"Managing Workforce Change" - Warm Words Hide Hatchet Plan

Members will have received an "Allstaff" email from management on Tuesday (12th Feb) which talks in very mild and positive terms about an attached report that it claims "builds on a CoSLA agreement with the local government trade unions in April 2016".

Clearly we live in Orwell's 1984, where language takes on a whole new meaning.

It is utterly disingenuous to say the above, implying that this is part of on-going progressive discussions with the trade unions.

We have made quite clear, in the brief period this document has been made available to us that we are utterly opposed to its key objectives, which are to rapidly move to massive restructure of council jobs and services to move large numbers of employees onto poorer pay and conditions or out the door.

Dundee City Unison's brief discussions with management on this proposal point to it being nothing more than a management toolkit for rapidly cutting pay and jobs.

The report has 3 main changes that should ring alarm bells with all staff:

1. It clearly states what the Chief Exec has inferred on a number of occasions previously, that they believe Dundee City does not have a "No Compulsory Redundancy" policy but rather a policy to "try to avoid Compulsory Redundancy" (well who doesn't ??):

The obvious implication being that they expect to soon be moving to make compulsory redundancies. In fact, this has been stated by the Chief Exec at recent meetings (with council leaders present).

2. The reduction of the pay protection from 3 years to 6 months:

This has nothing to do with the cost of the tiny number of people currently on pay protection (which used to be permanent until implementation of the Single Status Equal Pay arrangements suggested only 3 years could be justified under Equal Pay concerns).

This is clearly a signal that they plan massive restructuring of council services to move large numbers of people into lower pay and to make the savings (which are it's only justification) much more quickly. You can guarantee that, as usual,  senior managers will not be significantly affected by these restructures.

Bizarrely, they see no irony in the fact they are proudly promising teachers, who are sadly to have their pay cut as part of the budget cuts, 3 years cash conservation.

3. Forcing those who seek Flexible Retirement (where you perhaps reduce hours or pay and take your (much reduced) pension early for the reduced hours/pay) to agree to go after a maximum of 2 years:

This is a cruel abuse that twists the purpose of flexible retirement - meant to allow people who want (or usually need) to reduce the strain of work as they get older - into another tool to get people out the door quickly.

Council workers have put up with a lot over the last decade or more. Seeing hundreds of colleagues disappear, while those left to carry the resulting growing workload see their pay shrink in real terms and a drip, drip of cuts to terms and conditions. Feeling the shame of not being able to deliver services to the same level that we have in the past.

We have seen our pay outstripped by inflation to the point where we have effectively worked for free for a whole year or more. Our current pay offer only sees us barely keep track with current and projected cost of living rises - leaving the pay gap and historical loss still growing in real terms.

This report, being snuck though just days before one of the most devastating budget proposals ever seen in Dundee, will give management free reign to rip apart our members' lives and livelihoods.

We will not stand for it and we encourage members to fight against it and have told management and council leaders as much. We will be consulting with members on taking action, including strike action if necessary, to oppose it in coming days and weeks.

We urge members to:

  • turn out on the Dundee Against Cuts march on Saturday (16th) (Assemble 11:30 - Unite the Union Offices, Blackness Road - marching to City Centre).

  • protest the Council meeting on Monday 18th, where this report is to be tabled 5:30pm for 6pm meeting.

  • protest the Council budget setting meeting on Thursday 21st

  • engage with activities and consultation over this issue

  • come to one of the upcoming AGM meetings on 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th March

  • prepare to take whatever action is needed and stand together to stop or reverse these proposals

UNISON members overwhelmingly vote to accept pay offer for council workers


UNISON, the largest union in local government, have today informed COSLA that their members have overwhelmingly voted to accept the pay offer for local government workers. 

The move follows a consultative ballot of UNISON Scotland local government members in which 91% voted in favour of the deal and in record numbers. UNISON’s ballot closed on Thursday 31 January.

Results of the ballot were announced at UNISON Scotland’s Local Government Committee today (Friday 1 February).

Congratulations to Dundee City branch members and activists for apparently recording the highest turnout in the ballot. Our employers should note that our members are involved and engaged.

The pay offer would deliver 9.5% cost of living increase over three years: 3.5% for 2018-19, 3% for 2019-20 and 3% for 2020-21. In addition it provides a commitment to fully consolidating the living wage, putting more money in the pockets of lower paid council workers, something UNISON has been campaigning on for years.

It also provides a commitment to re-open negotiations in the event of another local government bargaining group’s total pay offer value is revised such that it becomes greater than the sum agreed between COSLA Employers and the SJC Trade Unions for the SJC workforce for the period of the agreement. The award will be backdated to 1 April 2018.

UNISON Head of local government Scotland Johanna Baxter said: “This is a great outcome, delivered as a direct result of the campaigning activity and political lobbying efforts of UNISON members up and down the country. The cost of living increases meet current and projected levels of RPI and we have secured commitments to fully consolidate the living wage and maintain parity across the local government workforce. Our members have been waiting on a pay increase for over a year now so look forward to receiving their increase soon.”

UNISON chair of local government committee in Scotland Mark Ferguson said: “UNISON has campaigned hard to get the best deal we can for local government workers. While the offer does not make up for the many years of austerity, the offer, and particularly the commitment to consolidate the Living Wage, provides important safeguards for our lowest paid members.

“We will work to ensure this is properly delivered and local government workers will now receive back dated money in their pay packets in coming months.”

Notes:
– The improved pay offer has come after months of campaigning and negotiations by the SJC trades unions.
– The offer would deliver cost of living increases of 3.5% for 2018-19, 3% for 2019-20 and 3% for 2020-21. In addition it provides a commitment to fully consolidating the Living Wage and provides for negotiations to be re-opened in the event that any other local government bargaining group’s total pay offer value is revised such that it becomes greater than the sum agreed with the SJC trade unions.
– UNISON are the largest trade union in Scottish Local Government – representing 80,000 local government workers across the
country – and the largest trade union in the UK.
Local government workers have endured a decade of austerity with job cuts, and a decade real terms pay cuts.

UNISON contacts:
Head of local government Johanna Baxter 07817 120 894
Communications officer Danny Phillips 07944 664110

As Pay Ballot looms - Local Newspaper Reports on 'Shocking' Pay Losses exposed by our Pay Loss Calculator

The Dundee Courier reported today on our Pay Campaign and the figures exposed by Dundee City Unison's Pay Loss Calculator.

The article carries comments from Branch Secretary Jim McFarlane and Communication Officer Arthur Nicoll (who build the calculator).

It demonstrates the frustration of our members at having to constantly "Do More, With Less and For Less".

To lose around 1 whole year's pay (and that's against the lower inflation rate CPI) over a period of a few years is a disgraceful statement of how little regard the political leadership in Westminter, Holyrood and CoSLA have for the vital work done by our members.

You sometimes hear people say "we never get back what we lose by striking". Quite apart from how easy it is to show that isn't true, these figures show exactly what the cost of not taking action is. 

The Digital Ballot Opens next week (hopefully on/around 16th October) and will run until around 7th/8th November (the dates are still being finalised). We are calling for you to REJECT the employers' offer and support taking Industrial action in support of our claim of 6.5%.

If this vote is successful but the employer does not move to significantly improve the offer, we will move to a Formal Postal Ballot on Industrial Action.

New anti-union laws, aimed at restricting action by public sector workers mean that at least 50% of those balloted  (in a formal Industrial Action Ballot) must vote.

We need to make sure we meet that threshold. So not only is it important that we vote to REJECT the offer and follow that with a Vote for Industrial action in the formal ballot (if necessary),  we need to make sure all our members know about the Ballots and use their votes.

So, get active and get all the members you know to VOTE and vote REJECT!

Local Govt Pay - New Year, New Offer - Online Ballot

UNISON is asking for your views on the pay offer that has been put forward by COSLA which is a 9.5% cost of living increase over 3 years: 3.5% for 2018-19, 3% for 2019-20 and 3% for 2020-21. (see full details here)

In addition it provides a commitment to fully consolidating the living wage, putting more money in the pockets of lower paid council workers, something UNISON has been campaigning for, for years.

There will be discussions with employers on the practical details of how the living wage consolidation will be achieved but it's basic aim is to ensure that employees' basic pay is set above the living wage threshold and that sensible pay/grading differentials are still achieved.

If agreed, the award for 2018 will be backdated to the 1 April 2018 application date.

UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Committee is recommending that you ACCEPT the offer.

It is really important that you let us know your views in the online ballot running from 7-31 January 2019.

Click here for full details of the claim, the offer and UNISON’s reasons for recommending accept.

You should have received an email in the last few days giving details of how to vote.

If you didn’t get an email (you should check if we have the correct email address for you but) provided you know your membership number or NI Number, you can still vote by using the link below or by phoning UNISON Direct on 0800 0857 857. The ballot closes on 31 January 2019.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE ONLINE NOW

*** Please remember, we need to develop a culture of participating in Ballots (Voting), if we are to be taken seriously by the employers and politicians (and pass legal thresholds for any future Industrial Action Ballots). So please VOTE! ***

Local Government Pay Home

Unions call for members to REJECT the latest CoSLA Pay Offer

Each of the 3 main Unions met at various times last week to consider the latest (and "final") offer from Scottish Local Government Employers (CoSLA).

Their earlier offer was 2% for all employees earning up to £36,500 per year. 2% for those earning £36501 to £80,000 and £1,600 for those earning over £80,000.

This was improved slightly by offering 3% to everyone up to £80,000 and still £1,600 for those above that.

On Friday 7th Sept, Unison's Scottish Local Government Committee discussed this in detail before settling on a clear agreement to recommend rejection of the offer to our members. This position was ratified by delegates at the Unison Scottish Local Government Conference, later that same day.

The joint union claim was for the higher of 6.5% or £1500. This offer comes no where near that.

It was clear to all that the offer, though better than years before, still left our members with very little improvement in our massively reduced standard of living - with inflation at 2.4% (CPI) and 3.4% (RPI). 

Whilst we do have many members who will have gained by the extension of the 3% threshold, for the majority of our members below that level, it will seem like a slap to only improve the offer for higher paid employees.

We demand a proper pay rise for all our members. One that actually makes a difference to their living standards. When you consider how much pay we have lost over the past years, members are telling us they have had their fill of paying for the bosses crisis - and we have paid dearly. The image below shows how pay awards for a typical pay point have been completely left behind compared to where they would be, if they had kept pace with price rises. This shows both CPI and RPI rates.

 

 As you can see, a huge gap has opened up since 2009. This represents pay lost increasingly year on year. Even after the 3% increase offered this year, most pay points will still be way behind where they should be.

Use our Pay Loss Calculator to see how much you've been underpaid over the years since 2009. For most of us, it is around 1 whole year's pay when compared to CPI inflation. That means we might as well have worked 1 whole year for free since 2009. Against RPI it's around 16 months pay!

We know you will not be willing to let this continue. We will be holding a digital consultative ballot soon and need every member to vote and vote to reject.

We will, of course need to consider taking industrial action to improve the offer. We hope you will agree it is worth fighting for more. 

More details will be given in our upcoming branch bulletin.