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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Vote now for fair pay

See UNISON Edinburgh's new newsletter here on the pay ballot running from 9 to 29 September 2014. The ballot asks members whether they are prepared to take strike action to force the employers to respect the joint negotiating machinery and return to the negotiating table.

The Scottish Employers have imposed a pay award of 1% from 1 April 2014. And they have refused to negotiate on UNISON's claim for this period which was:
  • An additional £1 per hour for all staff conditioned to the Scottish Joint Council scheme.
  • Consolidation of the Living Wage
  • Deletion of spinal column points below the level of the Living Wage
This action by the employers is unacceptable and shows a blatant disregard for the agreed bargaining structures and threatens the future of nationally agreed pay awards.

Branch Secretary, Amanda Kerr, said “Over the last few years we have witnessed a drop in real terms to our wages while the cost of living has increased significantly.

“Our members, who work tirelessly providing vital public services across Edinburgh deserve nothing less than fair pay and it is a complete insult to impose one per cent. We also want to get back to proper negotiations and the agreed bargaining machinery.”

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

UNISON urges council to keep pre-retirement programme

Unions representing workers at the City of Edinburgh Council are today urging councillors to resist plans to abandon a scheme that allows staff to prepare for retirement. The scheme allows paid days off in the last year of work but the council now want to heap the cost on to employees. This could cost a cleaner £3,000 in their last year before retirement.

UNISON's Tom Connolly, speaking for the joint unions, said: "A positive change in legislation is being used as an excuse by the council management team to attempt to hive off the cost of the transition into retirement entirely onto employees."

He slammed an HQ bias which ignores the "psychological, emotional, social and other issues facing thousands of low paid Council staff - staff who have often spent decades looking after and caring for the most vulnerable children, young people elderly and disabled members of the community, we also have the manual workers who ensure our environment is kept clean and our public parks and gardens are well kept, all the above tending to be seen as low status, often physically demanding work."

"Some of the lowest paid staff in the country. Out in all weathers providing services to the public, home care, refuse, residential child care. These staff give years to the public sector reserving very little in return. Working above and beyond their contracted hours. The council management team is out of touch with the grass route staff."

And when it comes to cost, the council is ignoring the millions it saves by staff who regularly work 'above and beyond' in unpaid overtime to keep services going. TUC figures show that more than a quarter (27.4 per cent) of public sector staff did unpaid overtime of almost eight hours a week in 2013.

The full text of the submission being made today by Tom Connolly follows:

UNISON urges Provost to decline Qatar invite

Qatar's Kafala system that removes workers' human rights is cited by UNISON as a reason for the Lord Provost to decline an invitation to visit the country.

Branch International Officer Chris Goodsell is making this submission to the council today: