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By UNISON, Apr 18 2017 01:15PM

I attach the text of a communication sent out by the GMB to their members in relation to SJC Pay 2017. Not only does it attack UNISON but is factually inaccurate. Given that this will no doubt circulate in branches UNISON have prepared a response that branches can use through websites, twitter, facebook or other media.

Dear GMB Member

GMB Scotland in Local Government – COSLA Pay Offer Update

This year’s local government pay award is potentially going to be delayed by Unison's decision to reject the pay offer from COSLA. Despite this being a joint pay negotiation at no point have Unison advised us of their intentions to recommend rejecting the offer or to strike.

You will remember that the offer you accepted is a flat rate £350 offer for those who earn less than £35,000 a year and 1% for those who earn £35,000 and above per year. This equates to a rise of 2.18 % for those who are on the lowest pay and takes the Scottish Local Government Living Wage to £8.51 per hour. As members of GMB Scotland you accepted the offer by 69%. Unite members voted by a bigger margin with 82% voting for acceptance.

Your GMB Scotland negotiators fought hard to get the offer COSLA made and we got the final offer deliberately weighted to the lowest paid. As we explained when we balloted this was the best that could be achieved without taking strike action.

During the negotiations the employers did threaten to impose a flat 1% pay increase. It is not for GMB Scotland to tell other Unions how to conduct their affairs but in light of Unison's strike threat COSLA are again threatening to impose the 1%. If they do, it will really hit the poorest in local government; pupil support staff; caterers; cleaners, care workers and many other groups.

GMB Scotland is not going to stand by and let the poorest paid get hit hardest by COSLA implementing a flat 1% pay deal. GMB Scotland wants a deal that is weighted to the lowest paid and we want the pay offer our members voted on to be honoured.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me on 0141 332 8641 or email scotlocalgov@gmb.org.uk

Kind regards

Tony Dowling

GMB Scotland Senior Organiser

UNISON Response

The GMB have chosen to attack UNISON in correspondence to their members regarding the fact that we have rejected the employers on Pay this year. Not only is the letter to their members inflammatory but it is factually inaccurate. Let me just set the record straight. Tony Dowling states that UNISON did not inform the GMB of our intention to reject the offer. At the time the offer from the employers was made the joint trade union negotiating body, which is made up of UNISON, GMB and Unite, decided to seek views from their respective local government bodies on the basis that the offer was not good enough and did not meet the claim either in its value or on the basis that it was not a flat rate offer across the board. There was a clear message from this meeting that the offer should be rejected. It appears that UNISON are the only trade union that can be relied on to take such a message back to our Local Government Committee and also appears that we are the only trade union to stand up for Fair Pay in Local Government. UNISON’s recommendation was to reject the offer and this was overwhelmingly adopted by our members in our consultative ballot by a margin of 77.6% to 22.4%. Indeed the number of UNISON members voting to reject outweighed the total combined members of both GMB and Unite across local government in Scotland.

There is no indication at this time that COSLA will impose a 1% pay increase. Due to local government elections taking place on 4th May COSLA does not have any political leadership in place. All COSLA business in relation to pay will be deferred until the first COSLA Leaders meeting following the election on 26th May. For the GMB to scaremonger in this way is frankly disgraceful but given it is UNISON that has rejected this offer I would suggest that we are not only the only union standing up for low paid members but also the only union prepared to fight for a decent pay rise for them. It would also appear that GMB’s position on pay has weakened. Apparently they are now prepared to support a deal that is ‘weighted’ towards the lowest paid rather than a flat rate offer for all members. This is contrary to the position taken throughout the negotiations by their negotiating team including Tony Dowling which was that the offer was not good enough.

UNISON is moving towards a full industrial action ballot on the basis of our members clear views in the consultative exercise. It would have been our preferred option that the other trade unions would also have supported this however that clearly is not the case. As the largest trade union in local government by quite some distance UNISON will always speak for the majority of trade union members within local government.

By UNISON, Mar 13 2017 10:57AM

The Local Government Committee considered the final offer made by the employers in respect of SJC Pay yesterday and unanimously decided to recommend REJECTION of the offer. The committee also agreed to consult our members in a digital online ballot commencing 17th March and closing at 12 noon on 7th April.

A high participation in this ballot is absolutely crucial if we are to move towards a full industrial action ballot. New thresholds within the Trade Union legislation mean that a 50% participation rate in industrial action ballots is required and whilst this consultative ballot is not governed by this legislation it is imperative that we demonstrate that we can achieve a percentage return close to that level.

To seek to maximise participation we have agreed to run this consultation on the basis of a full digital consultative ballot. This means that access to the ballot will only be through a secure UNISON web page. Where we have members email addresses registered on the RMS these individuals will receive an email and a link to enable them to vote. Those members for whom we do not have email addresses for will be required to access a web page, answer two security questions and vote online. There is a significant job of work to do by branches to encourage participation and assist those members who may not have electronic access. I will prepare a full briefing sheet on the ballot detail.

Briefing materials have now been developed in the form of a fact sheet, FAQ's, poster and leaflet for use within branches. These materials will be available to download from the UNISON Scotland webpage later today. Branches are encouraged to ensure this ballot and ballot arrangements are widely publicised within their membership either through their normal distribution channels or by workplace it branch meetings. Local Government Committee members are available to attend branch/workplace meetings, please contact me directly to arrange.

We can significantly improve upon our previous ballot returns on pay however if we are to do so it will require a concerted effort by all of us to achieve this.

By UNISON, Feb 20 2017 11:14AM

UNISON Scotland supports this petition to challenge these rises of 66% for low paid support workers and 166% for social workers, when wages rises are again below inflation, are unfair and a disincentive to people joining the care sector.


Real change happens when everyday people like you and I come together and stand up for what we believe in.

After you've signed the petition please also take a moment to share it with others. It's super easy – all you need to do is forward this email or share this link on Facebook or Twitter:

By UNISON, Feb 16 2017 09:33AM

The SJC Steering Group met yesterday to start negotiations on pay. We reached a point where the employers tabled a slightly different offer which was; £300 for those earning up to £30,000 and 1% for those above. The joint trade union position was united behind the need for only a flat rate claim and not a mixed offer. The employers position was that the new offer made was the limit of their mandate. We did however persuade the employers to go back to the COSLA Leaders Forum and seek a fresh mandate on the basis of the trade union position. We also made the point that since the offer was tabled the LG settlement had marginally changed and asked the employers to consider whether more money could be directed into the pay financial envelope.

The Steering Group will next meet on 3rd March where I expect the employers to make a final offer.

By UNISON, Feb 7 2017 09:22AM

The Scottish Local Government Conference on Friday received details of the offer from the Scottish employers in response to our pay claim. The offer is attached for information.

The offer is as follows;

£250 flat rate for those on spinal column points up to £25,000.

1% for those on spinal column points over £25,001 Continue to pay the Scottish Local Government Living Wage and ensure it applies to all pay related enhancements and is pensionable.

Agree to participate in a joint working group with the trade unions to look at a future pay strategy going forward.

This offer falls far short of our claim, however the employers have indicated that they are prepared to negotiate. The first negotiating meeting will take place on 14 February and a further update will be issued following this meeting.

We are making the necessary arrangements to ensure that all members are consulted on any final offer and if need be preparing for a possible industrial action ballot.

In the meantime our branch are making every effort to raise the profile of Pay with our members. Flyers and posters will follow shortly.

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