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NEWS

SINGLE STATUS – UPDATE

The Council is looking to reach agreement by 31st May on a final proposal on Single Status to be put to all staff.  Our concern is that if our negotiations have led to a consensus then the Council is likely to ballot staff on their proposal in any case.

SINGLE STATUS CONSULTATION SPECIAL BRANCH MEETING

We will be holding Branch Meetings on Thursday 17th May in the Garden Room, Rees House at 4.30 pm and Friday 18th May pm at 12.30 pm in the Friends Meeting House, 60 Park Lane, Croydon (opposite Taberner House).  You will only need to attend one of these meetings and it is vital that you do so.  We have agreement for all London Borough of Croydon staff to take one hour (plus up to half an hour travelling time each way) to attend one meeting.

If possible, please attend the Friday meeting, as the room we’ve booked at Rees House is smaller than we were lead to believe initially.

JOB EVALUATIONS

 

These continue to be carried out, with trade union reps sitting on all the panels.  The outcomes should be released at the end of May and Appeal Panels will be set up for all those who feel that their grading is incorrect.  We are still objecting to the idea that anyone who is upgraded within this process will start on the lowest point of the new grade.

 

OVERTIME AND PREMIUM RATES

 

At present, overtime and premium payments are calculated on the basis of the employee’s salary minus a certain element associated with London Weighting.  The rate was time and a half for Monday to Saturday and double time for Sundays.  The Council is now proposing that the rate will be time and a third for Monday to Saturday and time and three quarters for Sundays but that this will be based upon full salary.

 

The result of implementing this would be that staff on certain spinal column points would gain, some others would lose, and those on the top points would remain the same.  Until we are given details of how many staff are on each spinal column point and how many actually do overtime then we can’t make a judgement about the overall effect.  We also need to have an Equality Impact Assessment carried out to assess how this would affect people along gender lines.

 

Another point at issue is that the national agreement states that if a local agreement is not reached regarding a number of premium payments, the nationally agreed rates would continue to apply.  However this can only be enforced for those on scale point 28 or below – for those on a higher salary than this, if we don’t reach agreement locally it would be referred to the Joint Secretaries at regional or national level for a suggested resolution.

 

Up till now, Croydon has paid the same premium rates for staff paid above scale point 28 as for those below that point.

 

WORKING DAY AND WEEK

 

As members will doubtless be aware, the Council’s original proposal was that the definition of the normal working week (in other words the times when work would not attract premium rates) should be changed from 8.00 am – 6. 30 pm Monday to Friday, to 6.30 am – 8.00 pm Monday to Saturday. 

 

After the trade unions side strongly opposed it, the Council amended this proposal, to 8.00 am to 8.00 pm.  However it would still apply to Saturdays.  This was again rejected by the trade unions.

 

A further proposal has now been put forward.  It would mean that “normal” working hours would be 7.00 am to 7.00 pm Monday to Saturday, but existing staff would have their premium payments on a Saturday protected for 3 years.  The protection wouldn’t apply to any new post a member of staff took up voluntarily.

 

It should be borne in mind that this would not affect overtime payments, which would still be paid for working more than 36 hours per week.

 

We are still in total opposition to the redefinition of Saturday as a normal working day.  However the redefinition of “normal” working hours as 7.00 am to 7.00 pm is not the problem it might have seemed.  This is because under the current agreement, premium payments aren’t made unless staff work 1½ hours before the start of normal working hours or 1½ after the end.  Thus the definition of normal working hours as 8.00 am to 6.30 pm meant that premium payments would only be paid for work before 6.30 am or after 8.00 pm.  The latest proposal of 7.00 am to 7.00 pm would actually benefit us.

 

If you’ve not already done so, write to Pam Parkes and 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 please click here.  Encourage your colleagues to write and to join UNISON to get the support of the Union behind them.

 

SINGLE STATUS BRIEFINGS

 

Did you attend any of the Single Status Briefings?  If so, please let us have your feedback, particularly with regard to any questions management didn’t answer to your satisfaction.

 

PERFORMANCE AND COMPETENCY PROCEDURE

 

It’s essential that we clarify what happened in the consultation regarding this procedure, which is now being implemented.

 

We were at first presented with a proposal that included a set of assessment criteria that were clearly unacceptable, as well as the sanction of staff being denied their annual increment if they didn’t meet the required minimum standards, which was also quite unacceptable.

 

One particular flaw in the proposal is that anyone who is not at the top of their grade could be denied an increment, but someone already at the top of the grade would not receive a sanction.  So you could have a situation of 2 people doing the same job both deemed not to have met the standard, yet one continues to earn more that the other simply because they reached the top of the grade before this procedure was implemented.  Hardly fair!

 

We then had separate meetings with HR staff to discuss the assessment criteria.  These meetings were very productive and we achieved an amended version that we felt was acceptable (some of the criteria are in fact standards that are quite in keeping with our own principles).  We then discussed further the whole procedure, maintaining our stance that denying staff their increment was unacceptable.  Within this meeting, Pam Parkes informed us that she intended to implement the procedure for a year, but without any sanctions and then review it.  All three trade union reps involved (Kevin Simmons of TGWU, Eileen Theaker of GMB and myself) left that meeting with the understanding that this was to be a piloting of the scheme, followed by further consultation regarding implementation of the procedure.

 

Pam Parkes, however, then informed all staff that the procedure was being implemented, albeit without the agreement of the trade unions.  Although there would be no sanctions imposed in the first year, it has been made clear that this is not a pilot.  As far as we are concerned, we would expect there to be further consultation next year in the light of experience of running the scheme for a year.

 

We would ask that UNISON members let us know (via their local reps or the UNISON Office) of any issues and concerns that arise from the implementation.  We will in any case continue to argue about the unfairness of the imposition of sanctions.

 

2007 PAY CLAIM

 

We still await any further developments in the national pay negotiations.  The employers’ response to our claim for £1000 or 5%, whichever is the greater, was to offer 2%.  This was no great surprise, as that was the figure that the Government had declared should be the maximum offered.  It was rejected as unacceptable by the trade union negotiators, and the employers have stated that they wish to continue negotiations.

 

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.

At one of our regular meetings with councillors (Croydon Staff Partnership Panel), we asked the question of how much had been set aside in the Council’s budget for any pay award.  The answer was that they had budgeted for a 2% pay increase because of the Government’s stance.  Given that the employers have expressed the desire to continue negotiating, it would seem likely that we will end up with an improved offer, which means that the eventual settlement will exceed Croydon’s budget!

 

STAFF CAR PARK

 

As anyone with a pass for the Wandle Road Car Park will be aware, the number of users far exceeds the number of spaces available.  We therefore welcome the fact that a review is being carried out to determine which members of staff actually need a parking facility because their working pattern includes visits elsewhere.

 

What is a major concern is the suggestion that Transport for London may take over part of the Car Park to convert it into a bus terminal.  It would seem that they have some sort of legal right to do this, but at present it’s not clear what exactly this right is.  HR are investigating further.

 

TABERNER HOUSE

 

It’s become common knowledge that the Council is looking to relocate the Central Complex.  At the last Croydon Staff Partnership Panel I asked for clarification regarding this.  The answer is that Croydon intend for this to happen within the next 5 to 8 years, as Taberner House has a lifespan of no more than 8 years.  The Council intends to pursue an Urban Regeneration Vehicle, which would involve external investment.  They are also determined that this external investment would come from a purely financial enterprise such as a Pension Fund, rather than from a private company such as a property developer who might want involvement in more than just a financial sense.

 

PARKING SERVICES

 

The three trade unions are looking to ballot members for industrial action over this.  We have just completed a consultative ballot of our members in Parking Services.  This showed 95% in favor of taking industrial action, on a 56% turnout.

 

SOCIAL CLUB

 

By the time you read this, the Branch’s Social Club in Chatsworth Road will have closed its doors for the last time.  This is because the Club has been consistently losing money.

 

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that we have a commitment from the Council to provide us with alternative premises in order that the Club can reopen.  Clearly there will be many details to sort out before we reopen, but we will keep people informed as to what progress has been made. 

 

A big thank you to all those who attended the very successful “Cheerio Chatsworth Do” on Friday 27th April, a good night was had by all, although it was very sad to say goodbye to the old place.  Special thanks go to The Terry Thomas Experience for providing excellent entertainment on the night.

 

A presentation was made to John Brooks (Club Steward for the last 5 years) and Jean Bowes (long-serving member of the bar staff) for their invaluable efforts.

 

Last but not least, many thanks must go to all members of the Committee, past and present, for all their efforts in keeping the Club going for as long as it did, without them, the Club would have closed long ago.

 

Don’t forget, we are still seeking your views on what you would like to see included in the new club, if you’ve any items you’d like included on the “wish list” please contact the Club Secretary, Phil Young at phil.young@croydon.gov.uk.

 

An auction of club articles was held on Sunday 29th April.  However only about half of what’s available was bought, so we will shortly be holding another.  The date and a list of items available will be advertised on this website and the Intranet, so keep your eyes peeled!

PENSIONS

For the latest news on Pensions visit our Pension Update Page where you will find a report back from the UNISON Local Government Service Group Executive Meeting held on May 9th.   This throws an interesting light on the Government Regulations (which you can also see on the 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!

ANNUAL REPORT

 

A big thank you to everyone who attended one of the 3 AGM 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.

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.