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By UNISON, Apr 18 2018 08:21AM

You will be aware that UNISON, along with the other trade unions representing members in Local Government, submitted a joint pay claim to your employer on the 12th January 2018. This claim was constructed following consultation with all members working in Local Government and you can read the detail of that here. This briefing is to bring you up to date with what has happened since then and what our next steps are in trying to secure you a decent pay rise.


The Offer


Whilst our claim was submitted early, in the hope that the employer would get round the table quickly to ensure a negotiated settlement in time for the pay implementation date of the 1st April, the employer did not deal with our claim until much later - they wait until they are in receipt of all of the pay claims for all of the different Local Government bargaining groups. There are four bargaining groups in Local Government - yourselves as local government employees, Teachers, Craft Workers and Chief Officials.


We finally received a response from the employer on Monday 26th March, less than 48 hours before we were due to meet them. You can read this offer letter here. They key points of the offer are:


• The policy and aspiration to achieve parity of pay awards across the bargaining groups, in as far as it is within COSLA's control, has been re-affirmed by COSLA Leaders and a uniform pay offer is being made to the entire workforce, across all four of the local government bargaining groups.


• The pay offer is for one year and covers the period 1 April, 2018 to 31 March, 2019. The award will be back dated to the 1 April, 2018 application date.


• The offer has been aligned, for the most part, to be consistent with public sector pay policy in Scotland and is based on a 37 hour working week viz:-


- A 3% pay increase will apply to all employees earning up to £36,500.


- A 2% pay increase will apply to all employees earning £36,501-£80,000


- A flat rate increase of £1,600 to employees earning more than £80,000.


• The pay offer deviates marginally from public sector pay policy in relation to the Living Wage. It is proposed to increase the 'Scottish Local Government Living Wage' from its present level of £8.51 per hour to £8.77 per hour, thereby providing a full 3% increase.


• The offer provides for a 3% increase on all allowances that are normally agreed through the Scottish Joint Council (SJC), with the exception of the First Aid Allowance, which is under separate discussion between the Employers and Trade Unions Sides of the SJC.


• The employer has stated that pay offer is being made against a backdrop of a challenging settlement for local government and continued cost pressures for councils. They state that no additional monies have been made available in the 2018/19 local government settlement for this pay award, consequently, COSLA Leaders have stated that the offer now put to the various trade unions across the four bargaining groups is the best and final offer which can be made for this year.


Whilst the employer termed this is a best and final offer we discovered that they had, at the same time as sending this to us, also written to the Scottish Government pressing for parity across the bargaining groups (i.e. ensuring that whatever increase you get is the same as that achieved for Teachers or Craft workers) and asking that if the Scottish Government was so minded to give any one group of workers a higher increase that this that they provide the necessary funding to ensure that this extends to all Local Government bargaining groups.


Our Response


Your UNISON representatives met with the other trade unions' representatives prior to meeting with the employer. All of the SJC Trade Unions agreed that we should 'note' the employers offer, their representations to the Scottish Government and that we should make our own representations to the Scottish Government in pursuit of our full claim. This position was put to the employer verbally and in writing on the 28th March 2018 - you can read this letter here. - and we wrote jointly to Derek Mackay MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, pressing the issue of parity and calling for additional funding for COSLA to deliver an increase which addressed both the cost of living and an element of restoration - you can read that letter here.


The objective in doing both of these things was two-fold - to call on the Scottish Government to provide COSLA with additional funding to meet our claim and to keep the employer at the negotiating table.


As the trade union representing by far and away the largest number of workers in Local Government we are conscious of our responsibility to explore all available avenues open to us before coming to you with a recommendation to accept or reject the offer before us. We know that taking industrial action is not an easy option - we would only ever ask you to do this if we thought there was no possible alternative.


It is unfortunate that the GMB have chosen to ballot on a recommendation to reject, with a view to taking industrial action, before those avenues are exhausted, however that is a decision for them. As far as your UNISON representatives are concerned we will always be guided by what we believe is in the best interests of our members - there is a window of opportunity here that we believe we should explore before taking a view on whether we have an offer we could recommend to you in a ballot. That may take a couple of weeks and that window of opportunity may prove fruitful, or it may not, but we believe we have a responsibility to explore it before making a recommendation to you.


Next Steps


The next meeting with the employer is on the 4th May 2018 and we would hope to have had a response from the Scottish government by then. As soon as we have that we will be in a better position to know if there is any more money available to improve the offer that is currently before us and we will get in touch then with more information for you.


In the meantime we will continue to work with our trade union colleagues on a co-ordinated approach to lobbying the Scottish Government and your employer in pursuit of our full claim.


Pay Survey


Special thanks to all 9,263 members who participated in the Pay claim survey - you have given us some very useful data on what you think about pay and what action you are prepared to take in support of our claim that we can use in our deliberations about how we handle the current negotiations. In the coming days each UNISON branch will receive a breakdown of the survey responses for their branch and will start to build on that information to target their campaign strategies going forward.


We hope this update is helpful but if you have any questions or queries please don't hesitate in contacting us on j.baxter@unison.co.uk.



By UNISON, Feb 23 2018 03:29PM

On January 2018 UNISON, along with the other Scottish Local Government trade unions, submitted a pay claim for a £1,500 flat rate increase to all spinal column points, or 6.5%, whichever is greater (based on a 37 hour working week). This claim includes an above inflation increase plus an element of restoration. You can read the full detail of the pay claim here and our short bargaining brief explaining it and what happens next here.


We have welcomed the Scottish Government’s stated intention to lift the public sector pay cap for public service workers and have argued that this must apply to you as local government workers who deliver a good public service in local authorities across the country. We also asked the Scottish Government for extra funding for local government to ensure your employer can afford to give you a decent pay rise.


The ball is now in the employers hands. We understand that they want to see the detail of the Government’s final budget settlement and then consult COSLA Leaders before responding to our claim. We do not therefore expect to have a formal response to our claim until the end of March.


So we thought this would be the perfect time to ask our members for their views on the claim and how they think they might be able to help us get the increase you all deserve.


To this end we have drafted a short survey to take the pulse of the membership. The link to the survey is: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/8W75WX8 The survey will go directly to all Local Government members that we have e-mail addresses for and will start going out today. Because of the way the survey system is set up we need to send it out in 4 batches over 4 days so all members we have e-mail addresses for should have it by the end of the week.


We ask that members complete by 16th March and we will do weekly reminders The survey will take no more than 2 minutes to complete and will give us valuable information that we can use in negotiations.


We will let you know of progress in the negotiations and once the employer has responded to our pay claim we will seek members views on the outcome of the talks before anything is agreed.


By UNISON, Sep 18 2017 10:16AM

Thousands of public service jobs are being cut and each one of those is a tragedy for the person concerned. However, staff losing their jobs are not the only victims of the government’s attack on vital public services. Those left behind are expected to keep those services running with fewer staff and less money.

See the Stress Survey

By UNISON, Sep 14 2017 10:20AM

Every single person who works in public services needs and deserve a pay rise. It’s time for the pay cap to be scrapped, for the government to provide additional funding for public sector pay and for employers to put public sector workers pay up now.



For more than seven years, everyone who works in public services has seen their pay decline, thanks to the public sector pay cap. Inflation is currently at 2.9%, meaning that the cap is a significant annual pay cut for those public service champions – nurses, care workers, teaching assistants, social workers and so many others - who work for all of us. Public sector pay has risen by just 4.4% between 2010 and 2016 while the cost of living rose by 22%.

Sign th petition


By UNISON, Aug 2 2017 09:19AM

UNISON has won a landmark court victory that makes it much harder for employers to ignore staff when making major changes in the workplace.


The Court of Appeal ruling means that for the first time employers will be obliged to consult with unions around any workplace issues that affect their members.


Until now, unions only had the right to be consulted where the law required this, for example in TUPE regulations where employees transfer from one employer to another, and in redundancy cases.


The ruling means employers will also have to involve unions in issues such as those around working hours and holiday pay. It will benefit thousands of employees whose rights at work are under threat and means that employers will face greater scrutiny over their treatment of staff, says UNISON. It comes just days after the union won its appeal against ET fees.


The victory came about after the union took up a case involving parks police who were made redundant by the London Borough of Wandsworth.


The Court of Appeal ruled that UNISON had the right to be consulted by Wandsworth over the job losses.


UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This is the second major legal victory in a week for working people. It means that employees in any workplace where there’s a union will now benefit from greater protection at work.


“The message to bosses is they will have to treat their staff more fairly over pay and working conditions. If they fail to consult unions then they will be acting unlawfully and could be taken to court.”

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