Thursday, 27 August 2015

UNISON to continue fight over Employment Tribunal fees in Supreme Court

UNISON has vowed to take its battle to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal rejected its appeal against the government’s introduction of employment tribunal fees.

Describing this case as ‘troubling’, the Court of Appeal expressed a ‘strong suspicion that so large a decline [in claims] is unlikely to be accounted for entirely by cases of ‘won’t pay’ and [that] it must also reflect at least some cases of ‘can’t pay’.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

“Today’s decision is a huge disappointment and a major setback for people at work. Many unscrupulous employers will be rubbing their hands together in glee at the news. 

There is stark evidence that workers are being priced out of justice and it is women, the disabled and the low-paid who are being disproportionately punished.

Our fight for fairness at work and access to justice for all will continue until these unfair and punitive fees are scrapped.”

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Smoke and Mirrors over NHS pay

UNISON has today slammed the government over a Treasury letter to the chair of the public sector Pay Review Bodies (PRB) – including the NHS PRB – which stated that not all staff will get a pay rise as promised in the Summer budget.

Ravi Subramanian, UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary said:

“It is clear from this letter that the government’s promise of a one per cent pay rise for public sector workers was all smoke and mirrors.

There was no substance to Osborne’s claim and NHS staff will be bitterly disappointed to hear many of them may not even get an extra penny for five more years.

The letter states that ‘the government expects pay awards to be applied in a targeted manner’ and that some workers could receive less than one per cent.'

It is difficult to see how much targeting you can get from a miserly 1 per cent without resulting in hundreds of thousands not getting a pay rise at all.

Ministers’ acknowledgment of saving at least £8bn with the pay caps and freezes imposed on public sector pay proves it is nurses, healthcare assistants, porters and paramedics who are still paying for a deficit they have nothing to do with.”

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Attacks on unions are attacks on working people too, says UNISON

Commenting on governments latest proposals to prevent people who work in the public sector from paying their union membership fees directly from their wages:

Ravi Subramanian, UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary said:

“This latest malicious manoeuvre from ministers shows how far a Conservative government are prepared to go to attack ordinary working people.  In simple terms they are planning to go to deny nurses, care workers, teaching assistants, hospital cleaners and town hall staff a voice at work.

Anyone with a job in the public sector must wonder why the government dislikes them so much that it is set on a series of such spiteful attacks on them through their unions.

Allowing union subs to be taken directly from peoples’ salaries is convenient for individual employees, their unions and their employers – and it works well in both the public and private sectors of the economy.

The suggestion that this costs the taxpayer is simply not true, in much of the public sector, unions pay the hospital trust or the local council the cost of taking the subs at source, so there is no cost to the public purse.

Employees in workplaces where there are unions are more likely to earn more, be better trained, and have safer working conditions, than those where there is no union.

Ministers are undermining our public services by putting partnership working between unions and employers – that benefits the public – at risk. This is nothing more than a cheap political gesture.

The government is showing once more that by making it harder for unions in the public sector to stand up for their members, it can never be the party of working people. Attacks on unions are attacks on working people too.