Wednesday 5 December 2007
'No confidence' vote by 93% of SEPA staff
A motion of 'No Confidence' in the management of the Scottish Environment
Protection Agency (SEPA) has been passed overwhelmingly by the troubled
SEPA staff union, UNISON, announced that their members voted 93%
in favour of the no confidence motion in a secret ballot after SEPA
management walked away from agreed bargaining arrangements and began
an attempt to individually pressure staff to accept its unilateral
proposals to rewrite staff conditions, create a new pay structure
and impose a pay rise.
The ballot, organised by UNISON, received a 65% turnout in four
days. Rebecca Noon, UNISON's SEPA Branch Secretary said "It was
clear to all, that this huge and costly exercise to try and return
industrial relations to the Victorian era, was planned and organised
by the Agency's executive long before they even proposed their plans
to the staff negotiators. Staff clearly realise that the orchestrated
walkout, when UNISON refused to accept major proposals that had
just been tabled, was an exercise in treating the elected reps of
their staff with contempt. The costly roadshows in hotels across
Scotland, with free transport and an internal website all organised
weeks before the meeting with staff reps only confirmed that they
never intended to take any staff response seriously. That was reflected
in the huge vote of no confidence."
The SEPA proposals - while details have continued to be changed
during the series of staff presentations - could lead to some staff
losing thousands of pounds a year.
Alan Fleming, UNISON's SEPA Branch Chairperson said "Even after
their advance planning, four different versions of the offer were
presented to staff over two days and the presentation had to be
changed halfway through the 'tour' as the information was misleading!
It is no wonder that UNISON refused to accept the version they got
initially, or that staff exposed to these presentations have no
confidence in those trying to pressure them into signing away their
UNISON are now taking this vote back to the Board and the management
of SEPA, and will urge them to resume normal bargaining procedures.
The union also continues to explore other methods of resolution
of this issue, including legal and other action, including possible
strike action if other activity fails.
For further information please contact: Rebecca Noon, Branch
Secretary 07748 945 801 Alan Fleming, Branch Chairperson 07809 041
906 Marion Adamson, Regional Officer 07904 326812 Chris Bartter,
Communications Officer 07715583729