Date: Monday 3 August 2009
UNISON, Dumfries & Galloway's largest public service trade union, and partner unions UNITE & GMB today announced that their members working for the local authority, have all voted overwhelmingly to accept a negotiated Single Status deal.
UNISON members delivered a majority of 89.6% in favour of the package of proposals with 10.4% of members rejecting. The turnout was 75%.
UNITE & GMB members also voted to accept the offer in a high turnout with majorities of, - Unite 94% and GMB 93%
Speaking shortly after the votes were independently counted Marion Stewart, Dumfries & Galloway UNISON branch secretary said; "I am pleased that our members have voted to accept this deal. The joint trade unions believed it was the best available through negotiation.
"It has been a long, often very difficult process, which started back in 1999. Recently, Trades Unions and the Council formed an effective joint project board, led by retired Chief Executive, Phil Jones.
"This is a prime example of what can be achieved by good joint working and we are pleased the Council has recognised and invested in our equality demands. The package has been subjected to three external independent checks and has resulted in fairer pay for many previously undervalued and under paid female groups."
This is believed to be only the second negotiated settlement to be achieved between unions and their employers in Scotland's 32 local authorities. The Single Status agreement affects 6500 Council employees and seeks to eradicate current inequalities that exist in local government pay and conditions.
Ann Patterson, Branch Chair for Unite the Union said after the ballot "I am pleased to announce that Unite members have voted to accept the Council's proposals within Dumfries and Galloway.
"The Joint Trade Unions believed that the Council's proposals were the best that could be achieved via negotiation but recognise that a number of members will be subject to pay protection. We remain assured by the Council's commitment to pay equality for all staff and both sides recognise that this is just the beginning of an ongoing process to eradicate pay inequality."
Marion Stewart continued: "The result of the ballot marks a significant milestone. The focus of our work now will be to help colleagues who want to appeal their grading, to work to improve the position of those groups of staff who are subject to pay protection and to continue UNISON's ongoing support for members who have lodged equal pay claims."
As part of the Single Status agreement those groups of staff who are Pay Protected will be included in an exercise between the Joint Trade Unions and the Council to seek to establish "job redesign or job enlargement" which could potentially remove detriment.