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Date: 11 December 2007

Don't sign up to reduced conditions - Council staff told

Staff at East Lothian Council are being urged not to sign up to a new package of pay and conditions intended to deliver a single pay structure across the council, when these are offered to them in January by the council.

UNISON, the council staff trade union, has rejected the new pay and grading model proposed by the council today, which it says, has elements in it that have not been discussed with the unions, and the package as a whole has not been assessed for equality impact.

The union suspects that the council will put pressure on staff to sign what it says is one of the worst packages in Scotland, by claiming that services will have to be cut, if this is not agreed.

The council agreed to take the new proposals, which also propose cutting weekend working payments, and moving to a seven day working week, to the staff directly, ignoring their representatives' objections. The results of a voluntary sign-up period of two weeks in January will be assessed in February.

Sandra Kennie, Secretary of UNISON's East Lothian Council branch, said "Many of the elements in this new package - like stopping some staff reaching the top of their grades - have not been discussed with the unions. Neither has this package been equality impact assessed - which is bizarre as one of the aims of single status is to equality-proof the council's pay structure. Staff should be clear that this is one of the worst packages proposed to council staff throughout Scotland, and not sign away their conditions under pressure."

The union wants the council to sit back down at the table to fully negotiate the detail of the package. Sandra says "If the council see a problem in affording a decent package of conditions, then the proper way to deal with it is to be open and honest with the staff's representatives and try and discuss and negotiate a proper agreement, not to try and pressurise staff individually."


For Further Information Please Contact: Sandra Kennie (Branch Secretary) 01620 822 699(o) 07929 736 511(m) Robert Rae (Regional Officer) 07904 342 311(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0870 7777 006(w) 0771 558 3729(m)