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Date Thursday 2 November 2006

Council's threat to sack staff and refusal to release information is condemned by UNISON

Threats by Perth and Kinross Council to force cuts in pay and conditions on their staff has been strongly rejected by UNISON, the staff trade union.

The council has recently (16th October) sent letters to staff advising them of their new proposed pay and grading, and details of proposed changes to their terms and conditions. On Monday 23rd October letter was also received by UNISON threatening implementation by force if an agreement is not reached within a reasonable timescale.

Wilma Armstrong, Secretary of UNISON's Perth and Kinross Branch said: "Given that the council has taken six years to reach this stage, it is totally unacceptable that they now want to railroad this through.”

UNISON has consistently asked for all of the information relating to single status job evaluation. The council has refused to release some key pieces of this information - such as the individual job scores. In addition the union branch is demanding that the council implement an independent equality impact assessment.

Wilma continued "The council is refusing to release these scores and members are asking themselves ‘Why?'. If the council are so confident that the whole exercise has been done correctly, why are they hiding crucial information?

"It would also appear that the equalities audit has been carried out by the project manager leading the single status project. We believe this should have been done by an agreed independent body.

"Given that the council has spent in excess of 10 million pounds in the past 5 years on outside consultants basically to tell people on extremely high salaries how to do their jobs, we don't feel that a transparent equality assessment is an unreasonable request. The Council has made it clear that their next move is to consult individually with employees by sending out a survey. Depending on the feedback they may decide to ignore collective bargaining and dismiss and re-engage staff on totally different pay and conditions.

Wilma Armstrong said: "Should the council decide to tear up the collective bargaining agreement that we have in place, then the branch will be left with no options except to seek legal advice, and take action accordingly”.

"UNISON members strongly support equal pay; however, in this case our rights as trade union members are being disregarded.”


For Further Information Please Contact: Wilma Armstrong, Branch Secretary 07138 475098 (o) Anne Russell, Regional Organiser 07904 341 971(m)