Monday, 11 July 2016

North Lanarkshire Update

A reader from North Lanarkshire has shared an email in which she raises a query with the Council's chief executive, Paul Jukes, regarding the Job Evaluation Review (JER).

Now this is a perfectly reasonable question if you ask me, one that North Lanarkshire ought to have answered long before now:

'Why is an employee's length of service not being taken into account in deciding where they are placed on the NLC pay scale?"

Up till now the unions have been giving an answer to this question, even though the unions are not the employer, and the answer is that employees are always placed at the bottom of a grade when a new job evaluation system is introduced.

But this is not a new job evaluation system, of course, and the clue lies in the word 'Review' as this is a review of an existing scheme which, as regular readers know, was introduced back in 2006/07.

The whole purpose of the JE Review was to re-assess and, where necessary, correct the grades applied previously in 2006/07 which must surely mean that those with sufficient service go the the top of the appropriate pay scale, if you ask me.

So let's hope that the Council starts explaining itself and the JE Review decision making process are clearly because this is not the responsibility of the local trade unions.


Dear Mr Jukes,

I am writing regarding the recent job evaluation that was done for Home Support Workers. I have been employed with North Lanarkshire Council for 15 years past in January 2016 and I have worked my way up my grade gaining increments and was at the top of the spinal column for my grade. 

Since the job re evaluation I have been placed on the second spinal column meaning my rate of pay is the same as workers who have only been in the post for a couple of months. 

As you are Head of Services I am looking for your help in clarifying this situation as myself and colleagues in the same position are feeling utterly disheartened by the blatant discrimination we are experiencing and have had no information from North Lanarkshire Council or Unison. 

I would appreciate if you could explain to me how a worker with no experience can be paid the same as someone with 15 years and above experience, I find it totally baffling as to how this has came about and would be grateful for your input on this matter.

Kind Regards


**STOP PRESS** (28/06/16)

A kind reader has been in touch to say that has received an explanation, of sorts at least, from her trade union about the new grades arising from the late-running NLC job evaluation (JE) review and where people are being placed on their new pay scales. 

Apparently, the trade unions' position is that employees are automatically placed at the bottom of the appropriate spinal column, if their job is upgraded following a JE exercise.

Now I haven't seen this advice as yet, but the whole point about the recent job evaluation in North Lanarkshire is that the latest JE Review is intended to correct the mess that was made last time around in 2006/07.

So these are not really 'new' grades in the normal sense of the word, but grades that should have been in place many years ago.

In which case putting people to the bottom of the pay scale is not the right thing to do, if you ask me.

North Lanarkshire Update (19/06/16)

A number of readers from North Lanarkshire have been in touch to ask if the Council's late-running job evaluation (JE) review has awarded grade NLC 6 to night shift Home Care Workers rather than NLC 7.

Well that's certainly my reading of the report to the Policy & Resources Committee, but there's nothing in the document to explain or justify any difference between day and night shift workers. 

As ever, the solution is for the Council to publish full details of the scheme so people can see what is being proposed for themselves, but even now the workforce is being kept in the dark.

Quite deliberately, I would say, and the trade unions appear to be acting as cheerleaders for the Council instead of standing up for the interests of their lowest paid members.

His Master's Voice (18/06/16)

The trade unions in North Lanarkshire have shown their willingness in recent weeks to act as a mouthpiece for the Council, as this post on the future of the Home Care services demonstrates only too well. 

Days later the unions issue a joint press release with North Lanarkshire extolling the virtues of the late-running job evaluation (JE) review, yet the full details of this review have still not been released and the workforce remains firmly in the dark.

Strange days indeed and ordinary union members could be forgiven for asking what they are paying their union dues for, especially when the level of service and support  is so poor.

NLC Update (27/05/16)

Image result for his master's voice

A kind reader from North Lanarkshire sent me the following statement which has appeared on the Facebook page of the local Unison branch.


"in light of recent concerns over the future of home support, the bench asked the council to clarify its position on privatisation and TUPE transfer of home support workers.

"the council have assured UNISON that there are NO PLANS to privatise and TUPE transfer home support and that Cllr McCulloch's statement earlier this month where he said that privatisation was off the table still stands."

Now I think's it's a good thing that the union has been stirred into action, but why is Unison speaking on the Council's behalf?

Surely a senior figure from North Lanarkshire Council should be seeking these words 'on the record' was it were, otherwise they're not worth the paper they're not written on - as an old friend of mine was fond of saying.

Not only that, a clear statement of the Council's position should be sent to the Joint Integration Board of Lanarkshire's Health and Social Care Partnership so that the record can be set straight at its next meeting.