Below is the text from a letter issued on 2nd December 2016 to all UNISON members employed at Quarrier’s.
Consultative Ballot on Pay
I enclose a consultative ballot paper which I would ask you to complete and return in the envelope provided no later than midday Friday 16th December. You are being asked to accept or reject the final pay offer from your employer following our pay claim in March 2016. The offer from your employer is:
- Payment of the Scottish Living Wage of £8.25 from the 1st October 2016
- An increase from £9.45 to £9.90 per hour for Team Leaders from the 1st December 2016
- A non-consolidated payment of £265 for staff currently earning more than £8.25 but less than £9.45
The claim which we submitted on your behalf in March 2016 was:
- Payment of the Scottish Living Wage of £8.25 from the 1st April 2016
- A 3% increase on all salary points for staff not affected by the SLW
- A 2% increase on all allowances
In our claim we pointed out that increases in the cost of living over recent years have significantly reduced the value of staff wages. Average pay settlements elsewhere have left Quarriers staff behind comparatively speaking. This has created recruitment and retention difficulties and has adversely impacted on staff morale. It was and remains our position that the claim we submitted was reasonable and affordable.
The offer did improve over the course of our negotiations especially in respect of the £265 payment, however it is clear that the final offer from your employer falls well short of the claim we submitted. A number of members earning more than £9.45 per hour (by no means a high earnings bracket) will receive nothing and the non-consolidated payment has no recurring benefit in terms of future pay and pensions. The introduction of the Scottish living Wage is however a huge positive step in addressing low pay.
Taking all of the above into account it is the view of the branch that the offer is divisive since it excludes from any pay settlement a significant proportion of the membership. On that basis the Branch recommends that you reject the offer.
Quarriers have already committed to introducing the Scottish Living Wage and have received additional funding from Local Authorities in this respect. The Scottish Living Wage will be implemented from the 1st October 2016. Quarriers had already taken this decision outside of the wider pay talks.
If members decide to reject the offer then we will seek further discussions with your employer in an attempt to achieve an improved offer. However there is no guarantee that an improved offer will be made. If no improved offer is put on the table then we will move to a second consultative ballot on industrial action. It is normally UNISON’s position to move to an industrial action ballot in circumstances where members reject a final pay offer and where no improved offer is secured through negotiations.
Finally I acknowledge that this can be a difficult decision for members however it is important that you use this opportunity to cast your vote and provide us with a mandate to move forward.