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.

Yours sincerely

Dave Prentis

SJC Pay Update

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.

Branch Equality Survey

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

Pay Negotiations Ballot

[pdf-embedder url=”http://unison-fife.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/05.05.17-Fair-Pay-industrial-action-leaflet.pdf”] [pdf-embedder url=”http://unison-fife.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/05.05.17-Fair-Pay-industrial-ballot-QA.pdf”]

Pay Offer Ballot Update

Formal ballot to take place, following strong rejection of pay deal in consultative ballot

As you will know, UNISON has been running a consultative ballot in the last few weeks on the final pay offer from your employers (click to find out more about the offer).

The consultative ballot helps us understand the strength of feeling of members before we embark on a formal ballot, leading to industrial action.

The consultative ballot produced an overwhelming rejection of the employers offer. The result was as follows:

To REJECT the offer – 77.5%
To ACCEPT the offer – 22.5%

To give you a sense of the strength of feeling within UNISON, more of our members voted to reject than exist in all the other unions in Scottish Local Government combined.

The UNISON Local Government Committee met in Glasgow on Monday to consider this result. They unanimously agreed to pursue a further ballot for industrial action to seek to force the employers to make an improved offer.

UNISON will move to a formal ballot of 69,000 members in the next two months‎.

The law states that this formal ballot will take place by post only, and to ensure we can take action we will need at least 50% of members to participate.

We will be in contact soon with more details of the formal ballot. Please do look out for these emails – and the ballot arriving by post – to ensure you don’t miss out on your chance to have your say.

Mike Kirby
Scottish Secretary

Pay Consultation Ballot Update

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



EYO Meetings

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:

  • Wednesday 8 March 2017

Lochgelly High School


  • Thursday 9 March 2017

Glenrothes High School


  • Tuesday 14 March 2017

Kirkcaldy High School


  • Wednesday 15 March 2017

Queen Anne High School


  • Monday 20 March 2017

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.

Pay Offer Update

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.