Dear Colleague

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) Roads Review

You will recall that we recently wrote to you asking for your opinion on the proposals which had been put forward by SBC around changes to working practices. The information we provided to you informed you about:

  • Why these issues have been raised by SBC
  • Where the review discussions were at that time
  • Our concerns over the issue

With regard to our concerns over this issue we had advised you that we were concerned that if an agreement on moving forward with the review could not be reached, the council could consider outsourcing some of your work to a private contractor. The other option the council has always had is to simply impose the corporate terms and conditions on you thereby keeping the work in-house but ensuring that all employees work equally to the same terms and conditions.

You will also recall that the last letter we sent to you also asked you to feed back to ourselves your opinion on the SBC proposals.

When we met with SBC on 15 April 2019 UNISON advised the council of the information we had received back from you, our members. We advised the council of what you had advised us – that while our UNISON members were not happy about the changes and wished terms and conditions to remain as was, the main issue our members were concerned about was summer standby. You will recall that currently summer standby is voluntary and attracts a rate of £85.31 per week; the proposal from SBC was that summer standby would become contractual and would be paid at the rate of £101 per week. We advised SBC this was not an acceptable proposal for our members and was indeed the ‘deal breaker’ which we would not consider signing up to. The Council asked if there was a monetary figure per week which UNISON members would work contractual summer standby for and we advised that the advice from yourselves currently was that this was not about money but was about quality of life whereby the winter period is almost dedicated to work for yourselves and there was a complete unwillingness to do the same in the summer. We did, however, advise SBC that if they considerably increased the proposed summer standby rate we would take this back to our members to gauge their opinion.

Our trade union colleagues in Unite the union advised the council that their members would not accept any of the proposed changes at all.

SBC in the meeting then advised the trade unions that based on the updates provided they would now impose all of their proposed changes as of 1 May 2019 EXCEPT for contractual summer stand by which they were willing to rethink and return to the table with another proposal. It is unfortunate that SBC has chosen to take this action at this time, however, it is not surprising that they have given the fact that 2/3 of the trade unions were advising they were unwilling to negotiate on any of the issues in question.

We had advised you that we would meet with you to further discuss what you – our members – want to happen now. We have arranged a meeting for:    

Details: Thursday 2 May 2019 at 6.30pm – Volunteer Hall, St John St, Galashiels TD1 3JX

Tea and coffee will be provided for you.

We look forward to seeing you there at this meeting; please make every effort to attend.

Yours in UNISON

UNISON Scottish Borders Public Sector Branch