2018 SJC Pay Claim Submitted

Pay Up Now Demo - Edinburgh 2017

The joint Trade Union side of the Scottish Joint Council (SJC) submitted their claim for a pay award for Scottish Local Government Employees to the employers representatives at CoSLA on Friday 12th January.

The basic claim is for an increase that is the better of 6.5% or £1500 p/a.

It was  made clear that while aware of the financial difficulties facing councils, our members were fed up taking below inflation pay rises (effectively pay cuts) and it was time for an award that not just matched inflation but exceeded it to begin to redress the years of lost earnings during the period of austerity that followed the crisis.

Unison will be contacting and consulting its members regularly over the coming weeks and months to ensure everyone is aware of and involved in our campaign for better pay. Dundee City Unison will be discussing local activities to help promote the campaign in our area.

The document detailing the pay claim can be read here.

Guidance for Social Care/Health professionals working with vulnerable Asylum Seekers

Unison are proud to have collaborated with SASW to produce and launch guidance for Social Care/Health professionals working with vulnerable Asylum Seekers.

The idea of this document is that it can (and should) be used by Social Care/Health professionals as part of their everyday toolkit in managing the process of assisting  vulnerable Asylum Seekers and Refugees who come to Scotland for shelter.

View it Here.

UNISON legal victory sees employment tribunal fees scrapped

Supreme Court verdict follows four-year fight by union and is a victory for everyone in work

Employment tribunal fees will be scrapped after UNISON won a landmark court victory against the government this morning. 

The Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago.

From today, anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge.

 The government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals  since July 2013, when fees were introduced by then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling.

Anyone in England, Scotland and Wales wanting to pursue a case against their employer has had to find as much as £1,200. This has been a huge expense for many low-paid employees, says UNISON.

Reacting to this morning‘s decision, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The government is not above the law. But when ministers introduced fees they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work.

Read the full Supreme Court judgement in
R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor

 “The government has been acting unlawfully, and has been proved wrong – not just on simple economics, but on constitutional law and basic fairness too.

 “It’s a major victory for employees everywhere. UNISON took the case on behalf of anyone who’s ever been wronged at work, or who might be in future. Unscrupulous employers no longer have the upper hand.

 “These unfair fees have let law-breaking bosses off the hook these past four years, and left badly treated staff with no choice but to put up or shut up.

“We’ll never know how many people missed out because they couldn’t afford the expense of fees. But at last this tax on justice has been lifted.”

 UNISON assistant general secretary Bronwyn McKenna added: “The Supreme Court correctly criticised the government’s failure when it set the fees to consider the public benefits flowing from the enforcement of legal rights enacted by Parliament.  

 “The effective enforcement of these rights is fundamental to parliamentary democracy and integral to the development of UK law. UNISON’s case has helped clarify the law and gives certainty to citizens and businesses in their everyday lives.”

 The decision marks the end of a four-year fight by UNISON to overturn the government’s introduction of fees.


Employment tribunal fees were introduced on 29 July 2013 and started at around £160 for a type A claim, such as wage claims, breach of contract, and £250 for a type B claim, covering issues such as unfair dismissal, race and sex discrimination.

There was also a further hearing fee of £230 for Type A and £950 for Type B claims. Appeals at the employment appeal tribunal attracted an additional £400 lodging and £1,200 hearing fee.

The seven Supreme Court judges ridiculed the government’s misunderstanding of “elementary economics, and plain common sense”, when it claimed higher fees would mean increased demand.

The judges also said fees were set so high, it “has had a deterrent effect upon discrimination claims, among others”, and also put off more genuine cases, than the so-called vexatious claims the government claimed fees were meant to deter. 

The Supreme Court stressed that the administration of justice is not merely a public service, where courts and tribunals are only of value to the “users” who appear before them and who obtain a remedy. 

It said access to justice is of value to society as a whole, especially where cases establish legal rules and principles of general importance.

The Court said UNISON’s evidence showed the fall in claims when fees came in was “so sharp, so substantial and so sustained” that they could not reasonably be afforded by those on low to middle incomes.

It also held that fees particularly deterred the kind of ‘low-value’ claims generally brought by the most vulnerable workers.

Vote is Yes for Action but new Anti-Union turnout laws Scupper Campaign

Members should have received notice of the result of the 2017 Pay Campaign Ballot on Industrial Action.

The result was a 62% Yes vote for action. Unfortunately, at 22.8%, the turnout was just too low to even contemplate a challenge to the New Anti-Union legislation that only allows legal industrial action on a turnout of 50% or more.

We should still welcome the fact that so many members who responded were prepared to fight over pay and take that forward into future negotiations.

Clearly, however, we need to find ways to convince more of our members of the need to participate in the democratic processes of the union. We simply cannot afford to carry on watching our pay being outstripped by rising prices year on year.