Friday, May 16, 2008

Off to the picket line

I am on my way to the picket line to support striking members of the Lambeth UNISON branch employed by Ofsted.

UNISON members in Ofsted undertake highly demanding jobs – responsible for inspecting childcare, early education and children’s social care, and ensuring that standards are adhered to and millions of young children are cared for safely and properly.

Ofsted has imposed a pay award which leaves most of our members facing a pay freeze or below inflation uplift for three years.

Rising cost of living

· A third of UNISON members are having their salaries frozen for two years – for a quarter the pay freeze is due to last three years! At a time when the cost of living – gas, food, fuel, petrol – has been going through the roof.

· Even where our members have been given a rise, for half of them it amounts to 2% or less at a time when the real cost of living is rising at 4%.

Winners and losers approach bad for morale

All public sector employers have recently been subject to Government restrictions in what they can pay. But in Ofsted a bad situation has been made worse by the decision to give some staff – in more senior grades – increases significantly above inflation. With a limited pot of money to spend that has led to real hardship for the rest. This has been divisive and bad for morale.

The most recent survey of Ofsted staff showed that stress and workplace bullying had risen. It is time management at Ofsted recognised the demanding work ALL their staff perform.

Campaigning for a fair pay increase for all staff

The unions are calling on Ofsted to release funds it has set aside elsewhere and to secure additional monies from the Treasury so that all its hardworking staff can have a fair pay rise. Seems fair enough to me!

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