UNISON Rejects Derisory 3.5% Offer.
Letter to COSLA from Johanna Baxter, Head of Local Government Scotland
We write further to your correspondence of 12th August outlining COSLA’s revised SJC pay offer for 2022. Our Local Government Committee met this morning and have unanimously agreed to reject this revised offer outright. In doing so our representatives were clear that your revised offer: is not sufficiently improved for us to put this to our members in a consultative ballot. falls far short of the Joint Trade Union’s claim, which was submitted on 17th January 2022. falls far short of the offer made to council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who have been offered a £1925 flat rate uplift, which equates to a 10.5% increase for those on the lowest wages. falls far short of the current rate of inflation, which continues to rise, and will therefore amount to a real-terms pay cut for our members and as such will plunge more of them into debt. fails to address items contained within our claim, beyond the quantum, on which there has been no progress in other discussion forums. fails to recognise, respect or appropriately reward our members for their enormous contribution to keeping our country going throughout the period of the pandemic or supporting our communities on a daily basis. On the basis of this rejection the strike action UNISON has already notified for members employed in waste and recycling will proceed and we will confirm dates for strike action in schools and early years in the coming days. We note that COSLA Leaders have agreed to seek additional funding from the Scottish Government to improve the pay offer. We urge you to get back round the table with them as a matter of urgency and extend an invitation to the three SJC trade unions to this meeting to facilitate a speedy resolution to this matter and avoid the widespread disruption that industrial action will cause. We look forward to hearing from you at the earliest possible opportunity.
FAO Scottish Joint Council Trade Union Side Joint Secretaries 12 August 2022 Dear Johanna, Wendy and Drew, Scottish Joint Council Pay Negotiations 2022/23 – Employers’ Side Pay Offer I write to advise you that at COSLA Leaders meeting on 12 August 2022 it was agreed to mandate Cllr Katie Hagmann, COSLA Spokesperson for Resources, to continue negotiations with the SJC unions with a remit to include the objectives of an offer that achieves an equivalent quantum of a 3.5% pay uplift at all SCP and a minimum hourly rate of £10.50. To be clear, Cllr Hagmann’s remit extends to discussions about the configuration of any settlement within the overall cost envelope mandated by Leaders. In writing to you, Cllr Hagmann and I note that your pay claim includes other items not covered by the negotiating remit obtained from Leaders. I confirm that we remain committed to continue discussions on these items within the scope of the pay negotiations more generally. To take forward discussions, and without prejudging your responses, please confirm if you would like us to arrange an in person SJC Steering Group meeting to take place at the earliest opportunity. Yours sincerely Simon Cameron Employers’ Side Joint Secretary
Clackmannanshire UNISON Members vote to take strike action to secure a fair pay offer
Yesterday the UNISON ballot to take industrial action over COSLA’s derisory 2% pay offer came to a close. Clackmannanshire members backed taking industrial action by almost 94% and secured a return of more than 50% of ballot papers issued which means that we will take part in any strike action necessary to secure a better pay deal for all local government employees in Scotland.. This was an enormous achievement and the branch executive are extremely proud that our members stepped up to fight for better pay at a time when the cost of living has gone through the roof and at the same time companies are raking in record profits.
Johanna Baxter, UNISON head of local government said: “COSLA leaders meet on Friday and must put an improved offer on the table if we are to avoid large-scale disruption to council services across Scotland.
Council workers south of the border yesterday were offered a flat rate uplift of £1925, which for those on the lowest pay equates to a 10.5% increase. You have to wonder why council workers north of the border have only been offered a measly 2% increase when the cost of living continues to spiral. UNISON have been calling for a flat rate payment to help those on lower incomes. Most council workers earn less than £25k per year.
It is clear now that local government workers have had enough and are prepared to strike in the coming weeks unless we see a sensible offer, from COSLA, on the table on Friday. This is the largest strike ballot by local government workers in over a decade and the first-time workers across Scotland have voted to take strike action in these numbers. It really shouldn’t take this for them to receive the recognition, respect and reward that they deserve.”
We will keep you all updated on further developments in the coming weeks and we would encourage all of our members to keep an eye on the website for further updates.
UNISON Ballot for Strike Action
Last week UNISON served notice to Clackmannanshire Council that they were taking targeted strike action which means select groups of workers would be balloted. These groups include those working in schools, nurseries, waste and recycling services. The ballots will be open from the 10th of June until the 26th of July.
As this is a targeted action UNISON has confirmed that all staff taking part in strike action will be compensated for the loss of pay.
In a letter to both Scottish Government ministers, UNISON – along with the joint trade unions – is warning that if the pay dispute is not swiftly resolved then strike action will “close schools across the country and see waste piling up on the streets.”
COSLA, the umbrella body representing council employers, has offered staff a 2% increase, but the union points out with inflation at a 40-year high and topping 11%, this represents a real-terms pay cut.
UNISON’s consultative ballot in April revealed almost nine in ten workers are in favour of taking action, with 89.8% voting in favour of taking industrial action up to and including strike action. Councils can avoid months of disruption to schools, and waste and recycling services, by improving the offer and giving workers the proper pay rise they deserve, UNISON says.
UNISON Clackmannanshire Branch Secretary Pamela Robertson said: “Local Government workers kept the country running throughout the pandemic, often by putting themselves in harms way. They kept childcare hubs open for other keyworkers, they looked after our elderly and disabled and they buried our dead. Most of the workers on the front lines are low paid and they deserve a pay rise that keeps them above the poverty line.”
UNISON Clackmannanshire Chair Andrew Kane said: “For many years Councils have found themselves at the back of the queue when it comes to funding from the Scottish Government. After many years of well below inflation level pay rises our members deserve an offer that will allow them to at least pay their extortionate electricity and gas bills and put food in the mouths of their children. Its time for the Scottish Government and Cosla to reconsider their positions and come back to the table with an improved offer.”
UNISON Pay Ballot 2022 – update
UNISON are currently balloting our members to participate in industrial action over pay. We must challenge this derisory offer of a 2% pay increase from Cosla. At a time when inflation is through the roof, when the cost of gas, electricity and food is soaring, a 2% wage increase is effectively a pay cut for all of our hardworking members.
This is a targeted ballot aimed only at members who work in our Schools, in Early Years and in the Waste Services so only those members will receive ballot papers.
It is important to note that UNISON has agreed to compensate all members who take part in strike action. It is anticipated that no UNISON member will be at a financial disadvantage for taking part in industrial action. UNISON understands that the financial situation is very difficult for all of our members and that the loss of even a single days pay could lead to hardship for some of our members.
It is essential that every UNISON member who receives a ballot paper fills it out and returns it, even if they decide to vote against taking action. The law in the UK requires trade unions to receive a 50% return on any ballot before taking industrial action so please take the time to fill out and return your ballot paper as soon as you possibly can.
The ballot will open on the 10th of June and remain open until the 26th of July.
Anyone who wants to join UNISON and take part in strike action should do so as soon as possible. New members must be registered with us by the 14th of July if they wish to take part in any strike action.
We will be sending out more information shortly however if you have any queries please speak to one of our stewards or get in touch with the branch office. You can call on 01259 722282, or email us at [firstname.lastname@example.org]email@example.com
UNISON Clackmannanshire Branch.
Local Government Pay 2022
As you will be aware our UNISON Scotland Local Government Workforce members have indicated by an overwhelming majority, in a consultative ballot, their willingness to take industrial action in pursuit of an improved SJC pay offer.
We had hoped that COSLA Leaders would have recognised the strength of feeling expressed by Local Government Workers we represent and take a decision at their meeting on Friday 29th April 2022 to make an offer that recognised and rewarded their enormous contribution. Instead, the unions learned that pay wasn’t even initially an agenda item. This is unacceptable, particularly as COSLA Officers have been insistent that this would be discussed at the meeting and negotiations progressed as a matter of urgency.
As a result of those assurances we made clear that our negotiators were willing to make themselves available that day or any time prior to it, to help facilitate a speedy resolution to this issue but they did not take up this opportunity. We understand however that COSLA Leaders have chosen not to improve their offer; that a motion proposing a revised offer be put forward was voted down and that COSLA officers advised Leaders not to make any revised offer until after the elections. Once again this demonstrates a failure of COSLA and its Leaders to deliver for these frontline workers. We also advise that they have not convened a meeting of the negotiating committee since 4th March thus reinforcing the lack of respect for the negotiating process. This is at best deeply disappointing, to say the least, and suggests that COSLA would rather challenge their own workforce than the Scottish Government.
UNISON have therefore advised COSLA that we will progress our preparations for a formal industrial action ballot. A formal ballot requires a turn out of over 50% of balloted members so it is essential we have the correct contact details for all of our members. In order to assist in the preparations for this I would ask you to check and update your contact details immediately, including up to date job titles, home addresses, workplace addresses, E-mail addresses and mobile numbers will be crucial if when moving to a formal industrial action ballot.
Update your Details Please ensure your membership records are updated before 27th May 2022. To update your details call the branch or log in to MyUnison at https://www.unison.org.uk/my-unison/ using your membership number. If you don’t know your membership number please call into the Branch on 01259 722282 or call UNISON Direct on 0800 0 587 857 for assistance.
INTERNATIONAL WORKERS MEMORIAL DAY 2022 – THURSDAY 28 APRIL
Where we remember the Dead & Fight for the Living
Purple ribbons & other items can be ordered via UK Hazards Campaign (links attached)
Workers’ unions are pressing their demand this International Workers’ Memorial Day #IWMD22
to finally make health and safety at work a fundamental principle and right.
The ITUC and affiliates are calling on governments to take action by:
- ratifying and implementing core ILO health and safety conventions;
- ratifying and implementing all sectoral or hazard-specific conventions;
- establishing national health and safety bodies bringing unions and employer representatives together;
- requiring occupational health services for all, and proper compensation including making Covid-19 a recognised occupational disease.
Scottish LGBT+ Newsletter available to download below
Year of the Disabled Workers
UNISON’s priorities on disability are led by the union’s own disabled members. Our local branch can help disabled members by fighting discrimination and campaigning and organising in the workplace.
There are more than 10 million disabled people in the UK. Cuts to public services and benefits have a disproportionate effect on disabled people, especially as over one and a half million of them live in relative poverty because of low benefit levels and the lack of suitable accessible jobs.
The Scottish Disabled Members Committee (SDMC) is a self organised group consisting entirely of disabled members who campaign on behalf of our disabled members to ensure that disability issues are given a voice within UNISON
Year of the Disabled Worker
UNISON has designated 2022 as Year of Disabled Workers marking a year-long campaigning and organising agenda to support disabled people into employment, into meaningful roles and with real career progression, and to prevent discrimination in the workplace.
Many people in our workplace have a condition or illness that is covered by the Equalities Act 2010.
· Disabled people are less likely to be in employment, and are more likely to be in lower paid roles far below their aspirations or abilities.
· The employment prospects for people with certain disabilities is even poorer, and those who have learning disabilities or mental health conditions being least likely to be in employment.
· Many people suffer in silence, frightened that by informing someone of their disability they could end up unemployed
· Not all disabilities are visible
· Disabilities can be Physical and/or Mental
· Despite starting school with the same aspirations as non-disabled children, disabled school leavers are half as likely to be in education, employment and training as their non-disabled peers.
Our branch have committed to THREE pledges for 2022 to help raise awareness of disabled members issues and protect the rights of disabled members.
Our pledges are:
1. Establish a disabled members’ contact in the Branch
2. Make Year of Disabled Workers a standing item on our branch agenda for 2022 to make sure you stay focused on disability issues and all Year of Disabled Worker’s activity.
3. Commit to on activity to support Year of Disabled Workers and let us know what you’re doing so we can promote your branch’s work through Scotland and the UK.
Lawrence Hunter has agreed to be the Branch’s contract in the Branch, He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com
If you wish to help Lawrence develop the local disabled members self organised group and to raise disability awareness please drop him an email.
The self organised groups aims will be to eliminate negative attitudes ans prejudices in the workplace
Scotland Disabled Members Facebook page
You can also follow the Scotland disabled members on Facebook to keep informed on what’s going on throughout 2022, and to be signposted to useful materials. https://www.facebook.com/UNISONScotlandDisabledMembers
Webinar: Removing the Barriers
16 March 2022, 5pm-6.30pm (online)
This webinar is co-sponsored by UNISON Scotland’s Disabled Members Committee and UNISON Lothian Health branch as part of UNISON’s Year of Disabled Workers.
Disabled people face challenges gaining and maintaining employment and achieving career progression through avoidable workplace challenges and barriers caused by attitudes, assumptions, and workplace structures and policies.
The unemployment rate for people with a disability is twice that of the general population and that’s shameful. The Disability Union decided it is time to
educate and raise awareness of this issue and change perceptions of what employees with disabilities can achieve.
The event will hear from Kirsty Smillie of the Disability Union – a UK-wide community group that works to improve disability rights – who is asking employers to remove the invisible barriers that disabled people face finding and remaining in work.
Full BSL and Captioning Services are provided.
The online event will take place via Microsoft Teams and you can register to attend by hovering over Event Brite and then pressing Ctrl and simultaneously click your mouse or by registering at the following site – https://unison-scotland.org/webinar-removing-the-barriers-16-march/
Annual General Meeting Information
It is time again for members to come together for our UNISON Annual General Meeting and the dates and times for this are as above. 2021 has been a year none of us can forget and we know that some members have been affected badly both emotionally and financially. We are going to offer a prize draw for all members attending an AGM with 3 prizes – First prize £50. Second prize £30 and Third prize £10, these will be supermarket vouchers. The draw will be done at UNISON Regional office. The meeting will be held virtually via video conference on Microsoft Teams. The link for the AGM will be sent to members who wish to attend by email on Wednesday 16th February along with the relevant papers. If you would like to attend the AGM then you need to let us know, I would ask that you contact the branch as soon as possible at: firstname.lastname@example.org and confirm your name, workplace and which meeting you would like to attend. This will enable me to send an invite out. Motions for the Annual General Meeting must be submitted to the branch by 12.00 noon on the 16th February 2021 to allow for inclusion within the Final Agenda. If you wish to attend the AGM but do not have access to a computer, or have an access requirement, then please get in touch at the address below and we will do our upmost to facilitate your participation in the meeting by arranging an additional tele conference AGM for you. We look forward to seeing you at the AGM. Should you have any questions regarding the AGM please email me at email@example.com
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS 2022
Wednesday 23 February 2021 12.00 to 14.00
Thursday 24 February 2022 12.00 to 14.00 and 17.00 to 19.00
Below is a link to the Unison Mental Health tool kit.
Please feel free to access and download
2022 Pay claimFurther to our branch consultation, discussion with the other SJC trade unions and as unanimously agreed by the Local Government Committee last Friday please find attached a copy of the SJC Joint Trade Union 2022 pay claim.
Our claim is for:
- A settlement that runs for the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.
- A £3,000 flat rate increase to all spinal column points (based on a 35 hour working week).
- An underpinning minimum rate of pay of £12 per hour.
- The payment of SSSC fees for all by 1st April 2022 and completion of the review, established as part of our 2021 settlement, of all other professional fees incurred by members in the course of their employment by March 2023.
- Early completion of the review, established as part of our 2021 settlement, on how we achieve a no detriment reduction in the working week.
- Agreement to change the national calculator for the normal working week to 35 hours.
- An agreement that in future all allowances are automatically uprated in line with October inflation rates.
- Agreement of home/hybrid working guidance that provides appropriate recompense for expenses incurred as a result of home/hybrid working.
- A review of the job evaluation scores for roles that have changed during the period of the pandemic and/or have new additional qualification requirements.
- No less than parity with other local government bargaining groups.
- Early commencement of negotiations with a clear expectation of settlement implementation by 1 April review date.
UNISON members are encouraged to take action against new legislation, which will drastically affect the right to protest
LG Pay 2021 -Common Queries
We are currently dealing with a very high volume of queries relating to the LG pay ballot. I have listed below some of the common questions that have arisen, in addition to those covered by the FAQs, and responses to them.
Other TU’s are recommending rejection of the offer – why are UNISON recommending acceptance? This is simply not true. Unite have recommended acceptance. GMB put the offer out to consultation without a recommendation but have informed members it is the best that can be achieved by negotiation.
Why are GMB members in Glasgow getting a higher offer than members employed elsewhere? Again, this is not the case. GMB members in Glasgow have raised a number of local issues with Glasgow City Council – there are no, and will not be any, local revisions to the pay offer. SJC pay is negotiated nationally by the joint trade unions – no discussions on SJC pay will take place without UNISON being in the room.
I work in social care and you have just asked me to sign a petition calling for a £2k loyalty bonus and a £2k welcome bonus. If this is what they union is asking for why are you also advising me to vote to accept this offer from COSLA which is for a lower amount? The ‘asks’ outlined in the social care petition are for members working in social care in the third and private sector and are unrelated to the pay negotiations for social care members employed by local authorities.
I received an e-mail from UNISON nationally telling me to vote to take industrial action on local government pay – why are you telling me to accept this offer? There are multiple ballots taking place across the union at the same time right now. The recent e-mail issued by UNISON head office related to NJC pay – that is for members employed by local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It does not apply to members in Scotland.
The e-mail you have received from our Scottish Head of Local Government and Local Government Chair re the SJC ballot is what we are asking you to vote on, with the Committee’s recommendation to accept.
I haven’t received my vote – where is it? If you have not received an e-mail with your voting link please, in the first instance, check your junk/spam folders. If it is not there and you still have not received it by the end of this week please call 0800 0857857 or log in to MyUnison (https://www.unison.org.uk/my-unison/) to check that the details we hold for you are up to date.
I don’t have an e-mail address on your system/my e-mail address has recently changed – how do I get a vote? As long as your membership records are updated BEFORE 22nd November 2021 you will receive an e-mail with your voting link. To update your details call 0800 0857857 or log in to MyUnison at https://www.unison.org.uk/my-unison/
The system doesn’t allow me to vote to reject! It does. The option is to select “vote here” on your e-mail and scroll to the bottom of the ballot page where the voting options are located.
The system is telling me that I have already voted when I haven’t – how can I cast my vote? This is a safety feature to help prevent duplicate voting. We suspect what is happening is that the link has been clicked on and closed before using the vote button and the system is then blocking the IP address. Members should clear their cookies and try the link again. It should then work. To clear cookies check online for advice on the specific device you may be using or the following steps may assist: On your computer, open Chrome. At the top right, click ‘More’. Click ‘More tools’. Clear browsing data. At the top, choose a time range. To delete everything, select ‘All time’. Next to “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached images and files,” check the boxes. Click Clear data.
I have clicked on the ballot link but the page is not loading – how can I vote? The ballot link is currently experiencing a lot of web traffic and is having difficulty loading for some. It has been brought to our attention and we have raised the issue with customer support. Please try it again later – you have until midday on the 29th November to cast your vote.
I accidentally voted to accept (or reject) when I meant to reject (or accept) – can I change my vote? Unfortunately not. The vote is anonymous and so the system quite rightly does not allow us to make changes to it. To do otherwise may leave the voting system open to abuse.
LG Pay Ballot – Update
Our new consultative ballot on the revised LG pay offer is now live and will be sent out by email. The email should be hitting your mailbox shortly, though the system sends them out in batches so they will not all arrive at the same time.
An FAQ document has been created to help to answer any questions you may have and can be found here.
The ballot will run until midday on the 29th November and new members will need to join by 22nd November to be included in the ballot.
If you have not received an e-mail with your voting link please, in the first instance, check your junk/spam folders. If it is not there and you still have not received it by the end of this week (Friday 12th of November) please call 0800 0857857 or log in to MyUnison (https://www.unison.org.uk/my-unison) to check that the details we hold for you are up to date.
Clacks Pre-Festive Wellbeing Events (24th Nov – 3rd Dec)
Please see link below to see the Clacks Pre-Festive Wellbeing programme, starting on Wednesday 24th November to Fri 3rd December.
The exciting programme highlights the various daily sessions, and there is something for everyone.
Bookings can be made either by clicking on the ‘To book’ icon next to the session on the electronic flyer, or by visiting the clacks staff info page http://clacksweb/coronavirus/wellbeing/
UNISON Secures increased SLG pay offer
UNISON have received an improved pay offer for the pay year 2021 -2022. The new offer will back date the increase in pay to Jan 2021 instead of March 2021 which increases it’s value specifically for those on low pay. UNISON will be writing out to SLG members to ballot on whether to accept the new offer or not. UNISON’s Local Government Committee is advising members to accept the improved offer.
The pay offer now stands as:
- An increase in the Scottish Local Government Living Wage (SLGLW) hourly rate to £9.78.
- An £850 flat rate increase for those earning less than £25,000 annually (4.72% – 3.43% depending on starting salary). This covers national SCP 2-40 and is calculated on a nominal 37 hour working week.
- A 2% increase for those earning between £25,000 and £40,000
- A 1% increase for those earning between £40,000 and £80,000
- A £800 flat rate increase for those earning more than £80,000 annually
- A back dating of the implementation date of the pay award and the increase in the SLGLW to 1 January 2021. To be clear this takes the value of the flat rate increase from £850 to approximately £1,062 in the year 1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022. While it is acknowledged that the backdating element of the increase is non-recurring it equates to a 5.89% increase in the year for those earning at the current SLGLW rate.
Local Government Pay Ballot – Clackmannanshire Result
UNISON ran a ballot on industrial action over the 2021/22 Local Government pay offer during the month of September. Those eligible to vote were school cleaning staff, school janitorial staff, school catering staff and waste and recycling staff. Although 100% of ballots returned were in favor of taking industrial action the percentage of ballot papers returned was only 30% of all those entitled to vote. Unfortunately the UK has strict laws on industrial action and a 50% return is required for the ballot to be considered valid.
Talks are ongoing at a national level around our next steps and we await the results from the ballots of other trade unions and whether they will proceed with industrial action.
COVID Workforce Issues Update
Schools Reopening Guidance
The Scottish Government guidance for the phased re-opening of schools, as announced by the First Minister today, has now been published and can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-schools-reopening
Annual General Meetings 2021.
Information can be found on http://www.clacksunison.org.uk/?page_id=444
UNISON Scotland has been lobbying Government and seeking negotiated agreements for homeworking expenses to be paid as allowances via payroll. We have not made any significant headway in any sector on early agreement and payments on this basis. So without prejudice to UNISON’s ongoing efforts to secure collective agreements with Employers, we are issuing information to allow you to make an individual claim to HMRC for tax relief for these new expenses incurred for business during this tax year which ends 31 March 2021.
Additional costs include things like heating, metered water bills, home contents insurance, business calls or a new broadband connection. They do not include costs that would stay the same whether you were working at home or in an office, such as mortgage interest, rent or council tax.
You may also be able to claim tax relief on equipment you’ve bought, such as a laptop, chair or mobile phone.How much you can claim
You can either claim tax relief on:
- £6 a week from 6 April 2020 (for previous tax years the rate is £4 a week) – you will not need to keep evidence of your extra costs
- the exact amount of extra costs you’ve incurred above the weekly amount – you’ll need evidence such as receipts, bills or contracts
You’ll get tax relief based on the rate at which you pay tax. For example, if you pay the 20% basic rate of tax and claim tax relief on £6 a week you would get £1.20 per week in tax relief (20% of £6).
To claim these expenses, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. You can create a user ID if you do not already have one.
Creating a Government Gateway ID usually takes about 10 minutes. It works best if you have:
- your National Insurance number
- a recent payslip or P60 or a valid UK passport
Please see below and cascade this information your members who are working from home.
New General Secretary Christina McAnea
I promise to work across all parts of our union, for all our members.
Click download link above