UK public sector pay dispute - nurses, local gov, civil service, post office, etc.

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Steven.
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Jun 7 2007 17:16
UK public sector pay dispute - nurses, local gov, civil service, post office, etc.

Right so stuff is definitely beginning to happen now with this.

Basically the government is offering all these different sets of public sector workers 2-2.5% pay increases, at a time when real inflation - cost of living increases - are at 4.5%. This is effectively a 2-2.5% pay cut, and obviously totally unacceptable to those of us who work there.

Who here works in the different sectors? What's going on at your place?

All union-co-ordinated action seems quite weak, and most importantly is keeping everyone separate. Of course, they are forced to do this by anti-union laws. We're all facing the same deal but the unions won't act together, which is frustrating.

So this thread is to discuss and share news about what's going on with this struggle, and if there are any ways we can help push things forward. Enjoy!

steven
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Jun 7 2007 17:27

Right well from what I know:
Nurses at the RCN, previously a no strike union, are balloting I believe.

Postal workers just voted for a national strike, but no date set yet: http://www.cwu.org/news.asp?step=3&NID=1724

PCS went on strike Mayday, don't know if they're planning more

Local government, where I work, Unison has just started a survey of members to see if we would accept the deal, and secondly if we'd be prepared to take industrial action for a better one. Unison's asking for 5%, or £1,000, whichever's greater. Thing is we only found out on like Monday, and the dealine's tomorrow, so hardly anyone's getting asked in our branch. Our team's meeting was the only one in our dept this week, so we're the only ones who voted (we voted for industrial action)

Lots of people are my place aren't aware of the dispute, a lot weren't even aware that we were entitled to an annual pay rise every april, so it's a bit of an uphill struggle. Still have spoken to lots of people about it, helped put on and get people to our team's first union meeting, signed a couple of people up, etc. Don't get me wrong, I don't support Unison, or unions in general, but being a member will protect you if we go on strike, and it's worth joining for the insurance benefits I think.

Mike Harman
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Jun 7 2007 17:43

I think my current job might be affected by this, but the new one in a month definitely won't be, so I'll miss anything that happens.

steven
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Jun 7 2007 18:25
Mike Harman wrote:
I think my current job might be affected by this, but the new one in a month definitely won't be, so I'll miss anything that happens.

yeah i don't know what's happening with education workers... I haven't heard anything. Maybe their previous pay deal hasn't expired - anyone?

I know teaching assistants in some boroughs are being regraded...

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 21 2007 20:02

bump. royal mail 24hr strike on june 29th

steven
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Jun 26 2007 17:15

right well it looks like we've actually got more time for consultation. we've called a meeting of everyone in our building about the offer. Also at the meeting we'll discuss pensions, and H&S (working temp this summer). Because with H&S meetings you can invite all workers, not just union members I suggested we call an H&S meeting, and append the pay/pensions stuff to it to increase participation, but that fell on deaf ears. Still, the email says non-members can come, then join, so I suppose that's almost as good, though we have some staff in the GMB (I invited and got a GMB member along to our dept meeting, will try the same for the big one).

Don't know what's happening with the rest of the place, cos our building only has what 5-700 people out of 10,000. I expect we'll reject the offer and back industrial action though. We've been told that public sector unions will be attempting to co-ordinate action and demands - but I reckon they probably won't. We should get a postie along to our meeting. I might try to get to some postal workers picket line as well if I have time.

I need to try to increase participation in all this in my dept at least - any tips anyone?

The Button - your excellent shop stewarding guide got lost somewhere - could you PM it back to one of the admins to put it up in Organise?

steven
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Jul 10 2007 09:05

Our building meeting voted for industrial action, we're doing the consultation this month.

A ballot of Unison health workers has been called off pending further talks:
http://unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=3487

Don't know what the score is with other health workers like RCN though?

Next postal strike is this Thursday I believe

RPG
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Jul 10 2007 13:41

Steven - there won't be a NHS dispute over pay. The union's are doing a deal which will mean England follows Wales and Scotland and pays the 2.5% in full (except its already 3 months late).

steven
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Jul 10 2007 17:32
RPG wrote:
Steven - there won't be a NHS dispute over pay. The union's are doing a deal which will mean England follows Wales and Scotland and pays the 2.5% in full (except its already 3 months late).

That's awful. So the RCN have called off the ballot? I thought nurses were only offered 2%?

A lot of local councils even budgeted for 3%.

ernie
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Jul 14 2007 15:31

Steven, were us expecting the RCN to call a ballot? They, Unison, the T&G and GMB have sliced up NHS workers very nicely thank you. From what I can gather no one really has a clue what the hell is happening. Also the question of pay is not upper most in most NHS workers minds a present, whether they will have a job, be regraded, have to reapply for their job or simply get to the end of the next shift working without some poor sod dying due to the lack of staff and sheer numbers is the most pressing question at present. On these issues, which are of direct and great importance to health workers, the unions have zip to say.
As for the pay deal, it has been divided into two payments and it is also a pay cut given the RPI is over 4% I think. The fact it is staggered means that it is even more of a pay cut i.e., the full pay rise only takes effect from October. The unions happily agreed to this deal, and why shouldn't they, they seeing their role is to be the spearhead of the managements shafting of the workers.
The unions have now called a national demonstration for the 13th October, which will be a means for defusing the mounting anger amongst Health workers faced with the endless attacks and demands. However, it could also offer an opportunity for workers (both health and others) to meet and discuss. The unions of course will parade themselves as doing something, this will be pretty sickening for the thousands how have lost their jobs, those students desperately looking for jobs, those whose pay has been cut already, those faced with working with less and less fellow workers and having to process ever more numbers of patients. In fact it is a downright insult.

Peter Good
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Jul 14 2007 17:55

Steven,
It's an idea you might like to consider.

Back in the Winter of Discontent of the late 70's we had a thriving COHSE branch in our hospital. All of us were reluctant to go on strike and threaten patient care.

We invented something we called "imaginative Industrial action".
This worked from a core of shop stewards and activists. We ignored our trade union hierarchy and certainly the RCN (of whom we considered to be run by retired matrons and another branch of management).

Our actions included: ward and admin office occupation; an impromtu band in the foyer of a Health Authority building; the banning of catering staff serving tea to managers; using the press imaginatively; when nurses were told that in future they were to wear the old starched hat we had a couple of male nurses so attired; leafleting visitors; running managerial decisions up the grievance ladder, & etc.

The unions came down on us heavily. We learned not to trust any Marxist abbreviation. By winning visitors to our side and refusing to threaten patient care we won some useful press attention.

Anarchist need to step away from mainstream TU activity. Small groups using cunning and imagination are both inspiring and empowering.

Regards
Peter Good(TCA)

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the button
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Jul 14 2007 20:02

It's worth pointing out that this paydeal affects other sectors as well -- many employers in the charity or "not-for-profit" sector offer paydeals in line with public sector pay.

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Steven.
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Jul 14 2007 20:49
the button wrote:
It's worth pointing out that this paydeal affects other sectors as well -- many employers in the charity or "not-for-profit" sector offer paydeals in line with public sector pay.

Again handy that we group them together in our sectors: http://libcom.org/sectors/public

Mike Harman
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Jul 16 2007 20:28
Quote:
CROYDON UNISON
CONSULTATIVE PAY BALLOT

VOTE TO REJECT THE MISERABLE OFFER-
UNLESS YOU WANT TO ACCEPT A PAY CUT!

We've been offered 2% for this year's pay award by our employers.
With the Retail Price Index currently at a level of about
4.5% [ it was 4.8% not long ago ], we're being offered a pay cut in
real terms. Pay is increasing across the economy by 3.6%

A strong vote to reject should make our employers think again. If
they don't, we'll be balloted to formally reject the offer and take
industrial action. WE HAVE TO BE PREPARED TO DO THAT.

The Government want to use public sector workers to force down
pay settlements and control inflation. But that means we lose out
relative to other workers-especially the rich ones in the City who
get far more in Christmas bonuses than we get in a whole year!

That's why we're looking to take co-ordinated action with all the
other public sector unions, so we'd be out alongside postal
workers, teachers, civil servants and others in real united action.

UNISON nationlly is recommending that you reject the offer.

We deserve a decent wage for the valuable services we provide-
vote to reject the offer and be prepared to take industrial action to
get what we deserve.

SAY NO TO A PAY CUT-REJECT THE OFFER

http://www.royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2674

Spikymike
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Jul 17 2007 19:16

Where is this 'consultative' pay ballot . Heard nothing about it up here in Manchester (except a lefty steward commented there was a proposal for a consultative ballot as to whether to have a ballot on induastrial action!!) and nothing on the UNISON Web site last time I looked.

Mike Harman
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Jul 17 2007 23:01

I had a ballot paper saying vote for the agreement.

I filled out a 'no' vote, then my daughter tore it up embarrassed

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Steven.
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Jul 18 2007 17:21
Mike Harman wrote:
I had a ballot paper saying vote for the agreement.

I filled out a 'no' vote, then my daughter tore it up embarrassed

Is this pensions or pay? Is the education workers pay deal different? Cos Unison's saying vote no for local govt pensions deal

Spikymike wrote:
Where is this 'consultative' pay ballot . Heard nothing about it up here in Manchester (except a lefty steward commented there was a proposal for a consultative ballot as to whether to have a ballot on induastrial action!!) and nothing on the UNISON Web site last time I looked.

Consultation is workplace based - my branch we stuffed 3,000 enveloped to put in pigeonholes. Maybe they're not doing every place, just a sample. If a yes comes out there should be a ballot for action:
Council strike looms closer
http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=3520

Mike Harman
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Jul 18 2007 17:37

John. pensions. And I had a leaflet for a yes vote.

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Steven.
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Jul 19 2007 09:14
Mike Harman wrote:
John. pensions. And I had a leaflet for a yes vote.

Shit sorry that was a mistake in my post - I meant Unison's asking for a Yes pensions vote, and No pay one.

catch what's your pay deal at the moment, are you getting a 2-2.5% offer as well, or are you still covered by a previous deal?

Mike Harman
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Jul 19 2007 10:04

No idea about my current place, I think there's a deal about to go into force in August but not sure how it all works.

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Steven.
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Jul 19 2007 23:10

Airport firefighters and engineers vote to strike. voline wrote a story, my net access was buggered, will post up tomorrow.

Heinz - private sectors workers strike over their sub inflation deal of 3.6%
http://libcom.org/news/heinz-workers-defy-union-walk-out-19072007

PCS are consulting through August on what type of industrial action to take

Post office are staggering strikes in different sectors to maximise disruption (see posties thread http://libcom.org/forums/organise/postal-workers-ballot-results )

NUT are set to strike maybe Jan 2008

There is pressure from the rank and file for other unions to speed everything up, it's stupid we have the same pay freeze and are waiting so other workers can be defeated before we even start fighting.

Mike Harman
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Jul 29 2007 13:14

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,,2136745,00.html

Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2007 19:18

http://tinyurl.com/yvw7vw

Quote:
COUNCIL workers could strike in a row over pay.

Union members working for Kirklees have backed plans to ballot members on industrial action.

And they say they could join other public sector workers – including health staff and teachers – in an Autumn of Discontent.

Unison, the local government workers’ union, balloted thousands of members working for Kirklees after talks broke down over a 2% pay offer.

Union leaders say the employers’ offer is effectively a 2.4% pay cut as inflation is running at 4.4%.

They organised a ballot to move towards action and the proposal was passed by 2,365 to 251.

steven
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Aug 1 2007 19:31

This is what happened at my work. Unison are doing the national count now

Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2007 19:36

You know the numbers for your work Steven? Kirklees looks like around 88%

Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2007 19:51

social workers on strike in Glasgow:

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/2007/497/index.html?id=np1609.htm
http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=12640
http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=3540
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/6913047.stm

SIX HUNDRED Social Care Workers, members of Unison and employees of Glasgow city council Social Work Services, began all-out indefinite strike action on 24 July in pursuit of their claim for a higher grading.

steven
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Aug 1 2007 21:53
Mike Harman wrote:
You know the numbers for your work Steven? Kirklees looks like around 88%

1000 voted to reject the pay offer, 150-odd to accept. 40% response from union members - better than I thought. About a third of the workplace in Unison.

Mike Harman
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Aug 4 2007 08:00
John. wrote:
catch what's your pay deal at the moment, are you getting a 2-2.5% offer as well, or are you still covered by a previous deal?

Finally worked it out.

We got 3% applied 1st August - which was agreed following the AUT strikes last year. According to this it could last for a while. More details here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=1918

I think it's something like 3% August, 2.5 February 3% August - that kind of thing. Trying to find details on UCU's site is a nightmare.

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Steven.
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Aug 6 2007 16:07

from Unison:

Quote:
In Local Government branches have voted to reject the 2% pay claim and will no vote in a strike ballot.
When voting UNISON asked members to consider the following (from www.unison.org.uk)
Say no to 2%
- Inflation is running at 4.3% and earnings across the economy are rising by 3.6%
- the cost of living is currently increasing by 4.5%
- increases in the cost of housing, fuel and energy, council tax and childcare are even higher
- pay across the economy is rising by 3.6%

UNISON is co-ordinating our pay campaign with Local Government health and other service groups and with other public sector unions

If you vote to reject the offer you must be prepared to take part in substantial industrial action to improve it, including "all out" strike action."

Clearly branches/members thought this is unacceptable and will now ballot to go on strike action.

In Health they have now made an 'improved offer'
(again from our website)
The offer:
"Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will get the full 2.5% increase recommended by the pay review body immediately, backdated to 1 April this year.
The award will still be staged in England, with staff getting 1.5% payable from 1 April and the remaining 1% from 1 November.

"more money for the lowest paid. From 1 November there will be a £400 flat rate increase for those on Bands 1 and 2.
Those on Bands 3 and 4 will receive an additional £38 as well as the 2.5%. This will be payable in all 4 UK countries;

in England only, there will be additional money for staff training targeted directly at those non-clinical staff who often lose out when training budgets are cut; also in England only, there will be £38 paid to staff on Bands 5, 6, 7 and 8(a) who are required to register to practice – this money is a contribution to their professional fees."

Health members will now be balloted on whether or not to accept this offer.
Unison are not making a recomendation it is for you to make your own minds up. The website states that this is the best offer we can get through negotiations.

SO as in Local Government if you reject it you will have tp be prepared to go on strike.

There is a blog that has been set up by some nhsworkers that are advocating members reject this offer and that can be found here www.nhsworker.blogspot.com

Lets stand firm together and show the government that 2 or 2.5% (as our health conference has already said!) is not acceptable.

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Steven.
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Aug 9 2007 12:28

Apparently PCS are rejecting further 1-day strikes, so any more action should be bigger than that.

Unison education accepted - but UCU hadn't yet. one Uni worker on urban75 said this:

Quote:
It will be particularly interesting for us if UCU reject it and go for a strike. Obviously we (support staff) won't want to cross picket lines, and we unanimously rejected the deal in a workplace meeting, but as the GMB has officially accepted it we can't go out with them without potentially wrecking the joint pay talks forum.
Mike Harman
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Aug 17 2007 07:19

Glasgow social workers appear to have won:

Quote:
Glasgow strike resolved

(10/08/07) Striking social care workers in Glasgow will return to work on Monday after voting to accept a new offer from the council.

The move puts an end to the long-running dispute over pay and grading which has seen more than 550 social care staff in the city on strike since 24 July.

They were angry about the results of a job evaluation that didn't reflect the responsibilities of the job they carry out.

The improved offer follows lengthy negotiations between UNISON and the council. It gives all but a handful of workers the grading they were seeking.

Mike Kirby, the union's Glasgow convenor, said: "The new offer delivers the grade 5 that our members felt best reflected the responsibilities they carry out. The proposal also leaves open the details on how people will progress beyond the initial salary, and this will be the subject of further negotiation."

He added: "The solidarity of the members on strike was instrumental in delivering the key objective that they sought. They have a right to be satisfied with the outcome of their action."

http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=3592

Also CWI Scotland has article:
http://socialistworld.net/eng/2007/08/13scotland.html