual overtime.
  • The removal of contractual overtime will cost some of our members, some of the lowest paid workers in the council, up to £4k per annum in take home pay.
  • CONTRACTUAL overtime forms part of these members terms and conditions of employment therefore if the employer wishes to change these contractual terms they have a number of obligations under employment law – they need to secure agreement to those changes.
  • We do not currently have an acceptable proposal from the Council which would preserve and protect our member’s take home pay and until we do UNISON will not agree to a change to these terms and conditions.
  • We have sought at all times to engage constructively with the Council on changes to the structure of departments and to how work is structured, understanding the very difficult financial circumstances they face – we are not adverse to change and neither are our members. BUT we will not accept a diminution to our member’s terms without steps being taken to protect their take home pay.
  • These changes will have an impact on the delivery of the janitorial service and the communities they serve.
  • We pleaded with politicians from all sides not to play politics with our member’s lives. It was disappointing to us today to see some do so. These changes are too significant for that.