Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Glasgow - Breaking News!

Stefan Cross just posted this Facebook update on settlement meeting No.13 with the City Council and the good news is that it seems we can all wish a not so fond farewell to Glasgow's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR.

Now we are not out of the woods yet and there's a way to go before we reach a settlement of all the outstanding equal pay claims, but this is a big step forward, if you ask me.

More to follow including a statement which has just been released by the Glasgow Unison branch - so watch this space.



Meeting 13 with the council was, for once, not unlucky but generally good news. 

The big news is that the officers confirmed to us,and the JES working group today, that they will be formally recommending to Council the abandonment of WPBR and seeking authority to negotiate a replacement.

However, this is not yet a done deal because this is a political decision for the CAC joint working group (I think that’s what it’s called) which doesn’t meet until 28th June. (God their bureaucracy is slow!). We will get draft report copied to us 2nd June and full report 21st June.

But unless the politicians reject the recommendations it will be BYE BYE WPBR. This is a huge step forward.

Of course, this now means a huge amount of work, especially for the trade union side reps, to agree a replacement and for all of us to consider how this impacts on settlement. But, at last, there seems to be some urgency from the council officers and a commitment to resolve matters and not just deal with process. We’re not there yet by any means but another massive step in the right direction.

THIS IS ALL DOWN TO YOU! I have no doubt that the consultative strike ballot and your demonstrations have had a big impact. THANK YOU!

These meetings are one hell of a rollercoaster. After the last set of awful meetings the atmosphere yesterday couldn’t have been more different. We did have a different council rep chairing the meeting which may have made a difference but there’s no doubt we made progress.

Big headlines on top of the WPBR announcement - they have agreed to give us a proper timetable for talks including an expected END DATE. We hope this will be before the end of the year. As soon as we have the timetable we will let you know.

Next, they agreed to set up two more sub groups, one to deal with methodology (eg how to calculate hourly rates - this sounds easy but it’s actually really hard with WPBR ). This has already had its first meeting.

The second is a legal sub group. Sounds boring, probably will be, but is very important as it will be first time that we get to discuss the nuts and bolts of the claims. This has set its first meeting for 6th June. Unfortunately we probably won’t be able to tell you much about what happens there as the discussions are likely to be confidential.

We were also led to believe that steps are being put in place to seek the necessary external funding. Nothing confirmed but again a welcome sign that, at last, officers are getting serious.

There was even some contrition (shock) as they admitted that we, the claimant side, had been fast and they had been slow ( or ssssssllllloooooowwwwwww) in dealing with these matters. A small point, but important, because it helps to rebuild some trust between the negotiating teams.

That’s the good news. Bad news is that they rejected our offer and had no proposals to make. This means that we are really back to the beginning and, IMO, they’ve wasted 6 months , or 9 months if you include the daft 3 months spent preparing an appeal. But it finally looks as if we can now have serious discussions, hopefully with the same team on their side as yesterday.

Finally, does this mean the end of strike action? This is a matter for the unions but I would have said, not yet. I believe that there were 3 concrete demands, end WPBR, a proper deadline for settlement and sort out funding. If I’m wrong I have no doubt I’ll be told (and very loudly!). Of those demands, They have all been promised (some more definitely than others) but not yet delivered. So we’re not there yet.

Overall, the mood music was much better yesterday and there were some good practical steps taken BUT and it’s a big BUT, there is a long way to go and a hell of a lot of work to do, but at least that work has now started.

Any questions, put them in the comments and I will check and reply to those I can.

Stefan Cross