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Single Status talks - City of Edinburgh employees
Talks update and Joint Trade Union Briefing

20 May 2008: Members may see press coverage about the joint union Single Status talks from time to time following the release of council papers and a statement from politicians.

It is important to stress the following:

  1. Statements from politicians about 'four times as many staff' benefitting are not accurate at this stage and no real assessment can be made until all the facts are known and the negotiations have been taken as far as they can go.

  2. At this stage we are not even into negotiations and are sifting through information provided by the council. We will respond to facts and not 'spin'.

  3. The unions rejected the original proposals from the Council last year and we will obviously be seeking improvements throughout this process

  4. You as members will have the final say - no agreement will be entered into without that.

  5. Any figures you see in the press at this stage have not been fully presented to the unions or analysed by them.

  6. The unions are committed to tough but responsible negotiations. As soon as there is anything significant in that process, the unions will make sure you hear about it. Anything released before that is unlikely to be the full story and could be misleading.

Below is the latest briefing from the Joint Trade Unions


Dear colleagues,

You will be aware that the joint trade unions have been talking to the council in relation to single status/modernising pay over the last few weeks.

We feel it is important, at this point, to give you an update as to the progress of talks.

To date we have, in the main, been gathering information, scrutinising the job evaluation process and the grading structure. The result of which has flagged up trade union side concerns over how some evaluations have been carried out.

We have brought those concerns to the attention of the council and are actively engaging to try to address them before any negotiation can properly proceed.

The council's proposals on changes to terms & conditions such as overtime, the working week, public holidays etc are expected to be formally presented to us as you read this and they will be scrutinised over the coming days and weeks in the same considered way that the job evaluation and grading structure have been.

it is unlikely that we will have any concrete proposals to share with you for some weeks and your patience is much appreciated by us, however we will endeavour to keep you advised of what stage in the process we have reached at regular intervals.

In summary this is likely to be a difficult and lengthy process with the joint trade unions remaining committed to achieving the best possible outcome for our members.


Previous news

Crunch talks for single status

Click here for a briefing in pdf format

4 May 2008 Update: Talks expected to bring the long saga of Single Status negotiations to a head, will start on 6 May 2008. Union negotiators and City of Edinburgh Council officials have cleared diaries from 6 May to try to get a resolution.

Key issues facing the branch are:-

1. Any scheme must be 'equality-proof'. This is absolutely essential for the union and indeed for the Council if it is to avoid future claims.

2. UNISON has consistently said the Council is not investing enough in Single Status. The percentage of the wage bill it has so far allowed is less that most other authorities.

3. The Council must address issues of recruitment and retention. It cannot afford to have pay and conditions that are not competitive with other neighbouring authorities or indeed with the private sector. It therefore needs to come up with a fair and competitive deal.

4. Forward-thinking authorities have not just relied on protection for staff who may lose out. They have addressed the medium and long term future of local government by re-skilling the workforce, increasing the complexity of jobs to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Edinburgh should do the same.

The Branch will keep members updated and, because things changes so quickly, please check the website for any urgent briefings or updates. But please also note:

1) That there is unlikely to be anything concrete to put to members for at least 3 weeks.

2) That during this period members' patience will be much appreciated , since most senior officers will be involved in the discussions.

3) Whenever possible can members please go to local stewards for advice and guidance.

As in all schemes, there will be winners and losers. Our negotiators' aim has been to get the fairest deal in an 'equality-proof' scheme, a fair rate for the job and as much protection as possible for staff who may lose out. It is not easy and the final decision will be tough - but it will be your decision. Remember, only members can vote.

Check back here for updates. See below for the history of the Job Evaluation and Single Status negotiations.

See also:


Job Evaluation - what's happening

In 1999 members voted in a ballot for a new deal with councils across Scotland called 'Single Status'. Every job in local government was to be evaluated through a recommended national job evaluation scheme.

The scheme would assess jobs equally and fairly on agreed and transparent criteria. You know why your grade is what it is.

After years of delay, talks eventually started in Edinburgh and UNISON members voted to negotiate on a scheme. We are still in talks with management on all matters relating to Job Evaluation and Single Status.

So far 85 groups of jobs have been looked at. The Council wants all posts with five or less people in them to be 'allocated'. This would affect over 2,000 staff. UNISON is challenging this. We think a fair scheme must evaluate all jobs.

The Council has outlined a two-stage appeal process. We must stress this has not been agreed with UNISON.

Although the Council is linking its conditions plans to Job Evaluation, they have NOT been discussed or agreed with UNISON.

We and the other trade unions in the Council will continue to engage with your employers on Job Evaluation whilst resisting these changes.

Previous news

Job Evaluation - Dispute Lodged

26 October 2006

Months of negotiations on Job Evaluation have ground to a halt with a frustrating lack of progress from management on:-

  • Job Allocation
  • Appeals process
  • Reduction in job evaluation panels.

So serious is the lack of progress - and indeed attempts to impose some aspects without negotiation - that the joint unions have lodged a formal dispute with the council.

More details will follow soon in a bulletin to stewards and members.






See also...