Let's Plug The Gap in Pay - Vote to REJECT the Offer and YES for Action

In what was seen as a failure to stand up for Local Government services and workers, CoSLA made what is a lazy offer of simply regurgitating the Scottish Government Public Sector Pay Policy.

This is a slap in the face to Local Government workers - despite all the rhetoric over the last year.

Even enhanced as it was in the Scottish Budget negotiations, this policy/offer simply does not address the rightful demands of those in Local Government who played pivotal roles in propping up a society in crisis in the face of the COVID Pandemic. See how much you've lost against inflation over the last decade with our updated Pay Loss Calculator Here.

This on the back of over a decade of austerity and real time pay cuts against inflation which the previous award only barely kept up with.

In this election year we need to hold politicians to account over all their easy words on how much they value public services and the workers who provide them.

You can find full details on the Ballot and the Pay Claim here.

This is why we call on members to REJECT the offer and vote YES for action:

  • The offer does not do enough to address the significant and endemic problems of low pay in local government.
  • According to COSLA's own figures 55% of Local Government workers in Scotland earn below £25k per annum.  
  • That's over 100,000 workers, predominantly women, earning significantly below the average wage in Scotland which is currently sitting at £31k per anum.
  • Local Government has not stopped during the pandemic.
  • But for our local government home carers our elderly would have been left without care.  They deserve better.
  • But for our local government cleaners, our classroom assistants and janitors our schools would not have been open to provide childcare that enabled key workers to get to work.  They deserve better.
  • But for our local government workers schools would have closed and our children would have been left without an education.  They deserve better.
  • But for our environmental health officers temporary mortuaries would not have been built and our hospitals would have been overwhelmed. They deserve better.
  • But for our local government registration officers we would not have been able to register the deaths of our loved ones. They deserve better.
  • But for our leisure and culture staff being redeployed test and protect would not have been rolled out. They deserve better.
  • But for our local government workers business support grants would not have been processed.  They deserve better.
  • But for our social workers our most vulnerable would have been left without care.  They deserve better.
  • But for our refuse collectors rubbish would have built up and we would have faced another type of health emergency.  They deserve better.

Pay lost against inflation continues to grow. See how much you've lost in our updated Pay Loss Calculator Here.

We Support COVID19 Vaccination Effort

Immunisation

We in Dundee City UNISON support the COVID19 Vaccination effort and encourage our members to do likewise.

While there may be valid concerns over the speed of development of the various vaccines being issued for COVID19, we encourage our members to look positively at the benefits of vaccination and the risks of not being vaccinated against the, for most people, marginal risks or unknowns about the 2 main vaccines (Pfizer and AstraZeneca).

Clearly those who know they can have serious allergic reactions to other medicines etc. should not consider being vaccinated without consulting their doctor on the risks.

Also, simply because no significant testing was done on pregnant women, they are advised not to be vaccinated while pregnant, unless there are other known serious risks of not being vaccinated (e.g. where they may be of significantly higher risk from COVID19) - in which case they should discuss those risks with their doctors. There is no known risk to pregnant women, however, and further research is being done - so maybe that caution can be relaxed in future.

While we share concerns over the possible reduced protection of leaving the second shot for longer than the vaccine developers recommend, we don't see that as being any reason not to get vaccinated in the first place.

It is also clear that the vaccines have been tested for how well they protect infected people from developing COVID19 as a serious illness. There isn't clear evidence of how well the vaccines prevent people from catching or spreading the virus. So we all need to continue to be careful about contact and hygiene for now, even once vaccinated.

There are a number of scaremongering rumours going about that people really should question. We won't repeat any of them here for fear of giving them any oxygen. We will simply say read the official guidance that has been provided.

Here are links to some of those guides:

This is the main hub of public facing information on the vaccine. This will host the new TV advert campaign which was launched Jan 21st. covid19vaccine

This is where you will find all the leaflets online (when you go to each leaflet, it gives you list of leaflets in other languages). The same page takes you to the BSL version and audio and email for requesting other languages and formats not provided already. coronavirus-vaccine-leaflets

Here you will find the toolkits for HCWs, care homes etc – again these provide a bit more detail for specific settings: covid-19-vaccinations

This is the specific leaflet for pregnancy: covid-vaccine-pregnancy-advice

This is the post-vaccination leaflet handed out after people have been vaccinated and talks about the need to follow the FACTS etc: covid-vaccine-what-to-expect

Public Health Scotland (PHS) will push out vaccine messaging on its dedicated twitter channel: https://twitter.com/NHSImmuniseScot

FYI - neither of the covid vaccines contains products of animal origin. PHS are believed to be working on a statement about animal testing.

That Tayside Pension Fund Statement....

Pension Stuff

Members will be receiving their Annual Statement from Tayside Pension Fund which is the local fund for the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

We've done a brief guide giving you a bit more background to the way your pension is worked out and given a made up example breaking down the 2 main calculations given in the Statement.

We hope this helps your understanding of the Pension Statement.

Pension Statement

   Click The image For the Guide

For more details of your LGPS pension see the following links:

https://www.taysidepensionfund.org/ - The Tayside Pension Fund website - Full of great info.

https://pensions.gov.scot/local-government - The Local Government Pension page on the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (who help run and oversee the scheme in Scotland). 

https://www.unison-scotland.org/campaigns/pensions/ - UNISON Scotland's own Pensions campaigning an information pages.

NB: There are 2 big things about the Local Government Pension that members often do not realise:

1 - The 10 Year Guarantee: This essentially guarantees that you or your estate (or a nominated recipient) must receive at least 10 years worth of pension once retired. So if you pass before ten years is up, someone will inherit the remainder of those 10 years. This is on top of any survivor's pension.  

2 - Additional Voluntary Contributions Beat Most other Savings: Through the scheme, you can invest in an AVC scheme, whereby the money agreed, comes off your salary before tax (which is then invested). When you retire you get that money back, as an additional lump sum, free of tax. This means you effectively make what would have been the tax on that income (as a one-off saving) on top of any return from its investment. If you are able to save, and earn enough to be paying income tax, it makes a great deal of sense to put a significant amount of money into AVCs, particularly as you approach retirement, where that one-off tax saving could easily outstrip a few years' interest on most other investments.This is particularly true in the current period where interest rates are so low. Check them out.

 

School Staff much more likely to catch COVID19 - It's Official

Reports on a Department for Education report that covers schools in England and Wales say the department is conceding what we all knew...that staff working on the front line in education are significantly more likely than average to contract coronavirus.
The NEU education union have examined the report.
The report shows that staff in Additional Support Needs settings (still referred to as Special Schools in England) are 7 times more likely to be infected, with ASN teachers 2 times more likely.
In mainstream primaries and secondaries, Teachers are 1.9 times more likely to contract the disease and our so-called support staff members are 3 times more likely to be infected with COVID19.
We have to ask again...
Are our members in schools and early years indeed just so much cannon fodder in government (UK and Scottish) drives to keep kids in schools to keep parents in work, making profits for business?

A Vital Health & Safety Resource for Schools Staff

UNISON Scotland has pulled together a Health and safety pack for members working in Schools, Early Years and similar settings.

Dundee City Council is expecting staff to go into schools from Monday 15th June.

We feel their preparations are as yet, far from sufficient, however.

We are holding a ZOOM meeting at 11:30 on Saturday 13th June to discuss the issues around this with members in these settings.

In addition, across Scotland, we are developing a short 2 hour Health and safety online course that will arm members with the basic knowledge and skills needed to assess risks etc.

In the meantime, please do have a look through the pack and see what you can learn from that.