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Showing posts from March, 2007

GLASGOW - STOP PRESS - NEW CONTRACT

Glasgow City Council has issued another letter to those employees who have not signed up to the new contract - mainly people who are pursuing an equal pay claim with Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross. Our advice up till now has been NOT to sign the new contract - because this could potentially compromise your ongoing equal pay claim. But having looked carefully at the details of the latest letter, the council is now saying that the new terms will be imposed on all employees from 1 April onwards, which puts a different complexion on things. In effect, the council is now forcing the new terms on everyone - whether they like it or not - and this gets round the dilemma of people signing up on a voluntary basis. SO - FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF ANY DOUBT - YOU CAN NOW SIGN THE NEW CONTRACT WITHOUT COMPROMISING YOUR ONGOING CLAIM!

Budget Blues

Budgets are all about making hard choices. Whether it's the government of the day, a local council or the NHS - budgets involve a process by which an organisation considers spending priorities for the future and then allocates the resources needed to meet those priorities. Simple, really. The budget for the Scottish Parliament has doubled in the past 10 years - and so government spending allocated to the NHS and local councils has roughly doubled as well - with councils able to raise even more money locally via the council tax, which has increased by 68% since 1999. In 2006, Scotland's councils were publicly criticised for building up massive reserves of £1.4 billion - money which could have been spent on services or to reduce council tax bills. In 2007, the latest government budget has also allocated the Scottish Parliament an extra £1.8 billion over the next three years - over and above the spending which is already in the pipeline. How this enormous sum will be s

Union Speaks with Forked Tongue

Not for the first time, the unions in Glasgow are speaking with forked tongues. The GMB is proclaiming a great victory for Home Care Coordinators who have been partially successful in an appeal about their new grades - introduced after a local pay and benefits review (more commonly known as a job evaluation scheme). As ever, the reality is very different from the GMB's propaganda. Home Care Coordinators had been placed on the same grade as the people they supervise - and so were getting no recognition for the additional responsibilities required in their jobs, which job evaluation is supposed to be all about! After winning on only one ground of appeal, there has been a slight improvement in their pay scale which now runs from £16,359 for a new entrant to £17,883 for an experienced worker - even though both are required to carry out the same duties and deal with the same range clients! But, what the GMB fails to say is that even the highest paid Home Care Coordinator is st

Glasgow City Council

The following statement has been agreed following recent talks with Glasgow City Council: "Discussions have been taking place with Glasgow City Council officials about a possible settlement of the equal pay claims submitted on behalf of clients of Stefan Cross. No agreement has been reached, as yet, and more talks will be arranged in the near future. In the meantime, the Pre-Hearing Review dates for the Glasgow cases (originally scheduled for 21 - 27 March) have been postponed. Both sides have agreed to make no further public comment beyond the terms of this brief written statement." We will provide a fuller explanation as soon as we are able to do so - and details will appear here on this web site - so watch this space.

Life at the Top

Glasgow City Council's chief executive, George Black, has been receiving a terrible press following the announcement of a £30,000 bonus which he gets paid for acting as the chief returning officer in the May 2007 elections. The £30,000 is on top of his CEO salary of £154,000 and is fully pensionable - so it will add to his retirement lump sum and is worth an extra £15,000 for life - assuming maximum service in the pension scheme. Now acting as the chief returning officer in the elections is a big responsibility, but whether it's worth £300,000 of public money (£15,000 x 20 years) is another question altogether. Seems a hell of a lot to pay someone who's still doing their day and getting handsomely paid into the bargain. Now It should be said that George Black is a decent, hard working and honourable individual who has made a significant contribution to the City of Glasgow - but he hasn't negotiated this nice little earner all by himself. Oh no! It's down to

Latest hearing dates

Here are the latest case management hearing dates agreed with the Employment Tribunals (ET) - please note that these arrangements are sometimes subject to change at very short notice. So, anyone wishing to attend a particular hearing should phone the relevant tribunal office to confirm the details in advance. 26 March Clackmannanshire Council - Glasgow 28 and 29 March Midlothian Council - Edinburgh 11 April West Lothian Council - Edinburgh 12 April Tayside Contracts - Dundee 12 April Perth & Kinross Council - Dundee 16 April Scottish Borders Council - Edinburgh 20 April Angus Council - Dundee 20 and 23 April (Time Bar Claims) North Ayrshire Council 1 May Scottish NHS claims - Glasgow 2 May Edinburgh City Council - Edinburgh 16 May Stirling Council - Glasgow 16 May North Ayrshire Council - Glasgow 22 May (provisional date) Falkirk Council - Glasgow 5 June East Ayrshire Council - Glasgow 11 June Argyll & Bute Council - Glasgow 13 Jun

Health Minister Trumps Iron Chancellor

Scotland's nurses have won a small, yet very welcome, victory over the implementation of their pay award for 2007 - hip, hip, hooray! Gordon Brown, the chancellor, announced last week that the pay award of 2.5% would be staged - 1.5% in April and the remaining 1% in November 2007 - thereby reducing its value over a full year to only 1.9%. Step forward Andy Kerr, Scotland's health minister, who abruptly overturned the decision yesterday by declaring that the Scottish Parliament (which runs the NHS in Scotland after all - not Gordon Brown) would be honouring the pay award in full - no ifs, buts or maybes. Good for him! Although it does have to be said that the reason for this sudden change of heart and outbreak of in-fighting amongst senior Labour ministers is all too obvious - the Scottish Parliament and council elections are now only 6 weeks away. And so before anyone gets too carried away with celebrations and mutual backslapping it's as well to remember two vital

Questions and answers

Malcolm - in connection with an earlier posting - asked if it was possible to post information on the web site about Job Evaluation (JE) and JE Appeals. Unfortunately, the answer is no - because the sheer volume of information is so great and the position can vary from employer to employer - so it's really not practical to put all this data on the web. However, it may be possible to send you information direct via e-mail - my own e-mail address is - markirvine@compuserve.com If you send your queries to me, I will try and answer them as quickly as possible. You should also read the detailed advice posted about job evaluation and appeals - which can be found under the entries on this site dated 29 January and 10 February 2007.

Trade union contacts

A number of people have been in touch to say that they are still having difficulty in contacting or obtaining advice from their trade union - and is there any way of improving/speeding things up? Well you might be better off e-mailing the regional secretary of your trade union instead of going through the local branch (which often takes forever) or trying to phone via an office switchboard. The other advantage of e-mail is that it creates a permanent record of what you are saying and it's as good as writing a letter, but a lot quicker and easier. So the names and e-mail addresses of the regional secretaries for the big three unions are: GMB Harry Donaldson - Regional Secretary E-mail address: harry.donaldson@gmb.org.uk TGWU Mike Brider - Regional Secretary E-mail address: mbrider@tgwu.org.uk Unison Matt Smith - Regional Secretary E-mail address: matt.smith@unison.co.uk Now these three gentlemen are well paid, professional people - they should deal with any queri

Elephants and NHS Pay Awards

Gordon Brown's recent announcement that the Labour government will stage the 2.5% pay increase for nurses has provoked fury among the trade unions - with angry protests around the country and - for the first time in a generation - talk of national industrial action in the NHS. Now, nurses and the unions have every right to be angry - because it's a downright lie to say that the government is implementing, in full, the recommendations of the Nurses Pay Review Body (PRB) which Gordon Brown claims - whereas, in reality, he is deliberately reducing the value of the award to only 1.9% by implementing the PRB recommendation in two stages. So, in real terms, nurses are taking a significant pay cut over the next twelve months - which is a real slap in the face for the profession - with inflation running at between 3.1% and 4.2% depending on which measure of inflation is used. But, the elephant in the room is that while the unions work themselves up into a lather over 0.6% - they