Letter to COSLA re Pay

SJC Pay 2021


As you know UNISON commenced a formal statutory industrial action ballot on 1st September, of members employed in school cleaning, school catering, school janitorial, waste and recycling services, over the 2021 Pay offer.

The ballot closed yesterday and we wanted to update you on our position.
Each individual employer has been informed of their results directly by our UNISON Ballots team. Employers should remember that this was a disaggregated ballot, targeted at only a small percentage of UNISON members.

The national turnout in this ballot was 42.4%. Whilst individual employer turnouts vary considerably, with us reaching the required 50% threshold in a number of areas, it should be noted that this is one of, if not the, highest turnout in a national ballot in local government ever achieved since the 2016 Trade Union Act took effect.

In every area the percentage of those voting who did so in favour of taking strike action was overwhelming, including a number who had 100% of those balloted voting in favour of taking strike action. There is a very clear message to the employer from our members that the offer currently on the table is not acceptable.

It is now more than 9 months since the Joint Trade Unions submitted our pay claim, on behalf of the 200k local government workers covered by the Scottish Joint Council negotiating machinery, and 18 months into a global pandemic which has seen them working flat out on the frontline with no reward. Our members are now at breaking point and are worth more than what is on offer.
We urge you to come back to the negotiating table with proposals that will take consideration of, and reward, their significant contribution.
Yours sincerely,

Johanna Baxter
UNISON Scotland, Head of Local Government

UNISON formally balloted members across 31 Local Authorities

As you will be aware UNISON formally balloted members across 31 Local Authorities employed in school cleaning, school catering, school janitorial, waste and recycling services regarding the LG Pay Offer. That ballot closed yesterday Wednesday 22nd September 2021.

We would advise that on the close of the ballot we did not reach the statutory turnout threshold in this local authority, set by the Anti Trade Union Bill needed to take action by a very thin margin, however 97.44% of members in the Stirling ballot return voted for Industrial Strike Action which demonstrates a strength of feeling.

I can further advise that on this basis the UNISON Scotland Local Government Committee are considering its next steps and will keep you updated on any further action.

Voting has opened for the NEC election

   
Voting has opened for the NEC election    
The ballot papers have been sent out for one of the most important elections in UNISON’s democracy – for seats on the union’s national executive council.

It’s not just about voting yourself. General secretary Christina McAnea asks everyone to spread the word – to friends, family, colleagues, anyone who’s a UNISON member – to exercise their democratic voice.  
News from UNISON  
Human rights: UNISON demands due diligence in supply chains The union is part of a civil society coalition demanding a UK law that holds companies and public sector bodies to account if they fail to address both human rights abuses and environmental damage.

A ‘failure to prevent’ law would increase protection for workers, communities, human rights defenders and the environment.  
Christina McAnea walks the Memorial Wall General secretary Christina McAnea has visited the National Covid Memorial Wall, along the South Bank of the Thames in London. The mural consists of thousands of red and pink hearts, each one commemorating 150,000 people who have died of the virus.  

Calling her experience “incredibly moving and very emotional”, Ms McAnea says the wall – and the messages that have been written on it – “really brings home to you that every single death is the death of an individual who was loved.”  

Coming up   Health: International Nurses’ Day 2021 The theme for this year’s celebration of the nursing community, on 12 May 2021, is A voice to lead – a vision for future healthcare. UNISON wants branches and members to join its live event and share their stories.

Update April 2021

LG Pay 2021  

Preparations are underway for the consultative ballot and further campaign resources will be circulated in advance of the ballot opening.   

LG Hustings – Thursday 15th April, 7pm

Three of the five major parties have now confirmed they will send a representative to our online hustings event which will be live-streamed on Facebook. 

Click on the image to go to Eventbrite

LG ‘One Year of Covid’ Survey –  Members should have already received a national reminder, however please see link below

Return of schools 

As you will be aware nearly all pupils are due to return to full-time school when the Easter holidays end. 

However, children who are on the shielding list are advised to stay at home until 26 April, in line with advice from the Chief Medical Officer. All other pupils, will return to school once the summer term starts. 

Strict 2 metre physical distancing between pupils in secondary schools will be removed and schools will consider how they can strengthen other mitigations. 

Following the national expansion of lateral flow testing, twice-weekly tests are available for all school staff in primary, secondary and special schools and for secondary school pupils. 

More info on the return of schools here: 

https://www.gov.scot/news/return-to-full-time-school

Reassurance of Safety of COVID-19 Lateral Flow Test  

There have been inaccurate posts on social media and on-line regarding the safety of Covid-19 lateral flow tests in relation to the use of ethylene oxide in the sterilization of the swabs. We urge everyone to get their facts from reputable sources. 

Dr Fu-Meng Khaw, Public Health England COVID-19 Incident Director, said: 

 “Parents, children and staff should feel reassured that lateral flow tests used in schools have been rigorously tested and are completely safe to use on a regular basis. Any suggestion otherwise is inaccurate and harmful misinformation.” 

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said:  

“Lateral flow tests have been rigorously tested and are safe to use on a regular basis. Any suggestion otherwise is inaccurate and harmful misinformation. 

“The manufacturers have confirmed that 1-2ug/g of ethylene oxide is used in the swabs, which is well within national/international safety standards. 

“We are working closely with social media platforms to help them identify and take action to remove incorrect claims about the pandemic, including deliberately false information that could endanger people’s health.”