Today we received AMOD s official response to the joint letter. We were going to think about this overnight to give UNISON & GMB branches time to consider it. But the council, we think, leaked it to the press.
So there will still be a joint response tomorrow
So I’ve attached a photo of the letter. The most important is page 3 and the council demands.
In the meantime these are my initial ill considered and intemperate thoughts.
The mildest comment is that this is “incendiary”
Looks like a declaration of war to me. Its astonishing how differently they’ve responded to the male janitor strike and a strike by women. For the men they gave them more money. For women it’s GET BACK TO WORK YOU SILLY WOMEN or words to that effect.
The letter itself Confirms everything we’ve been saying :
1. Nothing has been agreed in 10 months
2. The people attending meetings with us don’t have authority so can’t negotiate and they reject changing it.
3 council officers are incapable of taking decisions and would rather pass the buck to the tribunals. So much for “ending the litigation “!
4 we won’t pay what people are entitled to only what we can “afford” , whatever that might be.
5 our valuations were not wrong hence 4. So far from “plucking figures out of the air” we were right.
6. We’ll send you an offer just before Xmas and no sooner.
There is no way on earth we will be able to get a reasonable settlement whilst AMOD and Carole Forrest are in charge.
Stefan Cross
Annemarie O'Donnell's letter
For the avoidance of doubt, the Council has not shut down talks. GMB and Unison have chosen to do that by taking strike action. The Council remains at the table, ready to recommence constructive negotiations to reach a settlement to this long-running issue, as soon as the unions withdraw their strike action.
We consider your constructive approach to life and limb cover a positive basis to continue discussions on strike preparation and, in turn, talks to avert this strike entirely.
There are a number of points raised in your correspondence which I will respond to. I remain at a loss to understand why you persist in wilfully misinterpreting the nature of the offer the Council will make in December 2018. Please see attached the following:-
  • The Minutes of the meeting of 7 August 2018. The relevant section is highlighted. The Council clearly confirms that it “should be able to have a conversation on the detail from October 2018 onwards with a view to including this into the December 2018 offer”.
  • My letter to GMB and Unison of 3 October 2018. The relevant section is highlighted. I clearly state that “the Council has committed to putting forward an offer in December 2018 for discussion and negotiation following more intensive negotiations to begin shortly”.
  • My letter to all staff of 4 October 2018. The relevant section is highlighted. I clearly state that “following discussions with the claimants’ representatives this month and next, the Council will make a settlement offer in December 2018 for further discussion with the claimants’ representatives”.In relation to the timescale for the negotiations, I attach the Minutes of the meeting of 9 January 2018. I refer you to section 3 of the Minutes which sets out the schedule of meetings to December 2018.
I confirm that the Council intends – pending the withdrawal of strike action - to have a series of negotiation meetings in October and November 2018 with the claimants’ representatives which will inform the Council’s offer in December 2018. This offer will then be subject to further discussions with claimants’ representatives.
Turning to your requirements. I would comment as follows, using your numbering:
  1. Any officer who attends the negotiation meeting has the authority of the Council to speak on the Council’s behalf, and to take away from meetings issues which need to be discussed with the Leader of the Council and the cross party briefing group in order to determine a way forwards. As we move in to the technical aspects of the negotiations, I anticipate bringing in officers who are heavily engaged in the methodology working group. It is wholly inappropriate for one side to attempt to dictate who should conduct negotiations on behalf of the other side and on-going attempts to undermine the Council’s negotiating team are futile.
  2. Some of these are on the agenda for the meeting that was scheduled for today. I want to see progress on these issues but I don’t, however, see how progress can be made if all parties aren’t at the table negotiating in good faith and free of threat.
  3. As we have entered in to negotiations, and because this is public money which politicians will have to budget for, costs will need to be taken in to account. Clearly an ET could decide on legal entitlements – which would include a definitive view on GMB pleadings and parity.
  4. It has already been agreed that this will be discussed as part of the negotiations and the Council has already written to GMB on this point. Again, this is a negotiation and where we are not able to agree on discrete points, the ET will decide, as we have agreed.
If we are at the stage of issuing requirements, please see below the Council’s requirements:-
  • Withdrawal of strike action.
  • Negotiate and raise issues in the meetings, not in social and written media.
  • An acceptance that, given this is a negotiation, cost will be a factor. Otherwise, let the ET decide what is due.
  • An acceptance that “parity” will be dealt with as part of the negotiations, which failing we can let the ET decide, as we have agreed.

Yours sincerely

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