Monthly Archives: June 2013

Pay Ballot Update, 13 June

The UNISON National Joint Committee (NJC) met this morning to consider the outcome of the branch consultation over the 2013-14 1% pay offer.

59% of members voting accepted the offer – with 41% rejecting. However, 78% of branches voted to accept the offer.

The turnout was 12.43%, down from 16.56% in 2009 when a similar ballotPay Matters too place.

The NJC Committee voted to accept the offer, while noting that it was completely insulting and did not come anywhere near our aspirations. The Committee agree that we should maintain a high profile campaign from now on, with a view to a better offer next year and building towards industrial action next year in the event that the offer in 2014 is not acceptable.

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UNISON NEC Update

The national executive council Results

The National Executive Council (NEC) members are elected by all members of UNISON via a postal vote. Members elect candidates to represent their region and their service group. There are also additional seats for Black members and young members.

Elections take place every two years and the latest one has now taken place. For the London region seats the following four members were re-elected:

  • Greater London: Kim Silver; Helen Davies; Jon Rogers; Irene Stacey.

For the local government service group seat the following members were elected:

  • Local government: Paul Holmes; Lynn Poulton; Wendy Nichols; Paul Gilroy.

And for the national seats the following members were elected:

  • Black members’ seats: Elizabeth Cameron; April Ashley; Calvin Smeda; Abiola Kusoro.
  • Young members’ seat: Daniel Goodwin.

Commiserations to Sonya Howard who stood for the local government national seat who polled almost 13,000 votes but was piped to the post.  

Turn out across these elections was a mere 5%.

NEC Meeting Report

Two of the Greater London NEC members, Helen Davies and Jon Rogers, have written a personal report dealing with last week’s meeting of our NEC which can be viewed here.

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1% Pay Offer Ballot Result

Indicative Ballot Results

UNISON asked branches nationally to run an indicative vote on whether they wished to accept or reject the 1% pay offer. 

Kensington & Chelsea UNISON results were;

REJECT 76%

ACCEPT 24%

The vast majority of members who took part in this indicative ballot were in favour of rejecting the 1% pay offer.

All UNISON regions will now return their results to the Local Government section by Wednesday 12 June. They will collate all the results from the branches.

The UNISON National Joint Committee will meet to on 13 June to considerVote the outcome of this consultation and decide its next course of action based on the responses.

Thank you to all members who have taken part in this ballot and the Branch will keep you informed of any further developments.

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George Binette Addresses May’s Branch Meeting

George Binette, Branch Secretary of Camden UNISON, was guest speaker atGerige Binette last week’s Branch Meeting. He spoke on the background to the pay freeze, the effects of the austerity measures on the local government workforce, and the need to reject the 1% pay offer and make a stand now:

“Camden UNISON is one of only 3 branches in London with over 3,000 members.

Public sector workers in Scotland are balloted separately from those in England and Wales. They have rejected the 1% pay offer and the process of initialling industrial action in now underway. England and Wales are still considered under consultation.

From October this year the National Minimum Wage will rise to £6.31 per hour (for those 21 and over) which means that scale point 4 will fall below this leaving the local government employers little choice but to scrap it. About 25,000 to 30,000 of local government workers are currently on just £6.30 per hour, which illustrates how far public pay has been eroded since the introduction of the pay freeze.

Real pay in the public service between 2009 and 2013 has fallen by more than 15% – where as living costs have grown at a high level: Rents in the private sector in London have risen by 8%; public transport fares have increased by 4%; the average cost of a basket of goods in a supermarket has gone up by a massive 40% in the last 6 years. Therefore all public sector workers have been hit twice with a reduction in pay and an increase in living expenses.

With inflation currently running at between 2.4% – 2.9% the 1% pay increase will actually be a 1.4% – 1.9% pay reduction in real terms.

Under the Labour administration the pay freeze was implemented for local government workers only. In May 2010 when the coalition government came into power the pay freeze became extended across the whole public sector becoming the norm. The Chancellor of the Exchequer held out an olive branch of £250 pay increase for the lowest paid workers but most local authorities did not implement it (only about 1/5 did).

On 7 May the NJC (National Joint Council for Local Government Services) with representatives from all regions, met to discuss the employer’s side final pay offer. They narrowly rejected a motion to reject the 1% pay offer and go for industrial action by 14 to 13 votes.

The wider union membership will be consulted in the next four weeks to ascertain if members will accept the 1% offer. If rejected the unions will have to move towards a ballot for industrial action. This will of course not guarantee success and is costly for members.

However it must be borne in mind that the 30 November 2011 strike over the pension changes to the local government scheme did result in better conditions and outcome (though it did not deliver everything the unions were asking for).

The situation outside local government is that the two biggest teaching unions – the NUT and NASUWT – have announced that they intend to have a programme of regional industrial action. The first set of action will take place on 27 June in the North West.

Furthermore the PCS and the fire brigade unions are also in contention with the government and are about to launch more industrial action to fight for their jobs and pay.

So we would not be isolated if we took action.

As all local government workers are very well aware, the pay freeze has not saved any jobs: Between 350,000 and 400,000 jobs have been lost so far. In Camden alone there have been 550 redundancies.

 If local government does not stand up this year to fight for pay then next year the government will continue to repress wages and it is important that members draw a line under pay.”

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