Debbie Thompson, Branch Secretary wrote to all the elected members with regards to this years pay claim………………
2015/16 Local Government Pay Claim
I am writing to you to update you on the progress of this year’s pay negotiations at the Scottish Joint Council between UNISON and our colleagues in GMB and Unite and the Scottish local government employers.
You will be aware that over the past few years our wages have not kept pace with inflation and that there were two years of pay freezes. This has meant that the value of wages for Scottish council workers has fallen by around 15%. You will also be aware that as part of the settlement with UNISON last year the employers agreed to re-engage with the bargaining machinery and to have proper negotiations with the trade unions.
We are aware of the very difficult financial circumstances that councils are in at the present time however we understand that as employers who value their staff you would wish to properly reward your staff and to address the year-on-year drop in our living standards.
The trade unions have submitted a claim for an increase of £1 per hour across all grades. We were disappointed to learn that an offer of 1% was made and understandably the 3 unions have rejected this. A further offer has now been presented to our negotiators of 2.5% over 2 years (2015/16 and 2016/17).
The union side have asked that the employers reconsider this offer. We would like to see an increase in the overall offer. We have also asked that the employers consider whether the offer could be presented as a ‘flat rate’ rather than a percentage.
We believe that it is not unreasonable for the employers to take on board the long term and substantial fall in the value of our wages and that this should be addressed. We also believe that a ‘flat rate’ is of greater benefit to the low paid and that this would have greatest benefit to that section of the workforce.
The employers are due to return to the trade unions by the end of April. We hope that they will have a positive response to our requests and that they will be willing to negotiate with us to find an acceptable settlement.
In the meantime we are asking that you raise the issue of a fair settlement for council workers within your council and that you seek to encourage the negotiators, who act in your name, to be willing to make an offer that addresses the reasonable requests of the workforce.
I would appreciate any indication of support,
As part of a new STUC initiative, Hack Aye (http://hackaye.com) are working on an event planned for May 2015. The initiative aims to give voice to young people experiencing problems with work and/or who want to campaign against poor working conditions. Young people will drive this campaign, and all contributions are welcome. Whether they’re in work, unemployed or in education, we want to hear their views, stories about zero hours contracts, insecure work or low pay. Participants can remain anonymous if they prefer – confidentiality will be 100% respected. Email email@example.com to register an interest and receive further information.
Thanks for your e-mail on behalf of the Joint Trade Unions regarding the Council budget. I and the Labour Group, share your concerns about the massive attack on local public services being perpetrated by the Tories at Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood.
Whilst the Labour Administration will fulfil our duty to manage the council’s finances prudently and responsibly and will meet the legal requirement to set a balanced budget this year, I will be making it clear that we will be arguing vigorously for additional funding and taking whatever action is open to us in defence of our valuable local services.
We believe that a full and open debate is needed across Scotland about what level and standard of local public services we want and how these should be paid for.
We are committed to continuing with direct in house provision of services and to protecting our lowest paid employees. We will continue with our commitment to the living wage. We will seek to make any reductions in employee numbers through natural turnover, early retirement, redeployment and voluntary redundancy. We will do our utmost to give our staff long term security of employment.
We will not be including the indicative savings target of £2m for changes to employment practices in our budget tomorrow.
However we do want to continue the dialogue with staff and trade unions on reshaping our services to better meet the needs of service users and will be discussing this further with you in due course.
We also want to engage more closely with staff and trade unions in bringing forward your ideas for efficiencies and improvements in our current services.
I hope we will be able to mount a strong joint campaign in defence of local public services both locally and at national level. As you know I have been advocating this joint campaign through Cosla in dialogue with the public service trade unions national.
I look forward to meeting with you and your colleagues again soon to see how we can take this forward.
Cllr David Ross
In advance of the Fife Council Budget meeting, Branch Secretary Debbie Thompson has written to the elected members…………………………….
Dear elected member,
On Thursday of this week you will be asked again to make decisions on this year’s budget which could see further cuts to the services we provide. Over the past 5 years we have seen millions of pounds taken out of our budget, with services slashed or cut completely, and with millions more to be found by 2018. This constant erosion of Public Services is already beginning to be felt by the communities we are all here to serve, with the most vulnerable in our society bearing the brunt of these draconian cuts forced upon us in the name of austerity. Our communities have already seen the loss of thousands of jobs and if we continue to accept austerity there will be thousands more to come.
Fife’s Joint Trade Unions have been arguing for some time that there is an alternative, that we do not need to so readily accept the burden of slashing our services to the bone. Our organisations both regionally and nationally have undertaken extensive research that shows there is an alternative which protects our services and jobs. Fife’s joint unions will work with any independent politician or political group that refuses to accept these cuts and will pool our resources to actively campaign to gain further funding especially given the half a billion pound underspend recently announced by the Scottish Government.
The decisions you will be party to making today could have a profound long term detrimental impact across the whole of Fife. Many of our communities already suffer from deprivation and poverty, by agreeing to implement further cuts you will only add to the pressures they already face. By working together Fife’s joint unions believe that we can build sustainable communities by delivering vital public services to those that need them most. We need to protect and grow our economy, provide opportunities for our young people, make our communities safe and vibrant places to live, By saying ‘NO’ to cuts we believe we can achieve this, by accepting anything less we will see a legacy that could take generations to reverse.
We would like to thank you for taking the time to read this email and we look forward to campaigning with you.
A message from Cllrs Bryan Poole and Willie Clarke.
As we all know, you more than most, Councils are and have been severely underfunded for several years. Not only has this resulted in a reduction of service provision in Councils it has also resulted in a reduction of jobs and, for many of the staff remaining as Local Government Employees, additional pressures and quite often unrealistic expectations.
Of course change occurs and will continue to occur in Councils – change itself being a constant – but change being driven almost exclusively by financial pressures is unlikely to result in improvements to public services. Likewise and needless to say change driven almost exclusively by financial pressures is unlikely to bring about improvements in the workplace for staff – your members.
It seems to us that the mainstream Political Parties are content to argue about how best to manage the situation as opposed to challenging the status quo with the result that we’ve reached a stage where the argument is about ‘my cuts are less damaging than yours!!’ rather than avoiding further cuts.
Both Willie and myself continually hear from people in our local communities that they would rather pay slightly more in Council Tax than to lose services. We also receive similar feedback from Council Staff and during the recent referendum it was claimed that Scotland was different to other parts of the UK in that it was more egalitarian and committed to the notion of publicly funded services (as opposed to privatisation or providing key services for private profit).
We believe it is time to test that out and to that end we have arranged 4 public meetings in different locations in Fife where we intend a) to put the case for ‘Another Way’ and b) be guided by the response we receive with regard to an alternative proposition at the Fife Council Budget meeting on February 12th.
We are writing to you with a request that you circulate the details of the meetings to your members/membership and, if you see fit, to encourage them to attend/participate in the said meetings. I have attached the Press Statement and Poster which we have issued widely and we expect some good coverage locally but word of mouth and/or the direct links you have to your members likely to be equally effective. As you will see from our Press Statement we ‘are not being supported by the Senior Management Team’ at Fife Council in terms of organising this so any help from you re publicising the meetings would be very much appreciated.
If you have any queries/questions please get back to me (mobile no is on Press Statement).
Bryan Poole/Willie Clarke.
It’s that time of year again where Unison Fife will be holding our AGM’s throughout Fife.
We look forward to seeing the membership there.
|Monday 16 February 2015
Bell Baxter High School, Cupar
|Wednesday 18 February 2015
Templehall Community Centre, Kirkcaldy
12.30p.m. – 1.30p.m.
|Wednesday 18 February 2015
Sinclairtown Library, Loughborough Road, Kirkcaldy
5.00p.m. – 6.00p.m.
|Monday 23 February 2015
Bankhead Central, Training Room,
Ground Floor, Glenrothes
12.30p.m. – 1.30p.m.
|Tuesday 24 February 2015
City Chambers, Dunfermline
5.15p.m. – 6.15p.m.
|Wesdnesday 25 February 2015
Room 11, Rothes Halls, Glenrothes
5.15p.m. – 6.15p.m.