Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fiscals may strike in January over inequality in salaries compared to GLSS lawyers

Procurators Fiscal want their pay grades made equivalent to that of lawyers working for the Scottish Government in the GLSS ...

whoops - they may have discovered the significant differences in pay & conditions from Scottish Law Reporter ... so, if there's no raise, the Fiscals intend to go on strike in January ...

The Herald reports :

Prosecutors to vote on strike in January over pay

LUCY ADAMS, Chief Reporter

Scotland's prosecutors are considering taking strike action on January 3, a move which would bring courts to a standstill after the busy festive holidays.

Procurators-fiscal believe the Crown Office has reneged on a promise to look at making their pay grades equal to that of Scottish Government lawyers. Following a unanimous ballot in favour of strike action last February, Crown Office officials agreed to review the pay gradings and take the case to ministers.

However, after months of negotiations, from which the fiscals' representatives were recently excluded, a report has been drafted recommending pay scales should remain unequal.

Fiscals are said to be furious at what they see as a betrayal of the terms of the original agreement this year and their requests for urgent meetings with Elish Angiolini, the Lord Advocate, have been refused.

Yesterday, the First Division Association (FDA), the union which represents the fiscals, gave the Crown Office written notice of their plans to ballot for industrial action.

The ballot will take place next week and is expected to receive more than the required level of support. A full day of strike action will then be prepared for January 3, when the custody courts are usually at their busiest.

"It seems they agreed to this review to get through election time and now they have breached our good faith," said Jim Cauldwell, the Scottish officer for the FDA. "It seems they never had any intention of creating equal pay scales with Scottish Government lawyers."

The move follows an independent report in 2002 which highlighted a pay gap between prosecutors and other lawyers and suggested executive lawyers and fiscals were doing equivalent work. The report commissioned by the Crown Office recommended procurators-fiscal should be paid the same as lawyers of equivalent seniority in the executive. Current figures show an procurators-fiscal depute on a basic grade earns £31,365 compared with £36,203 for an equivalent executive lawyer.

The fiscals' union, which represents more than 80% of Scotland's 400 fiscals, is now recommending that members vote for strike action.

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