30 January 2014: Following a meeting with UNISON Stewards today, the Regional Officer and Branch Secretary met with Philip Barr, Head of Organisational Development (City of Edinburgh Council) for urgent discussions regarding the fact that non contracted members would not participate in the Winter Rota after 31st January 2014.

“In the meantime I must caution you not to withdraw from the Winter Rota on the 31st of January and put yourself in a position of risk.” Andrew Barnett, Douglas Black. 

 As you are aware negotiations have been ongoing in seeking to reach an agreement for all members for this rota and for subsequent years and whilst we have managed to improve the variable working hours payment and have an offer of a one off payment of £200 for each member, the employer has insisted that those members who are not contractually bound to undertake the rota now should be. The offer as it stands would be backdated to the start of the winter rota last year. This reflects the final position of the employer.

If however non contracted members do not agree to the change in contract then on an individual basis the employer would not compel them to do so. That individual would then not participate on any future rotas nor receive the financial elements of the offer. However the employer would then recruit to that position on a contractual basis.

If non contracted members refuse to participate in the rota after 31st January, the employer would view this as these members undertaking unofficial industrial action. This is on the basis that the non contracted members have been operating the Winter Rota since October and by doing so becomes the normal working arrangement. This potentially leaves our members in a difficult situation as the employer could move towards disciplinary action and possible dismissal if the action continued. This is clearly a situation that UNISON wants to avoid.

We understand very clearly the urgency of this matter and we have agreed a meeting with the employer on Wednesday 5th February at 3pm to look at how we can resolve this situation. It has been suggested by the employer that non contracted members may be able to withdraw from the rota this year subject to a period of due notice being agreed. This we will bottom out on Wednesday and come back to you with their proposal.

The branch are currently making arrangements to ballot all of our affected members on this offer and we will notify you of the timescales very shortly

In the meantime I must caution you not to withdraw from the Winter Rota on the 31st of January and put yourself in a position of risk.

Branch Secretary      Regional Organiser