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NEWS

SINGLE STATUS

The Branch held a meeting on 23rd March which was attended by 150 people. Several of whom from out lying workplaces were representing groups of members who could not all be released.

 

At the meeting Malcolm Campbell updated the members on the current position with regard to the Single Status negotiations, locally.  This is an exercise that should be going on in every local authority around the country.  Some authorities are further forward with negotiations, others further behind.

 

JOB EVALUATION

 

This process has been on going for a few months now.  Approximately 200 jobs across the council have been evaluated.  The reason behind this was to bring everyone onto one pay scale and ensure all staff are being paid the correct amount for the job they are doing.

 

There had been an element of slippage as they had not got through evaluating as many jobs as they had hoped by this stage.  The Council had given over HR staff to work solidly on the panels; however, this was not possible for the Trade Union reps who still had their own jobs to carry out.  Therefore some panels had been cancelled.

 

As a result of the process a number of jobs are likely to be upgraded and a number downgraded.  HR are quoting percentages (i.e. 74% to remain the same, 14% to go up & 12 % to go down) but the exercise is not complete yet so how they can come up with “accurate” figures is anyone’s guess!

 

Anyone who does get downgraded will have the opportunity to appeal against the decision and UNISON reps are on hand (and trained) to assist.

 

LETTERS

 

Two letters had been issued.  One from HR outlining their proposals and the other was from the Branch Secretary, Malcolm Campbell, outlining the Trade Unions position.  Further copies are available from the Branch Office or to print here.

 

The HR letter says that if agreement with the Trade Unions does not happen before 31 March that they will be consulting with individuals.

 

Agreement is NOT going to be reached by 31st March as the next meeting for Single Status Consultation is not scheduled until 3rd April!

 

HR are continuing to try to reach agreement with the Trade Unions despite the deadline looming.  It is to their advantage to do so. Individual consultation would be (yet another) enormous undertaking for them.

 

RATIONALE

 

The Council are saying the rationale behind the changes they are proposing, to the working week, is because the public expect 24 hour services.  The Unions argued that wasn’t the case, (who needs a library at 3.00 am in the morning?) but even if it were, Staff should be paid enhanced payments for the disruption to their “work life balance”.   Normal hours should be just that, the normal hours most people work.

 

The Council say more people will be asked to work different hours to “more flexibly deliver services to the local community and to accommodate increasing demands for flexible working arrangements”.  This not only contradicts the later paragraph in the letter from Pam Parkes insofar as it states that “For the majority of the Council’s workforce the pay and  grading proposals will have little or no change to your current working patterns”, but also the Work-Smart agreement that states “The Council is committed to improving the work-life balance of all employees.” 

 

COSTS

 

The Council are borrowing money to pay for the implementation.  However for every £1m the Council borrows they have to pay back £90,000 interest on top, so they want to make savings.  They want to cut allowances and overtime to pay back the money.  They will be playing on staffs consciences over the financial implications.  We feel that members should not have to lose out on allowances to pay for others (or their own) upgrades.

 

CONSENSUS ON THE POINTS

 

The meeting was asked to give a consensus of opinion on the issues as out lined in the Branch Secretary’s letter of 16th March:

 

  • Back Pay - supported position of 6 years

 

  • Overtime – rejection of proposals to make changes, support position of retaining national agreement.

 

  • Working week – rejection of 8am till 8pm support position of retaining 8am till 6pm.

 

  • Protection – support 3 years with additional 2 year buy-out

 

The members showed 100% support on every issue.

 

IN CONCLUSION

 

We feel staff are in a very strong position to reject any changes to contracts. Pam Parkes invites staff to write back.  We suggest you do so, and encourage others to as well.  Tell her of your objections.  Tell her you reject the proposals, that they are unfair and that you want to stay as you are.  If you would like to use our draft letter to respond to Pam Parkes click here.

 

Encourage your colleagues to write and to join UNISON to get the support of the Union behind them.

 

If changes are not agreed they may try to impose their proposals.  If they have been bombarded with letters rejecting their proposals they will not be able to do this.  They would have to terminate every single contract and recruit 10,000+ new staff!

 

Concerns were expressed over the Council’s intention of the Performance Development and Competency Scheme being linked to Single Status.  These concerns had already been raised with HR.

 

If they do insist on imposing changes without agreement the Branch will be calling for a ballot for Industrial Action.

 

The only way to stop them is by making a stand NOW!

PENSIONS

The Special Local Government Conference took place on Tuesday 6th March.  Unfortunately the composite motion which the Branch supported was not successful.  This called for a ballot to be held immediately for industrial action because of the unsatisfactory proposals for a new scheme and protection arrangements.

 

Instead the membership will be balloted as to whether we accept or reject the proposals.  What’s most disturbing is the fact that the Local Government Service Group Executive (our leadership in Local Government) are not even going to make a recommendation.  We need to strongly recommend to our members that they should reject the proposals.  If the result of the ballot is rejection, we will then be balloted for industrial action.

 

One other thing to note from the Conference was the behaviour of our Regional Convenor, Alan Jarman.  Attending as a delegate from his branch, he spoke against the composite motion that called for an industrial action ballot, despite our Region being one of the motion’s movers.  He is, of course, entitled to do so if his branch did not support the motion, but he expressly informed the Conference that he was the Regional Convenor.  What was even worse was the fact that he made a derogatory reference about one particular branch within our Region – a quite unacceptable thing for the senior lay officer in the Region to do.

For the latest Pension Newsletter visit our Pension Update Page.  You can also log-on to the UNISON National Website www.unison.co.uk for more information. 

If you haven’t done so already, Take the Pension Test you might just be surprised at the answers!

PAY

UNIONS REJECT 'INSULTING' LOCAL GOVERNMENT PAY OFFER

(21/03/07) Unions dismissed the local government employers' 2% pay offer yesterday as "insulting and demeaning".  Coming on the day when inflation 4.6%, UNISON and its fellow trade unions rejected the offer as "not good enough to consult on".

The employers' organisation asked for further talks and agreed to take the unions' rejection back to local authorities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield said: "This is effectively a pay cut. With today's inflation rates going up to 4.6% and living costs rising much faster than council workers pay, millions of workers are being pushed closer to the breadline.

"This is a paltry pay award which will drive down the morale of staff further.

"Our members are angry. 70% of employers have failed to complete pay and grading reviews promised by the end of this month. In addition, the review of the local government pension scheme has yet to be completed."

Last month, UNISON, TGWU and GMB submitted a local government pay claim to employers covering some 1.3 million council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The claim included:

  • any deal was for one year only;
  • 5% award increase or £1,000, whichever is the greater;
  • a guaranteed minimum hourly rate of £6.30;
  • an increase in basic annual leave entitlement to 25 days per year as the minimum entitlement for all employees;
  • a reduction in the standard working week to 35 hours, without loss of pay;
  • an increase in the night shift allowance over a three-year period from a time and a third, to time and a half, to time and three quarters, to double time in the final year;
  • an increase in the sleep-in allowance to £60.

Workers covered by the claim include care assistants, cleaners, teaching assistants, librarians and refuse collectors – some of the poorest paid workers with the worst annual leave entitlements.

More than 60% of those people earn just £15,825 or less - around £8,000 less than the national average, and 75% of them are women.

 

PARKING SERVICES

 

Further information will follow on the Parking Services issue.

 

BRANCH AGM

 

A big thank you to everyone who attended the meetings held over two dates, 1st March and 23rd March, a special thanks to all those who stayed behind after the Single Status Meeting.  This has enabled us to get all the business of the Branch completed.  You can read the Annual Report here.

 

The following Staff Side Representatives were elected and their respective departments are as shown:

 

Housing – James Young - 020 8726 6000 xtn 62673

Planning – Laurie Pocock – 020 8726 6000 xtn 62648

Social Services – Eleanor Tracey – 020 8726 6000 xtn 62167

ECSS – Anna Raghunanan – 020 8726 6000 xtn 61113

Finance & Resources – Iteen Stephens – 020 8726 6000 xtn 88336

Policy & Corporate Services – Malcolm Campbell – 020 8760 5435

Education – Mervyn D’Cruze – 020 8760 5435

 

Contacts for other Employers are:

 

Prospects Careers – Marian Freedman – 020 8410 4105

Croydon College – Mick Smith – 020 8686 5700 xtn 3645

Parkwood Leisure – Sarah Smale – 01689 842553

 

The following Branch Officers were also elected:

 

Branch Secretary                                         -                      Malcolm Campbell

Asst Branch Secretary                                -                      Mervyn D'Cruze

Branch President                                         -                      James Young

Vice President                                              -                      Laurie Pocock

Treasurer                                                       -                      Marion Robinson

Assistant Treasurers                                   -                      Tony Vass

-                      Julie O'Maley

Welfare Secretary                                       -                      Joan Matlock

Health & Safety Secretary                         -                      Kay Kakad &

(Job-share)                                                                          Anna Raghunanan

Education                                                      -                      Kay Kakad

International Officer                                   -                      Greg Davies

Labour Link Officer                                      -                      Malcolm Campbell

(Job-share)                                                                          Laurie Pocock

Social Secretary                                           -                      Phil Young

Local Purchase Scheme Officer                -                      Iteen Stephens

Magazine Editor                                           -                      Rachel Pankhurst

Retired Members Secretary                       -                      Peter Howard

(Job-share)                                                                          John Thompson

Staff Side Pension Rep                                -                      Isa Makumbi

Auditors x 2                                                  -                      Lynda Vass

-                                             Brian Brooks

Young Members Officer                              -                      Ellie O’Maley

 

The following were nominated by the Self Organised Groups:

 

Black Members Officer                                -                      Anna Raghunanan

Disabled Members Officer                          -                      Kay Kakad

LGTB Rep                                                       -                      Peter Hayward-Brewer

Women’s Officer                                          -                      Iteen Stephens

 

We still have the following vacant Officer posts, if you are interested in taking on one of these roles, or are just want to find out more about them then please contact the Branch Office:

 

Recruitment Officer                                    

Environmental Issues Officer       

Membership Services Secretary

 

There following Rule Changes and Motions on the agenda were all carried:

 

Rule 14. (a)   Election of Officers

 

Insert new (xi.) Young Members Officer

 

and renumber accordingly.

 

Proposed:  Malcolm Campbell

Seconded:  Joan Matlock/Phil Young

 

Rule 20.  Functions of Executive Committee

 

In para (a), after “monthly”, insert “, or more frequently if necessary.  In exceptional circumstances the meetings may take place via email”

 

Proposed:  Malcolm Campbell

Seconded:  Joan Matlock/Phil Young

 

Honoraria

 

This Branch Annual General Meeting agrees that in line with the 2006 Pay Award the following honorarium should be awarded:

 

Treasurer                               -          £530.30

1st Assistant Treasurer       -          £129.25

Auditors                                 -          £129.25

 

Proposed:  Malcolm Campbell

Seconded:  Joan Matlock/Phil Young

 

Social Club

 

This Branch Annual General Meeting notes that it is extremely unlikely that the Branch Social Club will be able to carry on trading for much longer. 

 

Despite financial support from the Branch and great efforts by the Social Club Committee, the level of usage means that it is now consistently losing money.

 

We also note that discussions have taken place with Officers of the Council which indicate that it will be possible to relocate the Social Club, with support from the Council.  This will, however, take some time to achieve.

 

It is likely that the relocation to new premises would mean that the current grant from the Branch to the Social Club (currently standing at £5,000 p.a.) would no longer be necessary.

 

In recognition of this and in order to assist the Social Club to pay off its debts, this Branch Annual General Meeting agrees to authorise the Branch Executive Committee to take such decisions regarding a further loan or grant to the Social Club that may be necessary.

 

Proposed:  Malcolm Campbell

Seconded: Joan Matlock/Phil Young

 

 

UNISON SOCIAL CLUB

 

As you will realise from the motion presented to the Branch AGM, the Club, in its present incarnation, will have to close.  You may be aware that for many years now, the Club has struggled to break even, due to the lack of use by the membership.

 

The Club’s AGM of was held at the Chatsworth Hall on 21st March.  The Management Committee of the Social Club had reluctantly brought a recommendation to the Meeting that due to the difficult trading conditions, the Chatsworth itself should cease trading with effect from the end of April.

 

A lively debate took place with many views being expressed but the meeting reluctantly voted unanimously in favour of the proposal to close.

 

In that regard Malcolm Campbell and Dick Diplock (Club Secretary and Chairman respectively) had held preliminary discussions with the Council’s Chief Executive, David Wechsler, over the future of the Social Club. Malcolm was able to inform the Meeting that there is an agreement in principal for a new social club facility to be provided in the Town Hall complex.  

 

Many hurdles will need to be overcome before the new social club can become a reality however and unfortunately it is unlikely that it would be open at lunchtimes for the sale of alcohol. Malcolm also mentioned that he would discuss with the Committee of Ruskin House whether they may be able to admit our members/associate members to their club in the short term.

 

It would still be necessary for the Club to have a Management Committee to negotiate the changes for the new social club and nominations were invited.  Phil Young, Malcolm Campbell and Debbie Scott were elected as Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer respectively, with Roger Taylor, Joan Matlock, Alan Peakall, Phil Mills, Angela Pyart, Nick March, Bev Holdsworth, Laurie Pocock, and Dean Gibson were also elected onto the Committee.

 

A lively debate followed with many views being expressed but the meeting reluctantly voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.

 

Following the end of the AGM an impromptu Committee Meeting was held. Dick Diplock was also co-opted onto the Committee. The formation of the new club was discussed at length. We understand that the actual space has not been identified at this stage and therefore, in order to take the negotiations forward we need to establish a ‘wish list’ of facilities, such as snooker, darts and pool, that may be housed within the club. If you have anything you would like to add to the ‘wish list’ or what your views are on the no-sale of alcohol at lunchtimes, whether you would like to be able to hold functions at the new social club, then please contact Phil Young, Club Secretary via email at phil.young@croydon.gov.uk

 

We will be holding a Cheerio Chatsworth event to mark the Club’s closure and it will be held on Friday 27th April – entitled Cheerio Chatsworth – if you would like to come along please email phil.young@croydon.gov.uk

CALLING ALL DISABLED MEMBERS…….

If you would like more information please contact our Disabled Members Officers, Kay Kakad at kay.kakad@croydon.gov.uk 

YOUNG MEMBERS IN UNISON

Thanks to the Rule Change being agreed at the AGM, we are now able to have the post of Young Members Officer added to our Branch Officer posts.  Ellie O’Maley was nominated and elected into the position.  If you are 26 or under and want to get involved then please let the Branch Office know at branchoffice@croydonunison.co.uk and we will add you to our mailing list and pass your name onto Ellie.

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS………

We are always looking for more members to get actively involved in the Branch. There are many areas where members don't have a local Steward.

So - if you would like to get more involved in the Branch and its decision making, take part in negotiations with management and represent members, why not become a Steward or Health and Safety Rep?

We won't throw you in at the deep end. There are many courses available that are organised through the TUC or UNISON and they run throughout the year. You will also have the support of the Branch Office. Time off for full training is available, please contact the Branch Office for more details or e-mail branchoffice@croydonunison.co.uk

ARE YOU GETTING IT?

It has recently come to light that some members are not getting information about the Branch and its activities. If this is the case please let us know in the Branch Office either by phone on 8760-5435 or via e-mail to branchoffice@croydonunison.co.uk

If you are prepared to be a workplace contact for us, which involves handing out UNISON information, Newsletters etc to your fellow UNISON members again please let us know in the Branch Office.

We want to make sure all our members are informed on what's happening in the Branch.