Your UNISON Pay Team have done all we can to try to improve this year’s offer from Surrey County Council.
This has meant a delay in any payments but the settlement will be backdated. You voted almost unanimously (by 95%) to reject the offer and we held a members’ meeting on 5th October to try to come up with a way to get the council back to the negotiating table. Unfortunately, even though we believe we put forward a meaningful, fair and affordable proposal, the council has rejected it and their final offer still stands. They will be implementing the pay settlement this month (October), backdated to 1st July (except for those who have left the service between 1 July and 25 September, when the councillors agreed the final offer).
This was the response from the council:
Senior officers discussed the new proposal and have not supported the recommendations. We are mindful that members of People, Performance and Development Committee were sympathetic to UNISON's presentation at their meeting on 25 September to increase the pay offer to staff they felt unable to support this due to the financial challenges facing Surrey.
The council's offer this year continues our strategy set out in the pay and reward review which was to achieve a fair pay design, which reflects market salaries, offering affordable pay progression to help staff move towards pay band maximums and lifts the pay levels of lower paid staff to achieve the national living wage target by 2020. In response to UNISON's earlier recommendation, the Council has agreed to review the outcome of the Living Wage Foundation review due in November. Staff who have left the council since the date of PPDC's decision on 25 September 2015 will be entitled to receive payment of the backdated pay award.
Senior officers are firmly committed to continuing our on-going dialogue around pay and benefits with trades unions and staff.
The members’ meeting on 5th October agreed that – in the event of no positive improvement in the council’s offer – UNISON will conduct an indicative ballot of members as to whether they would be prepared to consider industrial action in pursuance of a fair deal.
WE WILL BE RECOMMENDING THAT MEMBERS VOTE NO TO THE OFFER AND YES TO AN INDUSTRIAL ACTION BALLOT. We cannot accept a total Pay Freeze for 500 employees when we have had nearly a decade of austerity and pay restraint!
This will be an electronic ballot and will be coming to you in the next few days. It will not be a formal, legal, industrial action ballot but it will be asking if that is what you want us to conduct.
The questions will be along the lines of:
Do you accept the council’s final offer on Pay & Reward 2017/18? YES or NO
If NO, would you be prepared to vote for industrial action in the event of a formal industrial action ballot? YES or NO
The ballot will be confidential and you will only be able to vote once. We will also ask what service and what building you are based in.
PLEASE make sure you vote as soon as the ballot arrives in your inbox. We need over 50% of you to vote for us to be able to move to a formal industrial action ballot (which would be a postal ballot carried out by the Electoral Reform Society, ERS).