Monday, 22 October 2018
Message From Annemarie
Annemarie O'Donnell has sent another of her lengthy missives to the Glasgow workforce on the eve of its historic strike in support of equal pay, although the chief executive has, on this occasion, avoided using the term 'Council Family'.
As ever Annemarie's letter is 'economical' with the truth and two points in particular need correcting:
1. The Council has refused to talk to the trade unions while industrial action is underway or is being planned - and so there have been no negotiations (never mind extensive negotiations) to avert strike action on 23 and 24 October 2018.
2. The Claimants Side has never agreed that it would take at least until December 2018 to reach a settlement. Instead the Claimants signed up to a settlement process based upon 'serious negotiations' which, sadly, have never taken place - after more than 10 months and 21 separate meetings with senior council officials.
The reason there's a strike is that after all this time is that the Council has refused to get down to 'brass tacks' and tackle the serious issues at the heart of this dispute - including which comparators to use in deciding compensation for the claimants.
The Council's stubbornness is also the reason that all of the outstanding equal pay claims are heading back to the Employment Tribunals.
So the litigation over equal pay has not ended - all that's happened is that the focus has shifted to another court.
Subject: MESSAGE FROM ANNEMARIE O'DONNELL
I wrote you at the beginning of this month to advise you of the intended strike action by Unison and GMB on 23rd and 24th October, over the council’s equal pay settlement.
Unfortunately, despite council officers’ extensive negotiations with the unions, the industrial action will still go ahead as planned over the next two days.
I want to be clear that, if you are a member of either union and were balloted for industrial action, you have every right to withdraw your labour and I fully appreciate that your Trade Union is asking you to take part in a wholly legal strike. You also have every right to campaign for a fair settlement to equal pay and I understand why you would feel anger about this issue.
However, this strike will have a profound impact on the safety of some of our most vulnerable citizens and at worst will result in the loss of life.
Late last week, it became clear that the trade unions would not honour their agreement to help provide life and limb services; meaning we had to write again to our Homecare recipients to warn that more of them than anticipated will now receive no care for the whole of the 48 hours.
It has also resulted in the council taking the decision to close all early years, additional support for learning and primary schools across the city on the affected days.
Our secondary schools will remain open with contingency plans for cold lunches for young people entitled to free school meals.
We understand that our staff who are parents and carers of elderly relatives will need to make alternative arrangements to make sure their family are cared for during the industrial action.
I would ask that council managers use their discretion when granting council staff either flexi leave or annual leave to enable them to carry out any caring responsibilities – it’s very important that our most vulnerable receive the care they deserve at this time.
And on a more practical note, road closures around the City Chambers will also be in force on 23rdand 24th October for filming purposes – please be advised by council staff and film production staff as to the best access points to the building.
A march is also planned by Unison – starting at Glasgow Green – and finishing with a gathering in George Square.
Finally, the council is committed to reaching a settlement on equal pay by negotiation. In January, the council and claimants agreed that this would take until at least December – and the Trade Unions signed up to that timescale on your behalf.
As we have said publically many times – there will be a settlement offer from the council in December; at least for all of those still at the table.