Solidarity Magazine » Scotland Fri, 01 Mar 2013 19:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Reject EIS – Vote to reject revised proposals on teachers pay and conditions 2011 Wed, 30 Mar 2011 13:42:39 +0000 Continue reading ]]> FAQ: What your union won’t tell you

The EIS say:

The top priority of the EIS is to defend jobs. The revised offer guarantees 51,131 FTE teaching posts – or the conditions changes will be rolled back to the tune of £40k for each teacher short of the staffing target.”

We say: this does nothing to protect those in jobs currently, it is only a number of posts for one year. Local authorities only have to have that number of posts. Existing staff are still in danger.

The EIS say: “In the absence of any agreement it is highly likely that Councils will act unilaterally, as they see fit, to achieve the savings they need. The most obvious approach would be to slash teaching posts – including making compulsory redundancies. Cutting 1,000 jobs would save Councils approximately £40m.”

We say: 57% of total union membership rejected this deal. EIS members expect their union to defend their pay and conditions. As soon as there is a difficult situation the EIS reps run scared of controversy. No one wants industrial action but we don’t want to be doormats either. Did the EIS forget ScotGov said “no compulsory redundancies?”.

The EIS say: “1. The threat to cut sick pay is completely removed.”

We say: EIS put this forward as some great victory! It was only right that members sick pay was preserved. Cosla/Scottish government only used this to alarm members and to give EIS grounds to “win something”.

The EIS say: “2. The new short-term Supply Rate (Scale Point 1) is restricted to engagements of 5 days or less, instead of 8 days. Duties of such teachers are limited only to teaching and preparation & correction.”

We say: this is effectively a 47% pay cut for all those hard working supply teachers and there are no guarantees here that local authorities won’t just employ staff for 5 days at a time? Many of our supply staff will now earn significantly less than probationary teachers despite years of valuable experience.

The EUS say: “3. There is a clearer specification of the jobs guarantee, together with scrutiny of individual Council staffing levels, and defined sanctions for failure to meet the staffing levels promised.”

We say: the jobs guarantee isn’t worth anything to all the staff you are failing to defend. We have 65 days holiday and you give away 15 days. 15 days from mothers returning from maternity leave, 15 days from teachers struggling with long term illness. The EIS have deliberately picked out the most vulnerable in our profession in the hope we, the members, won’t care. We do!

The EIS say “This does not disadvantage Scottish teachers returning from Maternity Leave vis a vis their English counterparts. The formulation for working time used for teachers in England means their teachers receive only the statutory leave entitlement of 28 days in compensation. Scottish teachers will receive up to 40 days.”

We say: we aren’t interested in what happens in England! We pay our union dues and give the EIS our support to defend the pay and conditions we have. What better way of saying we value children than defending the current Maternity Leave arrangements?

The EIS say: “The working year for teachers is unchanged at 195 days (190 pupil days and 5 In Service days). There is no proposal to change the number of days a teacher works.

Currently, “leave” is the balance of days beyond the working year, excluding weekend days. This amounts to 365-195-104=66. It is proposed to specify annual leave as 40 days so the new formulation would be 365-195-104-40=26 remaining or “closure” days. If Councils opened schools on closure days, they couldn’t have teachers there since the working year is still set at 195 days.”

We say: this is the thin end of a very big wedge. Our holidays are the compensation for many late nights marking, preparing lessons and for being unable to take holidays when WE want. There isn’t a teacher who doesn’t already spend some of their holiday time preparing work for children.

The EIS say: “The change in definition of leave does not make any difference to pay – all that changes is how it is expressed. Currently the daily rate payable is 1/261 of annual salary (195 working days and 66 leave days); if one works a complete year (195 days), payment is 261/261. Under the proposals the daily rate becomes 1/235 (195 working days and 40 leave days); if one works a complete year, payment is 235/235.”

We say: but what if you dont work the whole year? This change significantly affects teachers changing posts between authorities and teachers leaving the profession. It means that teachers will not be paid for days which were previously paid. It removes some of our entitlement to pay!

The EIS say: “Are we now committed to accept the McCormac review?
The revised offer does not entail any pre-commitment to accept the recommendations of the McCormac Review. It commits the parties to the process. Most importantly, it commits the parties to the SNCT to a tripartite discussion on the outcome of the review with a view to implementation of agreed decisions by August 2012.

It is simply not feasible to “park” all the savings proposals with the McCormac Review. Councils must set budgets that balance income with expenditure. In the absence of savings being established, Councils would have to take other measures – almost certainly cutting jobs- to balance the books, while McCormac deliberated.”

The ScotGov commissioned this review and should support councils, at least until the findings are published. The Scottish government has said “no compulsory redundancies” – cutting jobs, if it has to be done should be done via early retirement/voluntary severance.

The EIS have sold out members for some intangible jobs deal which does NOTHING to help those already in jobs!

The EIS never mention selling out staff on conserved salaries. They never mention the cuts of over £10,000 in salary to individual teachers (most of which are secondary) who were promised lifetime conservation. These teachers would be happy to take on extra duties, commensurate with their salary, in return for retaining the conservation they were promised.

What else is our union not telling us?

This deal has no guarantees, contains vague promises and shows just how weak our leadership are. Support the campaign to REJECT.


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Glasgow Unions raise spectre of industrial action Thu, 24 Feb 2011 15:37:44 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Gerry Braiden

18 Jan 2011

Thousands of council workers face reduced holiday entitlement, increased hours and an end to flexible working under new plans to force through further savings at Scotland’s largest authority.

Glasgow City Council said the changes to workers’ terms and conditions would save it £5 million over the next two years but insists it will stick to its position of no compulsory redundancies, with core pay and pensions untouched.

However, unions have raised the spectre of waves of industrial action throughout the spring and summer, also warning that sick pay and out-of-hours payments to emergency workers will be hit.

Around 18,000 workers will be affected by the plans, while 5000 teachers are subject to national agreements and thousands of other staff have been transferred to arm’s-length bodies in the past few years.

Union chiefs said members would take little comfort in the erosion of terms and conditions in exchange for no compulsories, especially against a backdrop of thousands of staff leaving in the next few years and those left behind taking up the slack.

In all, Glasgow is looking to save an extra £17.9m in the next financial year on top of almost £40m in cuts and savings agreed by the ruling Labour administration late last year. It now has a funding gap for 2011/12 of £58.5m.

The authority has blamed the Scottish Government for the additional cuts, claiming previous budgets were based on a funding reduction of 2.8% but it received a cut of 3.6%.

The move comes amid ongoing discussions nationally between the unions and Finance Secretary John Swinney after his Budget statement in November promised no public-sector redundancies in exchange for “more flexible” working.

Glasgow’s plans could be the first serious test of just how flexible workers and unions will be in exchange for some sort of job security.

The council has also raised the prospect of further job losses, on top of the 4000 leaving in the next three years, with £2m of savings expected from sharing services with seven other councils.

The Herald revealed last year that the Clyde Valley Review would require a combined loss of 1200 jobs from the eight councils involved.

Headteachers in some nurseries could be replaced with more generic managers, with charges in early years centres expected to rise by 10%. The council said it had ruled out nursery closures.

Maximum class sizes of 20 for S1 and S2 English and Maths will be scrapped, along with study centres for youngsters hosted by Celtic and Rangers.

The GMB’s Martin Doran said any move against conditions would be political suicide, claiming the union would mobilise against Labour in the local government elections in 2012.

He added: “There’s a lot of discontent on the horizon. We always knew that terms and conditions would be an issue but eroding them at a time when there’s going to be extra burdens on staff will not be tolerated.”

Brian Smith of Unison added: “Glasgow obviously wants people to swallow Tory and SNP cuts by accepting that they have to give up the terms and conditions they have fought for over the years with a vague promise of no compulsories.”

A council spokesman said:

Our staffing bill represents a substantial percentage of our total expenditure and the scale of the challenge we face is such that it is one place where we will need to find savings.

The administration is determined to avoid compulsory redundancies or a reduction in core pay, so we’ll need to look at other options.”

Council leader Gordon Matheson added: “We are having to make extra cuts because the Scottish Government has given us less money than it promised us.

No-one wants to implement these cuts, but we have been forced into this position.”

Herald Scotland

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Aberdeen City Council staff reject 5% pay cut Wed, 22 Dec 2010 15:33:51 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Aberdeen City Council plans to cut £120m from its budget over five years

Unions in Aberdeen have rejected an appeal by the city council for staff to accept a 5% pay cut.

The Lib Dem/SNP administration said the move would reduce the need for compulsory redundancies as the authority looks to cut about 900 jobs.

The authority wanted workers earning more than £21,000 a year to take a voluntary one-year 5% cut in their pay.

Aberdeen City Council last week approved plans to cut £120m from its budget over the next five years.

After a meeting of staff to discuss the pay cut, Sarah Duncan of the Unison union said:

“Nobody spoke up in favour of entering any discussion on the detail. I think that is largely because they know by taking a 5% pay cut they won’t actually save a single job.

The council pretty much confirmed that they will still press ahead with 900 full-time equivalent job cuts.”

Before the meeting, council leader John Stewart told BBC Scotland:

“We’ve already had three rounds looking for voluntary severance or early retirement, and we do have savings to make. We’ve estimated that around 900 jobs are going to have to be lost from the organisation. The city council is working to a five-year plan. We’ve decided that just working from year to year is inappropriate, given the challenges the public sector faces at the moment.”

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Fury at 'pay cut or 900 jobs' ultimatum at Aberdeen City Council Tue, 21 Dec 2010 18:33:05 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

17 December 2010

By Frank Urquhart The Scotsman

A CITY council is facing the prospect of all-out industrial action after delivering a shock ultimatum to staff – accept a 5 per cent pay cut or 900 employees will be sacked.

A mass meeting of all union members in Aberdeen City Council is expected to be held early next week to discuss plans for a concerted campaign of industrial action, including possible strikes, to fight proposals for the pay cut which would affect every member of staff earning more than £21,000 a year.

Outraged union leaders yesterday hit out at the ultimatum. Willie Young, the secretary of the opposition Labour group, said: “The political lunatics have finally taken over the asylum.”

There are also mounting fears that the threatened industrial action in Aberdeen will be only the first stage in a winter of discontent facing local authorities across Scotland as they battle to balance their depleted budgets.

The council, under SNP and Liberal Democrat control, is planning to shed the 900 jobs – a tenth of the workforce – as part of a series of budget cuts totalling £120 million over the next five years. The cash-strapped administration is demanding workers take a 5 per cent cut to fund an early retirement and voluntary redundancy scheme, which would avoid the need for compulsory redundancies.

Karen Davidson, the branch secretary of Unison, the biggest public-sector union, accused the administration of putting a “bullet to the head” of every worker in the council.

She said:

“This employer is the absolute pits and has shown nothing but contempt for the workforce. Every time you think they cannot stoop any lower, they kick their staff in the teeth again. Our members are totally opposed to this scheme and they are asking how soon they can be balloted for industrial action.

We are planning to organise a joint meeting with the other trade unions for next week, and we will get a firm steer from the membership about how far they are prepared to go. But our members are clearly absolutely disgusted and incensed.”

Ms Davidson, whose union has 2,000 members in the city council, said the trade unions had never been consulted or warned about the proposals.

She said:

“There is a notice on the council intranet saying that the entire workforce is to be consulted regarding the possibility of a 5 per cent reduction for staff earning over £21,000. It says that if the workforce agrees to this proposal the council will use the savings generated to fund a voluntary severance and early retirement scheme, with a view to avoiding compulsory redundancies.

If the workforce do not agree to this proposal the council will apply only compulsory redundancy arrangements.”

Tommy Campbell, regional officer for the Unite union, said: “It is a ridiculous suggestion. The councillors who supported this decision are politically bankrupt.”

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Trade unions may call one-day strike across Scotland Sun, 05 Dec 2010 21:23:50 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Paul Hutcheon Herald Scotland

5 Dec 2010

Concerted nationwide industrial action has moved a step closer after one of the country’s biggest trade unions backed calls to consider a one-day strike in Scotland.

Our Scottish council today passed a resolution to the effect that…we should be considering industrial action in opposition to the cuts.”

Spokesman, Unison

Unison’s Scottish council yesterday passed a resolution that could lead to several trade unions striking on the same day next month.

The call came as the UK Government pushes ahead with plans to make the deepest cuts to public spending in decades. As a result, the Scottish Government will next year suffer a £1.3billion cut to its budget.

More than 50% of the £3.3bn cuts forecast over the next four years are expected to bite in 2011-2012.

The cuts are expected to affect front-line services and provoke a response from public sector trade unions.

The first stirrings of a fightback came yesterday when Unison Scotland’s top officials met. The union, which represents tens of thousands of public sector staff, backed consideration of industrial action next month.

It is understood that Unison will now meet with other unions, including the GMB and Unite, about the possibility of a consolidated one-day strike.

Such a strike could result in tens of thousands of council and NHS staff striking simultaneously.

However, it is believed that tight labour laws make any co-ordinated approach difficult.

A spokesman for Unison said:

Our Scottish council today passed a resolution to the effect that, with other public sector trade unions, we should be considering industrial action in opposition to the cuts. That would also include considering a one-day Scottish public sector strike, early in 2011.”

He added: “Unison will now be taking that into early meetings of the public sector trade unions in January. The debate reflected the growing anger amongst our members at the impact of the austerity measures.”

The spokesman said the focus of the action would be the impact on public services of the cuts implemented by the Scottish Government.

Meanwhile, at the same meeting in Glasgow, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis called for the protection of so-called ‘Cinderella services’.

Prentis said his union had to fight to protect all services, not just those that are popular.

He said:

Not everything that is valuable is popular. Not everything that transforms lives wins applause. Will those working with young offenders be as popular as those who work in childcare? Will people supporting drug users be as voter friendly as paramedics?

Who will champion what is right, not just what is popular? I’ll tell you who. We will.”

Prentis also paid tribute to Matt Smith, who is stepping down as Unison’s Scottish Secretary – a post he has held since the trade union was set up in 1993.

Responding to the strike threat, Tory MSP Derek Brownlee said: “If the unions are angry they should target that anger at Labour who landed this country with a mountain of debt and who they bankrolled in the election.

Iain Gray [Labour leader] needs to speak out and distance himself and Labour from this irresponsible and damaging industrial action.”

A spokesperson for Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “The Scottish Government is having to deal with the ConDem UK Government cutting Scotland’s budget by £1.3bn in cash terms next year.

Two-thirds of these cuts were set in train by the previous Labour Government at Westminster, who wrecked UK public finances. The SNP Government is having to deal with firstly Labour’s and now the ConDem’s financial mistakes at Westminster.

The SNP Government is doing everything we can for public service workers in Scotland.

We are determined to continue our policy of no compulsory redundancy, are increasing wages for those on under £21,000, and are introducing a Living Wage at a minimum hourly rate of £7.15.”

A spokesman for Scottish Labour declined to comment.

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GMB Strike at West Lothian Sat, 28 Aug 2010 13:21:12 +0000 Continue reading ]]> GMB MEMBERS AT WEST LOTHIAN REFUSE SERVICE TAKE STRIKE ACTION IN PAY DISPUTE

West Lothian Council need to come back to the negotiating table to resolve this dispute, says GMB

Sixty GMB members today took strike action at West Lothian Council Refuse Service over the Councils imposition of a pay cut. The Council wants to down grade all the staff which would result in them facing a pay cut of at least £2800 per year.

After the members voted overwhelmingly for strike action they staged the first one day stoppage today.

Alex McLuckie, Senior Officer in GMB Scotland said,

“Our members are not prepared to accept this pay cut which the Council wants to impose upon them. I am delighted with the level of support for the industrial action today and the support they got from other employees and contractors. West Lothian Council need to come back to the negotiating table to resolve this dispute.”

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Scottish UNISON members reject pay offer Sat, 07 Aug 2010 17:08:05 +0000 Continue reading ]]> UNISON members in Scotland have overwhelmingly rejected a pay offer from local government employers.

The result of a consultative pay ballot was announced today, and a total of 80% voted to reject the offer, which was for a three-year deal of 1% in the first year, 0% in the second and 0.5% in the third.

UNISON and the other main unions had recommended a ‘no’ vote.

UNISON’s Scottish local government committee chair Stephanie Herd said:

“This overwhelming rejection shows how strongly our members feel about an offer that is in reality a three-year pay cut. Not only would our members and their families lose out, it would be bad news for local economies across Scotland, as members have less money to spend in local shops and businesses.

It is not surprising that our members feel angry and voted no, when chief officials in local authorities were awarded 2.5% and teachers 2.4%.

It is unacceptable to attempt to tie many of the lowest-paid public sector workers, who deliver essential front line services, into a three-year deal worth 1.5%.”

UNISON trade union side secretary and lead negotiator Dougie Black said:

“We are meeting with members of our local government committee today and with the other unions later this week to decide on the next steps in our pay campaign.

Industrial action is one of a range of possible options we will be considering. We will also be seeking an early meeting with the employers to re-open negotiations following this decisive rejection of their offer.”

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We will fight cuts all the way, warn unions Wed, 21 Apr 2010 15:46:20 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Tuesday 20 April 2010
by Malcolm Burns in Dundee

The STUC has launched a vigorous campaign to defend Scotland’s public services from the cuts agenda being promoted by all main political parties.

The Scottish unions said they stood ready to convene an urgent post-election conference to co-ordinate joint action, up to and including industrial action, against post-election cuts.

Presenting a new 11-point charter for public services in Scotland, Unison Scottish secretary Matt Smith said: “The provision of decent sustainable public services lies at the very heart of a decent society.”

“Our services are threatened as never before – not because they have failed and not because they are unaffordable, but because of the activities of a greedy few who despise public provision.”

Mr Smith slammed an “emerging political consensus on the need for savage public spending cuts” and argued that the STUC was uniquely placed to build an alternative public consensus in support of public services.

“We are saying to the people of Scotland that we will not stand idly by while attempts are made to make us all pay for the greed and folly of the few.”

Lynn Henderson of PCS said that unions would battle together to “fight the orthodoxy of the CBI and the Taxpayers’ Alliance which says ‘cuts, cuts, cuts’.”

“Why should the workers pay for the pain of a recession they did not cause?” she asked. “Those responsible continue to cream off triple-figure salaries, bonuses and golden handshakes.”

RMT delegate Alex Gordon said that the consensus among political parties was not just a perverse accident.

“They want cuts to appease the same financial markets and credit ratings agencies which caused the crisis in the first place,” he said.

“The role of our trade unions is ever more important in protecting jobs, pay and services – whoever is in power after May 6.”

Congress endorsed the Public Services Charter, entitled People First, which was launched last week, as the basis of its campaign.

The Charter’s calls include no compulsory redundancies, an end to the council tax freeze, opposition to privatisation of council services, an end to PFI/PPP and the Scottish Futures Trust and renationalisation of Scottish railways.

From the Morning Star

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RMT calls on STUC to condemn SNP ‘union-bashing’ over Scotrail Wed, 21 Apr 2010 11:56:23 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

THE SNP government at Holyrood is set today to be accused by the Scottish TUC of “union bashing as shocking as the dark days of Thatcher” – on the very day that its leader addresses delegates in Dundee.

An emergency motion from RMT, Scotland’s biggest rail union, to be debated later today, congratulates Scotrail staff who have taken six days of strike action and pledges the STUC to support the campaign against the extension of driver-only operation.

The motion (full text below) condemns the use of public money by the SNP government not only to bankroll losses by Scotrail during a dispute provoked by the company, but also to finance a strike-breaking army of scabs.

It also commits the STUC to back the campaign to see workers who were dumped with the collapse of rail contractor Jarvis to be transferred to new contractors on their existing terms and conditions.

It is a scandal that the SNP government has abused public funds to bankroll a dispute aimed at undermining rail safety,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said in Dundee today.

Our members have made clear where they stand, and that imposition of driver-only operation on the Airdrie-Bathgate line would be the thin end of the wedge that would see safety-trained guards removed wholseale.”

I am confident that Scottish trade unionists will put themselves squarely behind RMT’s determination to defend rail safety,” Bob Crow said.

RMT emergency motion to STUC on Railway Safety

Congress congratulates RMT conductors , drivers and sleeper-train managers who have taken six days strike action against plans to extend Driver Only Operation on Scottish Passenger Services. Congress pledges its full support for this dispute and states its opposition to extension of Driver Only Operation.

Congress also congratulates Elaine Smith MSP for forcing the Scottish Government to publish, on 17th March 2010, correspondence with First Scotrail which revealed the Scottish Government and Scotrail are negotiating how much tax payer’s money should be used to cover loss revenues for the dispute and pay for scab labour. Congress believes this represents a plan and coordinated level of union-bashing from the SNP government as shocking as the dark days of Thatcher.

Congress notes that the safety of the railway is also being undermined by Network Rail overseeing the sacking of hundreds of maintenance and renewals workers. The cuts are increasing the use of poorly supervised agency staff being forced to travel long distances and work long hours to find work and earn a wage. There are insecurities and low morale which in turn will have an adverse impact on how safety critical work is carried out.

Congress also notes that on 31 March 1200 Jarvis rail workers were sacked after the company went into administration and Network Rail and the UK government failed to back a rescue plan.

Congress further notes that at a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport on 15th April, RMT and TSSA were informed that former Jarvis work will be re- allocated in a “matter of days”. Congress agrees to support the campaign to ensure all former Jarvis employees are transferred under TUPE to the new contractor.

Finally Congress welcomes the STUC’s and numerous MSP’s support for the recent lobby for rail safety and pledges to continue to support this campaign.

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Scotrail strike solid as government and company hide behind each other Mon, 12 Apr 2010 16:22:04 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Rail workers to lobby Scottish Parliament over safety on Thursday

MEMBERS OF Scotland’s biggest rail union delivered another rock-solid strike this morning as RMT guards and drivers at Scotrail began a 72-hour stoppage against the imposition of driver-only operation on the Airdrie-Bathgate line.

They will be joined on the picket lines at 18:00 tomorrow by sleeper-train managers, who will strike for 48 hours in a dispute that has already seen three 24-hour stoppages by more than 550 staff over the company’s plan to undermine safety by removing guards.

The union accused the Scottish government and the company of hiding behind each other and described the government’s decision to bankroll Scotrail through the dispute as a scandalous abuse of taxpayers’ money.

Rail workers will lobby the Scottish parliament from 11:15 on Thursday (April 15) demanding action over safety, both on Scotail and at Network Rail, where the union is also in dispute over safety, jobs and conditions.

It is scandalous that Scotrail have been given a nod and a wink by the Scottish government to undermine rail safety when the transport minister should be telling the company to honour its agreements with us,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.

It is an abuse of taxpayers’ money to bankroll Scotrail’s strikebreaking tactics and indemnify the company against losses.

Our members are quite clear in their resolve that Scotrail must stick to the agreement it has with us that it will not impose further driver-only operation, and they have today delivered another rock-solid strike.

If Scotrail and Transport Scotland think this dispute will go away if they keep their eyes closed and hide behind each other they are plain wrong.

We will be taking our protest to the Scottish parliament on Thursday, and again I repeat my call for a face-to-face meeting with First Minister Alex Salmond to sort out this mess,” Bob Crow said.

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