Category Archives: Reports

The 2017 K&C Branch AGM

The 2017 Branch AGM was held on Wednesday 15 Feb in the Small Hall at Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall.

Sean Fox, Haringey Branch Secretary & National Joint Council Member for Greater London was the speaker at yesterday’s Branch AGM. Sean sits on the UNISON national committee that negotiates on pay with the local government employer.

NJC scales are local government pay scales, which are extensively used in the voluntary sector. They areagm-pic-one a result of negotiations between trade unions. Due to government restricted pay increases spinal points have begun to bunch up. Negotiations on a revised pay spine will begin in March, after the pay data to be used to model alternatives has been finalised and jointly agreed with the LGA.

Last year’s nominal 1% increase was actually wiped out by the 1 1/2 % increase made by the government to our members National Insurance contributions.

In 2010 and 2011 there was a national pay freeze in local government and no pay increase was given. Since then there has been an annual 1% pay increase and we are currently in the second year of a two-year 1% pay deal. The government (under Chancellor Osbourne) restricted local government pay increase to 1% until 2020. This would mean that earnings for our members in local government would be worth 1/3 less than in 2010.

Additionally this pay suppression is further impacted by higher inflation.

The UNION and its members will have to take action if they are to achieve a decent offer. If this fails to happen we run the risk of becoming accustomed to annual 1% increases and continual pay deterioration.  

A copy of the AGM booklet can be downloaded here.

 

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Social Workers Overwhelmingly Oppose the Government’s Social Work Reform Plans

A major UNISON survey of 2,858 social workers has revealed that they reject key aspects of the Government’s proposals to reform the sector.

In August and September UNISON social worker members in England were asked tohand-cut-outs complete a survey which asked for their views on the government’s reform proposals contained in their Children and Social Work Bill.

The findings have now been published in this report.

The headline results are:

  • Just 1% of social workers believe that the proposals put forward by the government will address the main concerns that they are facing.
  • Just 10% of social workers think local authorities should be able to exempt themselves from children’s social care legislation, which the government believes will allow for social workers to achieve better outcomes for service users.
  • 69% of social workers believe that allowing local authorities to exempt themselves from children’s social care legislation will lead to more children being placed at risk. Only 8% of social workers believe that it won’t lead to more children being placed at risk.
  • 90% of social workers believe that they should be regulated by an independent body rather than directly by the government.
  • 96% of social workers believe that private companies should not be allowed to take over the running of social work functions from local authorities. Only 1% said they trust the not to privatise social work services.

These findings represent an overwhelming rejection of the government’s proposals.

The Government has already indicated that it will no longer require social workers (adults, children’s and mental health) to be directly regulated by them but it is still pressing ahead with the other controversial aspects of the Bill.

The Bill is being debated by the House of Lords on Tuesday the 8th of November but will be debated by the House of Commons in the coming weeks. Please encourage your members contact your local MP and ask them to speak out about the dangerous aspects of the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill.

Instead ask them to call upon the Government to:

  • The Bill is being debated by the House of Lords on Tuesday the 8th of November but will be debated by the House of Commons in the coming weeks. Please encourage your members contact your local MP and ask them to speak out about the dangerous aspects of the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill.
  • The Government has already indicated that it will no longer require social workers (adults, children’s and mental health) to be directly regulated by them but it is still pressing ahead with the other controversial aspects of the Bill.
  • Abandon the dangerous and controversial elements of the Bill which allow local authorities to exempt themselves from important statutory duties towards children.
  • Agree to meet with a range of frontline social workers and their representative bodies to properly discuss how the challenges facing social work can be overcome.
  • Listen to the views of looked-after children, their families and supporters to learn about their experience of social services and related support.
  • Invest more resources into supporting social work services across England.
  • Ensure that social workers continue to be regulated independently.

 

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Exit Payments in the Public Sector

As part of its attack on public sector workers, the government has introduced a setpublic-secotr of changes to exit payments (including redundancy payments) in the public sector – each set of proposals goes further than the last. All fly in the face of local, and even national, collective agreements, some agreed at the highest levels of government. Some of the proposals will mean re-opening regulations on pension entitlements, breaching the commitment not to alter public sector pensions for 25 years.

UNISON have produced a document which outlines the proposed changes and what they mean for members’ terms and conditions of service. You can view the document here.

 

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UNISON Additional 2017/18 Pay Claim Update

A meeting of local government representatives from across UNISON (the NJC) met yesterday to consider the results of the UNISON consultation over the additional pay claim for 2017-2018. The consultation arose from Emergency Composite A, carried at 2016 Local Government Conference earlier this year:

“To submit an NJC Pay Claim for 2017/18 and to commence the process of consulting with branches and members on the composition of this claim after the Conference”.

The NJC Committee considered the composite at its meeting in August and decided to consult branches over a claim for a flat rate increase of £1 an hour on all NJC pay points. The UNISON consultation ended on 7 October.

GMB and Unite did not support the submission of an additional claim.

Results of UNISON consultation

50% of branches responded to the consultation, broadly in line with previous consultations over a proposed pay claim. 73% supported the NJC Committee’s proposed claim and 26% rejected it – a much higher proportion than in previous years. In 2016 3% rejected the proposed claim and 1% in 2015.

Local Government Association (LGA) responds

The Committee noted the results of the consultation and agreed to submit the claim immediately to the LGA. The claim was submitted on 13 October.

The LGA’s response received it on 14 October, and can be viewed here. As you will see, the employers have rejected the claim because:

“The Employers are very clearly of the view that the NJC reached, in good faith, an agreement on pay on 16 May 2016 that covers the period to 31 March 2018”

The campaign for a fair deal in 2018 and funding for the pay spine review begins now!

The NJC Committee agreed that all our efforts now need to go into campaigning for a positive outcome from the review of the pay spine and a decent offer in 2018. A further 1% pay offer for the majority in 2018/19 would not be acceptable. The Committee also felt that the review of the NJC pay spine, agreed as part of the 2016-2018 settlement, needs additional funding to ensure an outcome which is fair to all and tackles inequality in pay within the public sector. NJC pay is the lowest in the public sector, from the bottom to the top of the pay spine.

It was therefore agreed to start a campaign of political lobbying, which will call on branches and Regions to lobby councillors and MP’s for a fairer deal for school and council workers and for funding of the review of the pay spine. The union will also work to establish groups of parliamentary advocates within the English, Welsh and Northern Ireland parliaments to speak out for council and school workers and commission research to support a better deal for NJC workers in future.

 

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Employment Law and Brexit

hammerThe government have released a House of Commons briefing which outlines what the implications might be for employment law following Brexit. You can view the document here.: brexit-employment-law-briefing

Some EU rights – like Equal Pay – have direct effect, meaning that individuals can rely directly on EU law. Leaving the EU would effectively cancel such rights.

Another area of concern are ruling made in the European Court of Justice. These again can be relied on by workers in this country to enforce workers’ rights. Once we leave the EU employers will potentially be able to re-litigate decisions that did not go in their favour and try and change the case law.

The government is going to introduce a Great Repeal Bill next year which will bridge Brexit and, they claim, amalgamate EU and British law. It worth having a read of Theresa May’s Tory party conference speech extract on page 6 where she unambiguously says existing workers’ legal rights will continue to be guaranteed in law, but checks this with “as long as I am Prime Minister.”

 

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NPC Report for 2016

Branch retired members Verena Beane, Sue Clark, Rochana Lowton and Allen Hawley attended as delegates the NPC Pensioners Parliament at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on 14-16 June 2016.

Click here to read their comprehensive report of the conference.

 Ret mem at NPC

 

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UNISON to Consult on Pay Offer

At NJC pay negotiations held on 9 December 2015, the Local Government Association (LGA) made school and council workers the following two-year final pay offer:

From 1 April 2016:

 On SCP 6, £900 (equivalent to 6.6%)

 On SCP 7, £900 (equivalent to 6.6%)

 On SCP 8, £900 (equivalent to 6.5%)

 On SCP 9, £900 (equivalent to 6.4%)

 On SCP 10, £900 (equivalent to 6.3%)

 On SCP 11, £300 (equivalent to 2.0%)

 On SCP 12, £300 (equivalent to 2.0%)

 On SCP 13, £250 (equivalent to 1.6%)

 On SCP 14, £250 (equivalent to 1.5%)

 On SCP 15, £200 (equivalent to 1.2%)

 On SCP 16, £200 (equivalent to 1.2%)

 On SCP 17, £175 (equivalent to 1.01%)

 On SCPs 18 and above, 1.0%

And from 1 April 2017

 On SCP 6, £500 (equivalent to 3.4%)

 On SCP 7, £500 (equivalent to 3.4%)

 On SCP 8, £475 (equivalent to 3.2%)

 On SCP 9, £400 (equivalent to 2.6%)

 On SCP 10, £375 (equivalent to 2.5%)

 On SCP 11, £300 (equivalent to 1.9%)

 On SCP 12, £300 (equivalent to 1.9%)

 On SCP 13, £300 (equivalent to 1.9%)

 On SCP 14, £300 (equivalent to 1.8%)

 On SCP 15, £300 (equivalent to 1.8%)

 On SCP 16, £250 (equivalent to 1.5%)

 On SCP 17, £225 (equivalent to 1.3%)

 On SCPs 18 and above, 1.0%

As part of the pay offer, the LGA agreed to our call for fair treatment for school support staff through a joint review of term-time working. However, they were not prepared to meet the other element of our claim, calling for the retention and protection of Part 2 conditions.

The offer represents a 2.4% increase on paybill over the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2018.

What does the offer mean?

Please note that the LGA’s offer refers to NJC SCPs, which are pay points on the NJC pay spine.

During the further negotiations held yesterday, the Trade Union Side put forward counter proposals for a two-year offer similar to the recent Scottish local government two year pay settlement. We called for deletion of scps below the UK Living Wage and for those on scps above – 1.5% in year 1 and 1% in year 2. The LGA took these proposals away but then refused to move from their final offer, claiming that they were unable to move from a 1% increase in each year for those above scp 18.

The NJC trade unions expressed their disappointment at the LGA’s refusal to consider our counter proposal but believe the pay offer is the best achievable by negotiation and have agreed to consult our members on it. UNISON, GMB and Unite are now meeting separately in early January to decide their position on the offer and to agree their union’s consultation process.

 

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