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BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS!
What a day. So much to report.
Breaking news 1 : MASSIVE VOTE FOR STRIKE BY UNISON.
Not to be outdone by GMB unison members in Cordia vote 99% in favour of strike and a spectacular 90% in education.
Huge mandate for both unions in both sectors.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE MEMBERS AND OFFICERS WHO WORKED SO HARD ON THIS PROCESS.
Breaking News 2 : Meeting 20.
Goodness we needed those ballots. I think if it wasn’t for them this might have been our last meeting. Only one senior officer came, plus a note taker and an external lawyer. Frankly, none of these people are taking decisions for GCC. They are just messengers. If this continues then meetings are pointless. However, there were suggestions that there might be a change of strategy and we might, but only might, get intensive negotiations in October. I hope so.
The main discussion today was about the tribunal next week. We were sent a “list of issues” by the council which raised a whole load of new issues and particularly attacked the 2009 claims by GMB members, undermining the principle of parity between claimants. This means that we have to have 2 legal teams at next weeks hearing, something we have tried to avoid. I’m afraid I can’t go into details. The claimant team remains united and this move is only to maintain professional obligations for the barristers.
GCC have agreed to reflect on the legal points we made and hopefully the will reconsider some of their arguments. But this is not where we hoped to be. Returning to the ET was supposed to be a backstop for unresolved issues not throwing all possible arguments into the pot because nothing has been discussed let alone resolved.
Obviously I will report back after the hearing and let you know what issues are to be determined, how and when.
We remain committed to seeking an agreed settlement but GCC officials are not helping us achieve that objective.
Breaking News 3. Tomorrow is the meeting of the councillors Joint Working group on Equal Pay. It has a fancy title but I can’t remember it. Anyway it’s not just SNP, it’s all groups represented I believe. This meeting is apparently going to discuss and likely decide the councils legal strategy for the ET. Or put another way, are they going to adopt what I suspect is what Annemarie O’Donnell and John Bowers QC want, which is to continue to fight and to try and justify WPBR NSWP WCD etc, or not. Is the Cexec able to force the politicians to back her previous decisions or will there be a clean break from the past? Of course, we are not there and have no access to the papers or discussion so I might be wrong, but this was certainly my understanding of the position. Nevertheless, it does seem this could be a significant meeting. Hopefully the unions will get a report back. Watch this space.
There is more news but I will keep that for another post.