Wednesday, 9 January 2019


UNISON provides a wide range of learning opportunities for its members.

Two courses are being run at Angus Council this month and are open to members and non members alike. These are as follows:

Lifelong Learning Application Writing and Interview Skills

Either Monday 21 January 2019 – Bruce House, Arbroath or Monday 28 January 2019 – Angus House, Forfar

This course will help you with:

·        Application writing and interview skills;
·        Understanding and identifying Transferable Skills;
·        How to approach a job application or CV – and write it;
·        Preparing for interview and understanding what questions could be asked;
·        How to approach an interview and sell yourself.

Computers/IT for Beginners

4 day course on 21 and 28 January, 4 and 11 February at Bruce House, Arbroath

The course will help you to:

·        Understand the basics of using a computer;
·        Be able to use the internet and send e-mails safely;
·        Be able to write and save document;
·        Be able to use software packages effectively;
·        Keep information safe and secure.

For more information and how to apply for this course please contact Angus Council’s Organisational Development at or phone UNISON Angus on 07999 344300.

And if you have colleagues or members of staff who you think might benefit from attending a face to course like those above, please share this information with them.

Friday, 4 January 2019


We emailed all Angus Council members before Christmas regarding proposed changes to some Terms and Conditions.
We designed a survey about these proposals and it's really important that as many members as possible complete the survey as a good number of you have done already. This will not only let UNISON know what you think about the proposals but will fully inform us in how we respond to the Council. It should take no more than 6 or 7 minutes to complete and can be found here:
The survey is solely for UNISON Angus members – we expect other Trade Unions will be making their own arrangements to gauge the views of their members and it's completely anonymous
On some of the proposals detailed below, we have sought clarification from Council management and this clarification is next to the proposal in question.
Changes to Terms and Conditions were originally anticipated to ‘save’ the Council approximately £400,000 in this financial year and in 2019/2020 – these changes are not now expected to reach anywhere near this amount. Members should also be aware that there is no guarantee that future job losses will be avoided if these changes to Terms and Conditions are accepted. UNISON Angus oppose any detrimental changes to their members Terms and Conditions – and how we respond to the proposals will be driven by what you tell us in this survey!
The Council’s proposals were reported to UNISON Angus as follows:
A review of terms and conditions of employment for Local Government Employees and Chief Officers has been carried out in light of the ongoing requirement for the council to become more efficient and cost effective whilst ensuring compliance with equal pay legislation and maintaining equity and fairness. This paper details the current position and proposals in the following areas :
Working arrangement allowances
Designated Public Holidays
Excess Travel
Business Travel
Salary Protection
Work life balance and wellbeing.
Working Arrangement Allowances
Current Position
At present, if required to work on a public holiday as part of the normal working week or if called out in excess of one hour an employee will be paid double time for all hours worked. They will also be given time off in lieu (TOIL) as follows:
a half day off if the time worked was up to half of their normal day;
a whole day off if the time worked was over half of their normal day.
If required to work on a public holiday as part of the normal working week or if called out in excess of one hour, an employee will be paid at double time in complete recompense for all hours worked;
TOIL in relation to public holiday working will be an alternative to payment (rather than in addition to enhanced rates);
All TOIL will be calculated on a basis equivalent to hours worked with no enhancement (currently one hour overtime attracts 1.5 hours of TOIL);
Time of less than 30 minutes in any day will not rank as overtime (currently 15 minutes) and this will apply to all staff (UNISON Angus queried the current situation and were advised that at present, time of less than 15 minutes is paid as plain time);
No overtime will be claimed by LG12 and above. TOIL may be agreed in exceptional circumstances (currently overtime may be approved following submission of a report). To ensure consistency all requests must be dealt with in conjunction with a nominated Senior HR Officer.
Designated Public holidays
Current Position
There are currently seven public holidays (pro rata for part-time employees). These holidays are fixed by the council and advance notice is given of when they fall each year.
Public holiday dates are currently :
1 and 2 January each year or if on a weekend the next 2 working days thereafter;
The first Monday in April;
The first Monday in May;
30 November or the Friday following the 30 November and;
Christmas Day and Boxing Day each year or if on a weekend the next 2 working days thereafter.
Reduce the number of public holidays from 7 to 4 with the April, May and St Andrew’s day public holidays being re-designated as annual leave (not public holidays) (UNISON Angus queried the start date for this proposal should it be accepted - the Council stated they would want to replace the St. Andrew’s Day holiday with an annual leave day in 2019 in order to realise some savings. The removal/replacement of the other 2 public holidays and proposed Christmas closure wouldn’t start until January 2020);
The 3 designated days above to be taken on the 3 working days between Christmas and New Year. (UNISON Angus asked if there could be any individual variations to this proposal e.g. if a member was able to work from home; the Council stated this would be highly unlikely);
For some services it will not be feasible to close between Christmas and New Year. It is therefore proposed that feasibility is considered operationally and where necessary the three days leave between Christmas and New Year is taken at another agreed time. (UNISON Angus had clarification from the Council that the days could be taken at any time as a 3 day block or individually, subject to the demands of the Council’s service delivery).
Excess mileage
Current Position
Excess mileage is paid for a maximum of 2 years at 25p per mile. (Clarification has been sought by UNISON Angus that the £5 weekly deduction would no longer be applied; we await a response).
Reduce excess mileage payments from 2 years to 1 year and the rate from 25p per mile to 12.6p per mile with effect from 1 July 2019. This will apply to all staff who are required to change base and who incur additional expense as a result. It is not anticipated that this will impact on any particular groups more than others unless there are proposals to relocate particular groups on a regular basis.
Business Travel
Pauline Sinclair, HR & Business Support Service Leader will lead a review of the business travel policy and arrangements with service and trade union representatives with the aim of developing arrangements which are cost efficient and operationally effective and which meet expectations of customers and environmental considerations. (UNISON Angus will be represented on this group and will provide information to members on the proposals suggested by the review group).
Current Position
The current rates are £6.50 for lunch and £20 for evening meal.
Realign subsistence allowances to reflect agile working practices and HMRC rates, and only where costs have been incurred on meals which would normally have been taken at home to: Breakfast rate: up to £5, One-meal rate: up to £5 (5 hours absence), Two-meal rate: up to £10 (10 hours absence) and Late Evening rate: up to £15). Restrict to meals taken outwith Angus and Dundee City boundaries. (The amount spent by members would be evidenced by the production of a receipt. The inclusion of Dundee appears to be based on the number of meetings involving Angus staff that take place there, but we have asked for further explanation and clarification on the reasoning for including Dundee).
Salary Protection
Current Position
Salary protection following a reduction is provided for 1 year.
Reduce period of protection from 1 year to 6 months for employees whose salary is reduced from 1 July 2019 onwards.
Work life Balance and Wellbeing Proposals
The following proposed enhanced and new provisions will be developed further, in partnership with health, other colleagues and trade union representatives. These are all aimed at supporting employees to achieve the best work life balance for their own personal circumstances, to allow them to support the communities they live and/or work in and to develop professionally or personally in whatever they choose. Maintaining a healthy workforce is beneficial to the council as well as employees and these provisions would help to create a positive working environment and ensure our employees feel valued. It is recognised that there will be indirect costs for services if these proposals are agreed but it is also anticipated that there would be significant benefits to employees, the council and local communities.
Health & Wellbeing/Family Support Options
Review of council’s managing absence provisions to emphasise supporting employees at work and while absent and to include mental health and wellbeing support.
Supporting employees who are carers through the agreed Carers Support at Work Scheme (Human Resources lead). Continue implementation towards the highest level of national Carers Positive accreditation.
Bereavement Leave (enhanced paid time off e.g. up to 5 days to support staff and record bereavement leave rather than signed off on sick leave)
Compassionate Leave (up to 10 days paid leave - to support employees dealing with major unplanned family situations and record leave for such purposes rather than staff being signed off on sick leave)
IVF/Fertility Treatment (new paid leave to support one cycle)
Council/Community Support Options
Employee Supported Volunteering (ESV) – 2 days paid leave per year for employees to volunteer in partnership with VAA or to support the council’s own services
Foster/Kinship Carer Leave – paid leave to support the different stages of the foster/kinship process
Guaranteed Job Interview Scheme – extend to our employees who are carers (to remain in employment), young carers, looked after children
Emergency Donation – blood/bone marrow/organ donation – released immediately for the time required with pay.
Sporting Activities – new paid/unpaid time for competitor/manager/coach – national and regional
Development in Work Options
Framework for Secondments – developing staff in all areas – more flexible workforce
Framework for Engaging Interns – supporting young people/students/those not in employment
Framework for Engaging Modern Apprentices – as above
So, please do take a few minutes to complete the survey which will inform and guide your union in responding to the Council’s proposals. Click the link below or at the top of this email to get started:

Thursday, 20 December 2018

UPDATE - Scottish Local Government Pay

COSLA yesterday tabled a revised and improved pay offer for all local government workers.

The pay offer is for a period of three years and covers the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2021. The award for 2018 will be backdated to 1 April 2018 application date.

The pay offer and associated elements which make up the package are as follows: -

  • 2018/19 an increase of 3.5% (capped at £80,000, on or above which a flat rate of £1600 will apply).

  • 2019/20 an increase of 3% 

  • 2020/21 an increase of 3% 

In each of these three years the Scottish Local Government Living Wage will rise by the percentage uplift referred to above.

The Scottish Local Government committee met this morning to consider this offer and have decided to recommend ACCEPTANCE of this offer in a consultative ballot of members which will commence on the 7th January 2019.

In order that UNISON Angus members are fully informed about how the revised offer was considered, we can let you know that the Local Government Committee were mindful that:

  • Significant progress had been made in negotiations with the employer – key elements of the revised offer such as the commitment to full consolidation of the living wage - were not a feature of either of the two preceding offers;

  • Whilst the offer does not meet all aspects of the claim it makes progress in all areas of it and is the best that could be achieved through negotiation;

  • The progress made has been as a direct result of the campaign that has been built with members throughout the year;

  • The cost of living increases proposed are in excess of the current and predicted RPI rates for the duration of the offer;

  • A working group will be established to oversee the process of consolidation of the Living Wage and that will report to the Scottish Joint Council.  Councils should aim to achieve consolidation by March 2021 but in the small number of councils which may require additional time an agreement will be reached locally with the trade unions which will incorporate a firm commitment that any such extension will carry a final implementation date of 2022;

  • The principle of parity across the local government bargaining groups is reaffirmed.  The additional funds provided by the Scottish government to fund the review of the teachers’ main grade has been matched by the additional cost of the improved offer to our members in 2018/19 and the additional costs that Councils will incur due to the commitment to consolidate the Scottish Living Wage.  There is the commitment to re-open negotiations with the trade unions in the event of another local government bargaining group’s total pay offer value being revised such that it becomes greater than the sum agreed between COSLA Leaders and the SJC Trade Unions for the SJC workforce. The current cost of living offer to teachers unions is 3% for each year 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21.

UNISON Angus are mindful that the revised pay offer will generate much debate and discussion, some of which has been on Yammer. We’d therefore really welcome your thoughts on it so that both the Branch and UNISON Scotland are fully advised and informed with regards to your views. You can contact us by email at or you can reply to our blog post at : or our posts on our UNISON Angus Facebook page.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018


On behalf of the Branch, can I thank everyone of our schools based members who took part in our recent survey; we had a really good response. I can also let you know that as a result of UNISON making representations about the recent spike in incidents in some of your workplaces, we are now engaged in a consultation with the Council where we will be able to make comments and suggestions on proposed new workplace guidance and policies for Aggression and Violence, Physical Intervention and Behaviours that Challenge. Our schools based Stewards (i.e those best placed to make comments and advise management on the realities) are considering these documents as I write and the Branch will formally submit their views early in the New Year.
As a result, we've held back on full publication of the survey results and presentation to the Council. It's our intention to share the results of the survey at the next Children & Learning Consultative group meeting on 22 January where we'll be able to share our views on both the consultation referred to above, and the survey results. We are of the view that the data gathered in the survey and our consultation feedback will make a difference to our members lives at work when presented to the employer. Prior to the meeting, we will of course be publishing the full results of the survey.
And whilst we're writing...........
As you'll know, the Branch has a number of trained Stewards across the Council and our other employers who help and work with our members. It would be great to have another steward or two in our schools and in particular the primary sector. You get full training and paid time off whilst assisting or members in meetings and hearings and the support of Branch offiers and UNISON's full time officials. If this interests you, please do get in touch with the Branch Office ( or phone 07999 344300) and we can talk through with you what's involved.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018


We’ve been given a copy of the letter members may have received today to advise that they are till ‘in scope’ for the Council’s Clerical & Admin Review. Firstly, if you’ve been told that you’re no longer in this particular Review, please let us know so we can take your name off this mailing list.
We would hope to have UNISON representation at many of the proposed Workshops in January and have asked that we are advised of these well in advance so that we can cover as many as possible. In the meantime, we remain equally frustrated at just how long this process has taken and of the impact that has had – suffice to say, we’ve articulated this loud and clear on your behalf.
It's really important that everyone lets the Review people know exactly what they do. So many Council employees are doing so much more than they should be with no reward, but UNISON Angus recognises that it’s not always easy to speak up or speak out in situations like this. So, if you have any thoughts, comments or observations you’d like us to articulate on your behalf now or in the coming weeks, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018


The Branch Secretary and our Regional Organiser met senior management from the Council on Monday afternoon. At this meeting proposals were tabled by the employer to change a number of the current terms and conditions for local government staff employed at the Council.
It is our intention to consult with UNISON members employed by the Council about how these proposals will affect you. Your responses will inform us in responding to the proposals so it will be really important that you participate and let us know your views.
So, by the end of next week, we’ll have emailed you a link to a survey where you will be able to answer questions and make comments on the Council’s proposals to change some of your Terms and Conditions. The survey will be open until mid January with UNISON’s next meeting with Council management taking place on Friday 1 February. Please look out for the survey email in your inbox in the next few days.

Thursday, 6 December 2018


In keeping with the time of year, the UNISON Scotland Local Government Committee thought it would be nice to make sure Derek Mackay, MSP and Cabinet Secretary received our warmest wishes for the Festive Season. And to also make sure he hears loud and clear that he should be giving us the pay rise we all deserve!
Our Council Stewards and Workplace Contacts will all get a card which we hope will be signed by as many of our members as possible in their respective schools, offices and workplaces.. All the signed cards will be sent together to Holyrood so that Derek Mackay receives them in time for Christmas.
There are however a number of Council workplaces where we don't have a Workplace Contact to co-ordinate the card getting signed. So, if you can help the Branch with this, let us know and a card will quickly be on its way to you. You can reply to this message or email
We’ll also have more news soon on the ballot for industrial action and we’ll share this with you as soon as we get it.
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