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Local Government Pay 2012



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Briefing for Branches

3 Feb 2013

Branches to meet again after new talks

Local Government Branches meeting on 1 February heard that pay talks held with the employers on 24 January brought no progress but further talks were scheduled for 5 February. Branches decided to reconvene after that to hear a report on any progress before deciding the way forward.

Branch after branch reported their members' growing anger at the attacks on living stadards.

Stephanie Herd, UNISON Scottish Local Government Chair, said: “While the Living Wage element is welcome, the offer falls below what is needed to keep pace with inflation.

“Local Government workers have gone through a pay freeze at a time when inflation averaged 5%, food prices have been going up by 7% a year and energy prices by 15%.”

On the table is an offer of 1% from 1 April 2013. If after the 1% is applied, there are staff who fall below the ‘Living Wage’, this would be brought up to £7.50 an hour from 1 April this year.

PAY FACT: If the minimum wage had increased, since its introduction in 1999, at the same annual rate as the pay of FTSE 100 Chief executives, it would have reached £18.89 per hour this year instead of £6.19. We are clearly not 'all in this together'.

PAY OFFER: Negotiators to seek more talks and ballot to follow in January 2013.
Local Government branches met on 30 November and heard that Local Government employers had made an offer of 1% from 1 April 2013. If after the 1% is applied, there are staff who fall below the 'Living Wage', this will be brought up to £7.50 an hour from 1 April 2013. The offer also calls for a 'working party' on pay for 2014/15 and on 'flexible and adaptable' working practices.

While the 'Living Wage' elements is welcome, the offer falls below what is needed to keep pace with inflation. Local Government workers have gone through a pay freeze at a time when inflation averaged 5%, food prices have been going up by 7% a year and energy prices by 15%.

The offer was made outside the normal bargaining procedures and negotiators will seek, along with the other unions, to open proper negotiations and consult members via a ballot in January 2013. They will return to a Recall Conference on 11th Jan to report on progress. Branches are urged to call workplace meetings to brief members and get their feedback.

UNISON Scotland comment on local government pay offer 22 Nov
UNISON Scotland is set to consult members on a pay offer for local government workers. >>more

Fair Pay Day 27 June

‘Pay freeze must thaw’ – that’s the message from Scotland’s council workers on Fair Pay Day - See updates on what branches are doing at facebook and the blog

FAIR PAY DAY is on Wednesday 27 June. An invite to this will be sent out on Facebook. Help to build this by inviting your friends on FB to it as well. Every member of UNISON, GMB and Unite can help to make this day a success by helping to distribute leaflets and stickers. We are launching our Fair Pay for Council Workers petition and asking every member and their friends and families to sign up.


Fair Pay leaflets. Click on the leaflet for a pdf version to print off

Fair Pay Leafelt 1 Low Pay Fair Pay Leaflet 2 Pay Freeze Fair Pay leaflet 3 Overstretched Fair Pay Leaflet 4 Fair Pay

Five reasons why we need a Fair Pay campaign?

1. It's a pay cut, not a pay freeze
Our members know the true cost of pay cuts: they don't give up a luxury, they struggle to afford a necessity. Local government workers are facing the second year of a pay freeze at a time when inflation averaged 5%, food prices have been going up by 7% a year and energy prices by 15%. And the people on the lowest grades suffer most as they spend more of their income on these necessities.

2. Is my pay really that bad?
Local government workers are among the lowest paid in the public sector. Three-quarters of the workforce are women, but there's a part-time gender pay-gap in Scotland of 33%. That means that women working part-time earn 67p per hour, for every £1 per hour that a man working full-time earns. With the cost of living increasing, a two year pay freeze represents a pay cut in real terms.

3. Shouldn't I be more worried about losing my job through 'efficiencies'?
UNISON/GMB/Unite are fighting to protect jobs and services up and down the country. But we need to make a stand on pay now to protect your standard of living and show that we value what we do for local communities - even if the employers don't. This isn't a choice between fair pay or a job. A continued pay freeze doesn't come with the guarantee of continued employment!

4. My council is making budget cuts, surely they have no money for a pay award?
Local government workers are not responsible for the current economic situation. It's unjust and unreasonable to expect these workers to pay for the budget cuts while those who caused the crisis continue to get big pay packets and fat bonuses. All workers deserve fair pay. Managers often talk about 'affordability', but it is a question of whether they can afford NOT to give their employees a decent wage. If they are to recruit and retain staff in vital jobs, they will have to pay them a living wage - otherwise, people will vote with their feet. You can't keep cutting budgets and expect the lowest paid to fill the gap.

5. The Scottish Government promised a £250 pay rise to low paid workers. Why have I not received this?
This commitment does not apply to local government workers. It only applies to workers who are employed either directly by the Scottish Government or Scottish Government agencies. UNISON/GMB/ Unite have pursued this matter directly with the local government employers (CoSLA), however, they have refused to pay this. Another reason why we need a Fair Pay Campaign.


‘It’s time for fair pay’ say unions as they lodge pay claim for local government workers

Tuesday 8 May 2012: ‘It’s time for fair pay’. That was the message from Scotland’s local government unions today (Tuesday, May 8) as they lodged their annual pay claim on behalf of council workers in a bid to end the continued pay freeze. Click here for press release


Briefing for branches

23 April 2012: Following UNISON's Scottish Local Government Conference on 23rd April agreement has now been reached with Unite and GMB to submit a pay claim for local government workers for the period 1 April 2012 - 31 March 2013.

The claim is as follows

  • A single year claim
  • £1,000 flat rate payment
  • The introduction of a Living Wage with a minimum hourly rate of £7.20
  • Encourage Community and Voluntary organisations, ALEO's conditioned to the SJC to implement any settlement agreed.

It is not enough however to simply lodge the claim and hope that negotiations will prevail! We have to win the hearts and minds of our members as to why pay matters more than ever at this time.

Workers in local government are the poor relations of the public sector as we enter the second year of a pay freeze. Our employers have already told us that they have no intention of engaging with the trade unions on pay this year.

If we are to change this we need to ensure that our members are ready to stand up and fight for Fair Pay, it is no more than they deserve. A Fair Pay campaign timetable and plan is being developed in order to gauge and encourage support among our members across the three trade unions.

A Fair Pay campaign logo and theme are being worked on to give the campaign an identity that members can relate to.

Resources such as members leaflet, workplace posters, Myths/FAQ's, campaign briefings, template press releases for use in branches and model letters for elected members and chief executives seeking support for our claim will be available for branches.

Branches will be asked to identify key spokespeople (Pay Champions) within branches, similar to Pensions Champions during the Pensions Dispute, to coordinate the campaign locally.

A Pay Seminar will be organised for Branch Secretaries and Pay Champions to ensure a consistency of approach to the campaign. Further details will follow.

Political lobbying will be a key component of our campaign, both locally and nationally. In the short term branches will be encouraged to raise the issue of pay with candidates in the Local Government Elections on 3rd May.

The campaign will also be launched online using existing social media networks, to achieve this the SLGC Facebook page will be revamped and a Twitter page created and linked into Facebook and Twitter feeds.

However the key to a successful campaign to burst the pay freeze will be to ensure the members help us win wide support to raise public awareness of the contribution UNISON members make to local communities and the pressures they face.