Ipswich: Unison members accept new single status wage structure

Grafton House, the home of Ipswich Borough Council  in Russell Road Grafton House, the home of Ipswich Borough Council in Russell Road

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
12:40 PM

Members of the largest union at Ipswich council have accepted radical changes to the authority’s wage structure which will leave many workers worse off.

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Unison members voted in a ballot to accept the borough’s proposals to introduce a single wage structure for all staff – those who work in offices and those who work in other departments.

Ipswich is one of the last councils to introduce single status among staff – other authorities across the country have done so over fears that having separate structures for (mainly female) clerical staff and (mainly male) manual staff could lead to sex discrimination claims.

While there is little change to the authority’s wage bill, some staff – especially refuse collectors – are facing a wage reduction as a result of the changes which were first unveiled in August.
However council leader David Ellesmere has insisted there are likely to be more winners than losers under the changes.

The borough’s human resources committee is due to discuss the implementation of the single status wage structure at its meeting tonight.

There had been fears that if Unison had rejected the proposal, this could result in the council dismissing all its staff and re-hiring them on new terms. That threat has now been lifted.

Mr Ellesmere said: “Unison members have accepted the changes, and that is by far the largest union at the borough.

“It means we can now work with them to implement the changes. We are still waiting for the result of the ballot among Unite members at the borough – but there is a much smaller number of them.”

No one from the Unison was available to comment on the result of the ballot.

The decision by the Unison members across the 1,100 members of staff at the borough does not affect negotiations with refuse collectors about a proposed change to their working hours.

The council has offered about 40 members of staff in that department a £1,000 one-off bonus if they accept proposals to change from a five to a four-day week.

Those negotiations are complicated by the fact that the refuse collectors are one of the groups at the borough facing wage cuts as a result of the structural changes.

Mr Ellesmere said: “These are two unrelated issues, but it is understandable that the staff are seeing them very much together.”

10 comments

  • Why are Unison unable to comment? I was in attendance at one of the early meetings when a senior union member stated that "This was a good deal and we should accept it". This comment was immediately rejected by the Unison local & Regional office when questioned. The above occurred in September of this year.

    Report this comment

    PAFC

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Mr A West I am sorry you are so full of bile and hatred at this time of year, your life must be very empty to turn you in to this person you are. To answer your question the "pen Pushers" the ones who make sure the vunerable have visits, log all the paperwork, make sure those pensioners living on £100 a week get their rent paid, the dead don't get poll tax demands, collect Business rates from some quite well known companies who always pay late so that the services you realy on are available like the bins, planning etc etc. Those pen pushes who in the vast majority earn somewhere between £15k to £22k are all having substantial pay cuts as they earn about what the Bin Men do. As for Mr Ellesmere saying "the Union Agreed" no what happened was they were told accept it or we sack you. There's no "acceptance" when the the threat of being fired hangs in the back ground is there. As for the very few (I beleive you can probably count them on one maybe two hands) of "Managers" they are taking the biggest cuts of all, with some losing £4k to £5k. I am sure Mr West gets free drinks at his place of work, a kettle and water. I work in the private sector and we have a free vending machine as do most work places. So I suggest he gets of his high horse and remember that these people make his town work, they work damned hard and all they get is abuse from people like him. As for Mr Ellesmere I will not vote Labour when it takes hundreds of pounds a month of people at christmas, people still have bills to pay, mortgages to pay, but hey some jumped up politician who will be joining the westminster gravy train he hopes in 2015 doesn't have to worry about making his staff poor does he.

    Report this comment

    The Ginge

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Well said 'The Ginge'. There is a common misconseption from manual workers that office staff are paid a fortune and don't really do anything. In my experience most manual workers earn more than the so called 'pen pushers'. You've only got to look at job adverts for admin workers and you'll see that unless its a top management job (of which there are very few) it's very difficult to get anything over 18k.

    Report this comment

    RC

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • I was in town the other day, minding my own business, when a guy wearing an IBC hi viz jacket and hard hat walked up to me and handed me a mug of tea. Must've mistaken me for a colleague...

    Report this comment

    Robotix

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • My husband tells me that the SSH ballot result was doomed from day one as yet again IBC proposed a structure that they knew would split the workforce. Although there are "winners", there are also many who have suffered a salary loss, but IBC have deemed them to be in the "stayed the same sector" but those employees see themselves as "losers" due to technicalities over what was deemed to be their "basic wage" - it is just spin to make it look like most employees are not affected. If only that was the truth! I am told that SSH has not aligned all terms and conditions, just those were easily negotiable.

    Report this comment

    gwil

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Totally agree with Ginge. I am sick of hearing about all of those of you who sit in your Ivory Towers complaining about our Public services but not happy when you are asked to pay for them. We also need to bear in mind that as usual the recession we are currently experiencing has been caused by the private sector not, I repeat not the public sector, but who is it in times like this that always bears the brunt of cuts and redundancies, because they are an easy target? certainly not the bankers and the other fat cats with their snouts in the trough in the private sector. I would also hazard a guess that a significant proportion of those who complain about IBC on this site never even voted in the local elections but still expect their opinion to be heard.

    Report this comment

    IMP

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • What about the pen pushers who earn far more than the manual workers, those on £35000 a year I am thinking of will they be affected answer No. Management I think they are called or they call themselves, do they still get free bickies and tea as well answer most of them still do.

    Report this comment

    a west

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Not a fair vote . 68% of staff where earning more money or staying on the same wage . 32% where losing . You do the maths the vote was fixed before it began . Again its the big wigs trying to bully poeple into lower wages .

    Report this comment

    confused.com

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • how times have changed not always for the better.but free vending machines , i bet some staff take a flask to work and take a drink home .my last year at compair reavell in ranelagh road ipswich they stopped us using kettles .

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Like all politicians of both local and national persuasions, their statistics are almost certainly rigged to suit their claims. If you have 50 staff getting say a £200 a year increase but 20 other staff losing £4,000 a year statistically that is 50 "winners" and 20 "losers". Financially however that is a massive cut to wages. As I understand IBC's position SSH is about paying staff the same wage no matter what experience, skills or qualifications they may have or not have. However almost every job vacancy I see advertised nationally (one outside Nationwide this very week) stating that salary is dependent on experience. Is IBC now saying all these adverts are illegal? Does our local council want a workforce with no experience and no motivation as I'm sure that is exactly what they now have.

    Report this comment

    england1770

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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