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6 January 2010

UNISON calls for real talks as council serves notice on 'Modernising Pay'

Instead of imposing, the council should be talking and finding ways to stop staff becoming among lowest paid in Scotland...

UNISON and other unions met Edinburgh Council officers today to respond to letters sent out by the Council issuing a statutory 90 day notice to find ways to 'avoid dismissals'.

The meeting was called at short notice and the unions deplored the Council's decision to send out letters to staff before even meeting the unions.

The Council has intimated that, failing agreement, it will impose 'Modernising Pay' by dismissing and re-engaging over 17,000 staff.

At today's meeting, union officials repeated their position that they were prepared to negotiate but there needed to be movement on....

- removing conditions changes from Job Evaluation. Many staff who though they were not going to lose out now find that changes to shift and other allowances mean they will be out of pocket. Many of these workers are key staff who work nights on emergency duties in 24 hour services (like care homes)

- proper funding for 'Modernising Pay'. Edinburgh has put less into the exercise than any other council. Home helps have been treated worse than anywhere else. Social Workers will become among the lowest paid in Scotland. Office staff, mainly women, look set to lose out. All this in the Capital City where the cost of living is higher. Many manual staff - men and women - will lose thousands.

UNISON wants an equal pay scheme and it agrees with the council that this has to be put in place. However, it does not agree with the Council using this legal responsibility as an excuse to cut wages and cut conditions.

A series of meetings has been arranged between unions and the Council and reports will follow on the website along with bulletins sent out to workplaces.

"If the Council is serious about using this statutory notice to get an agreement, then the unions will talk. Unfortunately, so far, the Council seems more intent on imposing this on its workers than negotiating with them", said John Stevenson, UNISON Edinburgh Branch President.

See November's branch magazine for more details.....


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