Model Text for Members Letter to MPs and prospective MEPs on NJC Pay

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Dear MP / MEP / Prospective MEP (delete this and insert name)

I have lived in your constituency for (insert number of) years. I am writing to ask you to support UNISON’s campaign for a fair pay rise for local government and school support workers. UNISON is seeking an increase of at least £1 an hour for all the people like me who are keeping council services and schools running in the face of ongoing job and pay cuts.

The final pay offer from the Local Government Association (LGA) would give the majority of staff a pay increase of only 1%. The pay of the lowest paid workers in local government is getting closer and closer to the National Minimum Wage, and hundreds of thousands of local government workers are paid below the Living Wage.

I am insulted by the LGA’s attitude to the local government workforce, which is now at an all time low. Since 2010, I have had a three-year pay freeze and just a 1% increase last year. That means my pay has fallen by 18% in real terms. On top of that many of us have had unsocial hours pay, annual leave, sick pay and car allowances cut. With food, fuel and travel costs going through the roof, I am in real financial hardship. Local government cuts to pay mean that I can no longer …………………………………

Please lobby our council to get them to put pressure on the LGA to make a decent pay offer and on government to fund it. I do understand that our pay claim comes at a time of unprecedented cuts in local government funding by central government. But there are political choices that can be made. Since 2010 the local government pay bill has reduced by 25% and council reserves have increased to £19 billion. We are told that large reserves are needed for investment – some of this must be for investment in staff.

If I had £1 an hour extra, I would spend it locally. This would give our local businesses a boost and help get the economy going too. Research undertaken for my union shows that if local government workers were paid an extra £1 an hour, the extra income from higher tax and national insurance ‘take’ and reduction in benefit costs would mean a saving of £760 million for government. If the Chancellor chose to do so, these savings could be re-cycled to councils to help pay for our claim.

I’m sure you will agree that your local council and school support workers are doing a great job. But I feel that enough is enough, and that’s why I will be voting to take strike action. We have shown our commitment to keeping our local services going against the odds. I am now asking you to show your commitment to us.

As you know, there are local and European elections this month. Councillors and MEPs will find it hard to get the support of local council and school support workers unless they do something now about the real hardship we face.

Please can you:

Sign our petition, calling on the employers to make an improved offer – and get your constituents to sign it too! http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/local-government-workers-need-a-decent-pay-rise.html

Add your signature to Early Day Motion 1159, in support of local government and school support workers’ pay http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/1159

Ask councillors in your local authority to put pay onto the agenda for their Group meeting, and invite the local UNISON branch to come along to speak

I am worth more than 1% because ……………………………………………………………………

Please help make our employers and government see that local government workers deserve better.

Kind Regards,

 

Election Campaign Model Text for Members Letter to Councillors on NJC Pay

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I have lived in your local authority for (insert number of) years. I am writing to ask you to support UNISON’s campaign for a fair pay rise for local government and school support workers. UNISON is seeking an increase of at least £1 an hour for all the people like me who are keeping council services and schools running in the face of ongoing job and pay cuts.

The final pay offer from the Local Government Association (LGA) would give the majority of staff a pay increase of only 1%. The pay of the lowest paid workers in local government is getting closer and closer to the National Minimum Wage, and hundreds of thousands of local government workers are paid below the Living Wage.

I am insulted by the LGA’s attitude to the local government workforce, which is now at an all time low. Since 2010, I have had a three-year pay freeze and just a 1% increase last year. That means my pay has fallen by 18% in real terms. On top of that many of us have had unsocial hours pay, annual leave, sick pay and car allowances cut. With food, fuel and travel costs going through the roof, I am in real financial hardship. Local government cuts to pay mean that I can no longer …………………………………

Please do everything you can to get the council to put pressure on the LGA to make a decent pay offer and on government to fund it. I understand that our pay claim comes at a time of unprecedented cuts in local government funding by central government. But there are political choices that can be made. Since 2010 the local government pay bill has reduced by 25% and council reserves have increased to £19 billion. We are told that large reserves are needed for investment – some of this must be for investment in staff.

If I had £1 an hour extra, I would spend it locally. This would give our local businesses a boost and help get the economy going too. Research undertaken for my union shows that if local government workers were paid an extra £1 an hour, the extra income from higher tax and national insurance ‘take’ and reduction in benefit costs would mean a saving of £760 million for government. If the Chancellor chose to do so, these savings could be re-cycled to councils to help pay for our claim.

I’m sure you will agree that your local council and school support workers are doing a great job. But I feel that enough is enough, and that’s why I will be voting to take strike action. We have shown our commitment to keeping our local services going against the odds. I am now asking you to show your commitment to us.

As you know, there are local and European elections this month. Councillors and MEPs will find it hard to get the support of local council and school support workers unless they do something now about the real hardship we face.
Please can you:
Sign our petition, calling on the employers to make an improved offer – and get your constituents to sign it too! http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/local-government-workers-need-a-decent-pay-rise.html
Put pay on the agenda for your Group meeting, to have a proper debate with your fellow councillors, and invite your local UNISON branch to come along to speak

I amNJC model letter for councillors 8 May 2014 worth more than 1% because ……………………………………………………………………

Please help make our employers and government see that local government workers deserve better.
Kind Regards,

 

SEE response from Cllr John Blundell, Conservative Group Attached.Letter to UNISON 22.5.14

Local & European elections: 2014 – Time to ask the politicians what they are doing about tax avoidance/evasion and non-collection

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L&E elections

Election comment – by Mike Wallace – Coventry Unison

Much of the government’s (and media) rhetoric targets people on benefits as a focus for the cuts.  They label claimants as scroungers who fleece the country of billions to fund ‘extravagant’ lifestyles.

The reality is the tax gap, the amount of tax evaded, avoided and uncollected each year is £120 billion, while the CAB estimates that £16bn in benefits is unclaimed annually, and benefit fraud accounts for £1.2bn, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Tax dodging highlights the tax dealings of a number of high-profile companies:

  • Barclays120 – the number of offshore tax havens the banking group has based in the Cayman Islands.
  • Boots£1.12bn – amount the pharmacy-led health chain has avoided since relocating its head office to       Switzerland in 2007.
  • Amazon£2.4mamount paid in UK corporate taxes by the online retailer’s UK subsidiary, despite making sales of £4.3bn.
  • Starbucks 1 – Number of years the company reported a taxable profit in 15 years of        operating in the UK, despite UK sales of £400m in 2011. It has also paid just £8.6m in       corporation tax in its 14 years of trading in the UK, and nothing in the last three years.
  • Vodafone £5bnsales made by the communications giant in 2012/13 but despite an          operating profit of £294m, it has paid no UK corporation tax for the second year in a row and owes HMRC an estimated £1.25bn.

But what are our politicians doing about this major issue?

It’s a disgrace that so many individuals and companies are allowed to get away with this.  Politicians, like UKIP leader and MEP, Nigel Farage, have been exposed as having trust funds in offshore tax  havens.  Small wonder they are keeping quiet! – The truth is our mainstream politicians are far too friendly with corporate business interests.

And what of the silence of the major media organisations such as the BBC and SKY..? –  Why do they refuse to challenge politicians on this  issue?

UNISON believes the focus should be on increasing funding in HMRC, fighting tax dodgers and closing the tax gap, not victimising the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

Message for Coventry City Council Staff – Consultation on Christmas Closure Arrangements

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Dear member,

Coventry Council are proposing that there be a period of closure of Council offices during the Christmas period. They are currently consulting with unions until 14th May 2014.  The proposal would require employees to reserve a number of days from within their total annual leave entitlement (27 or 32 days (new holiday arrangements) respectively depending on their length of service) and to take these on pre-determined closure days. In future years the set days would be determined and communicated to employees by March of each year, although this consultation is too late to give that length notice for the coming Christmas. Subject to when statutory day closures fall within the week, It is anticipated that employees would need to reserve up to 4 days in any one year.

For example, this year the proposal would be as follows:

Thursday, 25th December 2014 – statutory closure day

Friday, 26th December 2014 – statutory closure day

Monday, 29th December 2014 – reserved closure day

Tuesday, 30th December 2014 – reserved closure day

Wednesday, 31st December 2014 – reserved closure day

Thursday, 1st January 2015 – statutory closure day

Friday, 2nd January 2015 – reserved closure day

This would require employees to reserve 4 days holiday and Council offices would be closed from 25th December to 2nd January. Those not affected by the proposals are Term Time Only (TTO) and  anyone on teachers’ pay and conditions. Some part time employees may also not be affected, depending on the days they work. Some essential services may be kept open. Advantages of the proposal – the Council has listed these as:

*    Addresses the reduction in customer engagement with the Council over the Christmas period, which results in some employees having little work to do

*    Removes services operating with a skeleton staff arrangement

*    Addresses large office spaces being left empty over the period

*    Acknowledges employee suggestions for Christmas closures via the JEEP initiative and The Room

*    Complements the Kickstart principles of New Ways of Working NWOW), Flexibility and Adaptability

*    Contributes to achieving a better work-life balance as most employees will have a guaranteed block of time away from the workplace

*    Removes the annual “team  Christmas leave lottery” scenario arising, which can cause tensions within teams

*    Financial Savings in commuting & petrol costs for employees

*    Financial savings in heating and lighting costs for Council

You are asked if (in general) you accept or reject this proposal by voting on this post. If you have any more detailed comments to make, we would welcome these by return of e-mail to office@coventryunison.co.uk or by phoning our office on 02476 550829.

Say NO! to privatisation of children’s social work

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kidsforcash

The government is consulting on proposals to allow all councils in England to outsource almost all their children’s social work.  This could see private contractors taking over services such as child protection.

Social work staff would transfer to the contractors and be subject to competitive tendering every few years.

UNISON says this dangerous move will threaten the quality and accountability of such difficult and sensitive work.

We need your help to try to stop it.

 Last year the government legislated to allow all local authorities to outsource social work functions for looked after children. This was done, despite an independent evaluation of five pilots which found no concrete evidence that outsourcing led to better outcomes.

On the back of this change, the government is now pressing ahead to allow wholesale privatisation of statutory social work including child protection. Neither social work staff nor the public will want to see child protection services entrusted to companies like Serco or G4S.

Allowing contractors to profit from decision-making about children’s futures and appropriate placements will create conflicts of interest when the same companies could also be competing to provide these placements. 

The government dresses this up as a chance for social workers to escape council bureaucracy – but there is plenty of evidence that councils can tackle bureaucracy in-house if they want to free up their social workers. The ongoing difficulties in some local authority children’s services reflect chronic underfunding and 40% cuts to council budgets imposed by the government – but instead of responding to funding needs, the government claims councils are failing and the private sector should step in.

Everything we know about serious cases tells us we need more joined-up working and accountability – not the fragmentation that privatisation will bring.

 The consultation is here: https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1961&external=no&menu=1

Please could you follow the link to the consultation and take three minutes to respond. Just tick ‘No’ to Question 1 and ‘No’ to Question 2.

You can add in any of your own comments if you want – but the key thing is to click ‘No’ as these are the responses that will be counted.

Hurry, there’s not much time – the consultation closes on 30th May!