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Single Status - Union ballot accepted

Published: 11/04/2014

Flintshire County Council and the Flintshire Joint Trade Unions (GMB, UCATT, Unison and Unite) have announced that the combined members ballot on the Single Status Agreement has been accepted by a large majority. The Agreement, approved by the Council last October will now be implemented on 1 June 2014. This is a major step forward for the Council and the culmination of four years of complex work to reach an agreement by all parties. Under a national agreement, and to avoid the litigation and the potential costs of Equal Pay claims, all Councils have to adopt a Single Status Agreement. Under such Agreements modern pay structures are introduced which ensure that there is both fairness of pay and terms and conditions of employment for all employees. Most of Flintshires workforce, other than teachers, will be affected by the new pay structure. Some employees will receive an increase in their base pay, others a decrease, and many will be unaffected. New terms and conditions will cover entitlements such as premium payments for overtime working and car allowances for the whole workforce apart from teachers. The new Agreement will enable many front line services to be delivered more flexibly, including weekends, to better meet customer demand. There are two significant features to the Agreement of which the Council, as the employer, is very proud. Firstly, a solution for low pay which affects large numbers of predominantly female workers in services such as catering, cleaning and social care. Secondly, a better deal on pay protection for those who will lose pay and could face personal hardship as a consequence. The Council has thought ahead by building up a financial reserve for Single Status which will be set against the increase in the pay bill and will cover all one off costs such as pay protection. All Single Status agreements lead to an increase in base pay in all Councils. Councillor Billy Mullin, the Councils Cabinet member for Corporate Management said:The introduction of the new Agreement will be a positive step to address the issue of low pay for a significant proportion of the workforce. By modernising the terms and conditions of employment we are able to introduce more flexible services such as weekend waste collection and customer services at no extra cost to the local taxpayer. Colin Everett, Chief Executive said: This is a major step forward for the Council and the culmination of four years of complex work to develop a more acceptable agreement than the one rejected in 2009 when there was concern over the scale of loss for some work groups and individual employees.Flintshire stands out as a Council where the employer and the Trade Unions can work together, with mutual respect, to achieve difficult agreements such as this. Sarah Taylor, Unison and Secretary of Flintshire Joint Trade Union Committee said: This has been a hugely complex project which has required commitment by all parties to adhere to guiding principles agreed at the outset. We believe that the Agreement addresses the issue of equality in pay and terms and conditions across the entire workforce and makes progress towards addressing low pay and that the investment in the pay line will enable the organisation to recruit and retain staff for the future, building resilience into the organisation.