On the eve of the T&G's ballot on the deal of its 100,000 members in local government, TGWU public services national secretary Jack Dromey said that the deal constitutes 'the biggest breakthrough in a generation for local government employees on low pay, equal treatment for men and women and scrapping artificial barriers between blue collar and white collar workers.'
The T&G, which was the architect of the single status strategy in 1992, and which led the three-year long negotiations, is recommending that its members vote 'Yes'.
'In future', Mr Dromey, who chaired the 3-Union negotiating team, continued, 'whether you push a broom or a pen, whether you fry chips or use microchips, all in local government will enjoy equal treatment. Discrimination against manual workers will end, with new common conditions of employment for blue and white collar, including a 37-hour week. So, too, will discrimination against women, with new fair grading arrangements based on equal pay. Both part-time and temporary workers will enjoy full-time rights. And, on low pay, the deal delivers a minimum wage of£4 an hour.
'If the benefits for public servants are great', Margaret Prosser TGWU national organiser said, 'so, too, is the agreement good news for public services and the community we serve. We have jointly forged with the employers a new, modern, relevant and flexible national agreement for the 21st century, tearing down all barriers to career advance and efficiency and flexibility in service delivery.'
'The T&G is modern trade unionism at its best', Mrs Prosser concluded. 'Ours has been a model bargaining and service-delivery agenda, driven by the simple truth that we cannot achieve our members' dreams for high pay and enhanced status other than in a high-quality, high productivity culture. The agreement is also built on a second truth - how you treat employees is crucial to the quality of the service that they provide to the community.'