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Date: Monday 3 March 2008

SEPA staff discuss challenge to dismissal notices

A letter to nearly half of SEPA staff who have refused to sign away their agreed conditions, is to be challenged by the staff union, UNISON at a series of meetings starting this week.

The workplace meetings that UNISON are organising across Scotland, will discuss action by the staff to challenge the dismissals and a number of other breaches of agreements detailed by the union in a dispute notice handed to SEPA last Friday The dismissal notices - which the agency say will arrive tomorrow (Tuesday 4 March) - follow an expensive management exercise in attempting to pressure staff into signing away their conditions. This failed to achieve its aims, and the management have now announced they intend to impose the changes unilaterally.

Alan Fleming, SEPA UNISON Branch Chair said "UNISON lodged a dispute on Friday, over the dismissal letters; the unilateral overturning of job evaluation decisions; the failure to agree a pay rise for 2006, and a number of other failures by the management to stick to what they previously agreed."

The SEPA pay and grading proposals - while details continued to be changed during the series of staff presentations - could lead to some staff losing thousands of pounds a year. The attempt to pressure staff into signing away their rights led to a 93% vote of no confidence in the board and management of SEPA.

Alan Fleming said, "The continuing refusal by the SEPA management to listen to the staff, and negotiate a fair set of pay and grading proposals, coupled with a range of other unilateral attacks on conditions is leading to poor morale in the workforce. UNISON will not allow members to be bullied and brow-beaten in this way, and we will be considering all methods of challenging these Victorian labour relations - including by industrial action where appropriate,"


For further information please contact: Alan Fleming, Branch Chairperson 07809041906 Chris Bartter, Communications Officer 07715583729