We negotiate for better pay and conditions, help individuals in trouble and campaign for a safer, fairer society.
UNISON is Britain’s biggest union, representing almost 1.3 million people across the UK’s public services.
As you will probably have seen, UNISON have been running a Postcard Campaign to inform elected members of our opposition to attacks on pay via Unsocial Hours cuts and the erosion of our hard fought for Terms and Conditions. We are currently collating all the cards together and will be handing these over to Councillors shortly. If you haven’t yet filled out one of these cards we would urge you to do so and hand it into the office. If you don’t have any cards then feel free to print one off from the link below and hand it back into us.
As we approach the budget for 2018/19 it will be vital to send a clear message to the elected members that they can’t make their savings by attacking staff so we urge you to fill in a card, and to get members of the public, family members and friends who live in Clackmannanshire and who oppose cuts to Council Services to do the same.
Are you a UNISON member who is a registered professional member of any health and social care professional
You may be entitled to be advised and represented by UNISON’s Professional Services Unit (PSU) if:
• You face allegations that your fitness to practise is impaired OR
• You have applied for registration or renewal of your registration with one of these professional regulatory bodies
but your application has been refused.
Click on this link for more information
There was a suggestion floated during one of the Joint Trade Union meetings in May that a petition be drawn up to allow staff to show their frustration and lack of confidence in those running our organisation. It was noted at the time that a similar petition was used in East Lothian Council which had provided good results. On reviewing the East Lothian petition it became apparent that it was specifically focused on the contracts department and not, as was generally thought, against the whole Council. The Branch Executive considered the benefits of producing and circulating a Council wide petition however it was agreed that there were few benefits in doing so and a good deal of skepticism that members of staff would be willing to put their names to such a document. We have instead decided to focus our actions on persuading elected members of the the folly of attacking the low paid with cuts to their salary. A newsletter will shortly be sent out to all members updating them on the situation and detailing steps that all of our members can take to help us to convince Councillors that, among other things, attacking staff’s meager terms and conditions is not the way to balance a budget.
“This was a despicable act designed to cause maximum pain and suffering. It’s barbaric beyond words that this happened at a concert attended by so many children and young people.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected including the wounded, those searching for loved ones, and those grieving a terrible loss.
“We also pay tribute to those public servants involved – their response was incredible. Many worked through the night to save lives or rushed into work to help when news broke of the attack. And they will continue to put Manchester back together in the days and weeks ahead.
“Strangers providing young people with a place to stay, taxi drivers taking people to safety and long queues at blood banks this morning tell a simple but important story – that hatred will never triumph.”
ATTACK ON YOUR STAFF TERMS & CONDITIONS
You will have already received notification of a series of meetings to take place on Thursday 18th of May at Alloa Town Hall, relating to the proposal from Clackmannanshire Council to remove unsocial hours payments from staff’s terms and conditions.
Clackmannanshire Councillor’s agreed to Council Management’s proposals to change our members terms and conditions, removing unsocial hours payments and in doing so paving the way for a wider review of the Working Week including redefining the working week, role flexibility and changes to other terms & conditions.
Managements proposals are that unsocial hours payments would be stopped with effect from 1 October 2017.
The proposals from Management indicates that some of the key reasons for these proposed changes are: the contribution to reducing the Council budget gap and the flexible working choices that weekend and evening work represent.
These proposals are a clear attack on staff’s terms and conditions, in our view they disproportionately affect low-paid female workers (particularly those that work in social care), present a massive drop in the take home pay of many staff and UNISON believes, and are a clear indication of a move to 7 day working on standard pay.
These proposals should concern every member of staff regardless of currently receiving unsocial hours payments or not. They mean a cut to many of your colleagues pay, are a cut to your terms & condition and pave the way for a wider change that will impact not only on how and when you work but also work/ life balance and jobs.
We would encourage as many UNISON members as possible to attend one of the meetings, the times of which are detailed below – and also in the JTUC flyer that has already been distributed to members. It has been agreed that managers will release staff to attend one of the meetings,
These proposals present a massive cut to the terms & conditions of Clackmannanshire Council Staff, please make every effort to attend one of the 5 meetings, to make your views on the proposals known and help defend your terms and conditions.
CLACKMANNANSHIRE JTUC – Special Meetings – Terms & Conditions – Unsocial Hours
Venue: Alloa Town Hall
Thursday the 18th of May 2017
08:30 until 09:30
10:00 until 11:30
12:00 until 13:30
14:00 until 15.30
16:00 until 17:00
Just a reminder that our AGM meetings are being held this Thursday the 9th of March.
Our main AGM will take place at Alloa Town Hall between 12 and 2 and a lunch will be provided.
We are also having an AGM meeting at Alloa Academy between 5 and 7 for anyone unable to attend the lunch time meeting.
We had hoped to have a local government hustings event at this years meeting however due to the majority of our Elected Members being involved in Council and Budget meetings the political parties have been unable to supply candidates to speak. (We are attempting to find a new speaker at short notice.)
We do hope that many of you will turn up to discuss with us the issues that are important to you, not to mention the events of the past few weeks. We would very much like to hear the opinions of our members and we will do our best to answer any questions you may have.
Well I’m sure speculation is rife as to what actually happened today so here’s UNISON’s take on the situation and our opinion on where this leaves us. (Please note, this is UNISON’s take on the meeting. I’m sure others will have their own personal views.)
First the Council took a vote on a new Leader. Labours Graham Watt was elected Council Leader.
Next, Labour put up an amendment to their budget reversing the decisions taken at the previous Council meeting to allow the use of Compulsory Redundancy to make budget savings and to hire in consultants to advise on the future of Council Services.
And that’s where we hit a problem. Council Standing Orders prohibits the Council from overturning a decision it had just made. (They’re supposed to wait 6 months first)
A vote was called to suspend Council Standing Orders and therefore allow the motion to be considered. 2 thirds of the elected members must vote to suspend the standing orders for this to carry. Most of Labour voted for it and the SNP voted against meaning there were not enough votes to suspend the Councils own rules.
The Labour Party then resigned as the administration.
A vote was called to elect a new Provost. The SNP’s Gary Womersley was proposed and duly elected provost.
The Council held a vote to increase the Council tax by 3% which was carried and finally the meeting was adjourned.
So, where does all that leave us?
At the moment there are too many variables to be sure of an outcome. A budget will need to come back to the Councillors to be voted on within the next few weeks and it may be completely different from the budget we’ve just seen.
Trade Unions have worked very hard over the past few weeks trying to reverse the decision to use Compulsory Redundancies as a way of making budget savings. We had seen substantial progress with that and we were hopeful that we would be looking at a set budget with staff somewhat more secure in their jobs. Instead we’re facing an additional period of uncertainty although we do plan to continue to push for a budget without the use of Compulsory Redundancies and remain hopeful that we can convince the various political parties that this continues to be the best approach to take.
So, there are a number of questions to be asked and we will be in touch once we have any additional information.
If anyone has any questions we will do our best to answer them, although at the moment this is as much information as we currently have. We would of course urge all members to attend the forthcoming AGM on the 9th of March where I imagine we’ll be discussing this further.
You may be aware of the planned demonstration of the Budget meeting outside of Kilncraigs tomorrow afternoon.
Trade Union discussions with elected members have continued since the decision on the use of compulsory redundancies was voted through and we have now agreed a way forwards with Councillors. The demonstration is therefore being postponed / cancelled pending Councils decisions at tomorrow’s budget meeting.
More information to follow.
We were all disgusted with the decisions of our Labour and Conservative Councillors to implement an unnecessary policy of compulsory redundancies at last weeks council meeting. Trade Unions have outlined our opposition to this decision and our opposition to spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to hire in external consultants to tell management how to shape their Services. You cannot claim there is no money for staff wages on one hand while proposing to spend half a million pounds on a consultancy firm on the other.
UNISON started a campaign by releasing the statement outlined below to the media and our full time and national officers are putting a lot of political pressure onto the Labour party to get our local Labour Councillors to reconsider their actions. However we must keep up the pressure at our end if we are to have any chance of getting this disastrous decision overturned. To that end we are organising a protest demonstration outside of the Kilncraigs building during the budget meeting on the 23rd of February from 12 until 2. We have chosen this time to allow as many of our members as possible to join this protest over their lunch break, which obviously means no-one has to take any time off of work or seek management permission to attend. The demonstration will be a peaceful (if somewhat loud) anti cuts protest to gather public support and get residents and voters to think about what 350 job cuts will do to the services they receive.
Whether you believe your job may be at risk at this time or not, we would urge all members to try to participate in this demonstration at some point, even if it’s only for half an hour. The larger the protest the more interest we’ll get and the more pressure it puts onto elected members, especially when you consider the forthcoming council elections in May. We would also ask you to talk about this pending demonstration in your places of work. Not everyone will read this webpage and we really need people to get involved.
One final thing. Some people will say that this decision was necessary at this time. We would tell them (and we would urge you to do the same) that the Council was budgeting for £1.2 million in staff savings one week before an additional £1.4 million was allocated to our budget by the Scottish Government. In addition our council has decided that it has a spare half million to spend on consultants. We think that £2 million would have been better spent protecting public services and jobs.
Clackmannanshire Council have pleaded poverty and imposed a policy of Compulsory Redundancies on its staff while at the same time they have also voted to spend up to half a million pounds to hire in a private consultancy firm to tell them how to do their jobs. This is just one week after the Scottish Government announced nearly one and half million pounds in additional funds that the Council was not expecting. The Labour Administration has once again joined hand in hand with the Tories to force through unnecessary and thoroughly shameful proposals which will slash public services, damage the local economy and put hard working families into severe financial distress. It was left yet again to the SNP group to defend public services and jobs at Clackmannanshire Council. It’s not difficult to see why Labours polling numbers have more than halved in the last few years and continue to drop rapidly.
The Clackmannanshire Joint Trade Union Committee was disgusted to have to report to our members that due to the Labour and Conservative parties, Clackmannanshire Council has become the first local authority in Scotland to announce compulsory redundancies of up to 350 members of staff. This has handed management a blank cheque which will be balanced on the backs of many of our poorest members and their families. The staff at Clackmannanshire Council have had years of cuts to both pay and their terms and conditions and yet they have continued to deliver quality services for the people of Clackmannanshire. This new attack comes in the same financial year where Elected Members spent untold thousands of pounds moving from their two year old custom built offices and Council Chamber in Patons, to new upgraded offices and meeting spaces inside Kilncraigs instead. The Patons building now lies empty increasing the running costs of the Council.
So there we have it, the view of the trade unions is that a Labour Group who took over control of the Council less than a year ago seems to have few ideas on how to balance a budget, no ideas on how to deliver services and have made staff pay for their lack of vision. Clackmannanshire Council has a poor redundancy package, barely more than the legally required minimum, and for the last year the Council has sat on a pot of over £4 million which was to be used to enable staff to leave the organisation through a modest financial package. The pot has remained largely unused while managers and councillors bemoaned the fact that low paid staff were choosing not to leave the organisation and put themselves into financial distress. Trade unions made it clear from the start that if you need to encourage people to leave your organisation, you make them an offer that they can afford to take. Even as late as this week the council received nearly one and a half million pounds more from the Scottish Government and with the half million more that the Labour Party wants to spend on private consultants, it could have used that two million pounds to make the Voluntary Severance package a little less bleak.
Joint Trade Union Committee Secretary Pam Robertson has said “This proposal was unnecessary and will have dire consequences for the staff who maintain your homes, help educate your children, look after your elderly relatives and keep your streets clean. With a Local Government election just weeks away we will not take this affront to democracy lying down, the Labour party would be wise to consider its selection of candidates for the forthcoming elections very carefully indeed.”
Committee Chair Andrew Kane has said “I have been a proud member of the Labour Party for many years however I have never felt shame at the actions of my party as I have today. The Labour Party members of Clackmannanshire should raise their voice loudly against this act of vandalism against public services committed by their elected representatives; otherwise the Labour Party will soon find itself an irrelevance to the people of Clackmannanshire.”
You will probably be aware by now that management have once again proposed Compulsory Redundancy as a means of cutting budgets.
A paper is going to Council on Thursday the 9th of February for Elected Members to vote on.
UNISON’s position hasn’t changed on this. We will fight any and all attempts made at forcibly cutting jobs.
UNISON have written a letter to all Elected Members outlining our concerns, explaining why we think this is unnecessary and asking for them to either pull the paper before the meeting or vote against it should it be presented at Council. We have lobbied the Labour party at a national level and have been working with UNISON colleagues in other branches to get support should this be voted through. Additionally we have written a statement which we released to the local press this afternoon.
We are doing everything that we can to apply political pressure and have this proposal thrown out just like we’ve done several times in the past few years. We can only hope that Councillors will see sense and won’t follow through on this paper. The Scottish Government allocated an additional £1.3 million to Clackmannanshire Council after reaching a budget deal with the Green Party last week, so hopefully this will lead to the Administration reviewing their position on this.
If they fail to do so and vote this policy through we will be organising members meetings and protests in the coming weeks.