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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

UNISON wins more time to put case against sickness absence policy

UNISON has won more time to put the union's case against Edinburgh council's proposed new sickness absence policy. At today's Policy and Strategy Committee, UNISON set out the union's concerns about the 'draconian' policy and its reasons for opposing it.

Lib Dem and SNP councillors agreed to ask that a sentence be added to the policy to allow managers to apply discretion. Labour councillors asked for a continuation to next month's committee to allow for meeting with Administration and Chief Executive to take place.

The Lib Dem/SNP motion was carried so Labour asked that it be referred to Full Council in February and this was carried.

The issue will now go before the full Council on Thursday 2 February and in the meantime, UNISON Branch Secertary Agnes Petkevicius has asked for a meeting with the Administration to outline the union's opposition.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

IMPORTANT UPDATE ON MANAGING ATTENDANCE AT WORK (SICKNESS ABSENCE)


There is a drive within the council to reduce absence levels across the council and the current target is 4%. As a way of achieving this, there was a proposal to introduce a new Absence Management Procedure.

Only 3 meetings were held to discuss draft and after some minor changes the Council served a 4 month notice to withdraw from the present procedure, and impose the new procedure. The date for imposition is the 30 January, 2012.

Some changes have been made e.g. no need to provide a GP note from day one. However, after discussion with stewards and Branch Service & Conditions officers, it was decided that an Avoidance of Dispute should be raised against the new procedure and also the FirstCare pilot scheme. This was sent beginning of December.

Since that date we have had 2 further meetings with Philip Barr, but they have resulted in no change. We are still in Dispute over this matter.

WHAT THE NEW POLICY MEANS TO YOU:

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Edinburgh Council dumps privatisation

UNISON Scotland has welcomed the decision by Edinburgh City Council to support in-house bids for vital city services instead of privatising them.

The full council voted today for a joint Labour-SNP amendment with Green Party backing which overturned a proposal by the ruling Lib Dem led coalition to award a contract for Integrated Facilities Management to private bidder Mitie.

UNISON branch President John Stevenson said: "This is the best outcome we could have got - following the victory in November for keeping Environmental Services public, and the recent abandonment of the ruling group's plans to privatise Corporate and Transactional Services. John Stevenson told the full Council meeting this morning:

"UNISON has been campaigning to keep these services in-house for three reasons. Firstly because we think it is the right thing to do. We think it is right that quality public services are delivered by a public service team directly accountable to the people of Edinburgh through their elected councillors. We think it is right that our taxes should go directly to services, to the people who deliver them and the people who rely on them, rather than to profits and shareholders.

"Secondly because we believe that the public sector comparators - the in-house options - have risen to the challenge and will deliver not only best value but a continuing commitment to public services in Edinburgh.

"And thirdly because we believe that it is right that the Council should show trust, confidence and respect in its own workforce."

John Stevenson said: "At the beginning of the process, the Council made it clear that there would have to be a compelling case for privatisation. We clearly believe that a compelling case has NOT been made for privatisation and we believe we have consistently provided compelling and credible analysis and evidence to show that.

"The unions and Council employees have put enormous work into this process. We have shown in detail that the in-house options have been realistic, fair and efficient - but most of all workable - especially if we have a level playing field and like is compared with like."

UNISON's Peter Hunter added; "This is the the death of Scotland's largest council privatisation proposal ever which, given the NHS position, begs the question whether the door is permanently closed on future privatisation plans across the public sector as a whole?"

Decision day for privatisation

Reports suggest Edinburgh Council will vote against two huge privatisation plans today. We will wait for the actual vote before celebrating but this could be great news on top of the decision to keep the environment contract in house last November.

 UNISON's John Stevenson will tell the Council this morning: 'UNISON is clearly hoping for a positive outcome this morning and we hope that the Council will vote to keep the Corporate and Transactional and the Facilities functions in house. We have been campaigning for that for three reasons:

Firstly because we think it is the right thing to do.

We think it is right that quality public services are delivered by a public service team directly accountable to the people of Edinburgh through their elected councillors. We think it is right that our taxes should go directly to services, to the people who deliver them and the people who rely on them, rather than to profits and shareholders.

Secondly because we believe that the public sector comparators – the in house options – have risen to the challenge and will deliver not only best value but a continuing commitment to public services in Edinburgh. 

And thirdly because we believe that it is right that the Council should show trust, confidence and respect in its own workforce.

At the beginning of this process, the Council made it clear that there would have to be a compelling case for privatisation. We clearly believe that a compelling case has NOT been made for privatisation and we believe we have consistently provided compelling and credible analysis and evidence to show that. The unions and your employees have put enormous work into this process.

We have shown in detail that the in house options have been realistic, fair and efficient – but most of all workable – especially if we have a level playing field and like is compared with like. We have exposed doubtful comparisons and we have been honest about what our members have done and will have to do to deliver.

Some of our members, especially in the environment stream, have had to swallow bitter pills to get here. But they have been prepared to do that because of a commitment to the service and a belief that, with change, their voices will begin to be heard.

 UNISON has said for years that the people who know best how to improve services are those actually delivering them on the front line. They need to be heard and that has not always happened through this process. But there are high hopes from our members that it will happen and continue to happen into the future. Because that is the way to get fairness, quality and efficiency.

 If you decide to today, as we hope you will, to back your workforce rather than privatise, we and they know it will not be the end of the story and many challenges lie ahead. That will require a climate of partnership and involvement. We have no illusions that that will be easy all the time but our members have said they are up for it and we hope you’ll support them.'

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

UNISON Scotland: UNISON members give green light to pensions negoti...

UNISON Scotland: UNISON members give green light to pensions negoti...: Date: 10 January 2012 At meetings today in London, UNISON’s elected lay representatives voted overwhelmingly to sanction ...

Council abandons equal pay appeal

The path to justice and compensation has been cleared for hundreds of UNISON members today as Edinburgh City Council abandoned its defence of long running equal pay claims for ex APT&C staff.

The Council has abandoned its plans to appeal against the right of ex APT&C staff to make equal pay claims. Through Thompson's solicitors, UNISON is representing over 1,000 affected people. They are consulting those involved members will hear more details very soon.