Monday, 13 October 2014

Manchester Unison calls for rejection of NJC Pay Proposals and to work with other branches to call a Special Conference

Motion to Branch Executive 13th October 2014

Reject the NJC Pay Proposals
 
In the absence of any clearer National official information UNISON members and activists are naturally wondering what the radically "new, new" proposals are from the LGA that ‘caused’ the NJC Trade Unions to call off the strike action and move to consult members.
 
National circulars on Friday told us that the only difference between these "new, new" proposals and the previous "new" proposals rejected two weeks ago is:
 
'0.45% of proposed new salaries on SCPs 26-49, of which £100 is to be paid in December 2014 and the remaining balance is to be paid in April 2015.'
 
An unnecessarily, and perhaps a deliberately, confusing form of words.
 
But what it actually means is easy to decipher and calculate.
 
It means this:

For everybody on SCP 5 and right up to SCP 25 there are no "new, new" proposals whatsoever. They would get what was in the "new" proposals unchanged.
Everybody on SCP 26 up to SCP 49 will get 0.45% of the proposed January 2015 new SCP rate paid as a non-consolidated lump sum in two parts. The first part is a £100 non-consolidated lump sum paid in December 2014, which is exactly the same as in the first “new” proposals from a fortnight ago. The second part is the balance of the 0.45% minus the £100, and this would be paid as a non-consolidated lump sum in April 2015.
 
And, trumpets at the ready, here is what that second non-consolidated lump sum would be at each of the SCPs:-   


Additional One Off Unconsolidated Lump Sum Paid in April 2015

SCP 5 to 25 - NIL

26 - £3 27 -£7 28 - £10

29 - £14 30 - £18 30 - £22

31 - £22. 32 -£26 33 - £29

34 - £33 35 - £36 36 - £39

37 - £43 38 - £47 39 - £52

40 - £56 41 - £60 42 -£65

43 - £69. 44 -£73 45 - £77

46 - £81 47 - £85 48 - £89

49 - £93

 
So there it is. Nothing more than crumbs glued to the bottom of an already stale, flat and minuscule piece of crust.
 
Two weeks ago the NJC Committee rightly rejected the "new" proposals on three main grounds:

The "new" proposals were not a formal offer and under UNISON’s constitutional procedures we cannot put them out to our members for consultation.

For 2014/15 the total amount gained by those on SCPs 26 and above under the “new” proposals would be less than the total amount they would gain under the original offer ( the one we rejected and voted to take strike action to get a significant improvement).

The "new" proposals overall are insufficient, as they would only raise SCP rates by 2.20% over the two years (compared to 2.01% we would have got anyway without any campaign or even putting a pay claim in).
 
So what’s changed in the two weeks since and under these "new, new" proposals?

The "new, new" proposals are still not a formal offer. So it’s unclear on what basis we are even able to consult members under our own procedures! But it’s even more bizarre. The letter to members attached to the pay bulletin is very clear – we will be consulting our members on a set of proposals that are not an offer, at the same time as the LGA is consulting every council over whether they will agree to turn the proposals into an offer.

It is a farcical position!

For 2014/15 the total amount gained by those on SCPs 26 to 49 will still be less than they would have got under the original offer. The additional crumbs in the table above – the only "new" thing in the "new, new" proposals – will be only be paid in April 2015.

The "new, new" proposals overall will still only raise SCP rates by 2.20% over the full two years. That’s just 0.19% more after two years than we get under the minimum government and LGA pay policy. And official forecasts show inflation will rise by around 4.1% during this time.
 
Recapping to the aims of our pay claim.
These "new, new" proposals will mean that members on SCP 5 to 10 will still be paid less than the Living Wage (as a full time equivalent for the national 37 hour week). So that part of our claim is not achieved.

These "new, new" proposals will mean that all our members who currently earn less than £21,000 full time equivalent (the Government definition of low pay) will still be earning less than £21,000 full time equivalent in two years time.

These "new, new" proposals will mean that all our members on SCP 9 and above (the overwhelming majority) will see their pay fall further beneath inflation over the two year period April 2014 to March 2016 (overall by around 1.5% at SCP 9, 1.75% at SCP 10 and 1.9% at SCP 11 and above).

That's a further real term loss of earnings value with the additional knock on effects for lower pensions.

So that part of our claim is not achieved.
 
And to cap it all, if it wasn’t already staring-us-right-in-the-face bad enough, we will not be able to campaign for a pay rise until 2016/17 at the earliest.

When, by the way, stated government pay policy is for a further 1% limit.  
 
We may never know the true reasons why the majority on the NJC Committee voted to suspend the strike action. Or the real reasons why, in the face of these facts, they believe these "new, new" proposals are different in any meaningful way to the "new" proposals they rejected two weeks ago.

Or, importantly, how they amount to a 'significant improvement' over the original offer rejected by the members that justifies abandoning planned action to consult members on this insult of an 'offer'.

We may never know the real reasons why they weren’t even prepared to recommend that members should reject them in any consultation.
 
What we do know is this.

The decisions of those NJC Committee representatives are nothing short of a capitulation in respect of our members fight for better pay after just one day of action and the biggest sell out of our members in the history of this union.

It is akin to the National union printing tee shirts for members who are encouraged to attend the TUC march on 18th October saying "Britain Needs A Pay Rise" as the slogan. But adding "except for Local Government workers".
 
Our pay cannot be left to the weakness of the majority of the NJC Committee.

Our members must not pay the literal price in further pay cuts of a leadership so timid it calls off strike action due in two working days without any meaningful benefit to members.

If we are to have any hope of resurrecting a real pay campaign then it is down to activists and branches across regions on the front line to mobilise our members for the biggest rejection of these pathetic proposals that we can and get back to demanding a decent pay rise and to ensure the union stands up for our members.

The capitulation of last Thursday must be overturned and challenged at every level within the union including requisitioning a special Local Government Conference by getting support from Branches representing 25% of the national membership.

Manchester UNISON Branch agrees:

- to use all available resources to campaign for members to reject this suicide note in relation to our members continually declining pay levels and the intended surrender notice to the employers about there being any fight whatsoever for fair pay in local government for years to come.

- to promote this position at the Special Regional Local Government meeting on 14th October

- to support the requisitioning of a Special National Local Government Conference and work with other Branches to that end.

Proposed by Manchester Branch Officers.

See there website for more upto date info here

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