Chief Officers Pay Ballot

The Branch is currently balloting its chief officer members on their final pay offer.  All chief officer members should have received a consultaion pack containing information on the offer, a ballot paper and an SAE.  Please could all chief officers return their completed ballot papers to Branch Office no later than 5pm on 26 January 2015.

Chief Officers JNC Pay – Final Offer

On 24 November 2014, the Employers’ Side of the Chief Officers JNC wrote to the Officers’ Side (ie the trade unions) with a final pay offer.

In December, the unions met with the employers to try to negotiate an improved deal, but no improved offer was forthcoming.

UNISON’s Chief Officers and Senior Managers Committee is therefore consulting members on the final pay offer.

The pay offer

The Employers’ final pay offer is: 2% on guaranteed full-time equivalent basic salary of £99,999 or less [as at 31 December 2014] with effect from 1 January 2015. The offer covers the period to 31 March 2016.

What was in the trade unions’ pay claim?

The trade unions’ pay claim contained three elements:

1. A substantial real terms increase on all Chief Officer pay scale points and salaries and associated allowances.

2. A joint working party on workload pressures, to cover the effect of job cuts, reorganisations, and stress, and the need for time off in lieu (TOIL).

3. A national job evaluation (JE) joint review panel to be used where there are collective issues arising from the implementation of the Chief Officers JE scheme.

On point 2, the Employers have agreed to examine any evidence that the trade unions can provide about the effect of local management reorganisations on Chief Officers’ workloads.

On point 3, the Employers have said they would be willing to consider a joint approach to collective issues arising out of the Chief Officers Job Evaluation scheme, but only if the unions agree to endorse the scheme. At present, we have outstanding issues with the scheme and so do not feel in a position to do this.

UNISON’s Chief Officers and Senior Managers Committee’s view on the offer

UNISON’s Chief Officers and Senior Managers Committee’s view is that the Employers’ pay offer falls far below the aspirations in our pay claim and what our members deserve. Following a pay freeze on the JNC for five years, it does nothing to make up for members’ loss in real terms pay. However, the Committee also believes that it is the best offer achievable by negotiation and that without strike action, we will not get an improved pay offer.

In deciding whether to vote to accept or reject the pay offer, members should be aware of the following points:

The Chief Officers and Senior Managers committee believes that this pay offer is the best that can be achieved by negotiation.

The majority of local government workers, on NJC pay, have accepted a pay offer of 2.2% over the same period (1 January 2015 – 31March 2016). The pay settlement for the NJC also included higher percentage increases at the bottom end, and additional lump sums depending on spinal column point. Those above spinal column point 49 did not get a lump sum. The basic percentage increase offered for Chief Officers is lower, at 2% instead of 2.2%.

Chief officers’ pay has been frozen for five years prior to this offer, while RPI inflation is currently 2%. So this pay offer fails to increase pay in real terms. The offer does not represent a meaningful increase which reflects the increased workloads and reduced staff numbers that Chief Officers are having to contend with.

The £99,999 cap is completely arbitrary. It means that Chief Officers earning £100,000 or more will have their pay frozen until at least 31March 2016 – adding up to a seven year pay freeze.

The negotiation process for Chief Officers’ pay has been exhausted, and this means that if members wish to reject the pay offer, we will not get an improved offer without some form of industrial action.

It has been made clear to the unions that if we had taken the initial offer of 1% to cover just one year, it was very possible there would have been no follow-up pay increase in the second year. So this offer does provide some degree of certainty over a two-year period.

The same offer has been made to chief executives (some of whom do earn under £100,000) but we don’t yet know their position.