‘Enough is enough’ - Strike ballot at SAMH over 3-year pay dispute
Over 300 Unite members at Scotland’s leading mental health charity SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) will be balloted for strike action after management abandoned negotiations over a long-standing fight for a modest pay increase.
Low-paid support workers have tried for nearly three years to receive the 0.65 per cent cost of living adjustment set in the 2010 Scottish Joint Council (SJC) salary scales to which their pay is linked - the same pay rates which have been frozen since 2011.
Previous management offers of one-off payments linked to cost-saving targets were rejected via consultative ballots and now SAMH Chief Executive Billy Watson has told workers negotiations are closed due to the organisations ‘financial position’ – despite a recent £20 million turnover and significant public advertising campaign.
A two week ballot for strike action is now scheduled to commence on Friday 22nd February.
Unite Regional Industrial Officer Elaine Dougall said, “It’s staggering that for three years SAMH management has refused to pay-up this meagre 0.65%, yet spent huge sums on media and marketing – they are actively undercutting their staff and their sector.
Our members provide crucial and often emotionally draining support to the growing swell of people suffering from mental health problems across Scotland, yet a Grade 1 Support workers can earn less than £13,000 a year.
We made it very clear to Billy Watson that we were prepared to keep talking but they are not even acknowledging our communications now, let alone responding, so enough is enough.
The most important asset in any organisation is its people but it would seem that SAMH management lost sight of this a long time ago and we will now ballot our members for strike action.”
Notes to Editors: For further information please contact Unite Regional Industrial Officer Elaine Dougall on 07810 157904, SAMH Branch Secretary David Aulton on 07817 027091 or Peter Welsh in Unite Scotland Communications on 07810 157931.