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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 15:19 GMT
Council nears regraded jobs deal
Dinner lady
The changes are expected to affect more than 3,500 staff
Stirling Council has said a deal has been reached with local unions over the controversial Single Status Agreement.

About 3,500 staff are affected by the move which could lead to drastic changes in pay and conditions.

Despite the claim, a spokesman for the GMB Scotland union, which has been involved in negotiations, said the council's announcement was premature.

The SSA was signed nationally by unions and employers in 1999 to evaluate and regrade jobs to cut out discrimination.

The agreement was aimed at reducing the high numbers of female public sector workers who were paid less than male colleagues for doing similarly regarded work.

There is no agreement with GMB Scotland on the Single Status proposals in Stirling Council
Alex McLuckie
GMB Scotland

Alex McLuckie, senior organiser with GMB Scotland, said that until the union had satisfied itself that the deal would address inequalities among the workforce, they would not sign up to Stirling Council's proposals.

He said: "There is no agreement with GMB Scotland on the Single Status proposals in Stirling Council.

"GMB Scotland has asked that an Equality Impact Assessment is carried out on the proposals.

"It is only when that is completed and we are satisfied that the inequality has been removed from the pay system will we recommend this deal or not."

The council said it plans to implement the SSA on 1 April.

Mr McLuckie insisted that the local authority's plans for an April introduction of the scheme was a "bit optimistic".

Under the terms of the current agreement, the council will see its wage bill increase by 2.7m with staff working a 36-hour week.

'Mature negotiations'

A new job evaluation process will also begin to remove anomalies where manual workers can earn more than managers or other staff where there is no logical pay scale.

The deal will affect terms and conditions for manual, administrative, professional, technical and clerical staff. Only craft workers and teachers will be exempt.

The local authority said the deal would also lead to a reduction in the number of days council services close due to public holidays.

Councillor Colin O'Brien, executive member with responsibility for corporate reasources and economy, said: "I am pleased that the management team and the trade unions have reached an agreement that both sides can be satisfied with.

"We are the first council in Scotland to reach a local agreement, and this has been achieved through mature negotiations and being realistic."

The council said that during the single status negotiations, savings of 390,000 were achieved to assist in meeting the cost of the additional wage bill.

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