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Pay Claim 2008

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 unresolved.

"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."

Thanks

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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12 Nov: Scottish local government members accept a two year pay deal UNISON is a democratic organisation; we have consulted all our members and respect their decision. The closeness of the result is a clear message to local authorities that staff are unhappy with the present pay offer

10 Oct: UNISON to recommend rejection of new pay offer

"a 3% increase does not deliver the kind of help they need. Bankers and fat cats in the city get help - it is time for hard-pressed public service workers to get that help" Dougie Black

"members will need to be prepared to increase the level of their activity. There is no point simply voting to reject the offer - we have to intensify our industrial and political campaigning", Stephanie Herd

Agnes Petkevicius"City of Edinburgh Branch supported the ballot and the recommendation to reject but warned that only increased campaigning and industrial action will bring any improved offer", Agnes Pekevicius, Branch Secretary

 

An immediate statement from UNISON on the local government pay dispute and suspension of next week's strike.

2 Oct 2008: UNISON, Scotland's largest local government union, said that an improved pay offer from Scottish local government employers meant that the union would suspend next week's selective strike action, so that members could be consulted.

Dougie Black, UNISON regional officer, and leader of the negotiators said "After two strikes and previous fruitless negotiations, I'm pleased that we now have a new offer. It is at a level - 3% this year and 2.5% for next year - that needs to go back to members to get their view. In the meantime we have agreed to suspend the selective action to allow this to happen."

In Edinburgh, this will mean that the strike of Contact Centre members for 6 October is now suspended.

UNISON calls on Council Leaders to resolve pay dispute

Services grind to a halt as members respond magnificently to the call to action

A further day of action took place on 24th Sept, to take forward our campaign for a decent pay rise and a decent wage for all our members. Last month's council service disruption was repeated on Wednesday 24th Sept 2008 after employers failed to improve the pay offer.

The branch would like to thank all our members who took a further day of strike action in support of a decent pay offer, especially for our low paid members.

Cold, wet, very very wet. But at 7.15 this morning UNISON pickets turned out in force at Waverley Court to be joined by UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis, Scottish Secretary Matt Smith and lead negotiator Dougie Black.

Balloons, a battle bus and a huge ad trailer made it a carnival atmosphere. Oh, but it was wet!

Dave went on to visit pickets at the city chambers and made an attempt to hand out leaflets which pretty soon became pulp as the rain bucketted down.

The Branch thanks all pickets for putting up with the weather. From the response they got it was clear the public are on our side. And a big thanks to all the members who came out in one of the most solid strikes in years. Together we will win a fair deal.

 

10 Reasons why you need to strike on 20 August

Pay MattersUNISON's local government members have voted 70% in favour of a 'Yes' vote for a programme of strike action over this year's pay offer. The first 24hour walkout will go ahead on 20 August. Make sure you're there. By supporting the strike, you can send a clear message to the employers that pay is an issue that will not go away.

Why should I strike?

Inflation is still rising and is set to continue. The 2.5% pay offer is already a pay cut. Food is up 6%, transport 7%, mortgages 8%, electricity and only recently gas up by an additional 35%. Pay in the private sector is rising by 4%.

I don't agree with the pay offer -but why strike action?

You are doing more for less. Pay rises have been below inflation for five years. It's time to take a stand against low pay.

Is my pay really that bad?

Local government workers are amongst the lowest paid in the public sector. Three-quarters of the workforce are women, but there's a 40% gap between part-time women's and full-time men's hourly pay. A 2.5% pay rise will have a damaging effect on women's pay and would widen the gap between local government pay and rest of economy too.

Shouldn't I be more worried about losing my job through 'efficiencies'?

The union are fighting to protect them. But we need to make a stand on pay now to protect your standard of living and show that we value what we do for local communities - even if the employers don't.

Can local government employers afford to pay more?

This year councils agreed that they did not need to increase council tax - some even cut it! We also know that many/some councils have already budgeted for larger pay rises than that on offer. We don't want big increases in council tax, but our members are the local services. We know that local councils have saved at least £200million in efficiency savings over the last two years - achieved by our members

Management often talk of "affordability", but it is a question of whether they can afford NOT to give their employees a decent wage. If they are to recruit and retain staff in vital jobs, they will have to pay them a living wage - otherwise people will vote with their feet. You can't keep cutting budgets and expect the lowest paid to fill the gap. As at 1 April, 2007 unallocated reserves in Scottish councils were at least £100 million.

But the government won't change its pay policy - will it?

Pressure made the government find £2.7billion to rescue people hit by scrapping the 10p tax band. It can change its mind again, and we've already told the employers that it's 'no deal'.

Will l lose pay when I'm on strike?

Your employer won't pay you and there won't be strike pay, but branches do have discretion to help members with hardship payments for those who need it most.

Can I really afford to strike? Money is so tight at the moment.

We know it's a tough decision but doing nothing now will mean even more hardship next year. Your pay is not keeping up with price rises.

Will my employer pick on me?

You aren't alone. UNISON has over 100,000 members in local government and other employers delivering services for councils. If we stand together, they can't pick us off and they'll know we mean business.

I'm not a member but I want to strike.

Non-members can join the union at any time, and can still take part in the action.

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YES BALLOT VOTE

1 August: Scotland's local service providers vote 'Yes' to strike in pay row

 

Pay Update July 2008

UNISON calls for a YES vote in the ballot

Ballot papers started to go out on 1st July asking over 100,000 UNISON members working for Scotland's local councils if they are willing to strike in rejection of a 2.5% per year pay offer. The Ballot will close on the 31 July. Details of the strike action will then be decided.

If you don't receive a ballot, or want to join UNISON phone the UNISON Direct Helpline 0845 355 0845. This line is open until 28 July, Mon-Fri 6am till Midnight and 9am till 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Campaign under way for YES vote in Pay ballot

The local government trade unions submitted a claim for 5% or £1,000 a year (whichever was the greater) plus increased annual leave. The employers responded with an offer of 2.5% a year for the next three years - with no re-opener clause.

Stephanie Herd, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Local Government Group said "For our low-paid members, this offer represents an increase of 46p an hour after three years. It is time that CoSLA realised that members are serious about the unacceptable nature of this offer. We will be balloting our members over July, urging them to Vote, and to Vote YES. UNISON along with GMB and UNITE (T&G) have also agreed to establish a joint group to co-ordinate the trade unions' programme of action."

This is the first time in many years that the three main trade unions are united in rejecting the employers offer on pay - giving us the opportunity to campaign jointly wherever possible.

The timetable so far is....

  • w/c 9 June - members bulletin highlighting the increased cost of living
  • w/c 16 June - local press releases for use by branches
  • w/c 23 June - members bulletin highlighting low pay. A further members bulletin urging members to vote 'YES'. Posters urging members to vote 'YES' to strike action will also be available to branches, and further branch/stewards briefings will ensure you are kept up to date with any developments.

The ballot period will take place in July and the type of action that is being proposed is;

  • a one day all out strike across all of Scotland
  • a national rolling programme of selective action
  • further days of action if required

Edinburgh consultation rejects pay offer

9 May 2008: Members responding to the Branch's pay consultation have voted to reject the offer and are prepared to take industrial action in pursuit of a better offer.

However, Branch Officers are concerned at the number of members responding. The Branch Office received reports from 10 meetings of members across the Council and 84 individual members used the online 'Have Your Say on Pay' form.

The vote was almost 4-1 to reject the offer but only about 1.5-1 when it came to specifically saying they would take strike action. Disappointingly only 5% of the elegible branch members responded.

"UNISON, along with the GMB & UNITE (T&G) had recommended rejection of this offer, but warned that to achieve an improved offer would require sustained and significant industrial action on the part of members," said John Stevenson, Branch President.

"We will now have to wait for the results across Scotland before the Scottish UNISON leadership takes a view on the way forward", he added.

Previous news....

Scotland's local government unions reject three-year pay offer

You can have your say on the pay offer

  • set up and attend workplace or area meetings
  • use the online consultation by clicking here (now closed)

9 April 2008: Three unions representing Scotland's Local Government workers (UNISON, GMB and Unite (T&G)) have rejected a three-year pay offer from CoSLA, the Local Government employers, it was announced today.

The CoSLA offer given in early March, spanned three years, proposing rises of 2.5% in 2008, 2.5% in 2009 and a further 2.5% in 2010. The trade unions have been taking soundings from their members on this offer. The unions submitted a pay claim looking for a rise of £1,000 or 5% in 2008, last November.

"Negotiators have managed improve the original offer from 2.2%, then to 2.3% and recently to 2.5%. But 2.5% in each of the next three years is still not good enough. We will have to decide together whether industrial action is an option for trying to get a better deal", said Irene Stout, Branch Equalities Officer and Local Governmentt Committee rep.

Trade union side secretary Dougie Black of UNISON Scotland said: "All three trade unions have rejected the employers offer. There is a great deal of anger at the employers insistence on a 3 year deal and their continuing refusal to agree a reopener clause linked to inflation. The offer is already less than inflation, and without a re-opener clause our members are being asked to buy a pig in a poke."

Alec McLuckie, Senior Organiser of GMB Scotland said: "Clearly rejection of this offer places us on a course for industrial action, and all three trade unions recognise the need to coordinate a joint campaign supported by campaigning materials and briefings outlining our concerns with the offer."

Jimmy Farrelly, Senior Organiser of Unite (T&G Scottish section) said: "The offer doesn't approach the current rate of inflation, let alone begin to catch up the loss staff have suffered over recent years and it skews the pay scales, increasing the gap between higher and lower paid - for our lowest paid workers the increase after 3 years is around 50p! This is effectively a pay cut."

The unions will now call on their members in Local Government to reject the employers offer in a full consultation.

Dougie Black said: "Councillors should be aware that our members are serious about this offer being unacceptable. CoSLA have said they want to make 'efficiency savings so they can reinvest in services. One of those investments should be in the workforce that delivers these services. If you want first class public services, if you want the sick and elderly cared for, your children well-educated and protected and your streets clean and safe, cutting the pay of public sector workers is the wrong way to go about it."

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Branch and Scotland reject pay offer

18 Feb 08: UNISON has rejected a three-year pay offer from CoSLA, the Local Government employers, it was announced today. The claim has also been rejected by the other two local government trade unions.

The unions had submitted a pay claim looking for a rise of £1,000 or 5% in 2008 last November. CoSLA responded last week with an offer spanning three years, proposing rises of 2.2% in 2008, 2.3% in 2009 and a further 2.2% in 2010. The meeting didn't agree any improvements to the offer, despite its rejection by the unions.

Irene Stout, Branch Equalities Officer and a member of UNISON Scotland Local Government Committee, said: "We now need to bring home to councillors that our members are serious about this offer being unacceptable. CoSLA have said they want to make 'efficiency savings so they can reinvest these in services. One of those investments should be in the workforce that delivers these services. If you want first class public services, if you want the sick and elderly cared for, your children well-educated and protected and your streets clean and safe, cutting the pay of public sector workers is the wrong way to go about it." "

Recent deals

CoSLA have reached with Scotland's teachers gave higher pay rises (2.25%, 2.5% and 2.4% over three years), and many councils have already budgeted for higher pay settlements in 2008. UNISON is now calling on its members in Local Government to put pressure on their employers to increase the offer at the next negotiating meeting on 3 March.

Motion Proposed by John Ross (Services for Communities) and Irene Stout (Services for Communities) and passed at the Branch AGM on 18 February 2008

"This meeting supports the decision of the Scottish Local Government Committee to reject the derisory three year pay offer as tabled by the Employers at the Scottish Joint Council and note UNISON's rejection has been supported by all unions party to the claim.

The pay offer was framed round increases of 2.2% (2008/09), 2.3% (2009/2010) and 2.2% (2010/2011). We note this issue is on the agenda for the next meeting of the Scottish Joint Council.

If there is no movement in the offer at that time we call upon our negotiators to withdraw from further discussions and to immediately put in place the required processes for an Industrial Action ballot."

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SCOTTISH LOCAL GOVERNMENT PAY CLAIM 2008

Submitted by the
TRADE UNION SIDE OF THE SCOTTISH JOINT COUNCIL FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN SCOTLAND.

To the
EMPLOYERS' SIDE OF THE SCOTTISH JOINT COUNCIL FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN SCOTLAND.

THE CLAIM

  • That the settlement should run for a period of one year with effect from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009

  • An increase on all Spinal Column Points of £0.51835 per hour, (the equivalent of £1000 per annum) or 5% whichever is the greater

  • An increase in annual leave entitlement by three days resulting in amending the first sentence in paragraph 7.3 of Part 2 to read; 'The minimum paid full annual leave entitlement is twenty three days' (excluding all Public Holiday)

  • An additional one day's public holiday

INTRODUCTION TO TRADE UNION CLAIM

The second and final stage of the current pay settlement expires on 31st March 2008. This is the fifth pay claim and set of negotiations under the separate Scottish bargaining machinery of the Scottish Joint Council for local government employees and the Scottish Executive's financial arrangements.

This year's claim is lodged against the background of:

  • the implementation by local authorities of the Single Status Agreement's key objective of fair and non-discriminatory grading;

  • the political changes following the results of the Scottish Parliament and local authority elections of May 2007;

  • the major contribution made by employees in the service delivery challenges arising from Shared Services, Efficiency Savings, Best Value Regime with the demand for continuous improvement and greater flexibility.

The trade unions re-affirm their commitment to service delivery of the highest standard based on shared principles of: democracy, fairness excellency, partnership and long term investment. In order to achieve the aim of high quality services the workforce must be well rewarded, trained, motivated with security of employment.

Local government in Scotland continues to face recruitment and retention problems as reported in IDS reports. This year's claim seeks to take some measures to rectify these difficulties.

The trade union's claim seeks to maintain the living standards of members and is weighted in favour of lower part of the pay spine; these elements should be reflected in the settlement.

TRADE UNION CLAIM

The Trade Union Side of the Scottish Joint Council submit to the Employers' Side a claim seeking a revision of the spinal column of hourly rates and the spinal column of annual and hourly rates for former APT & C Staff and Manual Employees, last revised by circulars (SJC/26 & SJC/27).

The trade union's claim seeks:

  • That the settlement should run for a period of one (1) year with effect from 1st April 2008 to 31st March 2009.
  • An increase on all Spinal Column Points of £0.51835 per hour (The equivalent of £1,000 per annum) or 5% whichever is the greater.
  • An increase in annual leave entitlement by three days resulting in amending the first sentence in paragraph 7.3 of Part 2 to read: "The minimum paid full annual leave entitlement is twenty three days." (Excluding all Public Holidays)
  • An additional one day's public holiday.

 

The Trade Union Side considers that the claim is realistic, modest and fair. The following pages expand on the main points and give justification for them. It is hoped that the Employers' Side will give our claim full consideration and respond favourably within the agreed timetable.

PREVIOUS TRADE UNION CLAIMS

Since 1999 and the formation of the Scottish Joint Council, there has been four previous claims submitted by the trade union side:~

1999

The First claim to be submitted was:~

  • A general increase of £500 or 5% whichever is the greater.
  • Further action to end low pay.
  • Scottish Joint Council Joint Working Party on employee friendly and family friendly flexibility.

The following settlement was reached:

Date of salary revision

1 April 1999

Circular No

SJC/6

Settlement

3.3%

2000

The Second claim to be submitted was:~:

  • A minimum rate of £5.00 per hour; with
  • An increase of 5% on all pay points; or
  • A flat rate increase of £500.

The following settlement was reached:

.

Date of salary revision

1 April 2000

 

1 October 2000

1 February 2001

1 March 2002

1 April 2003

Circular No

SJC/9

 

SJC/9

SJC/9

SJC/9

SJC/9

Settlement

2%. This settlement was reached following industrial action.

1%

3%

£500

4%

 

2004

The Third claim to be submitted was:~:

  • A flat rate increase of £1,000 per Annum on all Spinal Column Points, underpinned by a Minimum Wage of £6:00 per hour with effect from 1st April 2004.

  • An increase of 5% on all Spinal Column Points with effect from 1st April 2005.

The following settlement was reached:

Date of salary revision

1 April 2004

1 April 2005

Circular No

SJC/18

SJC/18

Settlement

2.95%

2.5%

 

2006

The fourth claim to be submitted was:~

  • The settlement should run for a period of two years with effect from 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2008.
  • An increase that accommodates either a percentage and/or a fixed sum (for example £1,000 or 5% whichever is the greater), or a combination of both, applicable to all Spinal Column Points.
  • A revision of the bottom Spinal Column Points.

The following settlement was reached:

 

Date of salary revision

1 April 2006

1 April 2007

Circular No

SJC/26 & 27

SJC/26 & 27

Settlement

2.5%

2.5%

 

 

CURRENT GRADES AND STRUCTURE

The Former Manual Workers Grades w.e.f. 1 April 2007 (Revised SJC/26):-

Grade 1 £215.03

Grade 2 £222.27

Grade 3 £229.86

Grade 4 £237.17

Grade 5 £244.53

Grade 6 £251.90

Grade 7 £260.47

Grade 8 £273.13

and lower foreperson at £283.60 and higher foreperson £295.86

 

The Spinal Column Points of Annual Salaries w.e.f. 1 April 2007 (Revised SJC/26)

General Scale Grades

SCP 3-10 - £11,211 to £14,241

SCP 10-12 - £14,241 to £14,940

SCP 13-15 - £15,201 to £15,828

Administrative, Professional, Technical & Clerical Grades (APT&C)

SCP 15-18 - £15,828 to £16,932

SCP 19-22 - £17,352 to £18,783

SCP 23-26 - £19,311 to £21,189

SCP 27-30 - £21,861 to £24,201

SCP 31-34 - £24,942 to £27,165

Technical Grades

SCP 13-16 - £15,201 to £16,185

SCP 17-21 - £16,494 to £18,318

SCP 22-26 - £18,783 to £21,189

SCP 27-30 - £21,861 to £24,201

SCP 31-34 - £24,942 to £27,165

Principle Officer Grades determined by each local authority

From SCP 35 - £27,714 to SCP 73 - £ 68,568

 

The Spinal Column of Hourly Rates (Revised SJC/27)

From SCP 1 - £5.81 - To SCP 123 - £35.74

 

Pay Settlements - General

One-quarter of new deals are at or above 4.0% for the three months to and including September 07, which are mainly from the manufacturing sector (Incomes Data Services, October 07)

  • Some 36% of manufacturing & production deals were worth more than 4% in the three months to and including July 07.

  • The manufacturing & production median settlement is 3.5% in the three months to and including September 07.

  • The average pay deal median is 3.2% in the three months to and including September 07, which is down from 3.4% previously.

  • This period is the quietest time of year for pay bargaining, particularly in the private sector. In addition, a number of higher deals monitored in the chemicals, pharmaceuticals and oil sectors have fallen out of this period's analysis.

  • The private services sector median is 3.2% in the three months to September 07, up from 3.0% in the three months to July.

Pay Settlements - Public Sector

The current NJC agreement expired on 31st March 2007 for employees of local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Trade Union Side of the National Joint Council submitted on 14th February 2007 a claim for a one year settlement of 5% or £1,000 (whichever is the greater) creating a minimum of £6.30 per hour.

The employers' side of National Joint Council for Local Government Services on the 24th August 2007 made a revised offer of 2.45% on spinal column points 5 to 49 and 3.4% on spinal column point 4 to give a minimum rate of £6.00 per hour.

The Trade Union Side of the NJC are seeking to conclude the 2007/2008 pay deal as soon as possible based on the employer's offer made on 24 August 2007

Scottish Teachers Settlements

The Scottish Negotiation Committee for Teachers reached the under noted agreement:~

From 1 April 2007 an increase on all spinal column points of 2.25%

Police Support Staff in Scotland

The Police Support Staff Council (Scotland) have agreed a settlement of an increase 2.45% on all spinal column points from 1st September 2007

National Health Service in Scotland

The Scottish Executive decided not to stage the settlement of 2.5% with effect from 1 April, 2007 with a supplementary increase of £400 flat rate for those on points 1 to 7 and an additional £38 for those on pay points 8 to 18 with effect from 1st November 2007. The lowest pay point in the NHS with effect from 1 April 2007 is Band 1, Point 1 - £12,077 per annum or £231.62 per week is the equivalent of £6.26 per hour.

Further Education Colleges In England.

Colleges of Further Eduction in England have been offered 2% with effect from 1st August 2007 and a further 1% on 1st February 2008. The offer also includes an underpinning of a minimum £500 for those on scale points 4 to 11 resulting in the lowest point (4) being £12,237 per annum or 234.69 per week and based on a 37 hour week 6.34 per hour

The Statutory Minimum Wage

The Statutory National Minimum Wage with effect from 1st October 2007 is

  • for those age over 21 is £5.35 an hour/£197.95 per week/£10,321 per annum based on a 37 hour week
  • for those age 18-21 is £4.45 an hour/£164.65 per week/£8,584 per annum based on a 37 hour week
  • for those 16 -17 is £3.30 an hour/£122.10 per week/£6,366 per annum based on a 37 hour week

Issues influencing Scottish Local Government Pay

The trade unions claim that there exists within Scottish local government a continuous problem of low pay. The national minimum wage is 92% of the lowest Spinal Column Point.

In 2005, a survey conducted by CoSLA revealed that 60% of the local government APT & C Staff workforce was paid between spinal column points 3 - 15 (This equates to £11,211 to £15,828)

The latest government statistics reveal average earnings in the private sector are growing at a rate of 3.7% compared with 2.7% in the public sector. Over to past year to July 2007 the gap was greater with the private sector at 4.1% and 2.3% in the public sector.

A number of Scottish local authorities reported recruitment and retention problems for a number of key posts.

Affordability

The Scottish Executive in its paper "Policy for Scottish Public Sector Pay Groups" has stated that it shall comply with the Treasury's public sector pay policy limiting basic awards to no more than 2%.

The trade unions seek to work with the Employers to try to promote the need for increased resources for both services and pay to the Scottish Government.

Efficiency Savings

The contribution and endeavours of local authority workforce in securing efficiency savings through continuous improvement under Best Value Regime should be reflected in the settlement.

Conditions of Service Claims

The annual leave entitlement and public holidays for employees is now one of the lowest in the EU. A number of councils already have local agreements with a higher minimum leave entitlement.

 

TRADE UNION TARGETS

The TUC continues to campaign for a national minimum wage of £6.75 per hour or £13,022 per annum with no lower youth rate.

Currently £6.61 is point 13 on the hourly spinal Column, and point 8 is £12,501 annual spinal column.

The London Living Wage (Determined by the GLA) stands at £7.20 per hour or £13,890

Half of the male median earnings are £8.28 or £306.50 per week or £15,980 per annum.

 

ECONOMIC FACTORS

Unemployment

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Scotland was 4.6% (UK rate 5.5%) in the June to August 2007 period, down 0.2 percentage points (UK 0.1%) on the same period a year earlier. The rates for men and women in June to August 2007 were 4.9% (UK 5.8%) and 4.4% (UK 5.1%) respectively.

However, the seasonally adjusted claimant count rate (Scotland) in September 2007 was 2.7%, unchanged from August 2007 and down 0.5 percentage points since September 2006. The seasonally adjusted number of claimants in September 2007 was 73,800, down 600 on August 2007, and down 13,600 since September 2006.

Inflation

CPI (Consumer Price Index) annual inflation - the Government's target measure - was 1.8 per cent in September, unchanged from August.

Large downward contributions to the change in the CPI annual rate came from:

  • Housing and household services, due to gas and electricity bills which both fell as a result of the continued phasing in of recent tariff reductions. Over the same period last year, average gas and electricity bills rose; and
  • Clothing and footwear as prices overall rose by less than last September especially for men's outerwear. In particular, prices for winter coats fell this year, compared with sharp increases a year ago.

The largest upward effect on the CPI annual rate came from food and non-alcoholic beverages, where price increases were recorded for a number of dairy products including:

  • Milk, cheese and eggs, due to widely publicised price increases for shop bought milk, particularly at supermarkets. The average price of a pint of milk rose by around 4 pence per pint in September, a record one month increase; and
  • Oils and fats, where average prices for both margarine and butter increased in September by over 15%.

A large, partially offsetting downward effect within food came from vegetables, due to price changes on some winter vegetables and tomatoes.

RPI (Retail Price Index) inflation fell to 3.9% in September, down from 4.1% in August, mainly due to average mortgage interest payments. Average rates were largely unchanged in September, but rose a year ago, when most lenders passed on the quarter point rise in the Bank of England Bank rate announced in August 2006. Mortgage interest payments are excluded from the CPI.

Other factors influencing the RPI were similar to those affecting the CPI. RPIX inflation - the all items RPI excluding mortgage interest payments - was 2.8% in September, up from 2.7% in August.

As an internationally comparable measure of inflation, the CPI shows that the UK inflation rate in August, at 1.8%, was close to the provisional figure for the European Union as a whole of 1.9%.

 

House Prices

The annual rate of house price inflation in Scotland is now 14.2%, above the UK average of 10.7%, according to the latest Quarterly Scottish House Price Index from the Bank of Scotland. Prices in Scotland rose by 0.7% in Q3 2007.

The average price of a house in Scotland is currently £141,158. Although this is 29% less than the UK average of £198,898, Greater London prices are now just 2.3 times higher than those in Scotland, compared with 3.0 times in Q3 2002, signalling a higher rate of house price increase in Scotland.

Average Earnings

Manufacturing average earnings (excluding bonus, not seasonally adjusted) rose 3.8% in the year to August 2007. Similar earnings rose by 3.8% in the whole economy, by 4.0% in the private sector and 3.3% in the public sector. Average earnings in services rose by 4.0%, and earnings in private sector services rose by 4.2%.

Manufacturing average earnings (including bonus, not seasonally adjusted) rose 2.8% in the year to August 2007. Similar earnings for the whole economy rose 4.2%, private sector earnings rose 4.5%, and public sector earnings rose 3.0%. Average earnings rose 4.5% in services and private sector services earnings rose 5.0%.

 

Average Earnings Forecast

The Treasury's latest summary of forecasts shows average earnings expected to rise, on average, by:

  • 3.9% in 2007, with the latest forecasts ranging from 4.6% to 3.7%.

- Citigroup forecast 4.6%; ING Financial Markets 4.3%; Morgan Stanley 4.2%; Economic Perspectives 4.2%.

  • 4.1% in 2008, with the forecasts ranging from 4.7% to 3.3%.

CONCLUSION

The 2006 - 2008 SJC Agreement did not maintain our members pay at the level of inflation across the two years of the settlement, or average earnings. Our claim seeks to address this further relative decline in local government workers earnings.

The steady rise in the rate of inflation clearly shows the damaging effects on the cost of living on our members over the last two years. Above inflation increases in key areas such as housing, fuel and energy, council tax and childcare costs support our evidence for a pay award substantially above the rate of inflation. Our claim is a mixed percentage and flat rate claim which seeks to address the high cost of living for low paid staff who, proportionately, are hit far harder by any cost of living increases than those on the higher pay bands.

For these reasons, we believe that our claim is a just one, well supported by evidence, and one we hope is given the very serious consideration it deserves.

 

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Pay Campaign 2008/2009

- UNISON SCOTLAND PAY CAMPAIGN NEWS AND RESOURCES, PHOTOS, VIDEOS AND STRIKE BLOG

- Pay Compendium 2008