FALSE MESSAGING FROM THE SNP OFFICE
I am grateful to one of our claimants, Mary Connor, for sending me this reply from SNP to her email to them.
This is important because A, it’s almost certain that this is the official line and anyone else who writes will get the same answer, possibly word for word. And B, it shows the briefing that the officers have given to the leader, and therefore the misinformation that has been supplied.
I also need to make clear this is not a political attack on SNP. frankly I’m disappointed in them all. This post is to put the record straight. As with lots of political spin, it’s complicated because some of it’s true. It’s not all lies, only some of it. We need to sift the truth, half truths and lies.
So let’s go through it line by line starting with paragraph 2 :
“I want to start at the outset by saying that the City Government, and Cllr Susan Aitken as the Leader, remain 100 per cent committed to delivering justice for equal pay claimants who have been waiting for over a decade for this long-running issue to end. “
THIS IS GOOD, AND I BELIEVE HER. but the officers are not delivering, and if they carry out their threat to send crap offers before Xmas it will be hollow. We need a promise that they not to do this, and that settlement will only be through agreement with the trade unions and A4ES via the claimant group.
PARAGRAPH 3 :
“They are currently in negotiations with claimants representatives”
THIS IS NOT TRUE. the key word here is “negotiations”. Simply not happening. I take this word “negotiating “ to mean each side setting out its view/position on each relevant issue and having discussions aimed at bridging any gap. But that’s not happening. The council has refused to commit in writing its position on anything, let alone discuss it and be willing to consider compromise. We were told that’s what they would do but after the summer they reversed their stance and said we will get nothing until they produce “a number” in November. It’s a joke, not negotiating.
“and are seeking to have a settlement figure agreed with them by the end of 2018.”
THIS is half true, in the sense they’ve now told us their plan is to ‘present a number’ and hope we agree. But that is almost impossible. And it’s not one number we need, its 12500 different numbers. (One for each claimant). We need to agree the formula for calculating each correct number, not a single total. This is a fundamental mistake from the officers. We believe that instead of working out the true entitlement, they are working backwards from a budget figure. (And a number far below the true amounts due). We need an assurance that’s not what they are doing.
NEXT THEY SAY :
“No-one from either side has ever been under any illusion this process would be quick and easy. These negotiations have at times been difficult and the entrenchment of the competing positions which has been the case for over a decade cannot be undone overnight.”
I SIMPLY DONT UNDERSTAND THIS. this seems to be an attempt to smear us by suggesting we are “entrenched “. I’m sorry but our “entrenched” position was held to be right by the highest court in Scotland. As the council hasn’t set out its position, and refuses to do so, what are we supposed to do? There haven’t been “competing positions”. I wish there had been. We might then have made progress.
NEXT THEY SAY :
“Nonetheless significant progress, backed by the democratic process of the council, has been made. This progress includes, ending the legal challenge, putting political oversight in place, holding fortnightly formal negotiating meetings, bringing Cordia - where most of the affected staff are employed - back into the Council and harmonising their terms and conditions, and mostly recently the decision taken to replace the council’s entire pay and grading structure.”
ACTUALLY A LOT OF THIS IS TRUE. AND WE SAY BRAVO,
BUT : there have been for fortnightly meetings not negotiations. See above. Now they’ve told us that even these are pointless and we should twiddle our thumbs until they magically “give us a number” in November.
Also, not all conditions are being harmonised, no offer has been made on the compensation for the lower terms for cordia staff have had to endure since 2009, and new terms and conditions won’t come in for 3 years but you’re expected to carryon working on these reduced, discriminatory, terms until then. So credit where it’s due, but promises have been made but not yet delivered. Thanks for the promises, now deliver them.
AND, THE LEGAL CHALLENGE HAS NOT BEEN DROPPED. That’s just a lie. True,an appeal was dropped, but they are still mounting legal challenges every day, and looking for new ones. Indeed we have a hearing in tribunal on 25th September and the council have re-employed the same barrister, John Bowers QC, who fought the original cases and who wants to fight them again. Same team, same strategy. This needs to change.
NEXT THEY SAY:
“All of the above have been asks of the claimant’s representatives and illustrate the continuing commitment that has been shown since the election to dealing with the long-standing work force issues which have underpinned this inequality. “
THEY CERTAINLY ARE OUR ASKS but they have not been delivered and promises are consistently being broken.
“Furthermore, the process of sourcing how the council will fund the final settlement is now underway.”
HOW DO THEY KNOW WHAT TO FUND IF THEY DONT KNOW THE COST.? About time too but this needs SNP funding from national level. There’s been no commitment to this yet.
THEN THIS :
“The SNP group have always been clear that they don’t believe the council has been paying men and women equally for the work they do. We need to compensate women for years of underpaying them, and we need a new pay and grading system that rewards everyone fairly – that work is underway. “
GOOD BUT WE WANT CASH NOT CLICHÉS
“I know the claimants’ representatives are frustrated by the difficulties this process regularly throws up, and we can understand this.”
NO WE ARE FRUSTRATED AT THE BROKEN PROMISES AND LACK OF NEGOTIATIONS
“But the City Government remain committed, and will continue to ensure the good faith which has facilitated the massive strides we have collectively made continues, and that this long-running and complex matter is resolved as quickly as possible to the year-long timetable all parties agreed to at the beginning of the year.”
GOOD, BUT THIS CAN ONLY BE DELIVERED IF THE COUNCIL RETURNS TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE WITH :
A FRESH TEAM, FRESH RESOURCES and FRESH IDEAS.
“I hope this is useful in setting out our on-going commitment to settle equal pay.
Richy // SNP HQ”
THANKS RICHY. NOW ASK SUSAN AITKEN TO MEET THE CLAIMANT TEAM SO WE CAN EXPLAIN THE TRUTH AND GET BACK TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE
sorry for all the CAPS but couldn’t differentiate the text any other way.
As always I value your comments.