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Have your say: Single Status

Dear DA,

As if the credit crunch wasn’t bad enough, many of us employed in local authorities are now also reeling from the effects of “Single Status” implementation.

The 1997 Single Status agreement between employers and public service unions called for a pay and grading review of all local government posts. Many were conned into believing it would give a fairer pay structure within and across local councils. Indeed, at the time, the union bosses told us that “many will gain and nobody will lose”.

So what really happened? Most of the reviews are now complete, and the outcomes simply beggar belief. In my local authority, the senior managers all got handsome pay rises, thank you very much! At the other end of the scale, some workers gained while others lost. Sig-nificantly, many of the lowest paid, predicted to benefit from Single Status, endured losses. Many others will now get inferior enhancements. The amount of pay lost in the review runs literally into thousands for some. It has not been unheard of for some to lose up to 20% of their salary. The stress caused and the detrimental effects on morale are well documented (see labourunion digest.org.uk).

The new pay structure won’t be introduced for 1 to 2 years (some consolation!). The whole fiasco has seen furious back peddling by the unions, embarrassed at reneging on earlier claims. Sporadic strike action broke out in Glasgow and other places. However, again the unions’ response nationally has been piecemeal, disjointed and lacking any real conviction.

The long term squeeze on local government funding has resulted in this “rob Peter to pay Paul” pay review. Despite all the talk of “pay harmonisation”, there is nothing harmonious about this whole sorry affair. Yet again workers will pick up the tab in the form of pay cuts and rising council taxes for government policy and a failing economy.

That the union hierarchies have again colluded with this should act as further vindication of those like SolFed who advocate direct action and workers’ control.

Yours, Dave.

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