Fórsa members working in local authorities will soon receive details of the voting arrangements for a ballot on industrial action in pursuit of an independent job evaluation scheme.
The virtual ballot is expected to commence on Thursday 30th March 2023, and all members directly employed in city or county councils will be eligible to vote. The decision to ballot for industrial action was backed by a unanimous decision of the Local Government and Local Services Divisional Executive Committee last month.
The union has long sought a local authority job evaluation scheme like the one that operates in the HSE and the education sector. Job evaluation is an established tool that allows the knowledge, skills and responsibilities associated with individual jobs – rather than grades or staff categories – to be assessed and appropriately rewarded.
Fórsa maintains that almost 10,000 council jobs were lost following the financial crisis, and services had only been maintained because staff had taken on additional responsibilities above their pay grades. In addition, there are severe disparities in pay rates across the local government sector, where staff doing the same work could be paid more or less depending on which of the 31 councils they work for.
National secretary Richy Carrothers said the decision to ballot was due to the “entrenched position of employers who are refusing to negotiate or conciliate” on the issue, and encouraged members to update their details in advance, ensuring their vote is counted.
“Our members only ever consider industrial action as a last resort because we know it means inconvenience for the people who depend on the important and valued services we provide. This action is because of the blanket refusal of the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) to engage under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission. Our preference is still to negotiate a solution with the employer, which would mean that industrial action could be avoided, and we have made this clear to the LGMA,” he stressed.
Ahead of the ballot of members, Fórsa has appealed to members to ensure their contact details are up-to-date to guarantee their voice is heard. Local government workers have already received an email from the union asking members for their up-to-date contact information. If you have not yet received this email, Fórsa is asking members to email firstname.lastname@example.org with their employer, personal email and contact number.
Richy urged members to vote yes and have their voice heard.
“We know that many staff working in local government are frustrated and want equity and fair treatment, similar to other large parts of the public sector. Encourage your colleagues to stand up and help us win a better deal. If you’re not yet a member don’t leave yourself out in the cold – join Fórsa today and stick together with your colleagues and workmates,” he said.
Fórsa has advised members to read the job evaluation FAQ document. You can contact the union at email@example.com with further questions.
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