Stick together to defeat the cuts to our pay terms and conditions
UNISON in Waltham Forest, along with our sister unions at Waltham Forest Council, GMB and UNITE, are all still committed to overturning the Council’s unfair and disproportionate proposals regarding our pay, terms and conditions.
We will be holding two branch meetings for all members to attend. Both are in the Council Chamber at Waltham Forest Town Hall.
The first will be on Thursday 1st September starting at 12 noon to finish by 2pm. The second will be confirmed soon but will be in September and will be at 4pm.
Please encourage all members to attend. We really do need a good turn out.
What now for our campaign?
CONTACT YOUR COUNCILLOR
We are asking all our members to contact their local Ward Councillors to tell them that:
We do not believe the Council needs to make £3 million in savings from our wages. Any of us are local residents and the proposals will severely impact on our lifestyles.
- The cuts are disproportionate and fall largely on lower paid female workers.
- The Council should stick to the National Agreements on Sick Pay, Car Allowances and Incremental Pay Rises.
- The Council should not attack lower paid women workers by abolishing the premium payments (weekend enhancements, overtime, shift allowances, unsocial hours payments).
- The Council should not introduce negative changes to conditions that do not save any money. The cuts to special leave etc. contribute nothing to their savings target and are therefore just pernicious cuts made for the hell of it.
- The Council should not make any changes around redundancy notice periods. It is extremely callous of the Council to want to reduce these periods. The effect will be to hamper redeployment and so potentially increase redundancies leading to costs being incurred by the Council that may have been saved had the longer notice period remained effective.
- The decision of the Council to delegate the decision to a staffing committee of just 4 councillors is undemocratic. Any decision of this magnitude should go to the Full Council.
- They should vote against these proposals at the Labour Group Meeting. Statement by Unison In Waltham Forest.
Please raise all of the above with your Councillor and your MP.
It is really important that we hassle our councillors over the next few days before the Staffing Committee meets to make its decision. It is also important to know that Councillor Afzal Akram, Councillor Karen Bellamy and Councillor Clare Goghill are the Labour members of that Committee with Councillor Matt Davis being the Conservative Representative. These four councillors will ultimately make the decision so if any of them are in your ward, please make sure you see or write to them.
Please come back to the branch to let us know how you get on. Please don’t rely on other people, all of us need to do this. If you need help please contact the Branch Office.
If you need help with finding out about contacting your Councillor you can look it up on the Council internet site.
And remember, if you do not live in the borough then please go to the councillors responsible for the ward that your workplace is in.
LOBBY THE STAFFING COMMITTEE
This poorly constituted, undemocratic and unfair committee meets on Wednesday 14th September to decide on our pay, terms and conditions so please contact them if you can. UNISON has doubts about how this committee fits in with the overall Council structure. It appears to be totally autonomous. We also have no idea how the members of the committee were selected.
The two branch meetings will be discussing the branch strategy over the next few weeks. There will be proposals which will include:
Selective strike action amongst the workforce most severely impacted by the proposals. This would mean particular groups of workers taking action on behalf of the branch. A rolling programme of departmental action aimed at defeating the Council proposals is envisaged. UNISON could organise workplace collections amongst non-striking members to support those who are taking the action. Such an approach could succeed because most of those who are most severely affected work in front line jobs.
- There are still issues that cut across the whole Council workforce – the cuts to the sick pay scheme, incremental pay rises freeze and the changes to job evaluation, special leave, redundancy leave etc. These issues may need to be tackled by wider action.
- The launch of a “We’re not signing” campaign. Council workers would be asked to make a pledge not to sign the new contracts. Obviously this is a serious and difficult step but if enough of us refuse to sign the Council would face a “mass sackings” scenario, an approach that would seriously disrupt the Council and its services.
- Serious lobbying of councillors will need to accompany any strategy that we choose to adopt.
The Branch Committee will draw up a proposed strategy for the branch meetings and they will be discussed and decided upon at the Branch meetings that are open to all members to attend.
The trade unions are questioning the Council’s decision to form a Staffing Committee that will make the final decisions on staffing matters. The Council will not vote on these proposals as a Full Council. They plan for a Staffing Committee of 4 councillors to make the decision. The unions believe that this is a breach of local democracy and will be seeking advice on whether the Council is constitutionally able to behave in such a manner over the proposals.
Please let members know of the upcoming branch meetings and encourage members to attend. It is important that we continue to campaign and fight against the unfair changes that the Council propose until we win their complete withdrawal.
(originally posted 31.8.11)