UNISON, Aberdeen's largest public sector trade union, says it is relieved that the long running increments row with Aberdeen City Council is now resolved, and wants to get on with defending public services in the city in the face of crippling budget proposals.
Aberdeen City Councillors voted to approve the deal brokered by ACAS whidh means that all council staff due a pay increment in April 2010 will now receive it. The unions and the council are hopeful that all payments, including back pay, can be made before Christmas. The unions and the council have agreed to enter into immediate and meaningful talks on a range of issues connected to the Council's budget proposals.
Karen Davidson, Branch Secretary of Aberdeen City UNISON, said "we are releived that council staff will now get the agreed rate of pay for their job and we are glad that this distracting issue is behind us. Withholding the increment was a breach of our contract and it affected hundreds of low paid workers who were entitled to an increment for the first time this year. Individuals will not get huge amounts of money out of this - a personal carer helping someone to staff 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.
We have established a vital principle here - that employers cannot use the current tough financial climate as an excuse to break contracts of employment. Our members stood up for their rights this year and carried on doing their jobs in very difficult circumstances. Our employer now know that they must work with their staff and the unions to achieve savings."
Karen continued, "UNISON knows there are difficult decisions to be made in Aberdeen about the vital services that we all depend on. We want to be fully involved in the decisions about what our services should be in the future. It's not the buildings and equipment and complicated processes that ensure people get car, receive high quality educaiton, can enjoy parks, libraries and leisure centres and have their bins emptied - all of this comes down to the commitment and effort of council workers."