Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Edinburgh and Job Evaluation

Classroom Assistants from Edinburgh have been in touch to say they’re bitterly disappointed about the outcome of the council’s job evaluation (JE) scheme.

Apparently these vitals jobs have not benefited from the review - and have by and large stood still – which is odd because it’s exactly this kind of job that should have improved its lot under Single Status.

The whole idea of Single Status was to give a better deal to the thousands of female dominated jobs that had been undervalued and underpaid for years – that’s what the employers and unions signed up to in 1999.

We will be able to say more when we get the chance to study the scheme and the scores for all council jobs – that were put through the evaluation process. Although JE is supposed to be completely transparent – some councils set out to make it about as clear as mud.

But it does beggar belief that the council and the trade unions have taken 10 years – to come up with results that disappoint so many people. The Single Status Agreement came into force in 1999 and even that was after many years of negotiation and careful planning.

Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross are challenging the outcome of Job Evaluation in many areas – it depends on the nature of the scheme adopted by individual councils.

We may do so in Edinburgh as well – but what we need are the details of the scheme and how it has been applied to all council jobs – then we will be able to advise people properly.

So, if you have useful information – please pass it on to Stefan Cross or contact Mark Irvine at: markirvine@compuserve.com

Readers in Edinburgh may have noticed stories in the press about the refuse workers dispute – and references to what the council is calling ‘job enrichment’.

This is a process whereby some jobs (but only some) that lose through job evaluation are given an artificial boost to get back to their previous level of earnings.

So, if you’re a refuse worker earning around £20,000 a year – the council finds supposedly extra duties or responsibilities to add on to your job (after JE is finished) which will get you back to where you were before the whole thing started.

It’s a bit like landing on a snake in a game of snakes and ladders – but then council managers come along and change the rules of the game for some jobs.

Needless to say the jobs being singled out for this kind of special treatment - are all traditional male jobs, all bonus earning jobs.

But the real question is why should Classroom Assistants - and other female dominated council jobs - not have their jobs enriched and pay enhanced?

After all they’ve been losing out for the past 10 years – ever since the 1999 Single Status Agreement. Are they not worthy – should these jobs not be capable of earning nearer £20,000 a year – just like the refuse workers?

So, our advice is not to give up or give in – all is not lost – even if the employers and unions have let you down.

If you need advice and help contact Action 4 Equality Scotland on 0845 300 3 800 or contact Mark Irvine at: markirvine@compuserve.com