Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fiscals suspend 'bluff' strike action after talks

Scotland's Fiscals have suspended what many saw as a 'bluff' strike action threat.

Anything for more wages, but they must have been astounded to see the fat cheques, freebie expenses tickets, bungs, favours & bonuses going to their colleagues in the GLSS .. so who wouldn't think they deserved a little more ...

The Herald reports :

Scotland’s prosecutors suspend threat of strike action


Scotland's prosecutors last night suspended their threat of strike action on January 3 over pay following last-minute negotiations between a trade union and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

More than 80% of fiscals balloted by the First Division Association (FDA) voted in favour of strike action coupled with a work-to-rule earlier this week.

The move would have significantly disrupted custody courts on one of the busiest times of the year.

Intensive negotiations in recent days resulted in an initial agreement to delay industrial action being accepted last night by the FDA's Procurator Fiscal Section Council.

The FDA, which represents four-fifths of fiscals, gave the Crown Office written notice of its plans to ballot members last month.

It followed concerns expressed by fiscals that the Crown Office had reneged on a promise to equalise pay grades made after a unanimous ballot in favour of strike action last February.

An independent report commissioned by the Crown Office, published in 2002, highlighted a pay gap between prosecutors and other lawyers while suggesting that Scottish Government lawyers and fiscals were doing equivalent work.

Recent figures show a procurator-fiscal depute on a basic grade earns £31,365, compared with £36,203 for an equivalent government lawyer.

Following yesterday's agreement, Jim Caldwell, Scottish secretary of the FDA, said: "What we want is agreement and a fair resolution to the concerns we have been raising for a number of years.

"There is no doubt about the strength of feeling among our members about career prospects and the failure by the COPFS to reward its lawyers commensurately with those employed within the wider Scottish Government.

"We have been in talks for many months and the anger of members at the failure to make sufficient progress led to our strike ballot."

He added: "We are pleased to have been able to hammer out an agreement.

"Hopefully this will lead to a business case being presented to ministers in February 2008 that will define a new pay and career structure to take the COPFS in the face of the rapidly changing criminal justice landscape in Scotland We have suspended the action in line with legislation, but it could still take place if the COPFS management team fails to deliver a solution."

A statement issued last night by the Crown Office said: "We are pleased that an agreement has been reached and that industrial action has now been suspended.

"This is the right decision for staff and the public."

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