Workers at the Church of Scotland will take industrial action later this month, coinciding with the Royal opening of the 2014 general assembly, after management sabotaged on-going consultations and imposed a new pay deal.
Unite had been negotiating with the church over the allocation of an £80,000 budget for the 2014 wage claim when management suddenly imposed a flat-rate £300 for every employee, ignoring the wishes and recommendations of the workforce, workers were notified by email, completely bypassing a long-standing recognition agreement much to the anger of the workforce.
Over 70 per cent of Unite members voted for action that will result in a continuous overtime ban from 00:01 hours on Friday 9 May, a one-hour stoppage on Wednesday 14 May from 12:30 hours and a 48 hour strike from Friday 16 May from 17:15 hours.
Unite industrial officer Gillian McKay said, “The Church of Scotland has committed workers who view their work as a vocation to help the most vulnerable in our society but for years they have suffered at the hands of their own management.
“However, there is a significant gap in the earnings of the church’s staff and its management, in some cases as high as £74,000 a year with some staff taking home no more than £17,000 before tax - £300 isn’t a huge amount of money to the top earners but it is to the likes of committed administrative and outreach workers.
“By abandoning the consultation process the hierarchy of the church has shown breath-taking arrogance and demonstrated how utterly out of touch they are with their employees and the challenges facing their own workers in this economic climate.
“The only way the hierarchy of the church can resolve this dispute is by practicing what they preach, return to negotiations and properly remunerate their hard-working employees through the recognised channels.”
For further information please contact Unite industrial officer Gillian McKay on 07798 531007 or Peter Welsh on 07810 157931.
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Notes for editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.