By UNISON, Jul 26 2017 12:05PM

I am delighted to tell you that UNISON Legal Services has been successful in its challenge to Employment Tribunal Fees. Today, the Supreme Court, the UK'S highest court, ruled that the Government acted unlawfully when it introduced fees to bring claims in the Employment Tribunals in England, Scotland and Wales. Since 2013, workers have had to pay as much as £1,200 plus to have claims for sex discrimination or unfair dismissal heard at Tribunal.

I am so very proud that it is our union which has successfully challenged this great injustice. As the Supreme Court has said Employment Tribunals play a vital role in enforcing employment rights by employees and workers including the low paid. The Court found that UNISON's evidence showed that the fall in claims when fees came in was 'so sharp, so substantial and so sustained' that fees could not reasonably be afforded by those on low to middle incomes. It also held that fees particularly deterred claims of low value which as we know are generally brought by the most vulnerable workers.

This historic judgement makes heavy criticism of the Government's actions. It found that the system of fees introduced in 2013 infringed constitutional rights. The Court said that citizens' right of access to the courts which is guaranteed by Magna Carta was effectively prevented by the Fees Order which introduced fees in Employment Tribunals. The level at which the fees had been set contravened 'elementary economics and plain common sense'.

This decision in our union's case will benefit all working people.

Our next steps are to call for the Government to

• quash the rules relating to fees,

• reimburse all fees paid since 2013,

• immediately remove all references to fees on ET claim forms and government literature, websites and advice; and

• pay UNISON's costs in full.

I would like to thank all members of UNISON Legal Services who have worked tirelessly on this case but particular mention should be made of Adam Creme, Shantha David, Ben Patrick, Kate Osborne and Grant Haycock and to Bronwyn McKenna, AGS, who has worked with me on this.

Yours sincerely

Dave Prentis


By UNISON, Jun 1 2017 08:50AM

• Number of votes cast; 15,214

• Number of yes votes; 9,540

• Number of no votes; 5,662

• Number of spoiled or invalid papers; 12

As the turnout is below the 50% threshold, it is not possible to take industrial action under current legislation imposed by the UK Government.

The Scottish Local Government Committee met in Glasgow this morning to consider the ballot result and understandably were disappointed.

The ballot did return a vote in favour of taking industrial action but did not meet the requirements of the Trade Union Act 2016. However the result did indicate that there are a substantial number of UNISON members who are unhappy with the employers offer on pay.

The employers have previously stated that they would be prepared to meet with the trade unions once the ballot had concluded and as a result UNISON will be seeking an early meeting to explore how pay can be concluded for 2017/18.

By UNISON, Apr 18 2017 01:15PM

I attach the text of a communication sent out by the GMB to their members in relation to SJC Pay 2017. Not only does it attack UNISON but is factually inaccurate. Given that this will no doubt circulate in branches UNISON have prepared a response that branches can use through websites, twitter, facebook or other media.

Dear GMB Member

GMB Scotland in Local Government – COSLA Pay Offer Update

This year’s local government pay award is potentially going to be delayed by Unison's decision to reject the pay offer from COSLA. Despite this being a joint pay negotiation at no point have Unison advised us of their intentions to recommend rejecting the offer or to strike.

You will remember that the offer you accepted is a flat rate £350 offer for those who earn less than £35,000 a year and 1% for those who earn £35,000 and above per year. This equates to a rise of 2.18 % for those who are on the lowest pay and takes the Scottish Local Government Living Wage to £8.51 per hour. As members of GMB Scotland you accepted the offer by 69%. Unite members voted by a bigger margin with 82% voting for acceptance.

Your GMB Scotland negotiators fought hard to get the offer COSLA made and we got the final offer deliberately weighted to the lowest paid. As we explained when we balloted this was the best that could be achieved without taking strike action.

During the negotiations the employers did threaten to impose a flat 1% pay increase. It is not for GMB Scotland to tell other Unions how to conduct their affairs but in light of Unison's strike threat COSLA are again threatening to impose the 1%. If they do, it will really hit the poorest in local government; pupil support staff; caterers; cleaners, care workers and many other groups.

GMB Scotland is not going to stand by and let the poorest paid get hit hardest by COSLA implementing a flat 1% pay deal. GMB Scotland wants a deal that is weighted to the lowest paid and we want the pay offer our members voted on to be honoured.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me on 0141 332 8641 or email scotlocalgov@gmb.org.uk

Kind regards

Tony Dowling

GMB Scotland Senior Organiser

UNISON Response

The GMB have chosen to attack UNISON in correspondence to their members regarding the fact that we have rejected the employers on Pay this year. Not only is the letter to their members inflammatory but it is factually inaccurate. Let me just set the record straight. Tony Dowling states that UNISON did not inform the GMB of our intention to reject the offer. At the time the offer from the employers was made the joint trade union negotiating body, which is made up of UNISON, GMB and Unite, decided to seek views from their respective local government bodies on the basis that the offer was not good enough and did not meet the claim either in its value or on the basis that it was not a flat rate offer across the board. There was a clear message from this meeting that the offer should be rejected. It appears that UNISON are the only trade union that can be relied on to take such a message back to our Local Government Committee and also appears that we are the only trade union to stand up for Fair Pay in Local Government. UNISON’s recommendation was to reject the offer and this was overwhelmingly adopted by our members in our consultative ballot by a margin of 77.6% to 22.4%. Indeed the number of UNISON members voting to reject outweighed the total combined members of both GMB and Unite across local government in Scotland.

There is no indication at this time that COSLA will impose a 1% pay increase. Due to local government elections taking place on 4th May COSLA does not have any political leadership in place. All COSLA business in relation to pay will be deferred until the first COSLA Leaders meeting following the election on 26th May. For the GMB to scaremonger in this way is frankly disgraceful but given it is UNISON that has rejected this offer I would suggest that we are not only the only union standing up for low paid members but also the only union prepared to fight for a decent pay rise for them. It would also appear that GMB’s position on pay has weakened. Apparently they are now prepared to support a deal that is ‘weighted’ towards the lowest paid rather than a flat rate offer for all members. This is contrary to the position taken throughout the negotiations by their negotiating team including Tony Dowling which was that the offer was not good enough.

UNISON is moving towards a full industrial action ballot on the basis of our members clear views in the consultative exercise. It would have been our preferred option that the other trade unions would also have supported this however that clearly is not the case. As the largest trade union in local government by quite some distance UNISON will always speak for the majority of trade union members within local government.

By UNISON, Mar 13 2017 10:57AM

The Local Government Committee considered the final offer made by the employers in respect of SJC Pay yesterday and unanimously decided to recommend REJECTION of the offer. The committee also agreed to consult our members in a digital online ballot commencing 17th March and closing at 12 noon on 7th April.

A high participation in this ballot is absolutely crucial if we are to move towards a full industrial action ballot. New thresholds within the Trade Union legislation mean that a 50% participation rate in industrial action ballots is required and whilst this consultative ballot is not governed by this legislation it is imperative that we demonstrate that we can achieve a percentage return close to that level.

To seek to maximise participation we have agreed to run this consultation on the basis of a full digital consultative ballot. This means that access to the ballot will only be through a secure UNISON web page. Where we have members email addresses registered on the RMS these individuals will receive an email and a link to enable them to vote. Those members for whom we do not have email addresses for will be required to access a web page, answer two security questions and vote online. There is a significant job of work to do by branches to encourage participation and assist those members who may not have electronic access. I will prepare a full briefing sheet on the ballot detail.

Briefing materials have now been developed in the form of a fact sheet, FAQ's, poster and leaflet for use within branches. These materials will be available to download from the UNISON Scotland webpage later today. Branches are encouraged to ensure this ballot and ballot arrangements are widely publicised within their membership either through their normal distribution channels or by workplace it branch meetings. Local Government Committee members are available to attend branch/workplace meetings, please contact me directly to arrange.

We can significantly improve upon our previous ballot returns on pay however if we are to do so it will require a concerted effort by all of us to achieve this.

By UNISON, Feb 20 2017 11:14AM

UNISON Scotland supports this petition to challenge these rises of 66% for low paid support workers and 166% for social workers, when wages rises are again below inflation, are unfair and a disincentive to people joining the care sector.


Real change happens when everyday people like you and I come together and stand up for what we believe in.

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