College Cuts

UNISON Fife are angered at yet more cuts to college places in Fife.  There has already been over 4000 cuts to student places and this latest news will see the removal of an entire course by 2020.  These cuts fly in the face of the Scottish Goverment’s commitment to increasing modern apprenticeships across Scotland to 30,000 places, the loss of this course will have a significant detrimental impact on the aspirations of future students as well as a disastrous impact to the local economy and  the future of this sector in Fife.  UNISON Fifes’ local stewards have written to the College principal voicing their concerns:

UNISON reps at Fife College would like to register our concern and disappointment at your decision to cut all motor vehicle programmes from the Fife College prospectus and the fact that the decision seems to have been taken with no attempt made to consult with college trade unions. These courses have been delivered successfully in both of the pre-merged colleges for some years and we would really like a more detailed explanation of what the Fife College management feel has changed in this area.

http://www.kingdomfm.co.uk/news/local-news/fife-student-anger-over-mechanic-course-cuts/

Pay negotiations 2017

SCOTTISH JOINT COUNCIL
PAY 2017
 
Introduction
SJC pay is determined until 1 April 2017. However it is hoped that the claim will be lodged in September of this year to allow proper negotiations to take place to ensure the anniversary date is met. This will also allow us to build an effective campaign with our members in pursuing a fair settlement.
It should also be noted that this consultation is to determine a UNISON position that we can take into discussions with the other two trade unions to establish a Joint Trade Union Claim.
Branches are asked to consider the following;
1. What should the claim look like?
2. Should we pursue a Flat Rate claim only
3. Should we pursue a percentage award only?
4. Should we pursue a mixed percentage/flat rate award based on highest value?
5. Should the claim be for a single year?
6. Should we consider multiple years?
7. Are there other issues that should be included in the claim?
Factors to take into account;
• The Scottish Employers have committed as part of the last settlement to engage with the trade unions over a flat rate award if that forms part of the trade union claim.
• Discussions with the employers are imminent over the deletion of spinal column points below the level of the living wage.
• Similarly discussions are imminent regarding the impact of the living wage going forward
• The forthcoming Parliamentary elections this year and Local Government elections next year.
• Continuing financial pressures in Local Government
• The impact of pay awards consistently below inflation levels.
• The impact of ministerial agreement to continue to cap public sector pay awards at 1%.
• The increase in National Insurance contributions
• The continuing attacks on terms and conditions locally.
In considering responding to this, branches are asked to consult as widely as possible with members and seek their feedback. If you can respond no later than 5th May to unison.fife@fife.gov.uk
or speak to your workplace contacts if you have any.
 

Branch Secretary’s Report 2016

Branch Secretary’s Report to AGM’s 2016

I would like to thank you for attending today it’s important to us as officers that members have an opportunity to hear from us the work that we’ve been involved in over the past 12 months,  I would also like to thank the office staff who provide the front line support for our members, activists, Branch Officers and stewards and are the first point of  contact for our members when the contact the branch, as well as dealing with all the administration of our busy office our office staff also play the role of agony aunt when members call up with a problem and need to share it with someone, also to our stewards and branch officers who deal daily with members issues, the issues they deal with are spread across all services and cover all aspects of employment, from grievances at work to disciplinary hearings.

The branch faced unprecedented challenges in 2015, if the biggest cuts the council has ever seen wasn’t enough, the Scottish Government piled on a further £17 Million of cuts onto Fife.  The Scottish Government rightly set up a task force after 300 jobs were lost at Tata Steel, but it has done nothing about the 4,000 jobs lost at Fife Council and 40,000 lost since 2010 across all Scottish councils.

The branch has rightly called this the  ‘Tories Decimation of Council Services’, make no mistake that without the protection of the Union we would be facing more job losses, huge cuts in terms & conditions and the creeping in of  privatisation of public services,  in 2016 that protection is now under threat, a healthy and democratic trade union movement is essential to any society but the Government is pushing through an Anti-union Bill that will take away your rights as a union member and affect your  ability to defend yourself at work.

The Government plans to restrict union ballots so that we would need not just a majority to take action but at least 40% of all members eligible to vote, if that applied to MPs, only a tiny minority of them would have been elected, they know that people don’t tend to post things these days and the turnout in a postal ballot will always be low but, alongside this restriction, they intend to keep the law that stops unions using the same online voting that the Tory party used to elect its London mayoral candidate, they also plan to take away your right to pay union subs through your wages and to restrict the rights of union reps’ time off to represent you, it is an unashamed attack on basic trade union rights in a democracy, it is an unashamed attack on Trade Unions and it is an unashamed attack on you, the  members, we have to stand firm, stand united with all our other trade union brothers & sisters  and oppose this draconian bill at every opportunity.

Last week  elected members approved the budget for the next 3 years, with a deficit of  £94 million to be saved there will be some difficult decisions to make.  UNISON Fife wrote to all elected members ahead of the budget setting process requesting that they reject austerity, whilst recognising that they have a duty to return a balanced budget they supported our position.  As a branch we will be looking to campaign with our elected officials with a view to securing additional funding for Local Government this will be done in conjunction with our regional and national organisation, On the 3rd of February Unison was well represented at the Demo outside the Scottish Parliament.

If ever people needed to be in a union this is the time. With at least   15,000 council jobs still to go in Scotland  and an unprecedented level of cuts our Unison branch faces its most serious challenge to date. As people leave those remaining will face increasing workloads and if we are faced with compulsory redundancies we must be prepared to ballot our members on industrial action, last year Homelessness Case Workers in Glasgow successfully struck for fair pay and regrading, hospital porters in Dundee did the same, If Junior doctors can stand up for themselves and take industrial action so can we! Like them we must make it clear to the public and the media that we are defending services as well as our own jobs, so we must  reach out to service users of all our public services and their families to build a Fife wide campaign that says enough  is enough.

Many of you will be aware of the Reshaping  Support  Services Program, which most of us will know as 3S this has been a difficult process for those members involved and is in the final stages now.

The Health and Social Care Agenda in Fife has seen a greater linkage between Local Government and NHS colleagues in the services we provide,  Unison have a seat on the staffing board where we  are represented by Eleanor Haggett, Assistant Branch Secretary who works actively to make sure that the services our members undertake are recognised and protected as a result of this integration, in addition I represent the joint trade unions on the Shadow Board of the Health and Social care Partnership.

Whilst the previous year saw restructuring of directorates this resulted in an unprecedented 11 Managing Change Exercises starting at the same time in the autumn of last year putting a considerable strain on Service Condition Officers time over the last six months.

As the caseload coming through the branch increases, we’ve had contact from over 1200 members seeking advice/assistance in the last 12 months this equated to over 500 cases escalating to formal support and representation being provided by our Branch Officers plus  our service stewards are now picking up a considerable amount of issues they are able to deal with and without them we would find it difficult to function so I would particularly like to thank them for all their efforts and ask if anyone wishes to join our activist group please see me at the end of the meeting.

I would like to close by thanking our members for their continued support and hope to see you out supporting our campaign to protect our Council Services, Council services are about people, people provide them and people rely upon them, the promoters of austerity don’t see the young, the old, the needy and the infirm reliant upon our services, they see only cost, this is why we, united under the banner of UNISON will stand up for our public services, 2016 will be a challenge for us all but I would say to you, this will be met head on by your union, the protection of public services in Fife is our goal and this can be achieved if we all stand together this coming year, come to our marches & lobbies and if your workplace has no stewards then stand or help elect one, we need each other, we belong together as a union because we are united by more than what separates us, if you stand with us, we will stand with you, we are Unison.

 

Debbie Thompson

Branch Secretary

UNISON Fife Local Government Equal Pay Claims

UNISON Fife Local Government Equal Pay Claims

 

I refer to issues raised regarding the apparent delays in receiving offers of settlement of outstanding claims for equal pay with Fife Council.

 

Agreement has been reached with the council to allow offers of settlement. There are some 1500 claims from a variety of occupational groups, all different, which require individual calculation and assessment. The initial responsibility rests with the council to review records and produce this work, which is then checked by the UNISON solicitors, Thompsons who are acting for you and your colleagues. Thompsons then issue you with an offer of settlement.

 

As of today, Friday 4 March, I am advised  that Thompsons have done the check and are satisfied that the proper methodology has been used to calculate the offers. They have advised the council of this, and in turn are advised by the council that they aim to have the file with the settlement agreements with Thompsons no later than Wednesday 9 March following which offers will be mailed to members.

 

I can appreciate the frustration at the time taken to receive offers, however, I trust that you can understand the time associated with the number of claims, and the checking required.

 

I hope that you find this explanation helpful that you will have a satisfactory solution imminently.

 

Mike J Kirby

Scottish Secretary

UNISON

Equal Pay Claims

“Equal Pay Claims v Fife

UNISON and Fife Council agreed on a formula for settlement in October 2015. Since that time your solicitors, Thompsons, and the Council have been working on the calculations of individual offers. This has involved identifying the actual pay of several thousand employees going back several years and has been a huge task. That task is now coming to an end but there is still some pay information to be obtained from the Council by Thompsons.

Thompsons will write to you as soon as they have a final offer and all the information in your case to allow you to consider that offer. Until that time please continue to be patient.

Please do not contact the branch office with enquiries regarding your ongoing claim as the branch cannot assist you in this matter.

Happy Birthday Brian

At today’s AAGM (1st March 2016) it was highlighted that we have another new branch officer in post,  Brian O’Donnell who has certainly brought down the teams age profile. Brian also heads up our Branch Cuts Campaign Team and was surprised with a birthday cake at the AAGM.

photo

Hollyrood Demonstration

Unison Fife joined many other anti-austerity organisations outside Hollyrood Parliament on Wednesday 3rd February to protest and campaign against the brutal cuts our local authorities are facing.088

 

059063071

 

Save our council services.

 

CUTS CAMPAIGN

The austerity cuts for Fife Council over the next 3 years equate to £91 million.

This is a critically damaging amount of finances taken away from much used public services. All this achieves is to drive down living standards within the Kingdom of Fife. Austerity means the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Food banks and on the increase and families are struggling to meet everyday costs.  Our services are going to be slaughtered and we will face closures of many places in which we as residents of Fife rely upon. The TU bill is a blatant attempt to stop unions fighting back against these brutal cuts.

Our services are worth fighting for – without them, the most vulnerable groups will be the ones mostly losing out.

What can we do?

On 6th February Unison are holding public stalls in the town centres in Fife. We will be in Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes from 1:30 – 3:30. Help us fight for your service and petition against the Trade Union bill.

For further information, contact Brian O’Donnell, one of our branch officers on:-

brian.odonnell-crm@fife.gov.uk

You can also have your say on the current budget proposals on Fife Direct –

 

http://www.fifedirect.org.uk/minisites/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.display&pageid=74AE358C-0D2C-5952-0667A17B648F45AB&siteid=749EEB4C-BB78-7A20-2723B841B0BC4599

FAO Homecare workers

For the attention of Home Care Workers…

If you haven’t received the consultative ballot with regards to the changes to homecare (Jan 2016), then can you please get in touch with the branch on 01592 583686. Everyone needs to have their own unique ballot paper and not a photocopy from someone who has one.

AGM 2016

 

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Just a reminder that our AAGM’s are coming up at the end  of next month. For information our Scottish Secretary (Mike Kirby) has kindly agreed to attend the first meeting in the Town House, Kirkcaldy and the meeting to be held at Bankhead in Glenrothes.

Members are encouraged as always to attend any one of these meetings but I would urge as many of you as possible to make yourselves available for the meetings that Mike is speaking at. As members you will be aware that the ongoing challenges facing us arising from the continuing austerity budget measures, pay restraint, ongoing reform of public services are having a devastating affect on us all.

I doubt if there is an individual member of our Branch that hasn’t been affected by a Managing Change exercise in the last few years, many of us have had multiple experiences of hours being cut, re-deployment into lower paid jobs etc.

The Austerity Agenda along with the (Anti) Trade Union Bill, together with the Scottish General Election in May and the prospect of a referendum on Europe in 2016 will also provide a platform for discussion to allow members to influence our unions policy on these and any other topics that are raised.

Hoping to see as many of you as possible at an AGM…

UNISON FIFE BRANCH 2016 AGM DATES

MONDAY 29TH FEBRUARY, 2016
IN THE TOWN HOUSE, KIRKCALDY
BETWEEN 5.00 P.M. AND 7.00 P.M. IN ROOM KTH01.002
———-
TUESDAY 1ST MARCH, 2016
IN NEW CITY HOUSE, DUNFERMLINE
BETWEEN 12:00 P.M. AND 2.00 P.M. IN ROOM NCHLG.002
———-
WEDNESDAY 2ND MARCH, 2016
IN BANKHEAD, GLENROTHES
BETWEEN 12:00 P.M. AND 2.00 P.M. IN ROOM BNKGF.001
———-
WEDNESDAY 2ND MARCH, 2016
IN BELL BAXTER HIGH SCHOOL
BETWEEN 5.00 P.M. AND 7.00 P.M. IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM (ADJACENT TO STAFF ROOM)
———
THURSDAY 3RD MARCH, 2016
IN FIFE HOUSE, GLENROTHES
BETWEEN 12.OO P.M. AND 2.00 P.M. IN ROOM FHWGF.007