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By UNISON, Sep 14 2017 10:20AM

Every single person who works in public services needs and deserve a pay rise. It’s time for the pay cap to be scrapped, for the government to provide additional funding for public sector pay and for employers to put public sector workers pay up now.



For more than seven years, everyone who works in public services has seen their pay decline, thanks to the public sector pay cap. Inflation is currently at 2.9%, meaning that the cap is a significant annual pay cut for those public service champions – nurses, care workers, teaching assistants, social workers and so many others - who work for all of us. Public sector pay has risen by just 4.4% between 2010 and 2016 while the cost of living rose by 22%.

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By UNISON, Aug 2 2017 09:19AM

UNISON has won a landmark court victory that makes it much harder for employers to ignore staff when making major changes in the workplace.


The Court of Appeal ruling means that for the first time employers will be obliged to consult with unions around any workplace issues that affect their members.


Until now, unions only had the right to be consulted where the law required this, for example in TUPE regulations where employees transfer from one employer to another, and in redundancy cases.


The ruling means employers will also have to involve unions in issues such as those around working hours and holiday pay. It will benefit thousands of employees whose rights at work are under threat and means that employers will face greater scrutiny over their treatment of staff, says UNISON. It comes just days after the union won its appeal against ET fees.


The victory came about after the union took up a case involving parks police who were made redundant by the London Borough of Wandsworth.


The Court of Appeal ruled that UNISON had the right to be consulted by Wandsworth over the job losses.


UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This is the second major legal victory in a week for working people. It means that employees in any workplace where there’s a union will now benefit from greater protection at work.


“The message to bosses is they will have to treat their staff more fairly over pay and working conditions. If they fail to consult unions then they will be acting unlawfully and could be taken to court.”

By UNISON, Jul 26 2017 12:05PM

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

GENERAL SECRETARY


By UNISON, Jun 1 2017 08:50AM

• Number of votes cast; 15,214

• Number of yes votes; 9,540

• Number of no votes; 5,662

• Number of spoiled or invalid papers; 12

As the turnout is below the 50% threshold, it is not possible to take industrial action under current legislation imposed by the UK Government.


The Scottish Local Government Committee met in Glasgow this morning to consider the ballot result and understandably were disappointed.


The ballot did return a vote in favour of taking industrial action but did not meet the requirements of the Trade Union Act 2016. However the result did indicate that there are a substantial number of UNISON members who are unhappy with the employers offer on pay.


The employers have previously stated that they would be prepared to meet with the trade unions once the ballot had concluded and as a result UNISON will be seeking an early meeting to explore how pay can be concluded for 2017/18.



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.


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