Tuesday, 30 April 2013

NHS Pay - We need members views

The Government has accepted a recommendation from the Pay Review Body that all Agenda for Change pay points should be increased by 1% from 1 April in employing organisations in England. The Health Service Group is consulting you about how members want UNISON to respond to this pay settlement.

Pay for NHS staff is set by the Government, based on recommendations from the NHS Pay Review Body. In making their recommendations, the Pay Review Body (PRB) considers evidence on recruitment, retention, morale and motivation, economic and affordability issues. UNISON submits detailed evidence in writing to the PRB (usually in the Autumn of each year) and is then called to give oral evidence in support of the arguments we make. Their recommendations this year are included overleaf.

Since it has been in office, the Coalition Government has restricted the remit of the PRB, instructing them only to make recommendations which fit within Coalition pay policy. This means that the PRB has not been able to recommend pay settlements which reflect the increases in costs facing NHS staff. As agreed at Health Conference last year, the Service Group Executive will be consulting Regional Health Committees about our future policy on the PRB and whether our union should explore different ways that NHS pay could be determined - delegates to Health Conference (April 22-24 2013) will also be debating this issue, but we need to get a snapshot of the way members feel about pay this year and what they want the union’s support to do about it.

Why are we consulting on a pay settlement?
Although pay for NHS staff is not determined by collective bargaining where we negotiate directly with the Government/employers each year, this doesn’t mean we cannot challenge the pay settlement. 1% falls well below the union’s aspirations for members, and we know that most members have seen the value of their wages fall by 8-12% since 2010 and that many are experiencing hardship as a result.

We need members views on whether they want to accept the 1% pay increase, or whether you would be prepared to take some sort of action to get an improved pay offer. Please let us know what you think by contacting the branch on unison@n-somerset.gov.uk or by phoning 01934 634759.

Local Government Pay Claim - Latest News

After our national negotiators' rejection of the two ‘options’ in their first pay offer, the Local Government Employers (LGE) came back to UNISON with a final offer in writing on 25 April. The revised offer is:
  • 1% on all pay points from 1 April 2013
  • Deletion of scale point 4 (the bottom pay point) from 1 October 2013
There are around 28,000 employees – mostly women working part-time - on scale point 4, who would move onto the revised scale point 5 in October. This would mean a 1% increase for them between April and 30 September and a further 1.4% increase on 1 October. Overall they would move from £6.30 to £6.45 – a 2.4% increase.

The revised pay offer no longer includes changes to terms and conditions, but the Local Government Employers have made it clear that they are looking to break with national bargaining, unless UNISON and the other local government trade unions agree to look at changes to terms and conditions.

Full details can be found here: http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/B6284.pdf

The Local Government Employers letter can be found here: http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/Employers_Letter_24Apr13.pdf

The Local Government Service Group Executive will meet on 7th May to discuss next steps, including balloting members. We need members views on whether or not they are happy to accept this pay offer and if not what sort of action they are willing to take to get an improved offer. UNISON members may want to consider that we have been subject to a 3 year pay freeze, effectively cutting our pay by 16%, and that the current CPI inflation rate is 2.8%, while RPI inflation rate is 3.3%. A 1% pay rise is therefore yet another pay cut!

Please email the branch with your views on unison@n-somerset.gov.uk or phone us on 01934 634759.

Please keep checking this blog for further updates.

Friday, 26 April 2013

North Somerset UNISON is now an accredited Living Wage employer

We may only employ 1 full-time member of staff and another 2 people on a casual basis but today the North Somerset branch of UNISON has become an accredited Living Wage Employer.

Download the list of just over 200 Living Wage Employers here.

Sign the petition for a Living Wage in North Somerset here.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Sign the petition for a Living Wage in North Somerset

The Weston & North Somerset Trades Union Council, which is a joint trade union group representing workers in transport, communications, local government, teaching and the civil service, has today launched a petition to urge North Somerset Council to adopt the Living Wage and use its influence as a community leader to encourage employers across North Somerset to pay their staff the living wage.

Research by the South West TUC released during Living Wage Week (November 4 – 10, 2012) showed that 26% of workers (22,463) in North Somerset earn less than £7.20 an hour – the lowest rate that campaigners believe supports a decent standard of living outside London. From November 2012 the Living Wage was increased to £7.45 an hour.

The Living wage has many benefits. First of all it lifts families out of in work poverty - it is a very depressing fact that of all the children living in poverty in the UK over half of them (55%) live in a family where at least one parent is working. Many of the people who regularly use our local foodbank are also in work. Paying the living wage will have economic benefits for the district and the country as a whole. The extra income in people’s pockets translates into extra spending in the local economy, thereby stimulating demand and ensuring local businesses remain sustainable. In addition paying the living wage results in massive savings to the costs of the benefits bill in terms of reduced spending on working tax credits, child tax credits, housing benefit and council tax benefit. Currently we have a situation where the taxpayer is actually subsidising employers who pay their staff low wages. Employers who have implemented the living wage have also found that it encourages higher quality of work, and makes workers more willing to implement changes in their working practices. Businesses who have implemented the living wage have seen benefits including: improved recruitment and retention of staff, less absenteeism, and increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer.

Sign the petition now by following this link: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/a-living-wage-for-north-somerset.html

Further information can be found at: http://westontuc.blogspot.co.uk

Thursday, 4 April 2013

May Day Rally against Austerity - 4th May

Bristol Trades Union Council have called a Bristol May Day demo on Saturday 4th May. We will be protesting against all cuts and privatisation including the Bedroom Tax & benefit cuts, the privatisation of the NHS & Academy schools & cuts to local services by the mayor.

Assemble College Green at 11am - for march at 11.30 am.
Rally at Castle Park at 12.30 pm.

Defend the right to a decent life from the cradle to the grave.

Download the flyer here

More information here