Date: Thursday 15 November 2007
Agency move away from negotiations sparks vote of no confidence
An attempt by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
to sideline established negotiation arrangements and try to do individual
pay deals with all 1300 staff has provoked a sharp reaction from
staff, who have called for a vote of no confidence in their management.
SEPA yesterday presented a new draft pay structure for the whole
agency, and a final pay offer to the union. Then in an amazing move
they refused to give the union time to consult its members and said
they were planning to go straight to individual members to get their
agreement, imposing the new structure if they didn't get agreement.
Marion Adamson, UNISON's Regional Officer said "It is clear that
SEPA management came to the negotiation yesterday anticipating rejection
of their proposals. They refused to negotiate, and they refused
to allow consultation with our members on what is a complex new
structure, and a two-year pay deal. This is not the first time that
SEPA has unilaterally walked away from agreed procedures when UNISON
doesn't immediately agree to their proposal. Members are incensed
and have called for a vote of no confidence in the management."
The rapid distribution of papers detailing arrangements for meetings
and the process of individual discussions suggest that SEPA management
planned to walk away from collective bargaining before the meeting
Rebecca Noon, UNISON's SEPA Branch Secretary said, "It is particularly
galling, that after a number of years negotiating on the introduction
of job evaluation and equal pay, pursuing fair pay for women within
the agency, the management can bring to the table a part-completed
offer, insist we accept it before talking to members and then walk
away again from the arrangements they agreed to set up."
Similar pay problems affect other Non Departmental Public Bodies
(or Quangos). They are all subject to a lengthy, bureaucratic and
inflexible system of approval by the Scottish Government's Public
Sector Pay Unit.
UNISON has already issued detailed advice to its members on how
to respond to individual offers, suggesting that they ensure they
are represented and don't get pressured into accepting bad deals.
In the meantime the union will consult formally with members on
the offer that they have been given, and discuss the call for the
vote of no confidence.
For further information please contact: Marion Adamson,
Regional Officer 07904 326812 Rebecca Noon, Branch Secretary 07748
945 801 Chris Bartter, Communications Officer 07715583729