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APRIL 2009

 

           

 

It’s time to choose who speaks for you.  UNISON is a democratic organisation.  That means that you elect people to speak up on your behalf at every level of the Union, and the highest body in the union is the National Executive Council (NEC).

 

It is important that your NEC reflects the union’s membership and that you take your chance to have your say.  The people you choose will make big decisions about your union, it’s polices and how it is run for the next two years.

 

The election began on 14th April 2009 and you should by now have received your ballot paper.   You are being asked to elect one or more candidates to represent your Region (Greater London) or Service Group (Local Government). 

 

All ballot papers must be returned by 15th May 2009.  If you have not received a ballot paper by tomorrow (21st April), please phone the election helpline on 0845 355 0845.  Lines will be open from 6.00 am to midnight, Monday to Friday and 9.00 am to 4.00 pm on Saturday.

 

The Branch Executive Committee agreed to nominate the following:

 

National Seats

 

Female (2):                           April Ashley / Lorraine Mngadi

Male (1):                                Hugo Pierre

 

Young Members (1):           Christopher Leary

 

Regional Seats

 

Female (2):                           Mandy Berger, Sonya Howard

Male (1):                                Jon Rogers

 

Local Govt

 

Female (2):                           Phoebe Watkins, Marshajane Thompson

Male (1):                                Glenn Kelly

General (1):                          Paul Holmes

 

PAY 2009

 

The Employers have now made their offer for 2009/10.  It’s for a magnificent increase of 0.5%!  They also have imposed a deadline of 1st June and have said that if the offer is not accepted by then it will be withdrawn, not imposed.

 

Even Croydon in its dire financial position has set aside 1.5% for this year’s pay award!

 

The employers have also made it clear, informally, that they will not return to arbitration if a negotiated settlement cannot be reached over pay for 2009/10.

 

The Joint Trade Union Side met on 7th April and, not surprisingly, came to the conclusion that they would not be able to recommend this to members.  They have written to the Employers Side to this effect, and also expressed “deep disquiet” at the imposition of a deadline.  A meeting of the full National Joint Committee to commence negotiations will take place on 22nd April.

 

STAFF SURVEY

 

Meetings are currently being held to report back on the Staff Survey. 

 

James Young attended the Staff Road Show yesterday (20th April), held in the Fairfield Halls.  Among the comments made were that management were still bad on consultation regarding changes and keeping staff well informed.  Also a significant number of staff replying to the survey, felt that Bullying and Harassment was a major issue.  Pam Parkes, Head of HR & OD said there would be a rapid review of the Bullying and Harassment policy, working with departments or sections where this is a problem.

 

On a positive side, there was an improvement on learning and development for staff and job satisfaction was generally good.  However, the number of staff who felt proud to work for Croydon was only slightly higher than in 2006.

 

Once the full results of the survey are known we will be able to comment further.

 

SINGLE STATUS

 

Two more Signing Days took place on 26th and 31st March. 

 

We have now submitted a Collective Grievance on behalf of those members who have been denied back-pay for their claims regarding previous jobs for Croydon since 1st April 2001.

 

 

 

This Campaign, involving trade unions, school staff, governors, pupils, parents, political parties and the community in general, is being co-ordinated by Croydon TUC and is attempting to prevent the closure of local schools (Ashburton, Haling Manor, and Selsdon) and their replacement by Academies.  The parents of pupils at these schools are not even getting the chance to vote on the proposals. 

 

Although the Campaign has had some success in getting the Council to change the detail of their proposals, they are still pressing ahead.  Public ‘Consultation’ Meetings were held on 31st March at Haling Manor and on 2nd April at Ashburton. 

 

Branch Secretary Malcolm Campbell attended the Meeting at Haling Manor.  This consisted of an hour long presentation by the Panel (consisting of the Council and the favoured potential sponsor, Harris), followed by questions from the floor.  Although those attending were told that the Panel were interested to hear their views, when people tried to express these views they were told to move on to their question.  The Meeting was originally supposed to last for an hour and a half, meaning that only half an hour was left for input by the public.  Because there were so many people wanting to express their view (almost all of whom were opposed to the proposals), the Meeting was extended for a further half an hour and still not everyone spoke who wanted to do so. 

 

A request had been made before the Meeting for a Trade Union Rep to have a place on the Panel, but Dave Hill, Executive Director of CYPL, turned this down – despite being asked more than once for a reason, he was not able to give one.

 

Given that this Meeting was supposed to be part of a process of consultation with pupils, parents and the general public, you would have expected that the Council would be asking those people for their view, rather than merely conducting a PR exercise and inviting questions – as a consultation process it was a sham.  The hostile reaction from the majority of those attending indicated that they felt the same. 

 

We have raised the issue of staff consultation at our regular Corporate Staff Consultation Meeting and Pam Parkes, Head of HR & OD, is to talk to Dave Hill with regard to the time-scale of this consultation.

 

For more information on this issue and the Campaign please visit http://www.croydonsos.org.uk/

 

MARCH 2009

 

BRANCH AGM

 

Thanks to everyone who attended the AGM, we reached a quorum, so all the business on the Agenda was completed.

 

Our Branch Officers and Staff Side Reps have been duly elected (a full list can be found on our Branch Reps Page).

 

There were four motions presented to the Meeting regarding Branch Rule Changes, Restructuring and Job Losses, Honoraria for Branch Treasurers and Auditors, the Social Club and Subscriptions to the now defunct Athletic Club.  All were carried.  To read them in full please click here.

 

The Annual Report was presented to the Meeting and can be read here.

 

This year there were three elections held, the votes were counted by The Branch President, James Young, and the results were as follows:

 

BRANCH SECRETARY

 

Malcolm Campbell – 55

 

Laurie Pocock – 34

 

Malcolm Campbell was therefore elected as Branch Secretary for the coming year.

 

BRANCH EDUCATION OFFICER

 

Hyacinth Charles – 50

 

Kay Kakad – 19

 

Hyacinth Charles was therefore elected as Branch Education Officer for the coming year.

 

NATIONAL CONFERENCE DELEGATES

 

Malcolm Campbell – 63 (as Branch Secretary Malcolm will attend as of right, according to the Branch Rules)

 

Rachel Pankhurst – 58 (elected)

 

Julie O’Maley – 55 (elected)

 

Iteen Stephens – 51 (elected)

 

Etna Houldsworth – 47 (elected)

 

Isa Makumbi – 44 (elected)

 

Kai Pokawa – 36 (elected)

 

Caroline Leppard – 28 (Caroline will be 1st reserve)

 

There was a question raised at the AGM as to whether our current election process (a secret ballot of all members attending the AGM) is the most appropriate, particularly when the election concerned is that of Branch Secretary.  It is our intention to review our practice and report back to the next Branch Meeting or AGM. 

 

FREE PRIZE DRAW – RESULT

 

The winning numbers for the free prize draw were as follows:

 

1st Prize £25.00 M&S Gift Voucher – 52

 

2nd Prize Cheese & Wine Gift Bag from Britannia Building Society – 22

 

3rd Prize £10.00 M&S Gift Voucher – 59

 

The second prize has yet to be claimed so if it is you please contact the Branch Office to claim your prize.  You will need to produce your ticket.

 

All those who attended also received their free Lealta Discount Card, if you have used the card already and would like to give your feedback please contact the Branch Office and your comments will be passed on to our Regional Lealta Representative.

 

BRANCH SECRETARY’S REPORT

 

REGIONAL CONVENOR - ELECTION

 

Concerns have been expressed regarding the fact that I was a candidate for the position of UNISON’s Greater London Regional Convenor.  If I had been successful, this would have entailed me spending part of my working week on Regional business rather than Branch business.  I estimated that this would have been no more than 2 days per week and I was quite clear that this facility time would have had to be a separate arrangement – in other words that the Branch would still have had those 2 days  facility time for someone else to cover for me.  If this was not possible for whatever reason I would not have taken up the position of Regional Convenor. 

 

In the event, I was unsuccessful in the election and therefore there is no need to negotiate different arrangements.  I thought it best, however, to explain the situation in case it occurs again.  I would like to reassure all members that my commitment to the Branch remains as high as is has done for the last 10 years as Branch Secretary and many years previously in other positions.  I would never take a course of action as Branch Secretary that would disadvantage the Branch.

 

REORGANISATIONS

 

The Restructuring in every Department goes on apace.  Reps continue to cover an enormous amount of meetings and to challenge proposals wherever necessary.  The amount of redundancies entailed in the final proposals will of course be the crucial factor and we will have to make a decision about how we collectively respond.

 

In particular, HR & OD are facing swingeing job cuts.  Not only is this unacceptable in terms of staff facing redundancy, it also has severe indirect implications for staff support, including the vital element of Health & Safety.

 

The above was the subject of a motion at the Branch AGM

 

SINGLE STATUS

 

There are two more Signing Days planned for 26th and 31st March.  These are intended to be the “final” days, but it seems extremely unlikely that this will be the case. 

 

We have now collated a list of those members who have been denied back-pay for previous jobs and will be submitting a Collective Grievance on their behalf.

 

Members on the standby gritting rota for the Highways DSO have been balloted regarding Industrial Action about their outstanding claim.  The result was vote in favour of taking action and they are now working to rule.

 

PAY 2008

 

As members will no doubt be aware, the result of arbitration was that we are to receive a further 0.3% increase, making the pay award for 2008 2.75%.  Whilst this is a long way short of what we deserve, we should still be clear that this would not have been achieved if we hadn’t taken strike action back in July 2008.

 

PAY 2009

 

Having resolved the pay claim for last year, we now await a response from the Employers regarding the 2009/2010 pay claim.  We are asking for a settlement of at least the rate of inflation – unfortunately the current recession means that we are likely to be offered a very small rise indeed.

PENSIONS

The Government Regulations on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) can be found on the Pension Page

You can also log-on to the UNISON National Website www.unison.co.uk for more information on Pensions. 

 

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?

Please let us know in the Branch Office if you have changed your address, either by phone on 8760 5435 or via e-mail to branchoffice@croydonunison.co.uk it’s important we keep your records up to date so that you are fully informed on matters that could affect you.

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.

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