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PAY 2008 UPDATE

 

Below is the latest news from UNISON nationally on Pay.  The Branch Secretary, Malcolm Campbell, comments:

 

“Along with a number of UNISON activists in other Local Government branches, I am extremely disappointed to say the least in the latest turn of events.  I think that the consultation process we were asked to carry out with members did not give a clear indication of what the Leadership felt would be necessary to achieve a decent level of pay.

 

“I don’t think it’s surprising that members didn’t feel able to support in great numbers the idea of further action, when there didn’t seem to be a clear strategy designed to win the dispute.

 

“The proposed move to arbitration is in my opinion likely to lead to a very small increase in the offer.  The decision to approach this year’s pay offer and the review of the Green Book separately seems destined to leave us with a pay cut in real terms and a possible erosion of our National Agreements.

 

“We should have been looking to take further action alongside other Public Sector Unions.  It is likely that we will see joint action in the very near future from unions such as PCS and NUT while we watch from the sidelines.

 

“In contrast to this, our colleagues in UNISON Local Government branches in Scotland are pursuing their pay dispute and were out on strike again this week.  It will be interesting to see what outcome they achieve by this approach compared to ours.”

 

NJC COMMITTEE AGREES THE WAY FORWARD ON PAY

 

UNISON’s NJC Committee met on 18 September to review progress in the negotiations which have followed the two days of action in July over the pay award for 2008/9 and the joint statement with the LGA which followed them.

 

A number of important decisions were made at the meeting. The decisions were:

 

·         Not to ask members to take any further industrial action in relation to this year’s pay offer

·         To refer this year’s pay offer to ACAS for binding arbitration

·         To approach this year’s pay offer, any review of the Green Book and pay for 2009/10 separately

·         To submit a pay claim to the employers as soon as possible for 2009/10

·         To agree the Trade Union Side’s aims for any future review of the Green Book

·         To undertake an in-depth review within the NJC Committee of the negotiations and events surrounding this year’s industrial action and to draw up plans to increase our bargaining strength at local and national level

·         To hold meetings of the full Joint Trade Union Side of the NJC on 1 October and 3 November

 

Three Joint Secretaries’ meetings have been held since the July action. UNISON and UNITE have consistently pushed the employers to resolve the outstanding pay dispute and this was the first point included in the framework for the negotiations, which was agreed after the second meeting.

 

Unfortunately the employers claim that there is no pressure on them to increase their final offer of 2.45% and 3.3% for those on scale points 4, 5 and 6 - either from individual local authorities, the Local Government Association or the Government. The joint Trade Union Side of the NJC Executive therefore met to take stock of this situation on 10 September and to consider the unions’ aims for any review of the Green Book which might take place in the future. The 2007/8 pay settlement included such a review.

 

The Trade Union Side recognised that members need and deserve a pay increase as soon as possible. With no apparent prospect of an improved offer, there was therefore a unanimous decision by all three unions – including the GMB – to recommend to their respective national committees that the matter be referred to the Arbitration and Conciliation Service (ACAS) for binding arbitration. The national agreement – the Green Book – provides for either side of the NJC to do this and we believe that the employers will not stand in our way.

 

NJC COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The NJC Committee – UNISON’s lay committee - with representatives from each Region, considered a lengthy report from the negotiators on 18 September and also looked in detail at the results of the consultation on members’ views over further industrial action, which it requested at its last meeting.  With few exceptions, branches responding said that members were not willing to take further action – either ‘all out’ or selective.  The Committee therefore decided not to call for further action and to accept the recommendation of the Trade Union Side and seek binding arbitration.

 

Informal discussions have been held with ACAS and they will start the process, which will involve an independent arbitrator, in the near future. We believe that we can show that the cost of living, local government finances and the poor position of local government workers in the public sector pay league table will provide solid evidence for an improved award.

 

This is obviously not the outcome which UNISON hoped for. However, the employers have not been willing to improve their offer and we believe that members’ pay increase for 2008/9 needs to be resolved and paid as quickly as possible. The review of this year’s action and negotiations and our bargaining power will kick off at the next NJC Committee. The aim is to create a stronger union presence in local government and ensure that our lay democracy functions well. This is essential if we are to be able to negotiate from a position of strength at all levels and ensure a forceful presence in every council and at the NJC bargaining table.


GREEN BOOK NEGOTIATIONS

 

The 2007/8 settlement included an agreement to undertake a ‘nothing ruled in and nothing ruled out’ review of the Green Book.  The employers have been keen to start the review, but the unions have made it clear that we will expect additional funding to underpin it and there has been no progress to date.  The employers’ offer for 2008/9 therefore included the objective of completing the review by December 2008.

 

The Joint Secretaries have discussed the review. As reflected in the framework for the negotiations above, UNISON and the other unions have sought to establish what funding – if any – is available  for improvements, what information is available on the pay bill and the workforce to underpin the negotiations and what the employers’ objectives are. So far little progress has been made. There is currently no additional funding available and the unions have made it clear that we expect improvements which would bring our members’ conditions at least up to the level of other groups of public sector workers.

 

The NJC Committee considered a proposed list of Trade Union Side objectives for any future review.  This will be considered further at the next meeting on 14 November 2008.  In the meantime, UNISON has been conducting two branch surveys to establish exactly what members’ current conditions are, to inform any future negotiations.  A copy of the results of that survey is included in this Pay News and the information will be invaluable in showing the scope for improvements in the negotiations. We are currently carrying out a further survey of car allowances and special leave. 

 

PAY CLAIM FOR 2009/10

 

The NJC Committee considered a background paper on the current situation underlying pay increases and other agreements and agreed that we should submit a claim to the employers as soon as possible for pay from 2009/10.  This will be considered by the full Joint Trade Union Side of the NJC when it meets on 1 October.  It was agreed that we should aim to finalise the claim at the full Trade Union Side of the NJC on 3 November.

 

BRANCH NEWS

 

Members should note that Malcolm Campbell will be taking a well-earned (he says!) break from 6th October, returning on 22nd October.  Other Branch Officers will be covering in his absence.

 

CHRISTMAS WORKING ARRANGEMENTS

 

You will no doubt have heard by now that the Council propose to have all services available to Croydon residents over the Christmas period.  It should be emphasised that although this was the subject of consultation with the Trade Unions we did NOT agree fully to the proposals. 

 

What actually happened was that we said we did not disagree in principle to the idea of providing a minimal service, but before we would formally agree to it we would want to know what level of service was proposed in each department.  In particular we wanted to be sure that no one would be forced to work at that time of year against their wishes.

 

We took this approach in light of the fact that we know that some members are unhappy at being forced to take leave at this time and would rather have the opportunity to work over the Christmas period and take the leave at another time.

 

We asked management to consult departments about the level of staffing they would be requiring so that we could take a decision about our corporate response in the light of that.

 

However, what then happened was that departments seem to have been given the go-ahead to inform staff that services would be open.  We are still pursuing the issue.

 

CAR ALLOWANCES

 

At a recent Corporate Staff Consultation Meeting, management made a proposal to abolish the bar (based on grading) to allow staff access to the highest band of Car Allowance.  Therefore all staff, irrespective of grade, will receive a Car Allowance based on the size of their car engine. 

 

We were happy to agree to this change on the grounds of fairness.  Although there may be a question on ecological grounds about the whole principle of higher allowances for cars with larger engines, grading shouldn’t come in to it.

 

SINGLE STATUS

 

For our latest update and details of the Appeals Procedure please click here.

 

SCHOOL SUPPORT STAFF – LITTLE POCKET BOOK

 

These very useful booklets are still available from the Branch Office. 

 

This 168-paged booklet sets out the rights, responsibilities and duty of care for Support Staff in Schools. 

 

Some of the issues covered in the booklet include School Matters, Employment, Health, Safety, Welfare and Security and a mine of other useful information.

 

A must for all Support Staff in Schools.

 

If you would like a copy please contact Karen on 020 8760 5435. 

 

 

 

 

 

PENSIONS

The Government Regulations on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) can be found on the Pension Update Page

You can also log-on to the UNISON National Website www.unison.co.uk for more information on Pensions. 

EVENTS

 

October is Black History Month

 

Greater London Regional Black Members Committee along with GLA Unison Black Workers Group will be celebrating Black History Month in October.

 

One of the many events taking place - “Our Children are the Future” will be held on Friday 24th October 2008, at City Hall.  Due to limited seating and refreshments the Branch can send up to 8 delegates.

 

If you are interested in attending or for more information about the event, please contact anna.raghunanan@croydon.gov.uk.   Anna will need names and contact numbers and addresses by early October please as the relevant forms need to be submitted before 10th October.  Don’t miss out – contact Anna as soon as possible.

 

London Borough of Croydon will also be launching Black History Month with an invitation to attend a musical event in the Croydon Clocktower on 7th October. 

 

RSVP: arts@croydon.gov.uk.  Music from Nuru Kane and his band Bayefall Gnawa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End Child Poverty Event

 

 

 The Keep the Promise march and event will be held in London on Saturday 4th October. 

 

This will provide tens of thousands of children, families and supporters from across the UK a unique opportunity to show their desire for an end to child poverty and to set the agenda for the following parliamentary session.

 

The event will begin with a short march led by children and families, accompanied by bands, into Trafalgar Square. Please assemble at Millbank, near Lambeth Bridge, from 11.30 am and the March will start at 12.30 pm.


In Trafalgar Square there will be activities from 1pm, but the event will begin when the March arrives at 2pm. There will be children's activities, entertainers, speeches and a mass moment to ensure the Government hears the strong demand for a better future for all our children.

 

For more information on the event, please visit www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/keepthepromiseevent

 

 

 

 

South East Region TUC (SERTUC) - Defeating Violence Against Women

 

There will be an Open Meeting of the SERTUC Women’s Rights Committee Thursday 9th October 2008

Commencing at 4.30pm in Congress House, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS.

 

The theme for this meeting will be campaigns against violence against women and Shane Enright, Trade Union liaison Officer from Amnesty International, will speak about how trade unions can support its “Stop Violence against Women” campaign.

 

If you wish to attend please register so that we can make arrangements appropriate to the size of attendance. This is not a women only meeting.

 

Contact the SERTUC Regional Office on 020 7467 1220 or sertucevents@tuc.org.uk

 

A Celebration of The 1888 “Matchgirls” Strike

 

Greater London Association of Trade Unions Councils will be holding a Celebration of the Bryant & May “Matchgirls” Strike on Saturday 18th October 2008 at 2.00 pm (1.30 pm for refreshments) in TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street London WC1B 3LS – nearest tube – Tottenham Court Road.  All are welcome.

 

In July 1888 fourteen hundred women and girls walked out on strike at the Bryant & May’s factory in Bow, East London.

 

120 years ago Bryant & May were a leading manufacturer of matches, a commodity much in demand in Victorian Britain. This determined militant action by a female workforce became known as the “Matchgirls Strike”.  The demands of these female workers included the reinstatement of a fellow worker, higher wages, a proper dining room and the freedom to form a trade union. The working conditions at the match factory, the long hours and the materials used, caused the women to suffer severe occupational disease. The phosphorous used in match production, when ingested, produced a kind of bone cancer known as “phossy jaw”. The first signs of phossy jaw were often painful swellings along the side of the jaw, quickly developing into open abscesses as the phosphorous poison ate away the jawbone.

 

The strikers marched to the Houses of Parliament where they met MPs; they gained public support for their grievances. Public pressure and the falling price of Bryant & May’s shares encouraged this bullying employer to meet the women’s demands in full. By the end of July, the Union of Women Match Makers had been formed. The strike gave a massive boost to trade union organising in London and across the country.  Join us to celebrate this victory and learn the lessons for today!

 

The National Pensioners Convention

This is a joint event between pensioners and trade unionists to pursue a decent state pension for all.  Trade union branches are being encouraged to attend with banners. 

If you’re interested in attending please contact the Branch Office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Croydon UNISON Women’s Group

The Branch is holding a Women’s Group Meeting on 10th November in the Mayor’s Reception, Town Hall, Katharine Street. 

The meeting will start with refreshments at 12 noon.  Our Women’s Officer, Iteen Stephens will prepare an agenda for the meeting in which she hopes to include discussions on Bullying & Harassment at work and also a talk from Mr David Lyndsey who will speak on Alcoholism and its effects.  At the meeting we will also be electing a delegate and 3 visitors to the Women’s Conference in February 2009, which will be held in Southport.  The meeting will close with a Q & A session until 2.00 pm.

If you would like to attend please print, complete the form here and return it to the Branch Office by 31st October, so that we know in advance the numbers we need to cater for.

OTHER USEFUL INFO

UNISON Welfare Debtline and online Debtclinic

Many people fall into debt at some point in their lives. Sometimes all it takes is a small change in circumstances to tip the balance and turn a manageable situation into a debt problem.

UNISON Welfare are used to helping members who are struggling to cope with the stress and worry of debt. Through our partners at Payplan we can provide you with free and confidential advice to help clear your debts.

With Payplan's debt management plan you get:

  • Reduction of multiple debts to a single payment
  • Choice of payment methods including PayPoint cash option
  • An assigned case officer to call for advice throughout the repayment programme
  • Supported self-help if you prefer
  • A completely free service with no hidden charges

Payplan's debt management plan is paid for by the credit industry so every penny of your repayments goes towards your debts unlike some debt management companies who charge a fee.

This is just one of the ways they can help and you will be offered a solution that best meets your individual circumstances.

Payplan's advisers are aware of the types of grant that UNISON Welfare can offer and will refer you to us if they think we can help to ease your situation.

Contact details

 

Telephone UNISON Welfare Debtline Freephone 0800 389 3302 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm Saturdays.

UNISON Welfare Debtclinic, the online version of our debt advice service, contains advice and debt information and outlines some of the main debt problems. There are also diagnostic tools to help you set up the best recovery plan for your particular problem. Like UNISON Welfare Debtline the service is completely free to UNISON members. www.debtclinic.co.uk/unison

 

BRITANNIA BUILDING SOCIETY

 

The Branch has recently held two very successful Mortgage & Savings Days with Britannia Building Society, where Britannia’s advisers have helped our members save money. 

 

We hope to hold a further day towards the end of November but in the meantime you can download a PDF Voucher worth £5.00 which you can use to open a UNISON ISA account. 

 

If you require further details please get in touch with our Branch Contact Emma Thompson on 07790793286 or via email to emma.thompson@britannia.co.uk

 

CROYDE BAY

 

Don’t forget to check out the deals at UNISON’s Holiday Village in Croyde Bay.  Visit the website for all the latest offers www.croydeunison.co.uk.

 

 

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS………

We are always looking for more members to get actively involved in the Branch. There are many areas where members don't have a local Steward.

So - if you would like to get more involved in the Branch and its decision making, take part in negotiations with management and represent members, why not become a Steward or Health and Safety Rep?

We won't throw you in at the deep end. There are many courses available that are organised through the TUC or UNISON and they run throughout the year. You will also have the support of the Branch Office. Time off for full training is available, please contact the Branch Office for more details or e-mail branchoffice@croydonunison.co.uk

ARE YOU GETTING IT?

Please let us know in the Branch Office if you have changed your address, either by phone on 8760-5435 or via e-mail to branchoffice@croydonunison.co.uk it’s important we keep your records up to date so that you are fully informed on matters that could affect you.

If you are prepared to be a workplace contact for us, which involves handing out UNISON information, Newsletters etc to your fellow UNISON members again please let us know in the Branch Office.

We want to make sure all our members are informed on what's happening in the Branch.