Your Pay – Your Say – UNISON consultation for Local Govt Staff

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Pay Consultation – Your Say Here….

Coventry City UNISON has received a message from Heather Wakefield, National Secretary of the Union’s Local Government Service Group, asking for your opinions about the national pay offer. A summary of the message is below..

‘The UNISON NJC Committee agreed last January to submit the NJC pay claim for 2018/19 earlier this year, to make our pay aspirations clear to the Local Government Association (LGA), whilst the negotiations on a revised NJC pay spine take place.

The NJC pay spine review was spurred by the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW) and the fact that around 200 councils have voluntarily adopted the Foundation Living Wage.

The UNISON NJC Committee met on Thursday 27 April 2017 to discuss the contents of the NJC pay claim for 2018/19.  In considering the proposed claim for 2018/19, the NJC Committee took into account the following factors:

–  The aspiration of all three unions to achieve the Foundation Living Wage at the lowest pay point

–  The ongoing decline in our members’ pay – worse than for any other workforce in the public sector. Pay is lower compared to other public sector groups throughout the NJC pay spine

– Unprecedented cuts in local government funding and increased pressure on schools  The immense pressure our members are under with ever increasing workloads, deteriorating terms and conditions and persistent job insecurity

– The compression at the lower end of the NJC pay spine, which is over-riding job evaluated differentials and the need to maintain the differentials which might emerge from the pay spine review

– The need for a simple claim which is easy for members to understand. It should be seen as realistic and have credibility with members Proposed Pay Claim 2018/19 In order to achieve these objectives, the Committee is proposing the following claim for 2018/19: 5% increase on all NJC pay points and deletion of NJC pay points scp 6-9 1

– Context of pay claim: The sector faces the phasing out of revenue support grant and reliance on business rates; unprecedented cuts to funding; implementation of the National Living Wage; an ongoing pay spine review to maintain pay differentials.

– The 5% increase on all NJC pay points is to reflect inflation and provide some catch-up on lost earnings. The deletion of pay points 6-9 after the 5% increase has been applied to ensure that no NJC pay points fall below the Foundation Living Wage rate of £8.45 per hour.

– Pay at the bottom: Linked to legal minimum and remaining below the real Living Wage. NJC continues to be one of the lowest pay rates in the public sector.

– Low pay: A problem throughout the pay spine with those above in the middle and top of the spine receiving scant reward and differentials being threatened following years of bottom loaded pay settlements.

– Terms and conditions: Savaged across the board and impacting on pay.

– Job losses: Employment in local government has fallen by over three quarters of a million since June 2010.

– Recruitment and retention problems: Developing as value of pay plummets.

– Inflation: RPI at 3.2% and CPI at 2.3%. RPI to average 3.5% over 2017 and remain over 3% to 2021.

– Average earnings: Predicted to be 2.6% in 2017 rising to 3.6% by 2021.

– Average pay settlements: 2% for private sector; 1% for public sector.

Consultation Timetable

Branches are asked to carry out as wide a consultation as possible on the contents of the proposed claim and return their results to your Regional Head of Local Government by 12 noon on Friday 26 May 2017.

It is very important that the NJC Committee gets a view from as many branches as possible and that members are engaged at this stage in the claim. The UNISON NJC Committee will meet on 31 May 2017 to consider the results of the branch consultation and to agree UNISON’s proposals for the 2018/19 pay claim. In the meantime, GMB and Unite are also consulting their members on what they would like to see in the claim. The intention is for the Trade Union Side to agree the claim on Wednesday 14 June and to submit it to the Local Government Association (LGA) immediately afterwards.

The LGA has indicated that they intend to consult councils over our claim and principles under-pinning possible pay spine models in June/July and respond to our claim in early autumn. It is likely that any pay offer will incorporate the new pay spine.

Our claim and the pay spine review will both require funding beyond 1% and pose significant challenges to councils and schools under further economic siege by the Conservative government.

The Committee is therefore proposing:

– A major political campaign at local, regional and national levels to highlight the case for funding.

– To provide branches with questions to ask election candidates about local government funding and pay

– Draw up a campaign timetable to start after our claim is lodged to highlight the issues surrounding NJC pay and funding cuts in councils and schools Campaign details will follow’.

Coventry City UNISON is therefore asking all our members on Local Government pay to complete a brief Survey Monkey questionnaire by following the link here.

yourpayyoursay

We will update you on the outcome of the pay consultation and further developments as soon as we receive further information.

Thanks

Coventry City UNISON

SCHOOL UNIFORM GRANT QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

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What are UNISON School Uniform Grants?

In addition to our normal range of services and in response to the growing difficulties many members on low income face, a programme has been put in place that will assist our most vulnerable members with the cost of purchasingschool uniforms.

How much are the Grants?

They are one-off grants of £40.00 per school age child, up to a total of £120.00

Am I eligible?

To be eligible you must be:

A member who has paid 4 weeks subscriptions before the launch date of this programme (23/5/16)

Have a total net annual household income of £18,000 or less. [Note:By household income we mean net earnings after tax, national insurance, pension deductions of you, your partner and any other adults living in the property]. The following is not included as income for the purpose of this specific grants programme:- Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, Child Benefit and the childcare cost element only of Working Tax Credit.  Responsible for meeting household bills and struggling to pay them. Financially responsible for the child/children. Not eligible for funding for uniform costs from your Local Authority.

Is there anything else that may affect my entitlement to apply?

Members and their partners must not have combined savings or, a rolling bank balance of more than £800.00. Savings of any other adults in the household do not apply.  You must not have received financial assistance from UNISON There for You during the previous six months. Applications are limited to one per household  Ensure you send all requested paperwork with the form or the application cannot be accepted

How do I apply?

To apply for a School Uniform Grant simply: Print out and complete the short 2-page application form that is attached to this post Download from our website www.unison.org/thereforyou

Contact Unison Direct on 0800 0857 857 for a form to be posted to you. Provide us with evidence of your entire household income by sending copies of You and your partner (if applicable) last month’s payslip(s), Last full month’s bank statements for all bank accounts held by you and your partner (if applicable)

Submit the form along with the completed short survey by 15 July 2016. Post your application including all supporting paperwork to: UNISON Welfare, UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY.

Where can I go for further help or advice?

There is a limited amount of funding in the school uniform grants programme and once it has been exhausted no further awards for the year can be made. However if you are facing unforeseen hardship it may be possible for you to apply to our general grants programme.

We will let you know if this applies to you. For further information, please see our web pages at www.unison.org/thereforyou,

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Message to all Unison Members in Coventry City Council – URGENT Meetings Tuesday 7th at 5pm or 7pm

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In wake of Coventry City Council’s proposals to attack your right to representation it is necessary to ask all members to attend meetings after work this Tuesday. This to explain what has happened and to discuss our response.

All Council Unions that are disputing the proposals will be inviting members to these meetings.

This issue has implications for every Unison member. The impact of the proposals could cause serious detriment to your terms and conditions of employment. Please prioritise attendance at these meetings if you possible can.

TUESDAY JULY 7TH, WARWICK ROAD UNITED REFORM CHURCH, (NEAR LITTEN TREE PUB), COVENTRY

MEETINGS START AT 5PM OR 7PM

DEFEND OUR UNIONS

DEFEND OUR UNIONS

Open Letter to Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council

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Dear Martin  

City Council ER/VR Programme 2014

You will be aware of the Council’s plan to manage a reduction in the workforce by offering ER/VR to employees. Sadly, it comes as no surprise to UNISON that the offer has meant that many employees have been disappointed and distressed by the fact that they have not been able to go.

It is very unfortunate that the tone and tenor of comments made at the beginning of the consultation exercise about ER/VR suggested that most people could in fact go.

For example in a Director’s cut it states ‘Other than for a small number of excluded posts, where we know we cannot lose staff without needing to replace them, there will be a presumption that those who want to go can go. Staff will not need their Manager’s permission either to apply or to be accepted onto the scheme. So, it’s getting tough, and it’s going to get tougher.  It’s time for everyone to think about the future, and to make a choice.’

Many members have approached us very upset about the outcomes for them. They have quite naturally, spent a considerable amount of time thinking about their futures and have applied accordingly. Only to find they are unable to go.

This has also left them feeling very despondent and will cause difficulty in encouraging a sense of wanting to continue to belong to the organisation many have worked for so tirelessly.

These are difficult times for us all and it will come as no surprise to you that we do not share the view that the answer to austerity is to reduce our workforce. However, we have a duty of care and responsibility to our members to point out that it is important that the employer acts in a more sensitive way in discussions about these matters which affect our members’ lives directly. Some of our members have commented that they feel very let down by the way in which this matter has been managed, disregarding their wellbeing and mental health and that this has shown that they are not valued.

Good industrial relations relies on respectful interaction with the workforce and their trades unions. It is very unfortunate that this matter has had the opposite effect. Trust and confidence is essential to ensure good working relations. We would like know what you intend to do about rebuilding that confidence and trust with your workforce.

Yours sincerely

UNISON Coventry District Branch

Room 308, Broadgate House, Broadgate COVENTRY, CV1 1NG Phone: 024 76521125 Visit www.coventryunison.co.uk for further information. hotline021214

PRESS RELEASE – Coventry Local Government Workers ‘Locked Out’ of Recovery

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Click here for the Press Release – locked out press release

Local government workers in Coventry are not benefitting from the recovery.

UNISON is holding a lunch time protest on 20th August at 12.30 pm in Broadgate Square.

This will be to highlight the colossal cut in wages council workers have suffered in recent years. While the highest paid are enjoying bumper pay rises, council employees have to cut back on food, heating and bare essentials.

Since 2010 electricity prices have risen 28% and gas prices have risen by 38%. In the same period council employees’ wages have risen by 2%.

With 1,000 jobs cut already, and another 1,000 to go this year, council workers are expecting to do more for less, while struggling to feed themselves and their families.

UNISON’s members are being locked out of the recovery and need a decent pay rise, to support them and their local economy.

Contact: Chris Burrow 02476 521126 for info

Twitter hashtag for the event will be #lockedout

STRIKE – FAQs

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SOME REGULAR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Q and A

Unison have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding the strike action on Thursday 10th July. Here are some of the key extracts from the document. If you have further questions please speak to your local Unison rep or call the branch office

 Is our pay claim affordable?

Local government and school pay is now so poor that many workers have to rely on tax credits and benefits.  It makes far more sense to pay this money as wages.

 I don’t agree with the pay offer – but why strike action?

UNISON stands ready to enter further negotiations at any point, as do the other unions. However, the employers are in a very entrenched position and only strike action – or the threat of it – is likely to move them to make an improved offer.

 Will the strike make the employers change their mind?

We certainly hope so and would not ballot ask members to strike if we didn’t think so.  We are not a posturing or strike happy union —far from it.  Strike action has always been a last resort in trying to force employers to negotiate more seriously.  On the rare occasions that we have gone on strike across the local government sector in the past we have made gains on previous proposals.  Although there is never a guarantee of all our demands being met, demonstrating the strength of feeling about our pay is vital.

I can’t afford to strike. Money is so tight at the moment.

UNISON understands your concerns.  Council and school workers have already had to put up with a great deal. We are well aware there may be other very pressing difficulties you are being faced with right now on a local or personal level. But it’s important to think about what you could gain and the money you need in retirement to support yourself.

Any pay gained through an increased offer may or may not offset what you lose in the immediate term through strike reductions. However, it will be ‘paid back’ quite quickly because:

  • it means that the starting point for ANY future pay rise is higher than it would otherwise be;
  • the value of ANY future increment is higher than it would otherwise be;
  • the value of the pension pot accumulating is higher than it would otherwise be.

The employers are relying on workers and unions being too weak and too scared to put up enough of a fight against this attack on your pay. We have to show them that they are wrong. If we aren’t able to make them re-think their stance, the employers and government will continue to cut your pay and conditions and we may never be in a position to recover the ground we have lost.  Falling pay also means loss of pension, which could affect you for the rest of your life.

Am I breaking my contract by taking strike action?

Almost all effective industrial action is a breach of your contract of employment.  However, UNISON has carried out a lawful statutory ballot.  The law protects workers from dismissal whilst taking part in lawful industrial action at any time within 12 weeks of the start of action and depending on the circumstances; dismissal may also be unfair if it takes place later.

My employer is saying that a one day strike would be seen as a break in service and that my continuity of service would be broken — is this true?

During a strike your continuous employment is treated as ‘postponed’.  This means that the period you were on strike for will not count towards your continuous employment, but it does not break the continuity of your period of employment.

Do I have to strike?

As a member of a democratic union we would hope that you would participate in a strike if there is a vote for strike action.  You cannot be forced to do so, but it is part of belonging to a democratic union in which decisions are made collectively.  We recognise that taking strike action is very serious, which is why UNISON asks you and every other member to observe the strike (if called.)  Every member who does not undermines our bargaining power and makes it harder for us to protect all our members.

 Will I still have to strike if I voted ‘No’?

 If the majority of the people balloted vote ‘yes’ and a strike is called, we would hope you would join your trade union colleagues by participating fully in the industrial action, in line with UNISON’s democratic decision-making process.

What should I do during a strike? Can I join a picket line?

When UNISON calls a strike we ask that you do not go to work, but instead contact your local representative and volunteer to help out on the picket lines.  This isn’t dangerous and it can be fun, as everyone shows that they are serious and united in taking action.

Do I have to tell my employer if I am going on strike?

No, if the day of action is confirmed in a ballot we will officially inform your employer and they should assume that all members will be striking.  It is up to them to ask for any exemptions and to provide emergency cover (see questions on exemptions and emergency cover).

Your employer might send you a formal sounding letter asking you to declare in advance whether you will be taking industrial action.  You are under no obligation to inform your employer in advance as to whether you will be taking part in strike action. UNISON is legally required to give employers some statistical information about UNISON members taking industrial action but we do not give individual names.

Will I receive strike pay for striking on 10 July?

Strike pay will not be paid but the union will seek to help members experiencing hardship. Your branch will be able to advise you.

I’m not a member yet – can I join now and still take part in the proposed action?

New members can join UNISON, and join the strike (provided that their employer is one of the employers involved in the ballot), right up to and including on the day of action.  So if this is the case, the answer is very much YES you can join the strike – you just need to fill in an application form first and hand it to your local steward.

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,