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Inside

UNISON Retired Members

Teachers, Civil Servants, Lecturers March 28th: Pension strikes are back on (but not for us)

City and County of Swansea

Review Tories & Lib-Dem's cut our pay again imed £98,740 and cla Grayling: paid 08 - 09 20 in e ns pe £157,333 ex

paid £1million and Gove: 'worth' Murdoch rt pe Ru by ar £60,000 a ye

UNISON, UNITE and GMB stated recently that even more local government workers will fall into the trap of poverty, as the local government employers confirmed that they would impose a pay freeze for the third year running. More than 1.6 million workers will be hit, even those on the lowest wages who will not get the £250 minimum increase promised to them in Chancellor George Osborne’s June 2010 budget – for the second year in a row. A recent survey by UNISON revealed that pay in the public sector has already been slashed by 13% in the last three years alone, which has contributed to stripping wages down to 1990’s levels. More than a quarter of the workforce now earn less than the Living Wage of £7.20 per hour, and many are forced to rely on benefits and tax credits to keep their heads above water. Any change in their family’s situation can drag them into poverty. At the same time, Chief Executive pay in local government has risen by a massive 59% between 1998 and 2007**. UNISON head of local government, Heather Wakefield, said: “Many local government workers are in work, but in poverty. It is a disgrace that their pay will be frozen for the third year running – forcing even more into the poverty trap. Many of them will be women

Public Service Not Private Profit

Cameron: paid £142,500 and has personal fortune of £3.2million

working in vital jobs in our local communities – like caring for the elderly, or for young children, or helping the vulnerable. “Not even the lowest paid in local government will get the £250 increase the Chancellor promised them – they didn’t get it last year either. Families can no longer cope. This cannot go on – councils do have other choices such as increasing council tax, or using their considerable reserves. The employers must think again, and at the very least come through with the £250 minimum increase for the lowest paid.” Unite national officer, Peter Allenson, said: "Local government workers are under sustained attack. Staff have endured a decade of below inflation pay increases and freezes. Now attacks on pensions, conditions and massive job cuts have heaped misery upon misery. “It is time that local government employers face the fact that they have a crisis on their hands. Failure to act will push even more workers into poverty and damage local government services. Staff need a substantial pay increase this year. Unite will be meeting its activists across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and fully supports its members in any action they are prepared to take for pay justice."

received £700,000 and Lansley: 'worth' ivate company pr m fro n tio £21,000 dona

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary, said: “GMB members will be devastated at the news they have to make ends meet without a pay rise for the third year running. The Chancellor promised that low paid public sector workers would get some protection against the cuts - so will he reign in the Conservative-controlled council leaders who have made a mockery of that promise? “This 3-year pay freeze is not an austerity measure, it is a deliberate political choice by local government politicians who want to win votes by keeping pay at poverty levels to fund council tax freezes. Council leaders and chiefs who vote themselves ever higher allowances and salaries are a despicable bunch and rank as the very worst employers I’ve ever come across.” With rising costs with water rates, utility bills and food-costs - to name just a few all the above underlines the importance of continuing to fight on pensions. The current year is just the first year of predicted austerity. We also cannot expect Labour to be any help with our pay, as Miliband recently agreed with the Tory pay freeze. Fellow public-servants but not local government workers - are striking on March 28th (see inside) and all members are urged to support them. ♦

March 2012


Teachers, Civil Servants, Le Pension fight is back on UNISON will not be on strike on March 28th, but civil servants, teachers and lecturers probably will be. Those unions are currently in 'consultation' with their members as this newsletter goes to press, and will be on strike if the result of the consultation is positive. This will be great news for every trade unionist who wants to fight the government’s austerity plans. The next round of action is supported by the NUT teachers’ union, the PCS civil service workers’ union, lecturers belonging to UCU, the EIS Scottish teachers’ union and civil service workers in Unite. Other unions and sectors may join the action too. This means over 700,000 workers are now preparing to take part in the next phase of the battle.

Review, some unions rejected, and some accepted, an outline deal as a basis for negotiation. This outline deal is called the 'Heads of Agreement' - those unions that rejected this outline deal are those which are on strike on March 28th, unless developments change. After a series of pension summits and national meetings Unison nationally accepted the Heads of Agreement as a basis for talks. However many branches, including the City and County of Swansea branch. Firstly, the government was happy with it which indicated it was no good for us. Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, said that the proposed deal did not mean any additional money has been made available. Secondly, the ‘agreement’ only delays the in employee As reported in the January Unison increase

contributions that was due to be imposed between 2012 and 2015 to pay the Treasury’s £900 million pensions tax. Finally, the Heads of Agreement has no detail in it The government say we can negotiate on all the complex elements of the pension schemes elements - but only within the same “cost envelope” so that any improvement in one element has to be paid by worsening another for example for lower contributions we would have to accept working even longer than proposed or getting even worse pensions when we retire. Since negotiations started, and despite a positive gloss being put on them by union leaders who should be fighting rather than engaging in fruitless talks, very little seems to have emerged from negotiations. In other words the reason we came out on action -

that the attacks mean we will pay ref more, work longer and get less - iss remains the same. peo In a further recent move the No government has also now me declared the negotiations are cha over. The Tories will now try to 'fin impose serious attacks on our talk pensions. This is despite the fact pla that a number of union leaderships ord have rejected the plans and many the are still consulting members. Mark for Serwotka, General Secretary of con the PCS, said in response to this spi on March 9th: Th "Over more than a year, dis ministers have refused to budge ma from their entirely unnecessary no and politically-motivated attempt yea to force public servants to pay pa more and work longer for a lea worse pension. They have unp consistently refused to listen to acr the genuine concerns of their Un staff and others, and have str

Single Status update As you will be aware the Authority has been seeking to introduce a pay and grading exercise (also known as job evaluation) since 1996. In December 2010 changes to terms and conditions and amendment of together with new HR Policies were added to the package. Since then joint trade unions have been in regular intensive negotiations with the Authority – in particular attending job evaluation panels where employees’ job are scrutinised and placed in a job family via a role profile (formerly known as a job description). Each job is given a points score which is then matched to a pay structure known as a pay model. Originally the Authority produced 8 pay models. This has now been reduced to 1 which, at present results, in terms of pay, in around 30% staff losing, 26% staying the same and 44% gaining. In contrast to this Unison-led joint trade unions have suggested an alternative pay model which, even though more expensive, but not massively so, would reduce those losing money to around 15%. One thing that we agree with the Authority on is that negotiations are progressing well but there are a number of outstanding issues such as pay protection, shift allowances, Appeals procedure, bank holiday protection, overtime rates, professional registration fees including practising certificates, bank holiday rates, standby payments. This list is not exhaustive. In tandem with this trade union reps and the job evaluation team are meeting regularly to hopefully mitigate against those who are losing the most under the Authority’s pay model. So you can see that there is still a lot of work being done and a lot still to do. The Project Sponsor, Patrick Arran, will be presenting a report to Cabinet on 26.3.12 with basically 2 options: either to continue negotiating or to impose the Authority’s present pay model on the workforce. Given the above we hope and expect the Authority will continue to negotiate. Mike Davies, Joint Branch Secretary


Could strike on the day:

ecturers:

fused to negotiate on the key sues that brought two million ople out on strike last ovember. Ministers' obstinacy eans we have this ludicrous arade of what is now our fourth nal' offer...we will continue to k to other unions about anning further widespread codinated industrial action and ere is as much reason as ever r our members to vote in our nsultation ballot to reject these iteful cuts."

is means that the pension spute is not over, as members ay have wrongly believed after further strikes were called last ar. On 30 November we took rt in the largest strike action in at ast a generation, in an precedented display of unity ross public sector unions. nfortunately this magnificent ike was a long time ago. If the

new action is going to be successful then there are serious questions to be answered. All the unions in favour of the next round of action are recommending rejection of the deal and support for further national and sectional action. Given that the strike on 28 March will be smaller than the 30th November action, this does not mean they cannot win, and it does not mean that we cannot join them at a later date. The 30th November strikes were brilliant but they contained an inbuilt weakness the fight was always conducted at the pace of the slowest union. That meant the gaps between the 30th June and 30th November (five months) and 30 november and 28 March (four months) were far too big. Momentum built up was lost waiting for the next strike. Many public sector workers will now be involved in their third or fourth strike day. The mood of those workers is going to harden

as they make greater sacrifices and will rightly expect other workers not to cross their picket lines. On 28 March, GMB and Unison members in schools, colleges and possibly hospitals may be confronted by picket lines of workers who are fighting to save the same pensions we have. We owe it to our fellow public sector workers not to cross their picketlines if they are at our workplaces. Strikes of 700,000 workers can beat the government and The 28th March is not intended to be a token strike, as Mark Serwotka has also said, “There are fewer of us, so we need to do more, and at a faster pace than we did before". This should be welcomed as a serious attempt to develop a strategy that can win and demonstrates the need to draw up a plan of further national and sectional strikes in the aftermath of the 28 March with the need for us to join them in a fast-changing dispute.

What you can do: Do not cross picket-lines on March 28th if they are at your workplace

Join the rally on March 28th - Castle Square, 1pm - and support other public servants on strike National UNISON Conference Members are invited to give expressions of interest for attending Local Government Conference on 17th and 18th June and National Delegate Conference between 19th and 22nd June. The deadline to express an interest in being a delegate is 16th March to the branch office. Delegates will be expected to attend both conferences. Both conferences are in Bournemouth. As a Branch we can send 6 delegates and we have to abide by national Unison rules in terms of proportionality, sending a mix of low paid, women, young members etc.

UCU—members under consultation until 13 March NUT—consultation vote closes 14 March PCS—consultation until 16 March EIS—consultation until 15 March UCAC (Wales)—rejected government offer, in negotiations about joining strike INTO (Northern Ireland)—also rejected and in negotiations with other unions NASUWT—rejected the government offer, unclear whether it will join strike Unite (Ministry of Defence)— Rejected offer and discussing action with the PCS Unite health—consultation until 19 March Nipsa—could join strike

Other unions in dispute: British Medical Association —rejected deal and is now preparing to ballot for action short of a strike. Could workto-rule in May Royal College of Nursing— 62 percent voted to reject offer on 16 percent turnout. It now intends to meet the other health unions FBU—consulting members Unison (health)—service group executive met recently and voted to defer any decision until late March or early April Society of Radiographers, Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and Royal College of Midwives—all intend to consult members once final offer is out Unison (local government)— awaiting results of negotiations Unite (local government)— rejected offer in January, but rejoined negotiations last month GMB—awaiting results of negotiations


Support Unison retired-members

YOUR UNION

I retired last March after 38 years working in Local Government, working at Swansea City Council, West Glamorgan County Council and the last 15 years working for the City and County of Swansea. When I retired due to ER/VR I was made aware that your branch had a retired members section, which really interested me! During my working years I met and made some great friends and I was, to be honest, a little sad to say my farewells but nevertheless looking forward to a new way of life. Unison retired members are an important organising asset as we continue to be committed to protecting our public services and have a wealth of personal experience to contribute to our campaigns. Retired members often have time, experience and help to give which can be a real benefit to your branch if they are short of help and support on occasions.

At the first meeting I attended, which was in June 2011 held at the Civic Centre, I was full of apprehension. Who will I meet there? What would be on the agenda? Would I see any of my old colleagues? Well there was no need to be apprehensive, it was great to see old faces as I made my way to the committee room and yes there were several old work mates there too. So what do we discuss, well the group is not really political however we do discuss what is topical in the Branch and always support you, the members, who are still working. On arrival we enjoy tea and biscuits and catch up with other retired friends. Our social secretary arranges two trips a year, the choice of where is left to us to decide, also we all get together each Christmas and enjoy lunch. Last year we dined at the Guildhall’s Kent Room. At our meetings we usually have guest speakers who present a variety of interesting subjects.

Contact us:

Unison retired member’s enjoy all the benefits of Unison membership including, • Legal Services. • Welfare support. • Special discounts and offers on a wide range of financial and other services. If you’ve been a Unison member for at least two years on the day you retire and have either received state pension or get a pension, you can become a retired member. There is a one off payment of £15. If you would like to join us please contact your Branch Office at the Guildhall where you can give your details, and in turn this information will be passed onto me and I will contact you with details of our meetings. Or if you wish to e-mail, my e-mail address is pimms88@sky.com Peter Ryan. Secretary, Swansea Unison Retired Members Group.

Unison Office The Guildhall Swansea SA1 4PE 01792 635271

unison@swansea.gov.uk

Joint Branch Secretaries: Nicky Symons & Mike Davies Unison has over 100 trained union reps throughout the council, schools and FE colleges. We will advise, support and represent you collectively and individually on issues from sickness, discipliners to legal matters inside and outside the workplace. If you need advice or representation please contact the Senior Steward(s) for your department below or go to your workplace steward. Alternatively please contact the branch office.

Environment Ian Alexander - 07584 505793 Tony Dearden - 07971 121533 Pat Lopez - 07584 505792 Social Services Alison Bell - 07941 757853 Bill Williams - 07557 560092 Resources Gareth Parry - 07584 341240

Sports & Social website: www.suss.me.uk

Education Chris Bell - 07967 551025 Karen Verallo - 07771 922985 Regeneration/Housing John Llewellyn - 07557 560093 Roger Owen - 07941819229 Gower College Ron Job - 07963 454041

www.unison.co.uk

This newsletter is produced by the City and County of Swansea Unison Branch. Any letters, comments or suggestions for articles should be posted to the branch address or emailed to Unison@swansea.gov.uk. Correspondence is not guaranteed to be published and contents may not necessarily reflect Unison policy.


March 2012 Newsletter  

trade union newsletter

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