Aberdeenshire UNISON

UNISON Aberdeenshire Branch


The branch supports members as many appeal

Following the implementation of single status many of our members have appealed because they are unhappy with their new mappings. The closing date for appeals was 30th September 2007. A briefing has been sent to all members with further advice and to update you on the appeals process.

The branch organised training on Single Status Appeals for Branch Officers, Stewards and Activists. This was held in December. Click here if you want to know more. Further training is planned. Please contact the resource centre at aberdeenshire@unison.co.uk if you want to book a place.

In August, the branch arranged a number of well attended "surgeries" to provide advice and support to members who wished to appeal. Many of you took up the opportunity to come along and speak to Branch Officers about the appeals process and other issues of concern.

Do you have an equal pay claim?
Equal pay claims must be lodged within 6 months (minus one day) of any change of contract. If you think you may have claim or would like to discuss it further please contact the branch as soon as possible. You can email the branch office at aberdeenshire@unison.co.uk or telephone 01224 620624.

What is equal pay? Click here for more information.


Single status implementation
Single status was implemented in Aberdeenshire council as from 1st July 2007, backdated to 1st Jan 2007. The council has sent out new contracts and information packs to all staff.

There are still one or two problems to iron out and UNISON is still in negotiations with the Council about these issues. This includes ensuring that there are no implications for pensions; and clarifying and improving the criteria for shift allowances to ensure consistency for staff.

As members will know, the council issued statutory notice letters to all employees advising of the changes to their contract which took place on 1st July.

The council has told us that those posts which had not been mapped into the new structure have now been analysed and that the employees concerned have been told of their mapping. We understand that employees in posts where the mapping was changed as a result of the consultation process have now been advised of their new mapping. If you are one of these employees and have not yet been mapped, please let us know.

We were disappointed to learn that back money due to many of our members, which will be backdated to Jan 2007, will not be paid to all staff in July, as had been indicated by the Chief Executive. This is because of the huge complexities of calculating the amounts due, and the need to do this on a case by case basis. The council has said that it aims to have back moneys paid to most employees by end-Oct 2007 and the rest by the end of the year.

An appeals procedure has been agreed by the trade unions and the council. This was issued to members with your letters about what single status will mean for you.


The agreement on single status
UNISON along with representatives of the GMB and T&G met with management on 21st Feb 2007 and agreed to move to the implementation phase of single status. A Joint Press Statement was issued after the meeting. The branch sent out a single status update to all members in local government on 22 Feb 2007.

Aberdeenshire UNISON members had voted in January 2007 to accept the council's single status proposals. 57% of those of you who returned your ballot papers voted to accept the single status scheme on a return of 48%. Click here for the full ballot result.

"Our members have expressed a clear position on the proposals and we are encouraged at the high response level showing how important this issue is to members. We had presented the proposal to our members as the best that could be obtained by negotiation. While a clear majority are in favour a significant proportion of our members were unhappy with the proposals and remain to be convinced," said Bob Revie, Branch Secretary at the time.

"UNISON will take this result and enter into discussions with Aberdeenshire Council to reach agreement on Single Status implementation," Bob added. "The other Trade Unions involved (GMB and T&G) have also been balloting their membership within the Council, and the unions will need to reflect jointly on all the results."

At first GMB and T&G members both voted to reject the single status proposals. However, following further consultation on a final revised offer (see below) members of these unions voted to accept the package.

At a previous meeting held on 6th Feb between the Joint Unions and the council, the council made a final revised offer on the terms and conditions package. This will involve a change to proposals for night working and will extend the time period during which the enhanced rate of time and a third is payable by 2 hours ie from 11pm to 8am rather than 11pm to 6am. The council made it clear that this was their final offer. The GMB and T&G agreed to consult with their members on this basis. A joint press statement was issued after the meeting.

The previous meeting between the Joint Unions and Council representatives had been held on 23rd January. The meeting was productive and looked at ways to take things forward. A joint statement was issued following the meeting.


The run up to the ballot
UNISON and the other trade unions, balloted members on the council's single status proposals the first week in January 2007.

Talks with the council about Single Status and Job Evaluation had ended and branch negotiators believed that the proposals on the table were the best that could be achieved through negotiation. The pros and cons to the council's proposed scheme were put to members without recommendation to let you have your say. A covering letter and briefing informed members what the branch negotiators considered to be the good and the not so good aspects of the scheme.

See the links on the right for the latest bulletins.

The ballot followed an extensive consultation process by the council and UNISON. Last year, when the council put out their Single Status proposals for consultation, UNISON held 7 Single Status meetings across Aberdeenshire to hear members' views and to offer advice. Click here to see members' responses which UNISON has collated and passed on to the Council.

The consulation period lasted until 27th October 2006. During this time members gave the council their feedback by phoning the helpline, by meeting with Personnel and by returning the questionnaire in the Single Status Pack.

The council has considered all the feedback and the representations from UNISON and the other trade unions and this has informed the final proposals which have now been tabled. If your mapping was changed as a result of this the council will have written to you to let you know.


What is Single Status?
In 1999 members voted in a ballot for a new deal with councils across Scotland called ‘Single Status’. The aim was to address pay inequality and get a fairer single pay structure for all staff. Every job in local government is to be evaluated through a job evaluation scheme.

The scheme would assess jobs equally and fairly on agreed and transparent criteria. You know why your grade is what it is. It creates one pay scale for all staff, doing away with the historic manual and APT&C differences.

Negotiations are very complicated and things change quickly. Please check back for the latest briefings

Job evaluation is designed to ensure equal pay. Under the new Gender Equality Duty, which comes into force in April 2007, public authorities will have to have an equal pay policy and a way to make sure that new laws and policies have the same impact on men and women.