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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General Secretary Ballot

Ballot papers for Unite the Union General Secretary election are arriving at members’ addresses. This election will determine the direction of our union for the coming years and also have a significant impact on the shape of our country’s economic and social recovery from the pandemic. Our branch has two key messages for members.

Firstly, that everyone use their ballot and ensure that they participate in this election. We do not know exactly what the future will hold but we do know that our union needs to be stronger, more energised and united than ever before to take on the challenges we will be met with in the coming years to ensure a recovery that re-distributes wealth and opportunity evenly and equally with significant and seriously improved climate and social justice.

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Support for suspended Councillor

Edinburgh Labour recently suspended Councillor Gordon Munro, longest serving of our three Leith Ward councillors, for three months. This punishment was issued for the perceived delinquency of disobeying orders to vote for the coalition budget motion in February 2021 when, instead Councillor Munro abstained from the vote. His reasons for abstaining: that the coalition budget did not serve the people of Leith (where some of the most acute deprivation in Scotland exists) nor Edinburgh properly.

Whilst it is recognised that other parties’ budgets may have proven even more detrimental to Leith and Edinburgh it must also be recognised that Councillor Munro is a long standing campaigner against cuts, a lifelong supporter of workers’ rights (particularly City of Edinburgh council workers) and a consistent and persistent advocate for those in his ward and beyond who suffer the pains of poverty. It is in this context that we ask Edinburgh Labour to rescind or commute this sentence to enable this councillor to do what the role demands of him.

For more information on this visit:

Morning Star

Edinburgh Evening News

Morning Star