Wednesday, June 30, 2010

UNISON calls on Council to 'do the right thing' over increments

Date: Wednesday 30 June 2010

Karen Maxfield, Secretary of UNISON Aberdeen City Branch spoke today to the full City Council meeting which was considering deferral of wages increments.

"A few years ago Audit Scotland condemned Aberdeen City Council because of the low morale and motivation of the employees. I despair what the impact of approving the deferral of increments will have to the responses submitted to the current staff survey.

"Many low paid women have already made financial sacrifices to avoid redundancy, they did this believing that at last they had a contract which gave their work value. They believed that the increments would reduce their financial loss. To further lower morale they have seen teachers receive increments and a 2.4% pay rise, is that fair?

"UNISON’s legal advice is clear we will sin this even if this goes to the Court of Session. Councillors are being asked to gamble tens of thousands of pounds on, “may have a reasonable chance”. Where will this money come from? Is this the best use of limited budgets?

"I ask Councillors to please do the right thing, morally and legally. Do not approve this report. Thank you."

Branch Secretary
UNISON Aberdeen City Branch

Friday, June 18, 2010

'Lobby at lunchtime' Thu 17 June - pictures

Pictures from yesterday's well-supported 'Lobby at Lunchtime' are online at UNISON Scotland Picasa gallery. Here's a sample below... click here to see them all

BBC News - Aberdeen City Council committee backs pay delay plan

BBC News - Aberdeen City Council committee backs pay delay plan:
Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Thursday, 17 June 2010 16:22 UK

Protest at Aberdeen City Council

A plan to withhold part of an annual salary rise this year for staff at Aberdeen City Council has been backed.

A consultation with staff and unions has been ongoing for the past three months, and officials have recommended withholding the incremental rise.

Members of the finance committee voted 10 to four in favour, but it was deferred to the full council on 30 June.

The local authority is looking at ways of saving £4.5m.

The afternoon meeting followed a lunchtime union protest at the town house.

Read more on BBC Scotland website...

Decision delayed on council pay freeze - Press & Journal

Decision delayed on council pay freeze - Press & Journal:
Unions make legal challenge vow over controversial plans

By Calum Ross
Published: 18/06/2010

Councillors in Aberdeen have backed controversial plans to withdraw automatic pay rises for thousands of staff, but a final decision has been delayed.

The local authority’s ruling Liberal Democrat-SNP administration attempted to push through plans to withhold pay-rise increments for 6,555 workers yesterday.

Administration councillors suggested at the finance committee meeting that more than 200 jobs could be axed to save the £4.5 million that would be gained from delaying pay rises for a year.

The move was agreed despite looming legal challenges and the threat of industrial action by trade unions, but opposition councillors referred the final decision to a meeting of the full council on June 30.

More than 50 members of staff gathered outside Aberdeen Town House yesterday to protest against the plans.

Read more on P&J site...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

'Lobby at lunchtime to stop pay cut' - Aberdeen Council UNISON

News release by Aberdeen City UNISON
Date: Tue 15 June 2010

UNISON, Aberdeen’s largest public sector trade union, is calling on Aberdeen City Council members to protest during their lunch-hour on Thursday 17 June, to warn councillors of the expensive consequences if they decide to defer paying thousands of council workers increments.

City councillors will meet on Thursday to vote on a recommendation to defer the annual increment due to workers who have not reached the going rate for their job.

Karen Maxfield, Branch Secretary of Aberdeen City UNISON, said:
"Withholding the increment is a breach of our contract, which the Council imposed on us only last year. If they defer, they won’t actually save any money at all because they will have to pay it next year instead.

Karen Maxfield said:
"Many hundreds of low paid workers are now entitled to an increment for the first time. We’re not talking huge sums of money here – a personal carer helping someone to stay in their own home will get £9.99 more a week after a year in the job, when she has got more skills and experience which enables her to give a better service to her clients. It will cost the council a lot more than that to defend a legal claim by her if she doesn’t get her increment. The top of the pay scale is the full rate for the job – it’s right that people have to work up to the full rate, but they have to trust their employer to pay it when they get there."

UNISON has lodged over 360 claims for members who are furious at the Council’s heavy-handed tactics.

The Council has already paid teachers their increment this year and many UNISON members who work in schools, such as Pupil Support Assistants, janitors, nursery nurses and school meal staff, say their work is being undervalued by not treating them the same as the teachers because they are as essential to providing a good educational experience.

UNISON is urging all council workers to defend their increments by joining the lobby of the Town House from 12 noon on Thursday.

* UNISON has discovered that the archive minutes for Aberdeenshire Council in the 1940s show that Aberdeenshire Council proposed withholding increments as the war was cutting into its finances.  After consideration the Council did not consider war to be a circumstance severe enough to withhold the increments their staff were due.

Karen Maxfield, Aberdeen City UNISON Branch Secretary, said:
"If war wasn’t enough in the 1940s, what reason could be good enough now?"

Notes for editors:

1. Aberdeen City Council Finance and Resources Committee is considering the ‘Employment Costs’ report at 2pm on Thursday 17 June, which recommends deferring increments due on 1st April 2010 for one year.

2. 6555 staff out of 8,962 should have received an increment on 1 April 2010.

3. UNISON and other trade unions are holding a joint lobby of the Town House at 12 noon on Thursday 17 June.

4. UNISON is distributing thousands of leaflets round council workplaces urging workers to protest to protect their rights.

Stay in touch with Aberdeen City UNISON news and campaigns on our blog