GMB union backs pay offer

The first of three unions to vote on a new equal pay deal proposed by the SIC has overwhelmingly backed the offer.

Ninety-two per cent of the GMB members employed by the council voted to accept the single status proposal that offers a minimum wage in the SIC of £7.53 an hour, rising to £7.84 after one year’s service. Top earners will get up to £25.07 an hour.

The GMB is the smallest of the three unions that agreed to put the offer to members. Unison, which represents most SIC workers, and Unite are due to reveal the results of their ballots shortly.

GMB representative Robert Wil­liamson said: “This is a tremendous endorsement of the offer the council is making to its employees and of the process of joint working with the unions, which Shetland Islands Council has adopted this time around. We all now eagerly await the results of [the ballots of] our colleagues in Unite and Unison.”

John Smith, the council’s head of organisational development, said: “We are very encouraged by this result. The council has put forward its best possible offer to resolve single status by working in close partnership with staff and unions over the past two and a half years.

“We believe these are very fair proposals, and are gratified that has been acknowledged in this vote. I am sure that GMB union members understood that the time had come to bring this process to a conclusion and get single status implemented. I hope that the members of the other unions involved will take a similar view.”

The deal will add £4 million a year to the council’s wage bill. The SIC will also have to find £5 million for a one-off back pay settlement from 1st December 2007, which was when the last equal pay settlement ran out.


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