30 November 2008
Branch thanks members as council set to pay
out back money before Christmas
The City of Edinburgh Council has announced that
it will pay the 3% pay rise for this year before
Christmas (including back money). Despite the fact
that there is, as yet, no national agreement with
the unions, it appears CoSLA is supporting the payments.
The Unite and GMB unions rejected the offer earlier
this month while UNISON members voted narrowly to
accept. Even though UNISON represents most members
across Scotland, we cannot 'outvote' the other two
unions because of the constitution of the national
negotiating body. So the dispute remains technically
"Our understanding is that Unite and GMB have
still to make their position clear but, in the absence
of any clear strategy as to what action they have
in mind, it would be wrong to delay our members
getting their money before Christmas - especially
in the current financial situation", said John
Stevenson, Branch President.
"UNISON was always clear that substantial
additional action would be needed to get any more
out of the councils. It was our view that rejecting
with no plan to escalate was a non-starter. We were
honest with members about that and they made their
views known in the ballot", he added.
"Of course we have concerns that the bargaining
machinery is being side-stepped by some councils
in paying up now. That is something the unions and
the employers are now going to have to take a hard
look at. UNISON will start the process of reviewing
the campaign later this week."
John added, "Members showed great resolve
in the two days of strike action. We know the ballot
presented a difficult decision for people but be
in no doubt that this pay rise would not have been
won without your action.
"We must remember that, without the action,
we would have been tied to a three-year deal of
only 2.5% a year - or latterly to 2.5% this year
instead of the 3% that has been won.
"UNISON members in Edinburgh were magnificent
during the action - especially through the torrential
rain on the first strike day. They can be proud
of what they achieved."
Recruit new members
"The only bit that always makes you angry
is that they won the pay rise for themselves and
also for the minority who are not in the union or
who didn't take the action. Our members have the
moral high ground and this must be built on as we
move into the final stages of Single Status.
"The best way to do that is to get the non-members
in your area to join the union. Remind them that
only union members get to vote!", added John.
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