Friday, 31 July 2015

North Lanarkshire Update

Image result for apple core + images

What would you say is the 'core business' of a pub?

Selling beer to its customers would be at the top end of my list because that's what pubs are all about and a pub without beer doesn't make any sense.

So what about the core business of trade unions?

Negotiating and campaigning on over pay is a bread and butter issue for any union, both locally and nationally, and a key part of that process is holding regular meetings with the rank and file union members.

Now that's the lifeblood of trade unionism, if you ask me: reporting back to members' meetings and asking for their continued support over a campaigning issue or an industrial dispute, for example.     

For certain that was the case during my time as a full-time official with NUPE and latterly in my role as Unison's head of Local Government and chief negotiator in Scotland.

So it comes as a real surprise that the GMB union is reluctant to hold meetings with union members to discuss the handling of their equal pay claims against North Lanarkshire Council.

Members' meetings can be fraught and difficult sometimes, but that's why full-time officials are paid handsome salaries from the union contributions of their members - and it's no less than the members deserve and expect. 

Up until now the only sign of action from the GMB was a series of roadshows over two days in North Lanarkshire which none of the union's senior officials attended, apparently.

I'm told that GMB members had an individual 'consultation' with the union's legal adviser, but were not all brought together at the same time for a proper question and answer session.

Which is a farce in my book because trade unions are 'collective' organisations and the job of union representatives is to report back to the members collectively so that they can hold their leaders to account.

So in the absence of any proper leadership from the GMB maybe it's time that I held a meeting for North Lanarkshire Council workers who are concerned about the way in which their equal pay claims have been handled.

If people locally can identify a suitable venue, a community building or church hall for example, then I'm happy to come along and have the kind of discussion that the GMB should have been having with its members in North Lanarkshire weeks and months ago.

If readers are interested in organising such a meeting, then drop me a note and start looking for possible dates after the school holidays.

Dumb Britain

The following entries to the Private Eye's 'Dumb Britain' column gave me a great laugh, especially the one about Arthur Scargill (the former miners' leader) being in a James Bond movie. 


The Chase, ITV

Bradley Walsh: Which London mayor supposedly became rich to due his cat's ratting abilities?

Contestant: Boris Johnson.

The Link, BBC1

Mark Williams: I attended Downing College, Cambridge, to study law. I was one of the performers on The Frost Report. I have played the character of Q in a James Bond film. Who am I?

Contestants (after some discussion): Arthur Scargill.

Perfection, BBC1

Nick Knowles: The German parliament is known as "The Dummkopf". True or false?

Contestants: DWe'd like to change Bev's answer from "False" to "True" please.

Tipping Point, ITV

Ben Shephard: In the famous equation E=mc2, what does the "E" stand for?

Contestant: Einstein

Lost in Space

NASA released this beautiful photo of the sunlit Earth which was taken by a satellite one million miles into space.

Now that's a long way away, but a million miles is mere grain of sand across the almost unimaginable vastness of the Universe 

Galaxy Far, Far Away (18/08/13)

Now here's an amazing photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope which shows an image of an exploding star - a Supernova - that blew itself to bits 10 billion years ago.

The science buffs among you will realise the significance immediately, i.e. that the light from the Supernova therefore took 10 billion years to reach Planet Earth - travelling at a speed of 186,000 miles per second.

Which is fast, you've got to admit.

And it also means that the Universe is such an imaginably large space - containing billions of galaxies and stars - all at different stages in the great cycle of life and death.

I have a great sense of wonder and amazement looking at such images - but also huge appreciation for the scientists who are able to explain the workings of the Universe in such incredible detail. 

I suppose it's just as well we're finding all this out in the 21st century - because not that long ago scientists like Copernicus were persecuted and killed - for daring to point out that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not the other way round.

I don't care too much which Gods or religions, if any, people choose to believe in - that is their business so long as they keep their views to themselves - and don't try to force everyone else to live under Sharia law - or as Mormons for goodness sake - or some other kind of overbearing religious fundamentalism.  

But I do mind when religious believers try to deny science and evolution - because anyone who argues that the Planet Earth is only 10,000 years or so old and was created by God in 7 days - is simply trying to drag us all back to the middle ages.

Size Matters

Now while it's extremely unlikely, I suppose it is possible that an all-powerful God or Supreme Being created the Universe, then waited billions of years before revealing himself to human beings on Planet Earth.

And if we are to believe what competing holy books say, God revealed himself, first of all, to the followers of the Jewish faith before changing his mind and deciding that the Christians were really the chosen people, although this only lasted until 610 AD when Islam was born. 

To be fair this narrative excludes a whole number of offshoot religions which came into being at a letter date such as Mormonism, Scientology and the Bahias, but you get my general drift which is that the Planet Earth and the people who live here are no big deal in the grand scheme of things.     

Travelling in Style (2)

My recent post about the expenses racked up by John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, reminded me of this great track from the English rock group Free - 'Travelling in Style'

Thursday, 30 July 2015

North Lanarkshire Update

I came across this article from The Daily Record which reported in 2012 that North Lanarkshire Council's chief executive, Gavin Whitefield, opted to forego his election 'returning officer' fee of around £10,000 because of a mess that was made in issuing postal votes. 

Now that was the right thing to do if you ask me, but the postal voting error must pale into insignificance when compared with the terrible mess the Council and its most senior officials made in their handling of equal pay.  

The cost to North Lanarkshire was reported by Private Eye recently at more than £70 million yet as far as I know neither the chief executive nor his senior officials have offered to return the big performance bonuses they 'earned' while the long fight for equal pay in NLC was still underway.

North Lanarkshire Council chief coughs up for election leaflet error

BY EUAN MCLELLAND - The Daily Record (13 June 2012)

NORTH Lanarkshire Council chief executive Gavin Whitefield has opted to forego his returning officer’s fee after a pre-election error meant £15,000 had to be spent re-issuing guidance notes to 26,500 postal voters.

NL returning officer Gavin Whitefield

NORTH Lanarkshire Council chief executive Gavin Whitefield has opted to forego his returning officer’s fee after a pre-election error meant £15,000 had to be spent re-issuing guidance notes to 26,500 postal voters.

In the build-up to May’s local authority election, ballot papers and voting instructions were accidently sent out to postal voters showing an illustrated voter placing an “X” on a ballot paper instead of a numerical digit, confusing voters.

The council say the error cost close to £15,000.

As a result, Mr Whitefield has now confirmed to the Wishaw Press that both he and his deputies will reject their election fees – thought to accumulate close to £10,000 – and have them put towards balancing the election budget.

And the trio have also vowed that funds will be withdrawn from their end-of-year Performance Related Pay (PRP) to meet any further shortfall caused by April’s error.

Mr Whitefield said: “The Returning Officer’s fee is set at £3964 with deputies paid a percentage of this. However, I will not be taking my fee nor will my deputy returning officers John O’Hagan and John Fleming.

“Following the discovery of a graphical error on a postal vote advice slip, I pledged there would be no cost to the public purse.

“It is only right those ultimately responsible for the smooth running of the election should forego their fees.

“Any shortfall will be met through other deductions, most likely through Performance Related Pay.”

Council Bombshell (11/03/14)

Well what a day it was yesterday in the Glasgow Employment Tribunal - a momentous day if you ask me, because North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) was finally forced to concede that the gradings awarded to many of its women workers are wrong.

Specifically, the Council has abandoned its defence of the gradings applied to Home Support Workers (Home Carers), School Crossing Patrol Workers and Playground Supervisors - despite arguing for years that the pay and grading of these predominantly female jobs were absolutely fine.

The only way for the Council to rectify the situation is to appoint someone who can evaluate these jobs independently and properly, but that is of course what should have happened many years ago.

Other jobs may follow because the case made by the claimants and by the A4ES barrister, Daphne Romney QC, is that someone has to answer for how this could possibly have been allowed to happen - when so many well paid and senior Council managers were overseeing the process, supposedly to ensure that this was fair to all staff.

The tribunal also heard submissions from Daphne Romney QC which claimed that the way in which the Council assimilated staff on to new grades was discriminatory also - because it favoured all the bonus earning male jobs to the detriment of the women's jobs.

Apparently the Council used the men's bonus earnings to determine their place on the North Lanarkshire pay scale, but only the male jobs received bonus payments which are now accepted as discriminatory because they were effectively part of basic pay and were not related to productivity.

For example, a male worker earning £6.00 per hour plus a 60% bonus (which many of them did) was effectively on an hourly rate of £9.60 an hour - yet a female job on the same grade was assimilated to the NLC pay scale in a much less favourable way by ignoring the impact of the bonus payments.  

In other words the women workers should have been put in exactly the same position as the men before the assimilation process took place - because by ignoring the bonus payments (paid only to traditional male jobs) the men received a much better deal than the women.

So if you ask me, the Council's case has turned into something of a dog's dinner and that's not even the end of it because there's also the issue of protection which again seems to have worked in favour of the men - and to the detriment of the women.

The 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement agreed a three year protection period for people who lost out over the new join evaluation arrangements, but for some reason the Council seems to have ignored this provision and the male groups again seem to fare better than their female colleagues.

More details to follow in the days ahead - so watch this space.

Winning Elections

Here's the full text of a speech given recently by Tony Blair on the future of the Labour party.

Now if you ask me there's nothing very controversial is what Tony Blair had to say because he was talking about how to win elections which he did very successfully, of course, although there are lots of Labour supporters who appear to hate him for doing so.  

When I was a still a member of the Labour party I recall some of my loonier trade union colleagues denouncing Tony Blair as a 'Tory' and if you ask me, Labour is now paying a very heavy price for directing its political pitch to a relatively small section of the electorate.

Ed Miliband, for example, made 'zero hours contracts' one of his big issues during the 2015 general election campaign despite the fact that many more people were affected by the fight for equal pay in local councils across the UK, many of them Labour controlled councils of course.

The SNP has pushed Labour aside in Scotland and established itself as the natural party of government, yet while the SNP courts a 'left of centre' political image its most successful policies - no tuition fees, widening free school meals provision, ending prescription charges, the council tax freeze -  all tend to benefit middle class voters more than any other section of the electorate.

So while the SNP likes to distance itself from New Labour, in practice the nationalists have paid Tony Blair a big compliment by taking his advice to heart. 

Tony Blair

Twenty-one years ago yesterday I became leader of the Labour party. A lot has happened since then. We discovered winning successively. And now we have re-discovered losing successively. Personally I prefer winning.

I could make a speech to you about how to win. You win from the centre; you win when you appeal to a broad cross-section of the public; you win when you support business as well as unions. You don’t win from a traditional leftist position.

But given the state of the debate in the party right now, I don’t want to.

Blair condemns Corbyn as Corbyn sets out his economic policies - Politics live
Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including Tony Blair’s speech on the future of the Labour party

Because this plays into the single most debilitating feature of the current debate: that this is a choice not only between government and opposition, but between heart and head, between the pursuit of power and the purity of principle.

It isn’t. The choice is precisely about principle. It is about what support for our values means in the modern world.

Social democratic politics in the early 21st century has one great advantage; and one large millstone.

The advantage is that the values of our age are essentially those fashioned by social democracy. We live today in a society that by and large has left behind deference, believes that merit not background should determine success; is inclined to equality of opportunity and equal treatment across gender and race; and believes in the NHS and the notion at least of the welfare state. This doesn’t mean to say this is the reality. But even the Tories, in the open, have to acknowledge the zeitgeist.

What should give the Labour party enormous hope and pride is that we have helped achieve all this.

However, the large millstone is that perennially, at times congenitally, we confuse values with the manner of their application in a changing world. This gives us a weakness when it comes to policy which perpetually disorients us and makes us mistake defending outdated policy with defending timeless values.

We then misunderstand the difference between radical leftism, which is often in fact quite reactionary, and radical social democracy, which is all about ensuring that the values are put to work in the most effective way not for the world of yesterday but for today and the future.

So when our reforms produced declining waiting lists in the NHS or transformed much of London’s schooling or cut crime these weren’t a betrayal of principles but implementation of them. Betrayal would have been leaving a system of failure in place, even if we created such a system in an earlier time.

So let me make my position clear: I wouldn’t want to win on an old-fashioned leftist platform. Even if I thought it was the route to victory, I wouldn’t take it.

We should forever stand for social justice, for power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many not the few, as our constitution puts it.

But that is not the challenge. That challenge is: how to do it in the modern world.

And here is where the challenge deepens.

The most important characteristic of this world is: the scope, scale and speed of change. Change defines it.

Technology alone is a revolution with vast consequences for every sphere – business, public services, lifestyle and government. Globalisation is opening the world up, with attendant opportunities and of course risks. Individuals – partly through these changes – live quite differently, with infinitely more choice over their own life. Businesses grow and decline with bewildering speed, making a thriving entrepreneurial sector a necessity. Development of human capital becomes vital for the future economy. And the fallout from all this creates new problems – like social care for increased numbers of elderly – and new victims like those left behind or disadvantaged by the changes whirling round them.

This change requires new thinking. And 2015 is not 2007 or 1997. So yes, move on. But don’t move back!

If we do, then the public won’t vote for us, not because our thoughts are too pure but because they’re too out of touch with the world they live in.

So we should use defeat as an opportunity. We have to rebuild. But approached in the right way this is exciting not depressing. How?
  1. We get thinking – about policy, real policy not one-liners which make a point (useful though those can be in a campaign). Technology and its implications for everything from the NHS through to government itself, is the single most important dimension. But across the board, from infrastructure to housing to tax reform to welfare, we should be thinking through new solutions framed against how people live and work now.
  2. 2We need to regain economic credibility. There is a perfectly sound case for saying we should have tightened policy before the crash; there is absolutely no case whatever for effectively accepting that Labour caused it. But we cannot address the future unless we are clear about the past and unless we show we’re completely confident in economic policy.
  3. Some forward-thinking Labour local councils have done great work. Celebrate them and learn from them.
  4. Develop a dialogue with business about their challenges and needs; about productivity, skills and a modern industrial policy.
  5. Work out what a political organisation looks like today: how we make decisions, how we communicate, how we get our message across. There is a wealth of example all over the world. We should access it.
The SNP and Ukip have clouded our sense of direction because they seem to point away from the centre. But our response should be likewise based on principle. The answer to the problems of Scotland is no more about being more “Scottish” and leaving the UK than the answer to the problems of England is being more “English” and getting out of Europe or blaming immigrants. So take them head on. I don’t know whether this is a winning strategy, but at least its one I believe in.

We won elections when we had an agenda that was driven by values, but informed by modernity; when we had strength and clarity of purpose; when we were reformers not just investors in public services; when we gave working people rights at work including the right to join a union, but refused unions a veto over policy; when we understood businesses created jobs not governments; and where we were the change-makers, not the small -c conservatives of the left.

We won not because we did what we thought was wrong as a matter of principle but right as a matter of politics; but when we realised that what is right as a matter of policy is right as a matter of principle.

Labour shouldn’t despair. We can win again. We can win again next time. But only if our comfort zone is the future and our values are our guide and not our distraction.

Travelling in Style

Image result for speaker bercow's official car + images

The BBC reports that the John Bercow's fondness for travelling in style, in his role as Speaker of the House of Commons, is costing the taxpayer a pretty penny.

Now I can understand that some politicians have good security reasons for using official cars, but this doesn't rally apply in the case of the Speaker and it really is the height of nonsense that he doesn't just jump in a taxi like everyone else. 

Bercow defends £31,400 travel and accommodation expenses

BBC - UK Politics

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow claimed travel and accommodation expenses of £31,400 over the past year.

The details include more than £13,000 for an official trip to Australia with an aide, and almost £1,000 for a car journey from Halifax to London.

The Speaker was invited to address foreign parliaments, and visited UK schools and organisations to boost awareness of Parliament.

A spokesman for Mr Bercow said he was "always mindful of costs".

But Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands said MPs "should be setting a much better example".

And the Taxpayers Alliance said the sums incurred were "obscene".

Fresh details of Mr Bercow's individual receipts for travel and accommodation over the past three years have been published in response to a Freedom of Information request by the Press Association.

Between April 2014 and April 2015, he claimed more than £31,000 in travel and accommodation expenses.

Of these, the largest claim was for an official trip to Australia in September 2014, where he addressed the country's Parliament. Mr Bercow claimed £13,331.88 for the seven-day visit.

'Timing requirements'

The total included the cost of flights, travel to and from the airport, and "subsistence and visas" for him and a member of staff.

The Speaker also claimed £983.40 for a one-way drive from Halifax to London on 6 November 2014, for a parliamentary outreach event which seeks to spread awareness of and encourage engagement with Parliament.

Mr Bercow's "wait and return" car journey from the Commons to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, which is about 0.8 miles away, on 3 March 2015 cost £126.72.

He also submitted a claim for £138 for a return drive from the Commons to Battersea, London, where he and an aide attended an Education Outreach event on 11 September last year.

Details of Mr Bercow's expenses claims disclosed by PA's FoI request:

  • £524 for an official car to travel to Canterbury to see Archbishop Justin Welby enthroned in March 2013 
  • £172 for a drive to Carlton House Terrace, which is 0.7 miles from the Houses of Parliament, to open a conference on alternative and augmentative communication 
  • £168 for a one-way car journey from King's Cross station in London to Speaker's House after a day trip to Leeds in July 2013 
  • £367 for a drive to the University of Bedfordshire to deliver a lecture on reforming Parliament to ensure it was "a credible institution" 
  • £44 in long distance calls from Mr Bercow's room during a visit to Vienna in 2013 
  • £158 for a car journey to Baroness Thatcher's funeral at St Paul's cathedral, 1.8 miles from the Commons, in April 2013 
Referring to the story, Mr Hands wrote on Twitter: "All MPs should be setting a much better example than this, when it comes to spending public money."

A spokesman for the Speaker said: "One of the Speaker's duties is to represent parliament at home and abroad. The Speaker attends funerals and memorials for former parliamentarians as both a mark of respect and as a representative of his parliamentary colleagues."

He added: "The Speaker is committed to encouraging public engagement with Parliament and regularly visits universities, charities and other organisations around the UK to explain the work of the House of Commons.

"The Speaker is always mindful of costs, and travels standard class in the UK and when away from home, stays in hotels that offer value for money.

"In some instances a car service is required to facilitate timing requirements. In line with the Speaker's commitment to greater transparency details of these costs have been published on a quarterly basis since 2013."

Itemised details of the Speaker's travel and accommodation claims are published every quarter on Parliament's website. Between 2010 and 2013, Mr Bercow's claims totalled £96,000.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which oversees MPs' expenses, said it does not authorise Mr Bercow's claims in respect of his duties as Speaker, only those relating to his constituency business as MP for Buckingham.

Arresting Cover

(Photographs by Amanda Demme for New York magazine)

The New York Magazine has an arresting cover photo on its front page of 35 women who tell their own stories of how they were allegedly drugged, sexually assaulted and raped by the iconic American comedian, Bill Cosby. 

You can read the full article online via this link:

Cosby Controversy

The BBC reports on the Bill Cosby controversy with this blog piece by Brenna Cammeron.

#TheEmptyChair moves discussion beyond Cosby

New York Magazine's latest cover features 35 of Bill Cosby's 46 accusers - women, each seated, who say the comedian drugged, assaulted and in many cases raped them.

It is a stark visual representation of a "sorrowful sisterhood," as one of the accusers called it.

But the chair that has perhaps garnered the greatest reaction is the empty chair, a seat symbolically held for the women Cosby allegedly assaulted but declined to be interviewed by the magazine, or who have not come forward at all.

According to lawyer Gloria Allred, who says she represents 17 Cosby accusers, the magazine piece is a damning indictment against a comedian who previously enjoyed a squeaky-clean reputation as "America's Dad".

"I haven't seen any other place where all of the women were assembled in a photo together. It's a very powerful and beautiful image of women standing up, speaking out, willing to use their voice against a rich and famous man," Allred told BBC Trending.

Cosby has denied the allegations and has said the encounters were consensual.

As readers shared the story on social media, the hashtag #TheEmptyChair started going viral on the platform that helped the initial story against Cosby to gain traction - Twitter.

Since the story's publication, more than 23,000 tweets have mentioned #TheEmptyChair.

While many of the #TheEmptyChair tweets reference Cosby, some of the most-retweeted messages use the story as a springboard to talk about the larger problem of unreported sexual assault.

"Shame on us for not believing the first one decades ago and shame on those who still don't believe after over 30 women #theemptychair," one Twitter user wrote.

"#TheEmptyChair isn't big enough to fit all the people who have been raped, unheard and shamed," wrote another.

Novelist Lisa Burstein added "I was the #emptychair for a long time."

Burstein told BBC Trending that the cover "symbolises hope" for her.

"The symbolic placement of the empty chair in the same line as survivors who were ready to speak, who demanded to be heard, it would have given me strength," she said.

"It would have reminded me that even unspoken, my story still mattered, and was still real. It would have let me know that someone would be waiting to listen when I was finally ready."

For Burstein, who said she was assaulted more than 22 years ago at the age of 17, #theemptychair and the discussion around the hashtag is much more than the chronicle of Cosby's accusers brought together for the first time.

"I wish there was a space like this when I was 17. It might have alleviated years of needless suffering just to know I was not alone," Burstein said.

"The Internet has changed everything," Allred said.

"Decades ago, these women didn't know there were others that had accused Mr Cosby of victimising them. They thought they were the only ones. Now that they know that they're not alone, they've become empowered. And they'll never go back to being silenced again."

Blog by Brenna Cammeron

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Equality Regulations

Image result for sir paul kenny + images

Here's a letter I sent last week to Sir Paul Kenny the newly ennobled boss of the GMB trade union.

Now I've never written a letter to a knight of the realm before and, sadly, I am still waiting on a response from Sir Paul whom I knew as plain old Paul Kenny in the 1980s when we were both full-time union officials dealing with the London Borough of Barnet.

I'll have more to say on the subject soon as I suspect this kind of restrictive job requirement is a breach of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, but in the meantime I'll let my letter to Sir Paul speak for itself. 

Dear Sir Paul 

GMB Scotland

I came across this advert on the GMB Scotland web site recently.

I considered applying for one of the two vacant organising posts until I read Paragraph 6 of the Job Description which is reproduced below for easy reference:

6) Political

• To encourage organisational work at CLP, District and Regional level to advance the policies of the GMB in the Labour Party.
• Take part in election campaigns in support of Labour Candidates.
• To encourage recruitment initiatives to increase the membership of the Labour Party.

Now I would say that I am very well qualified for the job of union organiser, as a former NUPE full-time official in London and also from my role as Unison's Head of Local Government and chief negotiator in Scotland.

I n recent years I have  been  working with Action 4 Equality Scotland which, as you probably know, has been leading the fight for equal pay in Scotland's  local councils.

a m pleased to say that our efforts have been  very successful and  A4ES  haundoubtedly made a huge difference to the lives ofthousands of low paid council workers in areas like North Lanarkshire Council and South Lanarkshire Council, for example, both Labour-run councils by the way 

But the prospects of me working for GMB (Scotland) are rather hampered by the requirement in the Job Description to support the work and interests of the Labour Party, which I left years ago  .

In my view, this part of the Job Description is quite bizarre because these days the majority of union members in Scotland including GMB members, of course, support the SNP  .

Yet, sadly, it seems that to get a job as an organiser with GMB (Scotland) I must   be a Labour Party member and/or supporter  which sits oddly and  uneasily with the GMB's claim to be an equal opportunities employer. 

I n my view, this particular job criterion is discriminatory and must surely  be driving away huge numbers of capable and talented non-Labour candidates. 

I had considered referring the advert to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in Scotland, but felt on reflection that it would be better to draw these matters  to your attention, in the first instance, as the GMB General Secretary.

I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards

Mark Irvine



GMB Scotland Region has vacancies for two Organisers and we are seeking applications from individuals with a desire to help us develop the membership of the union.  

As an Organiser, the successful applicant would join the Region’s drive to recruit and organise new members, this role will also have an emphasis on servicing membership and will carry a worksheet. 
The exact location of these posts within Scotland has yet to be decided.  Before applying candidates need to be aware that they may be based at any of our offices within the Region.  A copy of a job description for an Organiser is attached. 

Applicants must have a proven record of the following: 

• Servicing, organising and recruitment 
• A broad understanding of trade union objectives, and a strong personal commitment to these objectives 
• Applicants must be prepared to work as a team, and the successful candidate would display strong interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate effectively in challenging environments 
• On a personal basis, the applicant would need to display energy, enthusiasm, resilience, commitment, and an ability to use individual initiative. 

Since the backgrounds of suitable candidates can vary enormously, we are requesting that interested applicants should not only send a CV, but also a special report (up to 500 words), which should describe what you believe is involved in the role, and why you believe you would be successful. 

Training will be provided to the successful candidate, who will receive an excellent package of benefits and Terms and Conditions.  This includes a car so the applicants are required to be in possession of a full current driving licence.  It should be carefully noted that the hours of work are ‘unspecified’ and will necessarily entail an element of unsocial hours, which will include weekend work.  Periods of working away from home will also be required.  It should also be noted that Officers of the GMB can be relocated at the discretion of the Regional Secretary to meet the needs of the Region. 

If you are interested in being considered for this vacancy, application forms are available by contacting the regional office on 0141 332 8641, or emailing or
Please note the deadline for applications is first post on Friday 29 May 2015, after which a short-list will be drawn up.  For those who are short-listed an Assessment Day will take place on either Thursday 11 or Friday 12 June 2015 at GMB, Fountain House, 1/3 Woodside Crescent, Glasgow G3 7UJ.  Successful candidates from the Assessment Day will go forward for a formal interview which will be held on Friday, 19 June 2015 at GMB, Fountain House, 1/3 Woodside Crescent, Glasgow G3 7UJ. 
Would all applicants therefore, please ensure they are available on these dates. 

Job Title:   Organiser 
Accountable to:  Through Senior Organiser to Regional Secretary 
Main Purpose of Role: 
• To organise high quality representation of members, principally at local and Regional level, but on occasions at National level. 
• Under the authority of the Regional Secretary and through the supervision of the Senior Organiser, build and maintain Union membership by implementing agreed strategies. 

1) Recruitment and Organisation 
• Identify unorganised employees as targets for recruitment, prepare campaigns appropriate to each recruitment situation, including the personal recruitment of individuals and groups, and organisation of recruitment teams and recruitment networks. 
• Establish procedures to consolidate and retain membership. 
• Motivate Activists, Representatives and Branches to recruit and organise members, monitoring this organisational work, as necessary. 
• Establish recognition, and maintain workplace and Branch organisation, encouraging the highest level of self-sufficiency consistent with high quality representation. 
• Assist Branches to develop their Recruitment Plans. 

2) Representation and Negotiation 
• Handle individual and collective grievances and disciplinary issues. 
• Prepare and present claims for improvements in Pay and Conditions, within a variety of different bargaining arrangements, avoiding deadlocks and using ACAS and other agencies to resolve difficulties, as appropriate. 
• Analyse the outcome of negotiations. 
• Represent members before Employment Tribunals, Medical Appeal Tribunals and Social Security Appeal Tribunals on straightforward cases, seeking advice and assistance on more complex cases, as necessary. 
• Responsible for implementing Union's policy on Equal Opportunities. 

3) Health, Safety and the Environment 
• Provide support to Union Representatives on Health, Safety and Environmental issues, encouraging a preventative approach to hazards, and a high standard of health and environmental protection, with the support of specialist help, where required. 
4) Pensions 
• Negotiate the establishment of and/or the improvements in Pensions Schemes, applying the principles of equality, with the support of specialist help, where required. 

5) Work Organisation and Productivity 
• Negotiate the introduction of, or improvements in, productivity schemes of various types. 
• Devise strategies for changing work organisation to increase job satisfaction, and to create career pathways. 
• Assess company strengths and weaknesses using information from company accounts and from other published sources with the support of specialist help, where required. 

6) Political 
• To encourage organisational work at CLP, District and Regional level to advance the policies of the GMB in the Labour Party. 
• Take part in election campaigns in support of Labour Candidates. 
• To encourage recruitment initiatives to increase the membership of the Labour Party. 

7) Training of GMB Representatives 
• Provide initial support training for newly elected GMB Representatives, and ensure that GMB Representatives receive subsequent training in line with GMB policy. 
• Prepare and conduct specific training courses using participative techniques. 

8) Administration 
• Organise own work load with the minimum of supervision to make effective use of time. 
• Work effectively with secretarial and clerical support staff. 
• Store and retrieve information, both on paper and using information technology, understanding the GMB computer system, including the nature and accuracy of stored data. 

The post requires: 
• A good knowledge of industrial relations, practices and procedures. 
• A knowledge of Employment Law sufficient to ensure that employers honour their legal obligations and members secure their legal rights, potting members and the GMB against legal action. 
• Effective communication skills, including report writing and public speaking. 
• An understanding of the GMB Rules and structure. 
• An understanding of the policies of the GMB, the TUC and the Labour Party. 

• Undertake other duties at the discretion of the Regional Secretary. 

• Organisers will be required to undertake training to improve their knowledge and skills to maintain a high standard of performance. They will also be encouraged to identify their own training needs so that these can be taken into account in their training programmes alongside the training requirements which are designed to meet the needs of the GMB