Monday, 9 October 2017

Branch members join Pay Up Now march and rally to demand decent pay rise

Branch members joined over 5,000 public service workers as they marched through Edinburgh on 7 October as part of UNISON’s Pay Up Now! Campaign, which is keeping pressure on both the Scottish and Westminster governments to end the pay cap and give all workers a decent pay rise.

Public service employees have seen their pay held back right across the UK for almost a decade. Public sector pay rose by just 4.4% between 2010 and 2016, while the cost of living rose by 22%.

The rally was addressed by Lilian Macer, UNISON Scotland convener, general secretary Dave Prentis and Gordon McKay, the union’s senior vice president.

See the full report on the UNISON Scotland website with photos and videos of the event.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Pay Up Now! Come along to the March on 7th October and tell the Scottish and UK Governments we need a pay rise now!

Following months of UNISON pressure, the Scottish Government has said they will lift the 1% pay cap on public service workers.  That’s a welcome start, but what does it mean?

1.2%?  1.7%?  2%?  Inflation is 2.9%, so that’s still a real terms pay cut.  And what about all the pay we’ve lost over the last 10 years?

See just how much you’ve lost with our pay cut calculator

And who is it for? The Scottish Government has mentioned nurses and teachers. But what about all the rest of us. Council workers are amongst the lowest paid and local government has taken the biggest hit of job losses.

Sign UNISON's Pay Up Now Petition on the UK Parliament website. If our colleagues south of the border win a pay rise then more cash will come to Scotland for ours. It's easy to sign. Please do it now.

Don't leave it to someone else to fight for your pay
Council  workers,  NHS staff, and UNISON members from across the service groups along with their friends and families from all over Scotland, will gather at Holyrood on Saturday 7 October to show we’re serious about getting a proper pay rise.

Without you and your fellow workers there, we won't have the strong voice we need.  The government will say workers didn’t turn up, so there’s no real demand by staff for a decent pay rise.

The fun bit – Coach transport will be free, and there’s going to be free t-shirts, goodie bags for the kids, face painters, children’s entertainers, and 500 free tickets to Dynamic Earth.  What’s not to like?
Bring your kids, bring your partner, bring your granny, or just bring you!

Coaches are free, but you must book in advance.  Just call the UNISON Resource Centre on 01224 620624.  Spaces are limited, so get in touch by Monday 25 September.

Coach pick up points are:
Place Time Pickup point
Elgin 06.30 Town Hall
Inverurie 07.30 Town Hall
Aberdeen 08.00 UNISON Office, Alford Place
Place Time Pickup point
Fraserborough 06.30 Leisure Centre car park
Peterhead 07.00 Academy Bus Park
Ellon 07.30 Opposite New Inn
Aberdeen 08.00 UNISON Office, Alford Place
Coaches should be back in Aberdeen around 6pm, and after for places further north.

We will provide bottled water, but please bring a packed lunch for the day.  We will have a collection to raise money for the local CFINE Food Bank (

Saturday, 2 September 2017

UNISON Pay up Now campaign - March with us on 7th Oct for fair pay for all public service workers

UNISON's Pay up Now campaign is calling for an end to the pay restraint imposed by UK and Scottish governments which has affected members in all service groups from the NHS to Local Government to colleges and universities to police staffs and the community and voluntary sector and more.

The branch is fully behind the campaign and is calling on all our members to get down to the March and Rally on 7th October in Edinburgh. Buses are running from Aberdeen and you can book your place by calling the UNISON Resource Centre on 01224 620624.

Branch Secretary, Inez Kirk said, "For years now all public service workers have seen their pay held back by government in the name of austerity. First a freeze then a cap, resulting in public sector pay, across the UK, rising by just 4.4% between 2010 and 2016 while the cost of living rose by 22%.

"That’s no way to treat hardworking people who play such a vital role in looking after us and holding our communities together – keeping us safe, healthy, educated, and cared for."

Click here for the UNISON UK calculator and find out what your wages should have been to keep up with inflation.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Aberdeenshire UNISON branch statement on council's Equalities Outcomes 2017-21

Below is the statement which the branch has sent to all Aberdeenshire councillors as well as to the HR Equalities Team within the council.

Kathleen Kennedy speaking on equalities
Aberdeenshire Branch welcomes the council’s new Equalities Outcomes for 2017-21 with their specific focus upon disability, posted last week on Arcadia.

The branch commends the council’s Disability Confident accreditation under the Department of Work and Pensions' Disability Confident Scheme. This accreditation recognises the council’s commitment to ensure that people with disabilities and long-term health conditions feel engaged, supported and presented with opportunities to fulfil their potential within the workplace.
The branch is committed to doing everything we can to support the council in making this a reality. We are also proud that our Equalities Officer, Kathleen Kennedy is a member of the UNISON Scottish disabled members’ self-organised group and has also been active on the national disabled members’ committee and is on the standing orders committee for their conference this year.

This reflects very positively on the branch and also on Aberdeenshire Council, as Kathleen can bring her knowledge and experience gained on these groups back to the council. We will be looking for the council’s support for this work.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Sleeping in and the minimum wage

Recent legal judgements mean that an employer who requires workers to do a sleep in at their workplace must include that time in calculations for the national minimum wage.

This means that members, and potential members, who sleep in and are low paid, may be entitled to a pay rise and possible back pay.

Inez Kirk
This issue will particularly affect low-paid members in the private or community and voluntary sector who do regular sleep-ins.

But probably not those working for Aberdeenshire council because they are paid above the minimum wage.

Here Inez Kirk, Branch Secretary explains the issue:

“The law states that all workers over the age of 25 should be paid the national living wage as set by Westminster. This rate is £7.50 per hour. This means that for every hour worked this rate should be paid.

“However, this does not mean that each hour during a sleep in should be paid £7.50.

“What it does mean is that the total number of hours worked and the total pay received for those hours should meet the living wage rate.

“So, for example, if you start work at 3pm and work until 11 then sleep in for 8 hours then work from 7 until 3, your total working hours are 24.

“If you then take the total amount of pay received and divide it by 24 and it comes to above £7.50 then your pay meets the level of the national living wage. If it is below £7.50 then the law has been broken and this has to be sorted and back pay given.

“So if you were on £9.77 per hour for the above shift you would be paid 16x£9.77 = £156.32  Plus sleep in £35.41 =  £191.73

“Then divide that by the total number of hours classed as working £191.73/24 = £7.99

“This shows that pay rate is within legislation.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Local Government pay deal agreed

CoSLA has agreed the 2017/18 pay award

The pay deal is..

• Employees earning less than £35,000 a £350* increase (*pro rata based on 37 hours)
• Employees earning more than £35,000 a 1 per cent increase.
• Scottish Local Government Living Wage is the minimum pay for all pay and allowances including additional hours, contractual overtime and other allowances. It will be pensionable.

Letter to branches from Dougie Black, SJC Secretary:

I can now confirm that COSLA have at a Special Leaders Meeting now agreed the SJC Pay award for 2017/18 and the appropriate agreement for issuing to all local authorities is being drafted and will be distributed within the next few days.

The Leaders have also agreed to a joint approach to the Scottish Government making the case for additional resources for local government and if this was successful they recognise that additional money for future pay awards is a priority.

We will also be meeting with COSLA within the next few weeks to start preliminary discussions on a future Pay Strategy and hoping to conclude this by December this year.

Douglas Black
Regional Organiser/SJC Secretary
UNISON Scotland

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

UNISON legal victory sees employment tribunal fees scrapped

The branch is delighted to report that employment tribunal fees will be scrapped after UNISON won a landmark court victory against the government this morning.

The Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago.

From today, anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge.

 The government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals  since July 2013, when fees were introduced by then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling.

Anyone in England, Scotland and Wales wanting to pursue a case against their employer has had to find as much as £1,200. This has been a huge expense for many low-paid employees, says UNISON.

Reacting to this morning‘s decision, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The government is not above the law. But when ministers introduced fees they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work.

Read the full story here