Cost of Living Crisis Demo: report

Dozens of Unite members joined around 150 protestors at the protest organised by Another Edinburgh is Possible on 12th February 2022 in front of the UK Government Buildings at Sibbald Walk, just beside our Council Headquarters at Waverley Court.

Speakers included politicians, community activists and trade unionists. Our Unite CEC branch secretary made a promise to the governor of the Bank of England “if you reduce the cost of living I will ask our members to consider reducing their pay demands,” after highlighting the low pay (and short hours) of some 150,000 Local Government Workers across Scotland (some 10,000 in our city) and the disastrous effect of National Insurance increases, energy hikes, fuel, clothing and food costs rising that would impoverish workers and make our council cut even more jobs and services.

Local government pay dispute update

Following the result of the consultative ballot on CoSLA’s recent adjustment to the pay offer for 2021/22, our Local Authority Regional Industrial Sector Committee (RISC) has contacted the employer to notify of Unite members’ acceptance of the offer.

However, our RISC has also issued the employer with a warning that the struggle for decent pay and terms and conditions does not end here as next year’s pay negotiations start now. Please see latest newsletter here and read our press release below:

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Industrial Action Ballot

Word is beginning to filter through that UNISON have not reached the industrial action ballot threshold (50%) in their pay ballot. If this is true then it means Unite and GMB members will have to carry the fight for better pay and conditions to the employer without this union.

Our ballot closes on 7th October 2021 and ballots were posted last week.

Members balloted are:

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Pay update

Following a barely and poorly revised offer from the employer (CoSLA) through the Scottish Joint Council (SJC) Unite is holding a consultative ballot of Local Government Employee members to gain members views on the new offer.

Members will receive a ballot by email, text or post depending on individual preferences and information available to Unite. The ballot consists of two questions: 1. whether to accept or reject the offer; 2. on willingness to participate in industrial action. The email comes from UniteScotland and is entitled “Local Authorities Consultative Pay Ballot – August 2021“. Please check your emails. It was sent Monday 23rd August. Should you not receive your ballot contact Unite by calling: 01414045424

The new offer comprises:

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In-housing of our services

Unite has long advocated that council services be delivered by the council workforce and that our council ends the practice of out-sourcing our public services to private companies. Imagine then our astonishment to discover (2 days before the council meeting to give approval) that the council’s Facilities Management repairs contract was to be given to two massive multi-national companies (Mitie and Skanska).

We believe that our 200 or so members in Housing Property (joiners, plumbers, Electricians etc), augmented by additional craft operatives and apprentices, could do a huge amount of that work and help keep some of the £180m to be paid to these corporate giants in Edinburgh and for its citizens.

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Care home closures

Unite is asking the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB) why it produced a report proposing closure of several Local Authority Care Homes and was ready to vote it through (therefore authorise these closures) despite having no consultation with residents, employees or unions until our deputation and subsequent media interest encouraged them to think again.

Many of our members in the care homes under threat (Ferrylea, Ford’s Road, Clovenstone and The Jewel) had been informed, some by email, only a few days earlier. Some of our members had just been moved from the now closed Cherry Oak to homes earmarked for closure.

This is no way to treat our elderly residents and the workers who care for them and it provides us with a stark warning about the behaviour of those with decision-making power over others and how the enormous efforts and challenges of the pandemic can be so easily forgotten, lest we continually remind.

Pay negotiations update

Poster with the text £70 a day strike pay. With Unite on your side, it's easier for council workers to take a stand for a fair and decent pay rise. Act now - go to myunite.unitetheunion.org to make sure your contact details are up to date.

Unite has received a response from the Finance Minister, Kate Forbes, regarding our recent letter on Local Government Employees’ pay.

In her letter she reiterates her commendation and thanks to local government workers. However she has made it quite clear that her thanks does not stretch to financially rewarding our hard work in the fight against a pandemic that has affected and changed the working lives of all local government workers.

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