UNISON VICTORY ON TRIBUNAL FEES AT SUPREME COURT
I am delighted to tell you that UNISON Legal Services has been successful in its challenge to Employment Tribunal Fees. Today, the Supreme Court, the UK’S highest court, ruled that the Government acted unlawfully when it introduced fees to bring claims in the Employment Tribunals in England, Scotland and Wales. Since 2013, workers have had to pay as much as £1,200 plus to have claims for sex discrimination or unfair dismissal heard at Tribunal.
I am so very proud that it is our union which has successfully challenged this great injustice. As the Supreme Court has said Employment Tribunals play a vital role in enforcing employment rights by employees and workers including the low paid. The Court found that UNISON’s evidence showed that the fall in claims when fees came in was ‘so sharp, so substantial and so sustained’ that fees could not reasonably be afforded by those on low to middle incomes. It also held that fees particularly deterred claims of low value which as we know are generally brought by the most vulnerable workers.
This historic judgement makes heavy criticism of the Government’s actions. It found that the system of fees introduced in 2013 infringed constitutional rights. The Court said that citizens’ right of access to the courts which is guaranteed by Magna Carta was effectively prevented by the Fees Order which introduced fees in Employment Tribunals. The level at which the fees had been set contravened ‘elementary economics and plain common sense’.
This decision in our union’s case will benefit all working people.
Our next steps are to call for the Government to
· quash the rules relating to fees,
· reimburse all fees paid since 2013,
· immediately remove all references to fees on ET claim forms and government literature, websites and advice; and
· pay UNISON’s costs in full.
I would like to thank all members of UNISON Legal Services who have worked tirelessly on this case but particular mention should be made of Adam Creme, Shantha David, Ben Patrick, Kate Osborne and Grant Haycock and to Bronwyn McKenna, AGS, who has worked with me on this.
A message from Douglas Black, Regional Organiser…
I can now confirm that COSLA have at a Special Leaders Meeting now agreed the SJC Pay award for 2017/18 and the appropriate agreement for issuing to all local authorities is being drafted and will be distributed within the next few days.
The Leaders have also agreed to a joint approach to the Scottish Government making the case for additional resources for local government and if this was successful they recognise that additional money for future pay awards is a priority.
We will also be meeting with COSLA within the next few weeks to start preliminary discussions on a future Pay Strategy and hoping to conclude this by December this year.
Last year nearly 5,000 UNISON members took part in our national equality survey about their experience of equality in the workplace – one of the biggest responses to any survey ever run by UNISON. We used the results to brief our service groups and self-organised groups on key equality issues for their bargaining and organising agendas. This year we want to try for 6000 members taking part.
The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2V868JJ
It takes just 5-10 minutes to complete. It can be done anonymously, although if you want to be entered into a prize draw to win 3 nights at Croyde Bay you have an option to leave your email address.
The survey closes on Monday 7 August.
I would be grateful if you could distribute this to your members.
Find out more about Croyde Bay Holiday Resort
Colleagues, as a reminder… the Pay Negotiations Consultation ballot ends on Friday April 7th. This is a reminder for all members to let their voice be heard.The new rules require a 50% turnout for the ballot to have any recognition, otherwise the local government offer will be implemented. As you know, Unison are advising members to reject the offer. However, it is your Union. It’s important for everyone to vote, whether the final result is to accept or reject. Many thanks.
Here is the link to the Ballot.. www.UNISON.org.uk/lgscot17
For the attention of all Early Years Officers
A series of meetings have been set up, in conjunction with UNISON, to discuss possible options for Early Learning and Childcare from August 2020. These sessions are open to all Early Years Officers.
They are designed as information sessions and will give an overview of possible flexible models for delivery of EL&CC from August 2020. This is in response to the Scottish Governments intention to increase the amount of free early learning and childcare for all eligible children to 1140 hours per annum from August 2020.
Meetings have been arranged on the following days and locations and will run from 5.15 pm – 6.15 pm for all sessions:
Lochgelly High School
Glenrothes High School
Kirkcaldy High School
Queen Anne High School
Bell Baxter High School
All Early Years Officers are encouraged to attend one of the sessions.
If you have any questions please contact the Early Years team on 01592 583568.
UNISON Scotland will be conducting a consultative ballot in regards to the pay offer. The ballot will commence on 17th March closing at 12 noon on 7th April. This will be a digital online ballot, for those members we hold email address for you will receive an email with a link to the ballot. If you are not sure whether we have your up to date email address please contact the branch on 01592 583686 and we will update your records accordingly.
If you do not have an email account you will still be able to vote online.
The Employers have now made their final offer in respect of SJC Pay 2017/18. It is as follows;
• A flat rate increase of £350 for all SJC employees remunerated up to £35,000 (based on a 37hr working week).
• For those employees remunerated above £35,000, a 1% uplift in pay will apply;
• Councils will commit to using the Scottish Local Government Living Wage as the minimum pay level for all pay and allowances including additional hours worked, overtime and other allowances/premia (where applicable) and it will be pensionable;
• COSLA Employers agree to participate in a joint working group with the trade unions tasked with developing a future pay strategy that both sides can sign up to;
• The offer is for one year and covers the period 1 April, 2017 to 31 March 2018.
The Local Government Committee will now consider this offer on Thursday 9th March and agree a recommendation prior to fully consulting all our members affected by this. Full details of the arrangements will be communicated to branches by the end of the week.