As part of the phased shutdown of the in-house play service, several transitions projects are due to be closed 31 March 2012, alongside the play team who work with homeless children (recently rated outstanding by OFSTED) and the supervised activities in the award-winning Kilburn Grange adventure playground (pictured) , which is only two years old. This will also entail the deletion of nearly 12 full-time equivalent posts, likely to translate to over 20 part time staff.
Initial meetings with management revealed that redundancy payments would not take into account many of the additional hours many play service workers work during school holidays or on a more ad hoc basis.
At a well attended union meeting for play workers and workers in the quality & community development team, members unanimously approved a motion calling for a fairer redundancy formula, recognising the hours people have actually worked. Members also voted unanimously in favour of balloting for strike action in the event of any compulsory redundancies at the end of March.
Since then, management have come back with a new formula for calculating redundancy pay, which should take all hours into account. Senior management also announced at a meeting to play workers that there will be no compulsory redundancies at the end of March.
Staff with individual concerns around their contractual entitlements, especially regarding sessional hours, or if they are on fixed term contracts are encouraged to contact their union rep, John Shepherd (020 7974 1169/John.Shepherd at Camden.gov.uk) for advice.
However, a much bigger fight over the council’s proposed shutdown of the entire in-house service and its replacement by voluntary sector providers, with no proposed TUPE transfer for staff, is yet to come. And the bigger the campaign workers can build alongside service users and parents, the more likely we are to achieve concessions.