By now many of you will have received several emails

First, there has been a flurry of cllrs sending letters that are word for word the same as the one from SNP “Ritchie” last week, not that they were coordinated or anything. All the same mistakes and no clearer.

And now we have the Word from On High, with the email from the chief executive, Ann Marie O’Donnell. This is a good sign as it means that they are paying attention to you for a change. (But you still need the strike ballot and as loud a YES as possible.)

So, some thoughts on her very long email. First, there are some good things. The commitment to a no take it or leave it offer is good, but no confirmation that offers will only be made through representatives, which is bad.

It’s true they abandoned their appeal to the Supreme Court, which was good, but it’s not true, as the Leader said, that they have abandoned the “legal challenge”. We fully expect they will be back in tribunal defending WBPR, NSWP (including the 37 hour rule amongst many others) EDC and all the CORDIA moves made by Labour. So far they have refused to discuss any of this with us. Yes, we are now promised “feedback “ on comparators but not negotiations, so those issues are heading to tribunal too.

It is not true we asked for a timetable of 12 months. All we asked was that meetings were timetabled for the year, just in case, and to avoid diary clashes. Amazing how that’s been spun. Definitely didn’t see that coming. However, it was agreed that there should be milestones in that process. Milestones the council officers never met and then abandoned, altogether.

And,of course, she completely fails to address the point that there has been zero negotiating in 9 months. They’ve even had our offer for 4 months now and still no response.

Then she says that they have agreed to move on from WPBR. That’s true. That’s good. But it was a commitment the officers refused,repeatedly, to put in the terms of reference (and is still not there). Dropping WPBR was a political decision the officers resisted. Further, WPBR still exists. Discrimination continues and will continue for at least 2 more years,probably 3 more years.

So two final points. First, the commitments AMO’D and Susan Aitken have made are good, but they are nowhere near being fulfilled. Second, all the commitments have been made because of you standing together, none of it has been a result of the “negotiations”, and that drastically needs to change.

So, once again, a lot of words from AMO’D but little substance imo.

As always I welcome your comments and feed back.

Stefan Cross

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