UNISON, the union for public sector workers, has spent a busy couple of weeks composing a response to the Council’s plan to axe 20 heads from it’s Early Intervention Service – something we’ve covered before on iharrow.
The response pulls no punches, noting that “…restructures will accumulatively result in a potential head count loss of 35 jobs at the same time as 2 senior directors in the Peoples directorate received a discretionary £18k pay increase.”
It continues: “UNISON are appalled at not only the timing of this pay increase (notwithstanding the significant in year financial pressures of the Council currently) but of the blatant use of council processes to enhance their own financial livelihoods at a time when their colleagues and staff are losing theirs.”
You can download the full 11-page response here, but the highlights include:
- Paper identifies an overall FTE reduction of 27.81 from 64.31
- UNISON estimates that this could result in a head count loss count of approx. 20 heads – a 30 % overall headcount reduction
- The cost of redundancies are unknown
- UNISON members convey serious concerns about the process to date, the predetermined nature of consultation, the potential for nepotism, ‘worklife / balance, redundancies, gaps in service, differential treatment etc.
- Members have decided to raise their concerns formally
- As and When staff accrual of (permanent) rights status is unclear and omitted from consultation paper
- Restructure will last less than 2 years (up to May 2018) despite staffing establishment facing considerable restructure upheaval recently. UNISON question if this restructure is sufficiently future proof
- Head count loss of approx. 20 staff while senior managers have used restructuring processes to enhance status and salaries at their expense – UNISON members firmly believe that as the Council value is quoted, we are not “doing this together”
- Predetermined approach with all job matching and ring fencing work already undertaken prior to consultation commencing and the identification of redundancies
- The status of After School Clubs is unclear as the outcome will not be known until well after the consultation process – documentation (Appendix 10) refers to TUPE of 3 staff when it is clear an SLA could be drawn without the need to unnecessarily transfer staff
- Career Progression proposal will serve as a disincentive to staff given the rigid ceiling allocation of numbers of posts to grades and the fact that staff can only progress when a vacancy arises. UNISON believes that the proposal is unfair and appears to be a ‘wage control’ device to suppress wages, which contribute to savings and serve to control budgets
- Consultation paper makes an ultra vires assumption that this consultation process has the legitimacy to alter the Modernising Collective Agreement and nationally agreed JNC terms – the paper declares that all staff working on JNC will work to Harrow’s terms and conditions contradicting the information contained in Appendix 11 i.e. that negotiations of JNC will take place outside of this consultation process. No agreement has been reached with UNISON to do this nor has any agreement been discussed during consultation to alleviate our concerns
- No impact data has been provided to determine the detriment of those staff working to JNC terms and conditions
- Likely to be a heavy impact on part time / term time staff with no numbers given on the numbers of part time posts available in the new structure (27 out of 59 heads work in part time positions including term time posts)
- Working hours of staff will change with no information detailing the extent of the impact on female members or on those staff who may care for children or those with domestic caring responsibilities
“There is,” says a source inside the council, “due to be a redesign meeting tomorrow [Thursday, September 8th] at 2.30pm in the Council Chamber where Errol Albert, Michael Lockwood and a few others will talk at us, refuse to answer questions but respond in emails after they have discussed them separately with HR and the redesign team. These meetings are usually scheduled for 2 hours but conclude with a swift ‘thank you and goodbye’ after 45 minutes or less if Lockwood feels the need for a jog around the town.” We’ll bring you updates from that meeting as soon as we have them.