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Date: Wed 9 January 2013

UNISON warns Borders Council against breaking from national pay framework

Local government union UNISON today called on Borders Council to step back from imposing an unpopular pay and conditions deal on its workforce. The move would introduce a two-tier workforce – leaving new staff significantly worse off - at a time when a Scottish Government and STUC protocol aims to eradicate these. 

UNISON - along with the other staff unions Unite and GMB - wants the local authority to return to talks based around the respected national pay framework. 

Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary of UNISON, said:
“Borders Council has decided to unilaterally impose a separate set of terms and conditions on new staff which amount to pay cuts over and above the wage freeze our members have had to face for years now. None of the unions were involved in any discussion about this with CoSLA, the local government employers’ body. The Scottish Government, CoSLA and the unions support the aim of a Living Wage for all workers providing public services – what Borders Council is now doing runs directly counter to that aim. 

“This move by Borders Council is unacceptable – there is already a national pay framework which is respected by all the unions and all other councils. We will be raising the issue with CoSLA at the first opportunity. In the meantime we call on Borders Council to step back from imposing this and return to talk to the three unions about an agreed way forward within the national framework.” 

UNISON’s Borders local government branch has joined with Unite and GMB to plan a joint campaign against the unpopular move by the council.

Branch secretary Edith Moody said:
“We are angry that our employers the Borders Councillors have seen fit to impose this on us against national agreements and without any proper consultation.

“It is absolutely unfair for new staff to join on different and worse terms and conditions. They will be on spot pay at the bottom of the grade. This flies in the face of the job evaluation scheme outcomes and, in our view, could potentially leave the council open to equal pay claims

“Borders Council is one of the main employers in this area where work is increasingly hard to find. They are doing this because they believe they can get away with it. But the impact on the community of this seems totally missed by the council.

“The pay freeze has already led to a long term decrease of money within the area, and we fear that more young people will potentially leave the area to find better paid work which will further damage the local economy.”

ENDS 

For further information please contact:
Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary, 07939 143 355
Janet Stewart, Regional Organiser, 07958 121120
Edith Moody, UNISON Borders branch secretary, on 01896 757839 or 077 301 687 03
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 07508 876 995
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 078765 66978

Notes for editors

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working mainly in the public sector in Scotland and represents staff in all of Scotland’s local authorities.

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